Make sure that your web site is listed on every piece of literature that leaves your studio

Whatever the response is on the first mailing, you will achieve approximately the same response with a second mailing, and a very similar result from a third mailing. Once is nice, twice is better, and three times is a charm! This will all depend on the time you want to commit to the promotion, the amount of dollars you want to invest, and the size of your customer base.

9. Meet Local Vendors

Spend thirty minutes this week talking with other vendors in your market. Whether you photograph weddings, seniors, families, children, or llamas, you have undoubtedly developed a network of relationships with other vendors in your industry. It could be the clothing store where your high-school seniors purchase their clothes, a tuxedo shop where the groomsmen from your weddings rent their tuxedos, a local hospital where babies are delivered, a florist, an event facility, a jeweler, or a llama farmer. In any case, it is vital that you have a good working relationship with each of them.

This is perhaps the single most powerful form of marketing you can develop and invest time in. If you make it a goal to have at least one sit-down meeting with one vendor per week, you will steadily grow your referral network.

10. Laugh

Take at least thirty minutes per day to take a walk on the lighter side of life. Did you know stress is the number one killer in the United States? When things get difficult in life, we get overwhelmed with that feeling of uneasiness. Most stress is caused by change, and our world is overflowing with change every day.

Having a sense of humor is vital to our ability to overcome those feelings and to making sure we maintain a proper perspective of our life. It's easy to forget about the little things that make us happy—holding a baby, going for a walk, watching a good sitcom or movie, getting a letter from a good friend, hitting a great drive off the tee, or even something as simple as watching the sunset on a warm evening. If we can figure out a way to keep it light in the face of stress and change, it will keep us healthier, make us happier, and above all give a more fulfilling feeling about ourselves.

Did you know that when you laugh so hard your cheeks hurt and your stomach aches, your brain releases a natural painkiller called endorphin that gives you a general sense of well-being? Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard you had tears in your eyes? If not, it's time to search out some good laughter.

11. Promote Your Web Site

Make sure that your web site address is listed on each and every piece of literature that leaves your studio. Today, most of us are highly dependent on the Internet for getting information on the world around us, communicating with customers, and reaching potential customers. If you don't already have a web site, getting one should be a top priority. Your competitors are there, and you need to be there as well.

An Internet presence allows people to learn about you, see a gallery of your work, and communicate with you at their convenience—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. You can add staff bios on your web site, educate people on the importance on different aspects of photography, and even list your awards and accomplishments.

Perhaps the biggest reason for being on the Internet is it allows clients to view and purchase your work from the privacy of their homes. This creates additional sales from each wedding and session and exposes the entire world to our work. Families and friends are becoming increasingly spread out, and what better way to bring them together than with a personal web site of images?

Is your web site and e-mail address listed on every piece of literature that leaves your studio? Is it listed in small print at the bottom, or is it presented boldly and distinctively?

12. Send Out a Press Release

Keep your local papers up to date on the latest happenings in your business by sending out a press release to every newspaper within a hundred-mile radius of your studio. If you have recently won an award for your photography, hired a new employee (or promoted an existing one), expanded your camera room, attended a photography convention, or had an article published in a trade journal, you have a legitimate reason to write a press release. Editors are constantly searching for local news to publish, and there is no reason why your studio shouldn't get its fair share of column space.

One of the keys to a successful marketing plan is to keep your name in front of your market as often as possible. A well-written press release can accomplish this. Keep the fax numbers next to the fax machine and get into the habit of writing at least one release every four weeks. It doesn't have to be very long—only a couple paragraphs— but it should be structured to answer the basic questions of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how. If you apply this simple rule, you should see your name in print before the week is out!

Well, there you have it—Mitche's twelve-step program! Are you ready to make a commitment of this magnitude? Are you willing to make the changes necessary to ensure that you are successful with this program? I didn't say it would be easy, did I? I wish you luck!

A uniquely designed promotional card, like this one from Sarah Petty, is sure to attract a lot of attention.
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