I left University and started my photography business about 12 years ago. It was at around this time, people really started using Facebook to market their businesses. With little knowledge on marketing, but a keen interest, I set out to book clients using this free platform.
Boy, did we get lucky. No more business cards, no cold calling, no sales pitches. I could sit in my PJs, hiding behind a computer screen and promote my service while not having to see or speak to anyone.
I come from a small high school with a tight sense of community and I have 4 siblings, so when I shared a post, it got liked and re-shared. My network did the marketing for me and I got the bookings!
What a great time to be a new business owner
BUT – Facebook and Instagram are not the only tools available to us and they don’t necessarily bring in the sales. As a photographer, my offering is visual, which makes Instagram a great way to promote my business, but think about yours for a second.
Also, think about where your customers are spending their time.
Are they browsing Instagram, searching hashtags? How likely is it that they will come across your product?
Social media posts are great, and having a decent following is good for credibility, but we should be spending time on the activities that offer the best return on investment.
What are the activities that bring in the sales?
A scary fact I’d like to remind you of, is that your followers and fans don’t belong to you. If Facebook and Instagram shut down, you will lose that online portfolio and that customer base you built. Who will you market to then? How will you find work? Is it back to cold calling and handing out flyers at the Springfield Road intersections? (Flashback to my embarrassing promotion days!)
The BEST way to build a customer base that belongs to you is via email marketing. I use Mailchimp and I find it very user friendly, although there are multiple platforms available. When I have a workshop or product I’d like to promote, I don’t need to rely on Facebook’s algorithm to ensure that the advert ‘gets out’, I don’t have to put money behind an ad campaign either.
I simply send a mail out to my database of subscribers. If the subject line catches their attention (i.e. it’s a topic that they are interested in), they will open the email. If not, they will hit delete and move on. At least I know that my message has been delivered, to each and every person in my database.
There is SO MUCH to learn about marketing.
In the workshop that Terez presented, she covered 15 different avenues! But email marketing is by far the channel that I believe brings me the best bang for my buck.
My tip: JUST GET STARTED.
Once you start researching this world, you will read about how you should have a 7 part welcome series, lead magnets, sign up forms in a million different places and about how you should send newsletters once a week (or even more frequently)
Don’t let this overwhelm you. As my business coach, Chanelle Segerius Bruce said to me “Don’t hide behind confusion, Derryn” – which was a polite way of saying “Stop making excuses”.
A simple sign up form somewhere on your website and perhaps on Facebook (underneath your cover photo) is a good place to start. Try send just ONE email and see how you go.
GOOD LUCK and keep me posted on your progress.
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