Week 4 Challenge: A Marketing Plan
Marketing can be challenging for photographers. A marketing plan is basically a plan for the success of your business, and there are two main points to think about: your objectives and your strategy.
Create a marketing plan for your practice which covers the next 10 weeks. Think about what you want to achieve with your photography during that time, and how you will make it happen. Your plan should include your objectives and weekly actions. Below are a few points you might want to think about.
- To raise your profile in the photography industry
- To earn a certain amount of money from your photography
- To develop your skills and knowledge
- To arrange regular meetings with clients
- To add a certain number of new contacts to your database each week
- To increase hits on your website by a certain percentage
Think of this as a list of weekly actions, such as:
- Editing your portfolio
- Updating your website
- Preparing a PDF portfolio presentation
- Sending out a newsletter
- Researching a new personal project
- Spending 10 minutes a day on social media sharing posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- Making three appointments to show your portfolio
I am somewhat separated from my work and have just found Internet connectivity for the first time in five days, while enjoying a heatwave in the South African late spring. While other distractions have occupied my mind, I have been considering this challenge. It throws open numerous considerations, all of which are time-dependant. I have commented previously that a very full-time job allows time either for photography or for coursework, but rarely both. So it is that my photography takes the back seat for the time being while I address aspects of the coursework.
So far as marketing in the broad sense in concerned, I have various options that I am yet to investigate, but do not wish to rush into any of these just for the sake of a Module Challenge:
Getty Images: I have had an account, enabling me to contribute to Getty Images for some months, but have yet to put my mind to building my portfolio on the platform. Now seems an opportune time to start on this – while it is not necessarily my preferred ‘output’, it will enable my work to reach a huge potential market in a way that would be so very difficult through the more traditional digital platforms. However, Getty Images would have file exclusivity, precluding any other usage. Perhaps I must consider a separate set of images specifically for Getty Images? However, there sister site iStock does allow non-exclusive licensing, enabling original work to be marketed through a third party as well.
Greetings cards: For many years I have had a finger in this market, through a distribution company. Sadly the slow and gradual demise in this market has recently seen that company cease trading. Notwithstanding, there remains a potential market to be tapped, but more for seasonal cards. Stained glass window photography has revealed an area that could be exploited readily: many chapels include windows depicting scenes relating to the birth of Christ. The production of a series of Christmas cards featuring a selection of those windows would seem a sensible forward step and could be distributed in a host of outlets within Oxford. In addition to seasonal cards, a College may well be interested in marketing a selection of cards specific to their chapel.
Prints: mounted and/or framed prints – whether through a local gallery, directly through a college, or via a website. For the past six years, my printing and framing needs have been met by an Oxford-based company that specialises in architectural styled images of Oxford and Cambridge Colleges. It is set up to be able to print, mount, frame and ship, with my only involvement being signing and numbering of editions, and of particular interest to me: it already has a significant footprint within the Colleges of Oxford. I have yet to discuss the promotion of my work on their site, but that must be a sensible next step for me.
When I return to Oxford, I will commit myself to the production and marketing of some stained glass window Christmas cards – just a small batch targeting a specific audience.
My website is ripe for overhauling, but again, this is not something I plan to do simply to tick a box – I need to spend sensible time planning and developing this area.
It has been an uphill battle arranging gallery meetings – my preferred location has a manager who is ‘very busy’, so I am inclined to look elsewhere. Pleasingly there are various other locations within Oxford, with two right on the doorstep: the Sarah Wiseman Gallery and the North Wall Gallery?
A new personal project: Within the school in which I work, I am routinely working on new projects and always have a long list of future projects. Of course, these cover a host of different fields, but often have the central theme of ‘design’ in recent weeks, I have designed a new IT suite for the music department; designed and sourced new kit for our athletics team, and I am currently working on a redesign of the open spaces within our main classroom block. On the photography front, sadly GDPR technicalities prevent me from publishing the majority of my projects beyond the confides of the school, as they relate to students within the school. However, in the past two weeks, I have converted a tatty pin board covered corridor into a gallery featuring a large number of my framed images, ranging in size from A5 through to A2. Foreshortening in the image below makes it look far more crowded than it is… although this location is deliberately far more crowded with images than would normally be the case in an exhibition space. All of these projects are squeezed into the twilight zone between my full-time job, my coursework and the development of my research project.
Part of the Wavell Building gallery.
Right now, I am traveling light in South Africa, not even with the delights of an iPhone X… instead relying upon the photographic capabilities of the iPhone 7 (as that is my South African mobile) and the Canon G3X. While there is scarce opportunity for work that is even tenuously linked to my research project, each location I visit presents new and often beautiful opportunities…