Always be on the lookout for new photography niches at which you can target your campaign. When it comes to niches, the photography powerhouses cannot compete with an informed small business owner. Neither can they compete when it comes to the successful small business owner’s competitive advantage of being in constant contact with customers and prospects.

The photography powerhouses usually ‘shotgun’ their messages. The successful photographer targets messages with pinpoint accuracy. To every extent possible, the successful small business owner personalizes all messages to customers and prospects.

Never Let Me Go – Me and You Until The Wheels Fall Off

No matter how successful your campaign, never lose contact with your customers. If you do, you lose your competitive advantage over huge companies that have too many layers of bureaucracy for personal contact.

• At no point should you ever take anything for granted.

• At no point should you fall into the pit of self-satisfaction because your campaign is working.

• Never forget that others, very smart and motivated competitors, are studying you and doing their utmost to surpass you in your business arena.

Keeping It Real

Successful photography marketing is always authentic and never acts or feels to be impersonal or by-the-number actions. It never feels like selling. The successful photographer takes advantage of the image of the photographer as an ‘independent,’ ‘seen-it-all,’ ‘free-spirited,’ ‘keep it real’ artist.

“Marketing Management” author Philip Kotler, says “Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers and benefits for the stakeholders. Market innovation is gained by creating customer satisfaction through product innovation, product quality and customer service. If these are absent, no amount of advertising, sales promotion or salesmanship can compensate.”

Your campaign must be characterized by a very strong tie with your own target audience. You know them. You serve them. They know it. Successful photographers do not suffer from your lack of resources, but instead prosper because lack of capital makes them more willing to try new and innovative ideas, concepts ripe for them but not for huge companies.

The Success of Narrow-Mindedness

Your campaign will succeed in direct relationship to how narrow-minded you can be. Successful marketing photographers have the insight that precision strengthens a successful campaign. They know the enormous difference between their prospects and their prime prospects.

Successful photographers are aware of the gigantic gap separating their customers from their best customers. This perspective enables them to narrow their aim only to the best prospects that marketing money can buy and the finest customers ever to grace their customer list.

Successful photographers are fully aware that it doesn’t take much more work to sell a subscription to a magazine than to sell one magazine. That’s why their campaign is devoted to motivating people to subscribe to their businesses mentally.

All Customers Are Simply Not Equal

Once they have a customer, successful photographers do all they can to intensify the relationship, and they do not treat all customers and prospects equally.

Consider the photographer with a database of 4,000 names. Mailings are never more than 200 at a time. Who receives the mail? According to the owner, “Only the people appropriate to mail to.” When he wants to wind down and spend time traveling and vacationing, he targets his good customers about limited time holiday photography specials. (He knows which of his customers are more than ‘one-shot’ customers.) He receives a 35% – 50% response (a remarkable response for any type of target marketing).

It gets better. He does not take on any new customers during that time (unless they are on his prime prospect list). He tells new customers that he is ‘booked up.’ (Accidentally, he found out that this practice contributed to the perception of his photography business as exclusive and desirable.) Ten to twenty percent of his responding customers always ask him if he could ‘squeeze in’ a friend of theirs that want to take advantage of his holiday specials. Of course, he always manages to be able to ‘squeeze in’ one more eager to pay customer.

His existing customer is pleasantly satisfied because they have ‘influenced’ a close friend, the ‘exclusive photographer,’ to ‘bend the rules’ on their request.

He has a new customer that is pleasantly satisfied for access to exclusivity and desires to be able to ‘influence’ their new found friend, the ‘exclusive photographer.’

The cost of his mailing was a tiny fraction of the size of his profits. There’s no chance of a healthy response like that unless you’re pinpointing your mailing with absolute precision. It’s something you must do in a world where postal charges and paper prices are both slated to increase. Unless you’re hitting the bullseye every time, you’re wasting your marketing investment. And unless you’re treating your marketing as a continuing process, you’re wasting everybody’s time, especially your own.

• At no point should you ever take anything for granted.

• At no point should you fall into the pit of self-satisfaction because your campaign is working.

• Never forget that others, very smart and motivated competitors, are studying you and doing their utmost to surpass you in the marketing arena.

Just Because I’m Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out To Get Me – Competition: They want your customers.

Successful photographers are aware of competition – at all times.

They welcome the competition.

They thrive on the competition.

Successful photographers are aware of marketing realities:

• The big companies can’t respond to opportunities as fast
• The big companies do not grasp marketing as well as the successful marketing photographer – the playing field is much, much more level
• The big companies can’t take advantage of the photography niches that are ever changing
• Competition that replicates your marketing activities is actually a compliment to your marketing campaign and the perception of leader that they have of you – the successful marketing photographer is fully aware that their customers want to be taken care of by ‘the leader.’

Help the Bear

In the face of fierce competition, the successful photographer’s attitude is “If you see me fighting a bear and you feel like helping, poor honey on me and give the stick to the bear!”

Competition is a good thing. Your competitors should want your customers because you, the successful small business owner, have courted, nurtured and cultivated happy and eager customers that enjoy having their wants and needs met – and they are willing to pay for – again and again.

The successful small business owner fully understands that marketing, as meant to be, is a process. It has a beginning and middle. It never ends.

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