People are really frustrated by the time they start asking me questions. Many have to do with marketing and how we can make this whole money-making thing go ten times faster, and most of ‘em have even less patience than my Dad when baking cakes at 650 degrees.
Why hasn’t my business grown faster? Why isn’t it bigger? I’M GETTING NO EFFING BOOKINGS, KRISTEN!!! What am I supposed to do now? Why am I a failure? What am I doing wrong?
You may be doing everything wrong, but I doubt it. My guess is that your marketing efforts come after your editing and your tax-paying and your shooting and your blog-stalking and your Tweeting, so they simply aren’t getting enough attention. Here are some quick tips to get your business baking without getting your crusts burnt to a crisp.
1.) Set realistic marketing goals.
Schedule a marketing meeting once per week, EVEN IF IT’S WITH YOURSELF, to create goals for your business. Try doubling your current number of X in the next 3 months. X can be blog hits, Twitter followers, vendor meetings, Facebook fans…whatever gets your business name out there more is a good marketing goal.
Then create a task list to carry out those marketing goals. Work on the tasks throughout each week, every week, forever and ever, amen.
2.) Don’t be stopped by possibility paralysis.
Yes, there are 7,894 things you can be doing to market your business right now. Focus on one at a time.
Monthly marketing goal: Create wedding brochure to sell services across the region.
Weekly tasks to reach monthly goal:
- Research graphic designer to help with brochure, or create brochure design via sketch.
- Write brochure copy that outlines point of differentiation.
- Write brochure copy that outlines price points without being too specific.
- Write brochure copy that defines my business’ style and panache.
- Choose top ten images for inclusion in brochure. Emphasize color/black & white/other types of images.
- Send brochure elements to graphic designer or implement myself in Photoshop.
- Order brochures.
- Discuss placing brochures in the brick & mortar store of business owner X by meeting for coffee.
3.) If you hate it, don’t do it.
If you hate blogging, don’t do it. Maybe you prefer Tumblr or Flickr. Fine.
Same goes for Twitter, Facebook, weekly networking groups that meet for breakfast, wine & dine auctions, Bing, Digg…whatever. Find a way to leverage what you love into a marketing opportunity for your business. Give yourself permission to focus on your strengths and ignore the clutter.
4.) Keep going.
You’ve been putting your business cards at the coffee shop and the hairdresser’s and the baker’s and the candlestick maker’s for six months now, and nothing’s happened. Should you quit putting your cards around town because you’re a failure?
No. You should continue to expand the number of places people can find information about you.
Maybe coffee shop + hairdresser + baker + candlestick maker + bridal boutique is the combination that will trip a consumer’s trigger into having seen you everywhere, so you must be worth hiring.
5.) Build a team.
Maybe other business owners have a dire need that isn’t being filled and you can help. It could be twenty minutes of aide with their new blogging venture or a quick lesson in Google Analytics. Oh, and be sure to brainstorm ways to improve business while you’re providing a bit of assistance.
You don’t have to have all the ideas, you just have to be open to acting upon the good ones that surface.
6.) Send gifts.
To me, at 122 East…kidding. Consider vendor marketing part of your wedding marketing strategy. Create notecards/trifold cards/I-don’t-care-what-kind-of-cards for wedding vendors featuring THEIR work and a TINY logo of yours. Sell their artistry and rest assured that those cards will be handed out like hotcakes.
Same goes for providing vendor images of the gorgeous buffet spread, the stunning lighting, the wicked DJ setup…don’t go all holier-than-thou-artistic-apeshit and try to charge vendors $150 per image for a picture of their rad new strobe system or lilac bouquet. Give it to them and ask ‘em to spread the word about your services.
7.) Analyze what isn’t working.
Have you been shooting events for free, but not seeing a return in terms of bookings, web traffic, or inquiries? Maybe you’re serving the wrong event circuit. A display in the local retailer is yielding no return? It might be time to talk with the retailer about creating an event that will highlight both your businesses. Tweak your efforts a few times before labeling one marketing channel a bust.