An easy way to have photography marketing momentum

When it comes to increasing your productivity- for the non-image-making part of your business-there are many great applications to choose from. Lots of people use Apple’s account.  There’s also another good way of developing the work flow of integrating all of your contacts, tasks, and calendar events-no matter what operating system you use- and it lives within the free universe of Google apps.

If you have a Google account, you can use it to help you take regular and weekly steps in implementing your marketing plan.Google has created yet another great feature set called TASKS . Do a search for “Google tasks” and you’ll get to the main TASKS app page that has a link to a short instructional video.

Use TASKS to create a marketing to-do lists filled with daily, weekly, and monthly “micro-steps” E.g. find the address & phone number of three prospects/add them to mailing list/pick image for June mailing/create subject line for promo/etc.Then add those items to Google TASKS.

You can also create general categories and sub-categories.For example, the broad category might be “Post Card Campaign” and the subcategories can be divided by e.g.,launch dates. A sub-category can be further sub-defined by tasks such as “contact designer” , “write subject header, etc”.

If you find it really hard to do marketing tasks, start with some super, super easy tasks e.g.”Select a folder to put promo images in” ,”create the Title of the folder for the marketing images.”, etc.  Then you can start your day off with the thrill of ticking off a couple of the to-do items check-boxes! (Believe me…I’ve had to put some pretty silly, and way-granular items on my own lists some days). Then you’ve got some TRACTION!

Now you can keep moving. If you use Gmail, your preferences can be set-up to allow you to create tasks alarms, add items to your calendar, and always see your tasks list whenever you check your email. Because you can access and update your progress from any internet-enabled device, you can maintain a good marketing momentum. Daily progress creates real progress.

Photography Marketing Essentials-Step #1: Define your “ideal client.”

The most essential step in creating an effective marketing plan is to first decide who you most want to work with. If you don’t have a specific answer to that question, you won’t know where to begin to look for them.

Almost every photographer who calls me for photography marketing help has the same basic issue: “I want more work. How do I get it?” I wish there was a simple solution to offer them; but like any goal worth going after, it first takes some understanding of what the end goal actually looks like.

One of the first things I do is first ask them: “What kind of client do you want to work with? What kind of works brings out the best in you?” or the corollary “What kind of work does NOT inspire you on any level?

Many times I get “I don’t really care. I just want work!” While I totally sympathize with that generalized need (in this economy especially!), any viable photography marketing plan MUST begin with narrowing down which would be the best client/market niche for YOU to pursue.

The narrowing down process I go through with my clients is, of course, far more individualized and in-depth, but here are a few key questions that will go a long way in helping you choose strategies and tactics to reach YOUR ideal prospects. They’re simple questions, not easily answered, but ones which are critical to your success.

When you’ve found the answers to these questions you have the beginnings of a road map that can help you eliminate or avoid marketing activities that will not give you as high a return on your investment of time and money.

•What kind of clients could most benefit from what I bring to the table?
•What do I do that an advanced amateur photographer could not do as well–or at all?
•What market segments will NOT appreciate my level of professionalism?
•If it’s an uneducated market segment, am I willing to do “”whatever it takes” to help those potential clients understand the real value I add to their business?
•What kinds of assignments/projects do I always love doing?

You’ve probably heard the advice “it’s important to first know where you want to go before picking up a map.” Knowing your destination will determine which marketing map you actually use.

Many marketing resources discuss this concept in depth, but I prefer the succinct wisdom of Lily Tomlin: “I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific.”

UPDATE on “Rebooting Your Business Brain” 2/9/10 in San Francisco

Since this month the 3-day early bird discount falls on a weekend, I’m extending the discount offer through Monday 2/8/10. If you’re interested finding out if you may be unintentionally shooting yourself  with your portfolio or web presentation, please contact me directly. More info is available here

In addition to generous sponsors LiveBooks and Agency Access, I’d like to welcome my 3rd and latest event sponsor, PhotoShelter. PhotoShelter enables you to create a professional online presence using a set of tools which include high-res file delivery, secure image archiving, and website creation tools.