Photography is just like any other business out there: you need a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish, and you need to set clearly defined and reachable goals to make that vision a reality.
With each of your goals you should have a well thought out and effective marketing campaign. When you manage to get your marketing efforts in place you’ll see your photography business begin to take off in leaps and bounds.
Here are a few goals to think about when you’re planning your marketing efforts…
Goal #1: Net Income
You might be making all the money in the world, but if your business expenses are eating away at most of it, what have you got to show for your efforts?
A few years ago there was a photography shop just around the block from mine. The owner was named Phil and he was always bragging to me about how successful he was and how the money just kept rolling in. One day I was talking to him over coffee when he admitted that his expenses were killing him.
“I’ve been pulling in over $300,000 a year,” he told me, “but I never kept track of what I was spending on advertising since I was only looking with wide eyes at the money coming in. After tracking everything it looks like I’m profiting under $40,000 at the end of a big year after all that work.”
I commiserated with him, and told him what he needed to do in the future, and I’m almost certain he’ll follow the advice after having such a crushing realisation!
Always remember that your net income is much more important than your gross income.
Goal #2: New Clients
Having customers is vitally important to all businesses, but perhaps it’s not the first thing you should focus all your effort on. After all, will these clients keep you afloat for however long you’re open? It’s a much better goal to build up your clients one at a time, and to do that you need a clear plan.
Begin by writing down how many clients you have now. It might be a lot, and it might not be that many. What’s important is how many clients you see yourself having down the road.
Write out how many clients you plan to have in three, six, and twelve months. Putting this down on paper will give you something to shoot for. And don’t worry if your numbers seem a bit out of reach;
the goals that we have to reach the furthest for are the most satisfying when they’re reached.
Goal #3: Your Average Client Value
What are your clients worth?
What are you worth?
It’s not the easiest question to answer, since there are so many factors that go into it.
Let’s say that your average client puts $300 into your business. That’s quite well and all, but what if they were putting in $500? You’d still have the exact same number of clients but now you’d be making over 50% more with each of them!
Figuring out ways to maximize your profit from each of your existing clients is a perfect goal to undertake. Perhaps you can’t get up to the 50% mark right away, and that’s no problem. Focus your sights lower at first, perhaps on something like 10% to 15%. Every little bit will make a difference, and once you see that upward trend beginning, it’ll be easy to keep it going.
Goal #4: Number of Referrals
Do you have happy customers?
More than likely the answer is yes, after all, you wouldn’t be in business otherwise!
And there’ no better way to get new customers than by having your existing customers sing your praises.
Always encourage your customers to tell their friends, family, and co-workers about your services. Now, you don’t want to preach to them and you don’t want to sound like you’re overloading them either. But an easy and fast mention to the tune of “Oh, if you liked that then don’t be afraid to put the word out” could help you a lot.
You’ll never find a better form of advertisement than word of mouth, so start devising a way to get those words flowing today!
Goal #5: Follow Your Figures
What do you need to reach your goals?
How many customers and how much money coming in?
You need to sit down and figure out exactly how many new clients or prospects you’ll need to meet your three, six, and twelve month goals.
It’s best to start by writing out a detailed plan. Set aside time each week, perhaps an hour on a Monday morning, to go over all of your sales figures from the week before. Make a plan of action for the coming week from that. How many people do you need to get a hold of on the phone? Are there any meetings you need to attend? Do you have bills, letters, or invoices that need to go out? Sorting through all this at one time and at a set time is really the way to go.
When you’re detailing all that you’ll have a clearer picture of what’s coming in and what you want to be coming in.
How many new clients will you need this week to keep your goals on track?
Are there any small things you can do to get even a few extra people in the shop?
Sitting down and making a plan with the information you have is a great way to achieve the goals you have for your photography business!
So… do you do some form of goal setting in your business? – let me know in the comments below, or simply leave a question 🙂