Managing the Marketing Minefield
When you decide to start your own business, it’s not easy. I mean, my experience is solely that of a creative individual trying to sell a service, but I can imagine that no matter what the nature of your work is, it’s quite hard to know how to market yourself. In an age when anyone can afford to buy a decent DSLR camera, as a photographer and videographer I know I have to go above and beyond to promote my skills and sell myself in an industry that is already very competitive. But when going it alone, not only are you battling in a competitive market with others, you’re also battling yourself.
I’ve spoken to quite a few people who have their own businesses. It’s so often famine or feast, and when you’re of a creative sensibility the highs can be extremely high and the lows quite demotivating. You have to remain productive and motivated, even if your confidence is a bit shot and your hopes and plans didn’t quite pay off – this time.
I’ve been looking at numerous ways to market myself recently, and I admit it’s a bit of a minefield. Social media and the internet is a huge area that, when used properly, can be really good way for small businesses to garner attention and hook in clients. But when there’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, pinterest, youtube, vimeo, periscope, LinkedIn, to name but some, it’s difficult to know where to focus your efforts. You might have likes coming in from all over the world, but does any of that turn into money in the bank?
For me, not only do I have to figure out how to promote myself, there’s also everything else that comes with being a one-woman band. Dealing with clients. Writing story boards and shot lists. Planning the shoot. Shooting. Lighting. Sound. Editing. Training. Follow up meetings with clients. Re-edits. Book keeping. Researching. Playing with and getting to grips with new kit. Keeping abreast of new technologies. Keeping my website and blog up to date. Devising projects for myself… the list goes on, and it can sometimes feel quite overwhelming.
But help is out there!
I’ve recently been to a workshop and networking event held by Pete Mosley (well worth checking out his book ‘The Art of Shouting Quietly’), that was specifically geared towards finding your voice and using social media as a platform for marketing. The main lesson I’ve come away with from the event is that the hard-sell approach doesn’t work any more. Social media gives us a platform for discussion and interaction, and one of the best ways to start the dialogue is to post interesting content that isn’t all your own. And once the conversation begins, more people join it, therefore awareness of who you are and what you have to offer grows. The fact there are so many avenues to explore for online marketing also gives us the opportunity to try numerous methods, and in a trial-and-error sort of way it’s possible to find something that works for you and really excel at it.
I’m still quite early in my journey, but now that my approach to everything has become less of a “shit this is overwhelming” and more of an “awesome, let’s crack this”, at least I know I am no longer battling myself!
If you fancy knowing more about Pete Mosley and his work, here’s a link: