To innovate in my business, my favorite trick is to take a look at what other industries do and see how I can apply it to my own business. From watching many hours of Creative Live when I first started my online business, I’ve learned that photographers have a simple launch strategy for ensuring they have steady income year round.
I’ve called this kind of launch, “The Photographer Strategy”, and you can easily apply it to any service or freelance business.
What is a launch?
A launch is a special event, sale or a release of a new product (think movie launches). It gives people a reason to buy and it gives you a reason to promote.
Why “The Photographer Strategy”?
Photographers are usual one-person shows just like freelancers. They wear many hats in their business from photographer to bookkeeper to social media expert. Like you, they don’t have cash to burn or a team of worker bees to do the marketing for them. Photographers need something that is consistently easy to execute and brings in referrals, repeat business and exposure.
Hence, “The Photographer Strategy”.
Here’s what it looks like:
Loreena has been running her photography business for 2 years. She has a strong portfolio, a website and happy customers. During the summer she is booked solid with weddings, but the rest of the year she has a hard time making ends meet. She is tired of the feast and famine struggle and is ready for steady income. She also doesn’t want to spend all her time networking or on social media for new clients.
She decides to set up a series of launches throughout the year. This will give her clients a reason to buy from her at other times of the year and recommend her.
To set up her business for success she takes out her calendar. Taking into consideration seasons and holidays, Loreena marks out 4 launches that work well for both her and her clients. She calls them: Winter Boudoir, Spring Engagement, Summer Weddings and Fall Family Shoots.
Loreena then brainstorms how she can promote these 4 launches creatively but without taking too much time. She knows from being in business for awhile that most of her new and repeat clients have come in via referrals; Facebook advertising; Instagram or follow up.
Her plan is to create images for all her social media accounts to announce each launch and encourage referrals and shares. She will also create 1 Facebook ad and 10 Instagram images. For follow up will will reach out to at least 5 previous clients for each launch and invite them to take advantage of one of the shoots. She sets out in her calendar when all this work needs to be done so she can be reminded of it when the time comes.
Loreena doesn’t discount her photography for these launches, she merely draws attention to photography shoots she already does. By taking advantage of seasonal reasons to buy she she’s more repeat business and referrals and achieves a steady income.
Ready to apply “The Photographer Strategy” to your business?
Take out your calendar and a notebook. Let’s get started.
Brainstorm launch ideas that could bring you more steady income by asking yourself questions such as:
- What are my clients’ seasons? (Year end, Christmas holiday, spring vacations, summer slow time) Is there a service I offer/could offer to help them during those seasons?
- Have I seen a pattern in the past of many clients asking for a particular service at a certain time of year?
- What are my most profitable services? (Note: not most popular) How could I sell more of these?
- Do I have a particular service I am or could offer to previous clients as a continuation of the services I offer?
- Is there an ideal time of year I could promote this service?
Chose 3 or 4 of your launch ideas and decide on a period of 1 week to 1 month to promote them during a one year period. Mark these dates on your calendar.
Brainstorm at least 3 different ways to promote each launch. Consider both online and offline options.
Here are a few to ideas to start you off:
- Social media images and posts
- Email marketing
- Call/E-mail clients personally
- Facebook advertising
- Posters and handbills
Select 3 options and lay out in your calendar when you will put together your marketing material for each launch.
Have you ever used “The Photographer Strategy” before? What was your launch theme and how did you promote it?