This blogging stuff is quite therapeutic!
My next challenge is marketing. I discussed one of my other challenges in my “FOCUS” blog, which somewhat ties into marketing. Back in the day, you got clients from placing ads, hard work and referrals and of course the Yellow Pages. I remember the first time my dad saw a TV commercial for an attorney. He was disgusted. “Lawyers don’t advertise!” He got all his clients by referral – when you’re good you are successful – easy, right? Boy have times changed. The law firm I work for has a department dedicated to just marketing.
Today, we have a lot more avenues to get our name out there AND a lot more competition too. We have the internet and social media at our fingertips! Great . . . yeah? Well, it’s great if you know how to work all of it or have the money to pay someone who does!
After you have done all the preliminary work of picking a business name, filing the proper paperwork with the state and buying your domain name – what’s next? Who is my target audience? How do I reach them? What is my brand? (I haven’t even begun to deal with a “brand”!) OMG – can’t I just go out there and shoot? So darn complicated! “Do you have a blog?” Should I create my own website? How hard can that be? I’m an “artist” and relatively proficient on the computer . . . so why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not! There is so much to know: keywords, how to get on the right search engine – all kinds of stuff I STILL don’t know! But as I discussed in my last post, I’m stubborn.
Let’s flash back a little bit. In my past I have been known to make quilts, make jewelry, carve out and paint wood decorations . . . what else . . . Anyway, I’m sure you get the idea, I enjoy creating and crafting so much that I, of course, had to be the creator of my own website; granted I used a template through Showit.com. I’m too impatient for “Web Design for Dummies.” I also have NO BUDGET, so of course I had to do it myself!
The next challenge is how to reach your target audience – had to figure out who they were first – which ties into focusing on what I want to specialize in – which ties into branding. One strategy that I’m trying out is through my love of photographing sports. So I get my “practice” (first growing pains post) in by shooting at games – hockey, baseball, softball – whatever I happened to be connected with one way or another. Then . . . I use social media (Facebook) to share the photos I take by sending the team a link to my McSiler Photography fan page on Facebook where I have their pictures. So the PARENTS (my target audience) go to McSiler Photography fan page to view their child’s photographs and VOILA – they see that I do not just shoot sports, but I do family, individual and senior portraits as well as headshots – Glory be! “Johnny wants to be an actor – he needs headshots!” I can just hear the cheers already! Great theory right? Doesn’t really cost anything but time. So far it really hasn’t panned out the way I thought it would – except that I do get good feedback and I increase “fans” or “likes” at a steady rate. These things take time and I can only use what I have available to me, which is really just me and my camera! No extra funds for advertising, a marketing consultant or web designer.
Another avenue that I think will work out nicely is donating sittings to charity events. I get my “practice” (even though I said I don’t want to “practice” on the job), I am getting my name out there for “free” – not costing me any out of pocket cash and then when my clients view their photos and they’re so happy with the product, they will tell their friends and use my services again in the future (paying gig)!
Oh yeah, and I’ve started this blogging thing. I really like WordPress by the way, but yet again, another thing that I do not understand or utilize to its fullest, but I’m working on it. Research, practice . . . all so overwhelming!
I have yet to harvest the fruit of these seeds, BUT I am having a blast tending to my craft, I’m learning all the time, getting better (naturally), and slowly getting my name out there with nothing out of my pocket.
Do not get me wrong. I do put a great deal of value on my time. My time is EXTREMELY important to me as I have so little of it. I work full time, have young children in school and I am the president of a legal professionals association. I do put a dollar value on my time and I do my best to charge it when the opportunity arises, but in the meantime, I am enjoying my journey and the process that I need to go through!!!
Do you have any marketing ideas for me? Send them my way!