Marketing Monday: Want To Make A Living Selling Photography? Know Your Customer

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by Scott Bourne

As part of my Marketing Monday series here at SCU I want to teach you how to know something that’s just as powerful and necessary as being good at photography. You need to know your customer. Or to be more accurate, you need to know your target prospect. 

Most of you think “everyone” is a potential customer. Sorry – not true. There is no way that YOUR photography will make EVERYONE happy. So you need to play like the big boys and girls do and involve yourself in some market planning. That’s where personas come in. What’s a persona?

Personas are archetypal prospects that represent the needs of larger groups of clients, in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. They act as ‘stand-ins’ for real users and help guide marketing decisions. 

This post doesn’t take the place of a four-year marketing degree so I can’t get into every single detail on personas here. But I can give you an idea of how they work and you can at least get started on creating a persona that represents your ideal target prospect. 

If you really want to go in-depth on this you need to do serious research. Conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc. 

But for now, start here:

1. What is your prospects age, gender, income and educational background?
2. What sort of place does your prospect live in?
3. How many children do they have? 
4. Are they married?
5. Are they religious?
6. What are the five things that most drive their purchasing decisions?
7. What buzzwords are most likely to be attractive to them?
8. What do they want out of life?
9. What’s making them happy/unhappy?
10. What are their mannerisms?
11. What pain points can we help them with? 

You should get the point now. We want to personalize the actual prospect not just have some general ethereal idea of who they are. The more detailed we can be in creating an accurate persona, the more likely we will have success.

In closing I’ll say that knowing your target audience well is not only the key to getting hired, but the key to getting paid well. The photographer who has developed a great persona workup will likely never hear “That costs too much.” You know why? Because that photographer is always talking to the right target audience and the right target audience tends to pay more than the wrong one.

Good luck.  Skip and I are rooting for you.

Illustration Credit: © XtravaganT – Fotolia.com

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