Marketing your business.

Marketing your business.

28 posts
18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
I'm interested to learn how, those of you who run your own business, market that business.  I run my own business not related to photography but apart from a website and the odd newspaper advert, it is no longer bringing in enough work for me to live on, hence I'm sponging off my missus and I don't like it.  What do you actually have to do to market a business successfully?  I'm interested in hearing from those of you who run a business away from photography as I think that is a saturated area.  Although I accept I'm never going to be a professional tog there are those of you who make a living from it.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
Have you tried social networking sites? They are a good way to spread the word and attract potential custom

Posted 18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
Hi Jess thanks for replying. I was on Facebook for about two weeks but I couldn't stand it so deleted my account. I know many people use it to great advantage but it wasn't for me I'm afraid.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
artistoli
Photographer
artistoli
Depends on the business. My father runs a cleaning business and I help him with the marketing. After having tried all kinds of glossy magazines, newspapers, paid online campaigns etc. we found the most effective is simply getting thousands of nice quality postcards from Vistaprint and actually dropping them through people's front doors. It is by far the most effective for that business and enables you to very accurately target specific customers. The downside is that it is a lot of leg work and sometimes you get abuse from people who don't like 'junk' mail. But still, worth the effort.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
Good point Artisoli. I tried it last year. Printed a thousand leaflets and we all went out one evening delivering them Got one job from the whole drop and she has remained a loyal customer. I do double glazing repairs, have been doing it on my own since 2001 and it was a thriving business up until the crash happened in 2007 and then it went downhill. I think leaflet drops work for some business more than others.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
RonA
Photographer
RonA
I use social networking sites and make sure I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities such as events and casting calls.

I have entries in both on-line directories as well as the normal yellow-pages type publications.

Most of my commissions are by word-of-mouth however

Best

Ron
Posted 18 Jan 2014
Edited by RonA 18 Jan 2014
C_Riccio
Photographer
C_Riccio
Have you tried contacting glazing companies offering contract services? Also look at property maintenance companies, especially those that have big contracts for social housing.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
C_Riccio

Have you tried contacting glazing companies offering contract services? Also look at property maintenance companies, especially those that have big contracts for social housing.


Yes I have tried that but they do not seem to want to deal with a small one man outfit.  Same problem when I quote for insurance work.  I'm miles cheaper than the big boys but for some reason they think they will get a better job done if they use a large company.  I quoted to fit a composite door in a ladies house for £700.  One of the big DG companies that uses a mountain as its logo went in at £4000!  Work that one out?
Posted 18 Jan 2014
keithpics
Photographer
keithpics
I'd suggest the point with your double-glazing repairs business is that people only need your phone number when they have a need for that service. Therefore you have to think of ways your number will be handy when a problem suddenly crops up.

As one example, we get a free small local magazine delivered every month. I've used it several times for plumbers, electricians and the like. An advert in something like that, not expecting to be rushed off your feet immediately, will help build your business up. I'd also say that responding to every reply, whether you can help or not, is essential. Several local tradespeople here have failed because they only replied when they were quiet. Something like: 'No job too small' is encouraging as long as you mean it. The more jobs you do, the more your name will spread, the more people will contact you. It's much the same for most one-person businesses, including models and photographers.



Posted 18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
Yes Keith I've tried that as well and you are correct with the need for my phone number to be around when needed. This was also the reasoning behind the leaflet drop I did. Having said all this I've just had 3 enquiries come in this afternoon all from my website. I'm pretty good at getting the work once I get the leads. I reckon I get 80% of the work I quote on. It's just getting the leads in the first place that is the problem.

Posted 18 Jan 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
If it was a thriving business then you should have a healthy database of previous customers to contact and remind of your services. I'm assuming that if one unit fails there is a good chance of another going later. Plus they may well know friends who have similar problems.

Sounds a little like you are looking for some magic bullet though. If so there is no such thing in photography or any other business. It is mainly down to hours and hours of boring grunt. You mentioned leafleting for example. Did you get back out a day or so later knocking on doors to ask if they received you leaflet? Do you put up signboards at houses you have worked on and give those customers some sort of loyalty deal if a friend of theirs takes up your services? You could contact local builders offering a commission if they refer a client or clients neighbour they see has problems to you.

You bemoan the leaflet drop you did yet 1,000 is piffle. If you have all this time on your hand it should be 10,000 at least and not from Vista. They are slow expensive and poor quality. Your leaflet has to be right too with a clear call to action and some sort of specific and limited offer.




Posted 18 Jan 2014
theperfectgentleman
Photographer
theperfectge..
ATVLONDON

Yes I have tried that but they do not seem to want to deal with a small one man outfit.  Same problem when I quote for insurance work.  I'm miles cheaper than the big boys but for some reason they think they will get a better job done if they use a large company.  I quoted to fit a composite door in a ladies house for £700.  One of the big DG companies that uses a mountain as its logo went in at £4000!  Work that one out?


I used to work for that company, let me ask you did you sell your services? did you earn the £700 BY SELLING IT FIRST?
people love being sold to if done the right way, people love people.
May I sugest, make an appointment to deliver the quote, dress smart buisness and then sell your product.
Show them all the bits and let them handle them,explain all the atributes of them. show them a portfolio of the work that you have done, showing quality of work and any letters of recomendation. and then the most important ASK THEM FOR THE ORDER.
Do you ask for recomendations? "Is there anyone you know who I needs my services? that I could call on?" any recomendations get a bonus from me!!!
A bottle, bunch of flowers, or a £10 delivered personaly and a the use of those two little word that are not used very often "Thank You" generates a lot more leads.
The mountain company reps had to generate there own leads by knocking on doors and asking for it, a minimum of 200 knock every evening 5days a week and if you didn't have any for the next week all day saturday.
Thats a possible 1000 face to face contacts a week, so a thousand leaflets is only a weeks work.
I hope I am sowing seads with you, or if I am teaching you to suck eggs then sorry.


Posted 19 Jan 2014
Edited by theperfectgentleman 18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
All advice taken PerfectGentleman. I've only recently started advertising composite doors for the reason you do not need FENSA registration to fit them as the glass area is a low percentage compared to a normal UPVC door. The bottle of wine, box of chocolates, flowers etc works better if you are installing something of a higher value than what I'm doing. Most of my jobs come to little more than £120 so I can see your point and I've worked for companies in the past who have done that with every customer who had a whole house done. Going back to the comment that RedBaron wrote about going back to every house I've dropped leaflets at. I consider they have received the leaflet because I've put it through the door. Now to have someone come knocking on your door a few evenings later is going to annoy people. They don't like salesman cold calling them and my attitude is exactly the same. How many times has someone phoned you, or knocked on your door, as you're dishing up dinner or just sitting down to eat? This is not my way of how the public should be marketed. However I understand these techniques work for some people. But going back to houses from a few nights earlier gives the customer the impression you are desperate. There are two things I decided I would never do. One is I would never haggle over the price of work I was doing and secondly I would never go back to them once I'd been round once as again this makes you look desperate for work and also gives them the idea they can knock you down in price.

Posted 19 Jan 2014
dominicdgt
Photographer
dominicdgt
Specific to your business, and I can see how the likes of Facebook would have little impact but when I needed a door repair it was those local A5 magazines that get posted each month, we currently have 3 on the go, I always keep a specific one each month as it has local trades be it Computers, plumbing etc, I used it when our double glazed back door got stuck! We no longer get a free paper so its the go to option, even more than the yellow pages/Thompson local. Even if you don't get one in your road it could be worth finding what's out there and see what they consider their range/readership is!

Dominic

Posted 19 Jan 2014
Edited by dominicdgt 19 Jan 2014
jpv
Photographer
jpv
Each small business is unique and other experience is only a prompt to make you think about yours. So to get you thinking, are you perhaps under pricing your services? Yes people use price as an extremely important decision point but they also use value which is a totally different thing. Do you appear as an established successful company that will be around to “fix problems”, have done “lots” before. Sales and promotion cost money and your prices must include a substantial amount for this cost. Existing customers are an invaluable source of feedback and a word of mouth recommendation is a priceless asset. If you have customers with a young family they mix with similar they can tell you about clubs and coffee mornings that can be targeted, perhaps a young mum would love a few hours work doing a leaflet drop. All her friend at the school gates might like to know likewise retired people. Stores with free advert boards or paid ones are often a good source of leads. Local tradesmen with different specialisations such as painting/decorating come across needs for your type of service frequently, are you their first port of call; do you offer an introductory commission? Nothing in this thread might be relevant but you need to stimulate your imagination, talking regularly with people in similar businesses “over a pint” can often lead to new insights. I hope I am misinterpreting you sales process outlined at 09:35 as indicating that one you have delivered a quote you do not have a follow up meeting. This follow up is your key objection handling and closing situation and key to your conversion rate (prospects to customers).
Posted 19 Jan 2014
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