The Blog Library
The Sneaky Thought That Undermines Your Marketing – Get Rid of It, Now!
One of the best parts about writing this blog is that I get to spend a good deal of time with photographers. Talking with them. Laughing with them. Strategizing with them about their brands, and discussing their deepest hopes and dreams in intensive one-on-one sessions. And let me tell you something I’ve learned:
Photographers are a little bit afraid.
We’re not talking pee-your-pants terror. But there is a sneaky, pale shadow of fear they can’t seem to escape.
Theoretically, a shadow should follow you. But too often, they follow that shadow.
But what are they afraid of? Mainly:
That they’ll go for their dream, and someone will hate it.
That they’ll abandon shooting seniors to focus on newborns, and that the walls will come crashing down. Or that they’ll embrace a new product line, change their pricing, or otherwise reshape their business, and that someone will get mad. So instead, they live a half-dream because they think it’s safe and no one will complain.
Don’t get me wrong – this happens because photographers are generally nice people.
Nice people don’t want to be pushy. They don’t want to insist on certain policies or standards. They want to accommodate everyone. But by trying to accommodate everything and everyone, they find themselves able to do very little.
And because they’re not ready to take a stand for what they really want to do, they are afraid to start marketing themselves fully.
I see it all the time: Half-finished websites, broken brands, and taglines caught between two thoughts.
Blog posts apologizing for themselves. Business cards being handed out with a “sorry, this isn’t finished yet.”
Pricing pages claiming that you need to email them for complete pricing, not because they’re keeping it secret, but because they change their pricing every time a new client emails. They just can’t decide what to offer because they want to have something for absolutely everyone on the whole planet.
Or someone trying to halfheartedly attract families when really, they just want to photograph high school seniors, so their ‘family’ page suffers – along with the rest of their business.
Instead of taking a stand, they’re out there in photography limbo, trying to please everyone, floundering.
It’s time to take a stand. To admit to yourself and to the world what your passion really is, and go for it. Refuse to be deterred. If it truly doesn’t work and everyone hates it, you can always go back to the way it was. That’s the beauty of self-employment.
Here’s the big secret: You will always have a small percentage of people who don’t care about what you do, and an even smaller percentage who will take the time to complain about it.
You might as well encounter those people while doing something you truly love.
I’m not kidding. Simple statistics tell us that in any given case, you’ll probably have:
- 2.5% of people who hate something,
- 13.5% who mostly dislike it,
- 34% who vaguely dislike it,
- 34% who vaguely like it,
- 13.5% who really like it,
- 2.5% who are madly, insanely, in love with it.
It’s called a bell curve. There are exceptions, but an astonishing number of things in this world follow these numbers. The key is to focus on being the absolute perfect match for that top 2.5% and ignore everyone else. Because if you’ve created something that your top fans are wild about, chances are, huge swaths of the rest will also be fans, and that’s more than enough to fill your calendar.
You’ll never please absolutely everyone, so you might as well not dilute your message trying.
It truly doesn’t matter if some people don’t like what you do, and I’ll prove it to you right now:
Go to Amazon (affiliate link) and look up your favorite book, movie, and/or music album. If you don’t have a favorite, think of one that’s been wildly popular and fabulously profitable in the last two years.
Now scroll down to the reviews.
Do you see any one-star reviews for something that you personally consider to be utterly timeless, classic, and amazing?
Did they get any snarky, careless, nasty reviews?
Was there a reviewer who, in your opinion, totally missed the point?
You can bet your rent.
But that didn’t prevent that book from being a success, now, did it? It didn’t prevent that movie from being a box-office hit, did it? It didn’t prevent that band from moving you or pumping you up, did it?
The first step to awesome marketing is being passionate about what you do and offer. And I’m not talking about the overused, abused, diluted, fluffy woo-woo version of ‘passion,’ I’m talking about the original meaning of that word – something you love so much you’re willing to suffer for it to keep doing it.
The second step is communicating to as many people as possible why that passion is going to fix their problems and make their dreams come true.
If you’re passionate about something, you don’t – and indeed can’t – care about the people who inevitably dislike or don’t care about what you do. You have to focus speaking to your top fans; plenty of others will follow.
But how do you talk to those top fans?
There are lots of free resources out there that outline specific marketing strategies, and this blog is one of them. Between the internet and the public library, you can learn a vast number of great marketing strategies for free.
But of course, you’ve got limited time. We don’t have endless hours to sort through endless information. So another option is to pay for some killer, tailored education that sums it up and hands concentrated ideas to you on a platter. (If you like this blog, then Irresistible Website can help you beef up your web marketing.)
But at the end of the day, no educational program will help you spread the word like crazy if you’re not already passionate about your mission.
If you’re carrying around dead weight services that you aren’t completely convinced will change someone’s life for the better – you’re just doing them because you think you should. Or if you’re so busy playing defense against imagined or real critics that you can’t play offense and actually get something done.
So, the question of the day:
What are you afraid to cut out? Cut it out. What are you afraid to take a stand on? Take it.
This is not a dress rehearsal for your business – this is your business. Passion is attractive and exciting. Don’t leach yours away by carrying dead weight in your business that doesn’t belong.
Be who you are.
If you’ll let yourself do that, the dizzying cocktail of excitement and fear will push you to implement specific marketing ideas far more than any cheerleading I can offer from the sidelines. Nothing is better motivation than a clear dream that you can’t stop talking about, that is truly too big to fail.
Is it scary? Good. That means it’s important to you.
If you’re already on this path, keep going. If there’s something you know you need to change, go do it. Today. There is no prize for waiting.