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Archive for October 2012

As October arrives and brings with it darker nights, this is typically when big business (at least any that I worked for) would begin to circle the wagons. Why? Generally because the end of the year looms large and any excuses for missed targets, overshot budgets, forgotten rebates or any other balance sheet item that has been overlooked now needs a well crafted and believable excuse to explain the errors to the upper echelons of the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time it is necessary to make plans for the new year ahead. A time to set targets. To devise a way of reaching the targets and plan any promotions for the year too. I only mention it as it is an idea that I have brought from those very large businesses and adopted into my own (small) business.

So have you set financial / marketing / personal / targets for 2013?

As well as this ask yourself are you making the following five common marketing mistakes?

Are You Overlooking Mobile?

Currently  there  are  over  5.5  billion  mobile  device  subscriptions  across  the  globe.  As a  consumer,  I  definitely  access  as  many  websites  from  mobile  devices  as  I  do  from a  desktop  or  laptop.    And  it  turns  out,  I’m  not  alone.  By  2015,  it  is  predicted  that  we’ll see  more  than  788  million  mobile-­only  Internet  users  with  mobile  browsing  (for  the web)  surpassing  desktop  browsing.  A  mobile-­optimized  website  is  no  longer  a “nice-­to-­have,”  it’s  a  must. Your  customers  expect  you  to  have  a  mobile-­friendly site.  Mobile  should  be  a  critical  component  of  your  digital  marketing  strategy  for 2013 and beyond.

Focusing More on Acquisition than Retention?

As businesspeople in photography, we  have  to  develop  a  strategy  that  focuses  on  both  acquiring  new customers  and  retaining  existing  ones.  Far  too  often businesses  shift focus  to  being  too  acquisition  centric.  Acquisition  is  important  don’t  get  me  wrong,  but there  needs  to  be  a  balance.  The  cost  of  retaining  a  customer  is  significantly  less than  that  of  acquiring  one  (as  much  as  20%  less!).  Another  hard  truth  is  that  repeat customers  spend  more  than  new  ones.  Marketing  is  equally  about  retention  as  it  is about  acquisition  so  don’t  forget  to  consider  how  you’ll  deepen  relationships  with existing  customers  (particularly  high  value  ones)  in  2013.

Are You Marketing Your Aspirations?

Every  business  aspires  to  be  something  greater.  We  all  have  (and  should  have) that  massive  audacious  goal.  But  we’re  not  marketing  what  we  aspire  to  be,  we’re marketing  who  we  are  today.  Marketing  your  aspirations  can  create major  problems  if  you  can’t  live  up  to  them.  Keep  your  aspirations  in  mind  when planning  and  executing,  but  don’t  market  them  to  your  customers.

Are You Letting Research Dictate Plans

This was something that every company I have ever worked with has fallen victim too. You  should  review  data  and  research  to  keep  you  informed,  but you  shouldn’t  let  it  entirely  dictate  your  plans.  Research  is  a  valuable  tool  for planning and indeed marketing,  but  research  can  be  misleading  at  times.  There  are  just  some  things  that research  simply  can’t  predict.  And  consumers  don’t  always  know  how  they  are feeling  or  what  they  want.  And  they  don’t  always  know  how  they  will  feel  in  the future.  Two  years  ago  my  wife  told  me  she  would  never  own  a  tablet.  She  just didn’t  see  value  in  it  when  she  had  a  laptop  and  a  smartphone.  Guess  who has since bought an iPad?  It’s  hard  to  predict  how  consumers  will  react  to  things  in the  future.  Research  should  guide,  not  lead.

Are You Playing by the book

Plans  are  important.  We  need  plans  to  keep  us  focused  and  on  track,  but  at  the  end of  the  day  plans  are  just  words  on  paper.  We  should  always  count  on  plans changing  course.  Think  of  your  marketing  plans  as  a  compass  and  not  a  map. Leave  some  room  for  a bit of adventure and use your plans as a guide.

Hope it helps!

Cormac

Striking Images Photography

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So here’s the 5 Common Mistakes That Lose You Business:

1. Your clients are clueless.

Most people cannot tell a good photo from a bad photo at all and really have no idea what they want. If you’re going to be successful in your business, that is something you need to learn and accept right now. 

2. Your clients are both confused and overwhelmed.

Every single time your prospective client has to do something, whether it be as small as clicking a link or as large as meeting with you, there’s a chance that they’ll never do it and you’ll lose the sale. 

3. Your customer service is horrible.

Be honest with yourself. Are you responding to e-mails promptly? I’m talking all e-mails, not just the new client inquiries you’re getting. Are you placing orders in a timely manner, following up with them, and going above and beyond in order to make their experience with you fantastic? Are you delivering things when you say you will? 

4. You are trying to be everything to everybody.

Do you specialise in weddings, (and portraiture and commercial photography and baby photography and landscape photography and sports photography and architectural photography and fine art and aerial photography and press &PR and food photography and don’t forget wildlife, underwater and photography of outer space too!) In other words, are you faking it, until you make it?

5. You aren’t giving your clients what they want.

The key to getting sales and clients is to offer exactly what they are looking for. When is the last time you bought something you really didn’t want (and didn’t HAVE to buy)?

AGREE?   /   DISAGREE?   / DON’T CARE?

Have a think about it over the weekend and we’ll ‘flesh‘ the above topics out next week……

Have a good weekend everyone!

Cormac

 

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Oct/12

3

Getting Organised

Having attended the IPPA Annual Conference on Sunday in Lyrath Estate, there was one thing that stayed with me from two of the speakers in particular. Out of all the knowledge offered and out of all the ideas put forward Padraic and Sonia Deasy‘s presentation reminded me of a story I once heard. The Deasy’s spoke of being organized through the software, ‘Studio Plus’ I think it was. Then Padraic said something that I thought was very telling. He mentioned that his father use to say: “If you cannot run your business between nine and six, you are doing something wrong.”

IPPA AGM, Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny

Padraic & Sonia Deasy speaking at the IPPA AGM in Lyrath Estate Co. Kilkenny

This reminded me of a story:

Charles Schwab, when he was President of Bethlehem Steel many years ago, called in Ivy Lee, a consultant, and said to him, ‘Show me a way to get more things done with my time, and I’ll pay you any fee within reason.’ Lee replied, ‘Fine. I’ll give you something in 20 minutes that will step up your output by at least 50%.’

With that, Lee handed Schwab a blank piece of paper and said, ‘Write down the six most important things you have to do tomorrow and number them in order of importance. Now put this piece of paper in your pocket. First thing tomorrow morning look at item one and start working on it until you finish it; then do item two, and so on; do this until quitting time and don’t be concerned if you have only finished one or two. You will be working on the most important ones anyway. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you could not have done it by any other method either, and without some system you’d probably not even have decided which was the most important.’

Then Lee said, ‘Try this system every working day. After you’ve convinced yourself of the value of this system, have your men try it, then send me a cheque for what you think it’s worth.

Several weeks later Schwab sent Lee a cheque for $25,000, with a note, proclaiming the advice, ‘the most profitable he had ever followed.’ The concept helped Schwab earn 100 million dollars and turn Bethlehem Steel into the biggest independent steel producer in the world at the time.

I have used a similar “To Do List.” I have found that the list helps me accomplish more and accomplish it faster. It keeps me focused and I avoid wasting time on the less important things. So whether it’s a fancy studio database system or something as simple as a pencil and paper, if you think it’s all getting a bit much;

– Write it down
– Number the items in order of importance
– Get to work

It’s not going to save your life but it might help a little.

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