As a freelance photographer, you’ve got to shout about what you do. In a new monthly series, our Marketing Manager, Amy, will give you the bite-size tips you'll need to create your own personal marketing plan.
When you're freelancing, it doesn't take long to realise that skill alone isn't enough to guarantee success. Once you've got your technical abilites nailed and your customer service polished, a strong sense of marketing can often be what separates you from the competiton. Having worked freelance myself, I found it was best to keep asking myself a long set of questions. These are the first three you'll need to answer in order to build a marketing plan.
What goals can I achieve now? Tomorrow? Next month?
As you'll see in this post and the rest of the series, a marketing plan can be as big or as small as you like. But by your very nature as a freelancer, it's likely you're especially ambitious. We'll need to keep things realistic.
Before you start, figure out how many hours a week you can spend. If you dedicate Thursday mornings to your marketing, that's great.
Build your long list. This includes everything you could possibly want to do. Before your first dedicated marketing session, cherry-pick as many as you can fit into one morning. At the end of your session, evaluate what you've done and build your to do list for your next session. That way, every time you sit down to work on your marketing, you will already have your to do list and you can get going right away.
Who do I want to reach?
The idea of developing a buyer persona sprang from large companies. After intensive research, their marketers would hone in some demographics, personality traits and general interests of their ideal audience member. Nowadays, all mature marketing strategies - whether in a company as big as Apple or a solopreneur - start with the buyer persona; but it doesn't need to cost you a penny.
But what is it? It's a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. When I'm developing marketing ideas, I first think of my audience. What's their lifestyle? How can they benefit from knowing about the service I'm putting in front of them? Do they have a problem I can solve?
If your speciality is high-end wedding photography and you've recently provided an amazing service to a handful of happy couples, see if you can ask them these 20 questions. Your buyer persona will materialise naturally and before you know it, you'll have pinpointed exactly who you want to reach.
Hint: this is a really handy tool for building buyer personas. If you know that your target audience members have a common interest, type it in and you'll find reliable data about people who like that thing, brand or person.
Did that work?
The best marketers ask themselves this question almost constantly. As everything is digital, it's trackable and I love that. I'll stick with the wedding photographer analogy to demonstrate this one.
If my Facebook feed is anything to go by, people tend to get married in social waves. It's likely that the bride(s) and/or groom(s) you've worked with recently know a multitude of other people who've just got engaged.
So let's say you run an email campaign to your happiest customers. You could let them know they'll get an extra photo album (or any other incentive) of their wedding pictures if they successfully recommend you to their newly betrothed pals. It might take you a morning to set up the email campaign if you've not done one before. If you score a handful of extra weddings off the back of this campaign, it worked and it's something you can incorporate into your regular marketing strategy!
But if it didn't work, why not? Did people not open the email? Then change the subject line. Did they not recommend you to their friends? They might have forgotten, so a follow-up email could work. The main thing is to keep questioning and always remember to celebrate failure - you just found one way not to do it in the future.
Next time I'll be talking about customer service and the power of networking - scroll up to the top left to subscribe for blog alerts!