It happened again. Some person who I do not know from somewhere where I don’t live has invited me to do something that I neither want or need. For example like their page and go to some weight loss neighboorhood event in Texas (I live in Los Angeles.) Or how about finding THE ONE when you already have him or her, the spiritual reconnection to your higher self but you feel well connected to your own faith, or that nobody guy inviting you to teach you how to become a celebrity in your genre as it happened to me today. My all time negative marketers are AT&T and Jehova’s witnesses who knock on my door right above the No Solicitors sign that I only got to keep these exact two types away from my home. My disdain for AT&T is so intense that I as an Apple everything person will not get an iPhone for the only reason that they are harassing me regularly in my home.  Or how about this stupidity:  a well know Photo Editor from a celebrity magazine told me that he routinely gets promotional pieces from car photographers who buy their list from Adbase. What do you think the hiring chances for that car photographer are?

It’s called Mindless Marketing.

And, it really upsets people.

Mindless Marketing comes into play every time when you are clueless as to who your clients are, where they are or hang out, what they need, and how to speak to them. If this is you, the person who sends out emails with no call to action to anyone you know, asks people to like you without giving or offering anything in return – pack up and call it day. It doesn’t work and you don’t stand a chance in this competitive environment.

In the photography business and any other business you must first understand social media and the rules of marketing. When you are in doubt, use this rule of thumb: if a certain type of action would upset you, chances are it will do the same to your potential customer – if you like a marketing action chances are that your clients will like it as well. Social Media is all about building a relationship and not mindless chatter or clutter. Even if your friends think you are a great guy or gal you still cannot just put them on your list and send them your marketing pieces hoping they will (do what exactly?)

Here are five things what you must stop doing today:

  • Do not send out any more email mailers to everyone who know (including me)
  • Abuse your Social Media friends on Facebook or Google+ (including me)
  • Do not send out anything that doesn’t tell people who you are, why they are getting this, how they can stop getting it, and what you would like them to do
  • Send out general email pieces that are vaguely addressing a need. If you are a wedding photographer don’t send out family portrait images “just in case.”
  • Complain that you are not getting any feedback of any kind or are able to find new clients

Here are five things that you need to start doing today:

  • Think: Who is your client? What is the customer profile of the person who is most likely to hire you?
  • Categorize or segment your list. Put people in as many relevant categories that apply to your photography business
  • Think: What is it that each of these groups need?
  • Address a specific need of one specific group with an individualized mailing piece, or marketing action
  • Ask people for permission to share special offers or important announcements with them

Your marketing efforts should be directed to people who need your services and who are most likely to hire you. If you don’t know who that is, you have a lot of work to do. Less is more. Trust me. It is better to send out 20 mailers to people whom you have identified as an actual potential client versus buying a list of 500 people that you know nothing about. It used to work when we were looking for new talent to discover and ever so often something came in the door that was just so amazing that we had to hire that photographer. But today, there is so much Mindless Marketing that most people won’t give your promotions another look especially if you are unclear about what you want from them.

What you want your clients to do is to take action on something. Before you do create your marketing piece think about what that is. Do you want them hire you, call you, request a free consultation? Whatever it is make sure you tell them. 95% of everything that I receive from photographers says NOTHING. Guess what I do with that – I delete it immediately. Have the courtesy to tell me what I am looking at and why I am looking at it.

Seriously, I hope that I drove this point home. Your potential clients want to hire you but you first must find them and cater to their need. Got it?

And while we are at it, please share your worst Mindless Marketing stories here, I’d love to hear what sends you over the edge…


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