Marketing is everything that we do to bring money into our business. But for a lot of small business owners and creatives, marketing their own business just doesn’t happen. At least not with an effective strategy. Today I’m going to be giving you the marketing basics, a solid foundation so that you can effectively market your own business, connect with your ideal clients, and grow your business to the next level. So you can create an effective marketing strategy for photographers.
Recently I got the opportunity to attend a marketing workshop here locally and it really opened up my eyes to the fact that a lot of us small business owners and creatives alike, they’re so busy or running their own business day to day and being inside their business that they don’t get the opportunity to market and spend time creating a marketing strategy for their own business. At least not with an effective strategy. I’ll see them, you know, post a photo here to Instagram, go live on a video every once in a while and maybe throw up a blog post whenever they have time, but then they wonder why their business isn’t growing. You’re seeing traction. And so there are a couple of common business challenges that keep people from effectively marketing their business.
The first reason they don’t have an effective marketing strategy is that they really have no structure. Everything is really scattered and unorganized within their business so they don’t have processes and systems. And so even as their business does see a little bit of growth, they’re the ones left managing everything because they don’t have a system in place to teach. Um, they can’t hire anybody on because you know, their onboarding process, even though they know it in their head, nobody else knows how to handle it. And so everything is really scattered and unorganized and that causes chaos. As your business grows, you don’t have time to market your business because everything is left up to you. Whenever you start marketing your business, it’s good to have a structure in place beforehand. So that whenever things do start to take off, you’re not left feeling chaotic.
The second business challenge is there’s no system in place. If you do anything twice within your business, then you need to make a process or a system for it. And that can be anything from your onboarding process to creating canned email responses. If it’s anything that you do twice within your business then you need to make a system or a process for it.
The third business challenge that causes people not to marketing is because they have is no support. You’re working inside your business and you’re so caught up with the day to day activities that it becomes really lonely. You don’t have time to look outside of yourself and outside of your business to reach out and get and get support. Whenever that happens marketing takes a backseat. With all those business challenges, if we can work through those, then we can start creating an effective marketing strategy so that you can see growth inside your business. And you’re going to be prepared to handle that growth.
There are three key questions whenever it comes to creating a solid foundation for your marketing in the first one is your why. People buy based on their desires, outcomes and solutions. So this is one mistake that I often see people make within discovery calls or proposal emails they send is they focus so much time on the features. So we’ll say as a photographer for an example, the photographer will say, “You get eight hours of coverage. You get two free prints. You get an album.”
Those are all features of what they get. But what people buy is based on desires and outcomes. And so if we can really get in touch with our why, they’re, that’s whenever you’re going to see growth. If they know that whenever you got married that you hired a friend of a friend and your pictures turned out terrible. The way that you felt whenever you received those pictures they didn’t live up to your expectations. And you don’t want that to happen to anybody else. That is your mission. You want your clients to see themselves as beautiful on their wedding day. You want them to cherish these moments for years to come. Your why is what people buy. That’s what they’re going to connect with. And that’s when you’re going to see growth.
For my own business, yes, what we offer is brand design, website design, launch strategy. But what we really offer is time. You’re not spending time on putting together your own logo and your website so that you can spend triple the amount of time, but see less than half the same results.
We give our clients confidence we give them growth, we give them credibility. So yes, what we offer is branding and website design, but nobody’s going to buy that. Nobody’s going to connect with that. They’re going to connect with what out outcomes and solutions that we give our clients. And so really spend a lot of time thinking about what your why is and write down desires, outcomes, and solutions.
The second key question is, ‘Who is it that you’re serving?‘ And if you haven’t gone and listened to Episode 13 of the Brand and A Plan podcast, I give you my Realist Ideal Client Method. Go back and listen to Episode 13, because that’s going to be a goldmine for you.
A lot of people start building up this dream client profile and it’s really just based on a lot of B.S. because a dream client doesn’t exist. It’s somebody that they have made up in their imagination and then they’re going to go and market to this person that may or may not exist. And so inside A Brand and A Plan Podcast episode 13, we really dive into a real ideal client based on your past experiences and past clients. We use those as a springboard to know who it is that you’re going to be serving within your business so that whenever you do start to market your marketing to real people in ones that have bought from you in the past, you’re just tapping into those clients even further and expanding your network. And you really need to know who your ideal client is. So thinking back to your favorite past clients and building on those experiences.
The third key question is your unique selling point. As some like to say your ‘secret sauce’. What is it that sets your business apart from competitors? This is really where, where can you leverage what’s different in your business? What is talk about talkaboutable. (I’m not sure if that’s a real word, but we’re going to go with it.) For example, I see a lot of former clients or potential clients come to us and they’ll say, “Designers suck at communication and sticking to deadlines.” And so that’s something that I really leverage within my discovery calls. Within my process, you get a Trello board that’s a mapped out week by week by week. So you’ll know what’s going on in week two, week three, week five. And it has checklists for the designer and a checklist for the client. And so you feel comfortable knowing what’s being worked on week-to-week and you know what the timeline is. And so that’s something that we do to leverage within our business.
But really you need to focus on what is your unique selling point. And that can be anything for like us, it’s our experience that we’ve created. So our Signature Brand + Website Experience is our unique selling point because a lot of designers, they’ll focus on maybe just the brand design portion, but they don’t focus on the strategy that led them to that brand design. Maybe they focus on website design, but they don’t focus on creating a profitable website. They just think that beauty is going to sell the website. And so with our Signature Experience, that’s become our unique selling point.
You get brand strategy, brand design, a copywriter, launch strategy. You get all these key pieces in one. So you’re not having to go out and find a brand designer or website designer, somebody to help with the launch, a photographer, a copywriter, you get it all in one. And so that’s become our unique selling point. And so what’s different in your business from competitors? And you could ask past clients this, go to them and say, “What made you choose us over other people that you reached out to?” And then you can start to see patterns and leverage those things that your past clients have said. And so that’s another way where you’re actually being realistic about what your unique selling point is. Not just making it up similar to your ideal client.
I have a challenge for you this week. I want you to ask your audience wherever it is that you best connect with your audience. So for me, I typically do the things on Instagram stories because I really connect with my community on Instagram. But it could be a Facebook post, your email list, wherever it is that you best connect with your audience. And I want you to ask them, ‘What would make working with a [fill in the blank] irresistible?’ Fill in the blank with whatever it is that your business is. You can tag me in this. I would love to see you asking these questions and the responses that you get. So I can kind of follow along. I’m Carrylove Designs on Instagram. I would love to see you asking this question because you’re going to get great insight into what to leverage within your business.
And this can also give you insight into what changes to make in your business. So you, maybe you ask what would make working with a photographer irresistible? And they may say something like, “All the photographers I go to, they have packages already pre-set. What I want to do is be able to build my own package that would make it irresistible. If I could put together what it is that I want instead of a preset package that would be the photographer for me.” And maybe that is something that you would want to change your business. Maybe it wouldn’t be. But it starts a conversation with potential ideal clients and can start the brainstorming process too. So hop on wherever it is that you best connected with your audience and say, ‘What would make working with a [fill in the blank] irresistible?’
This is just the foundation of marketing, but we need to have our foundation set so that whenever we dive deeper into marketing, it’s going to be effective because you’re reaching out to the right people and you are focusing on the right things within your business.