… is anyone out there?
… I’m tweeting
… I’m Facebooking
… I’m blogging
COME AND GET ME!!!!!
OK, I exaggerate a little but this advertising lark is a bit of a headache for a new business to get to grips with. The whole process of getting your name ‘out there’ – either through traditional advertising, social media or through a website – seems to be the classic Catch 22. Your name can’t spread if people don’t know who you are to start with. The more people that know you, the more your name starts to circulate widely. It’s a classic inverse pyramid where more and more people start to gain access to who you are. So, by the time your business is flourishing and knee deep in clients you’ll probably find that the advertising becomes organic and self-sustaining and you attract even more clients than you know what to do with! So, can www.thephotographerseye.co.uk have some on account to start with please!
Now I’m fully on-side with the old adage that word of mouth is the best advertising a chap can have; especially as I pride my business in its customer service as much as its photographic talent. The Photographer’s Eye is not complacent, nothing is taken for granted and we genuinely care that our clients are getting the first class service they want and deserve. People we have worked for have apparently been delighted with our work (ok, as far as I can tell but I do assess things critically). Nevertheless, we still haven’t reached that critical mass yet. There aren’t enough 1st parties to contact the 2nd and 3rd parties to give that wonderful onward flow from word of mouth alone. I saw this self-sustainment at work with my Twitter account. I was stuck around 50 followers for ages whatever content I tried. I then paid for 500 carefully targeted followers. Bingo, suddenly even more followers started flocking along. Within a month I’d added another 200 without chasing anyone. Why? Interesting content (I hope) but also enough followers to make me look like a serious proposition worth following – Twitter is now at a self-sustaining critical mass.
So back to the start and the advertising. Given an unlimited supply of cash we could open the company coffers and throw money at the problem. Oooops, Catch 22 again – lots of money = lots of business = wouldn’t be having this discussion to start with. So what is the best mix? Blast down one avenue or spread yourself around frantically looking for an opening? As is often the case the answer, as far as I can make out, lies at neither extreme. No point wasting all the resources in an area that might not work; however, also no point wasting scare capital by smearing it so thinly nobody will notice. So what conclusions has www.thephotographerseye.co.uk come to thus far. Firstly, you need to establish a realistic level of funding for advertising. ‘Speculate to accumulate’ is fine as long as you are still around for the accumulation. Once you have sustainable funding identified you can study the market and make intelligent decisions on what’s an efficient use of those resources. Social media seems a strong field at the moment, it’s also relatively cheap, and therefore has to be in the mix; however, traditional advertising still has its value. I’ve found that local people like a genuinely local business and small local publications are an outlet that shouldn’t be ignored. The website is a bit of a dilemma. To initially get a high ranking on Google seems to me to need serious money for SEO but, of course, the potential returns are high. I’m trying to short circuit the system by doing as much of the SEO work as I can. Frustratingly this is a slow process and my ranking has yet to show significant improvement. Unfortunately, I think traditional search engines still have a key role to play in finding photographers. When it comes to frequently used trades, such as builders and plumbers, people are always looking to keep a ‘name in their back pocket’. Conversely, folks don’t tend to think about a photographer until an event actually crops up where they need one. This of course makes Mr Google quite an important first point of reference in searching for a photographer. That is still a conundrum I have to solve but we’ll get there.
Heck, nobody said it would be easy.
The Photographer’s Eye