72 ways to rock your photography marketing campaign online, on social, in print and in person

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on March 15, 2015

in This is Business

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In the February 2015 edition of Inc. Magazine, Lexus advertises on a double-truck spread their Lexus NX Turbo with the headline:

Go Beyond Utility

This is a great theme to borrow for a marketing campaign as a part time professional photographer:

Go Beyond Good Enough

You may look around your market at other photographers and consider them your competition – from the amateurs doing extensive portfolio building at low prices to boutique artists serving the luxury end of the market.

But do you know who is really stealing your clients?

Canon.

Nikon.

HTC.

Samsung.

More than anyone?

Apple.

First through low-cost prosumer digital cameras (the same you may be using yourself), and now through always-on-hand smartphones, it has never been easier to get good enough portraits.

Good enough family portraits.

Stylish enough senior photos.

Cute enough baby photos.

In the digital realm, consumer-photographers can spray and pray – just shoot a thousand photos and hope one comes out good enough to hit Share.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

With enough apps and filters, good enough is more than good enough for most people. They’re getting Likes on Facebook and Instagram, so they must be good enough, right?

You know what?

They are good enough.

It’s not up to you or me or any artist (note the lowercase A) to criticize the taste of the market.

What the market will bear is what the market will bear, from the price of a cup of coffee to the price of a professional photo shoot.

So how do we convert the ‘good enough’ crowd into clients?

By going beyond good enough.

Not just with our art – odds are, if you’re a PTP reader, your artistic skills are far better than that of your average Jane Doe selfie.

(I recognize that isn’t saying a whole lot, but it’s something to acknowledge as truth.)

As part time professional photographers, we rarely fail to try hard enough with our art – have you ever stayed up half the night reading Photoshop tutorials or lens reviews or photo lessons? Have you ever laid on the ground or made a goof of yourself to get a smile out of a kid in front of the camera?

We can Create Value. We can produce art well worth our clients’ dollars, especially at the startup end of the market.

If we fall short, it’s in Communicating Value and Commanding Value.

A good marketing campaign – which I’d define as either a short-term or long-term effort to communicate a specific message to your target market – is all about communicating your value.

It’s about why what you do and how you do it is worth more to a potential client than the $0.00 she’s spending on professional photography right now.

It’s not just about how you’re different from your competition, though that Unique Value Proposition is vital to know and share in your marketing messages.

You have to authentically and compassionately communicate how you go beyond good enough.

Lexus, in their advertising, takes a stand: We are not Ford. We are not Kia. When your reach a station in your life where you’re ready to grow beyond your to-do list to your wish list, we’re ready and waiting for you.

Go Beyond Good Enough

That’s a powerful message to get into the minds of potential photo buyers in your community.

Roll Out

[Read and act on this list directly, or follow the 72 featured links for a robust education: I hand-picked every resource and how-to myself.]

A part time photographer’s marketing campaign might look like:

A fun, interesting, engaging marketing campaign looks nothing like the used car salesmen yelling from your TV or radio about last-chance inventory blow-out sales.

Get out there, get creative, and get social with your marketing campaigns.

Next Steps

  • Have an anxious fire in your belly to get out and kick arse with a cool marketing campaign? The moment you’re in right now is absolutely crucial: are you going to do it or not? Here and now, while your energy and fear and excitement are at their highest – commit. You don’t have to know all the answers, or what to say, or who to approach, or how to make it happen. Just commit. You want success, you want bookings, you want impact and progress. Commit to making it happen now.
  • Brainstorm session Part 1: Get out your pen and paper. Fired up? Start brainstorming about marketing campaign ideas, right now. Make lists. Free write. Draw mind maps. Scribble all over. Draw illustrations. Go over the top, no idea is stupid or too much right now. Just brainstorm and fan that flame until you absolutely exhaust your ideas, inspirations and thoughts about potential marketing campaigns and campaign actions you can take. Trim and shape and explore and expound until you have something that looks and feels like a plan. Guess what? You have a marketing campaign on your hands.
  • Brainstorm session Part 2: For this one, don’t file this away in your brainstorms folder: this one is going to do some work. Write out your action plan – all the baby step actions you’re going to take to make this thing work. Schedule the time you’ll need to work on your campaign, don’t just leave this awesome campaign to die of inaction. Identify the preparations you need to do, and for Pete’s sake, get them done hard and fast so you can invest your best time and energy into the meat of your campaign: creating, sharing, and promoting. Get up an extra 10 minutes early every day of this campaign, and spend that 10 extra minutes reading over your notes and action plan, making new notes and changes and scheduling and rescheduling the work however you need to to get it done and get this campaign active in the world.
  • Want to be more marketing savvy than 99 percent of your competition? Set aside a Saturday or Sunday, go to the top of the Roll Out list above, and click through every single link – you will enjoy a tight, curated education in small business marketing, online and off.
  • And if you want to get a robust education in small business marketing, some of my favorite books are John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine, and Duct Tape Selling; Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid and Beyond Booked Solid; and Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
  • My writing at PartTimePhoto.com exists to serve your needs as an amateur photographer making the transition to paid professional. I appreciate and welcome your readership, and invite you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
  • What’s the biggest struggle holding you back right now? E-mail me your answer (yes, right now!), and let’s make a breakthrough today.
  • If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below, drop me an e-mail, or call or text me at 830-688-1564 and let me know. I’d love to hear how you use these ideas to better your part time photography business!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Parker Photography March 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm

I love your articles 😉 Now I need to make some time to put this one into practice!

Reply

Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor March 17, 2015 at 7:48 am

Cindy, thank you so much for your kind words and readership!

The two most powerful ways I’ve learned to get the important but not urgent, the vital few things that really make a difference in life, is to schedule them and/or do them early in the day.

What gets scheduled gets done. Block the time on your calendar just like you would if you were picking up your best friend from the airport, or had a big meeting with a client. (if you can, let a good friend in on your dream and ask them to be an accountability partner for you)

And we have more margin and willpower early in the day than late – if you can get up a few minutes to an hour early every day (which means going to bed that much earlier at night, when your energy and willpower are lowest), you can invest your best energy into your most important life work, and start every day with a victory – which can set the stage for the rest of your day.

Thank you again for your comment! Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

Reply

Yuliya April 8, 2015 at 11:22 am

Love you articles. thank you very much for writing. I always find them inspiring when I need a bit of “pick me up”

Reply

jolie July 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Really thanks for this! really well put together and clean resounce. No matter how long we poke at our art getting back on the horse each season is always easier with a fresh perspective and this definitely helped me with my mind fog today 🙂

Reply

Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor August 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Thank you for your comment and readership Jolie! Really enjoyed viewing your portfolio today – beautiful headshots and super creative portraits; you’re rocking it! Totally a blessing for your clients.

I love ideas, brainstorming, and taking the best to drill down and build Next Steps, baby steps. Can’t recommend Claudia Altucher’s book The Idea Machine enough to build that muscle.

So glad you’re enjoying the site – please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

Reply

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