Guest Blogger Angela Pointon talks marketing strategy

This week, we are beyond excited to have a guest post from Angela Pointon, creator of Steel Toe Images and overall business/marketing guru. We can’t thank Angela enough for these words of wisdom about how to get ahead of your marketing strategy and find the best way to get the attention of your customers. Plus, you can read more from Angela in Professional Photographer Magazine as a monthly columnist in 2013.


“I need to get my name out there” and two other equally silly marketing statements.

So, I got a postcard in the mail the other day. Some poor small business near my house spent money on mailing me a promotional piece about something that I will never, ever buy. You see, I’m a vegetarian and so is every other member of my household. So, why in the world would I ever venture into a place that sells fresh cut meats? They have their marketing all wrong.

“But Angela, I have to get my name out there!” 

The translation for this silly phrase is: we have no idea how to target our message or our product/service, so let’s just spend some money and hope someone likes us enough to visit our website, pick up the phone, or, in the case of the company that “targeted” me, walk into our store and buy meat.

This is otherwise known as a “spray and pray” marketing strategy. It isn’t targeted at potential buyers, and it isn’t a great use of your hard-earned money. Instead, figure out who your target market is, find out where they hang out and reach them in a way they want to be reached. Challenge yourself…if your marketing seems really “easy” but it isn’t delivering results, you probably didn’t think about this aspect hard enough.

Whenever I work with photographers, I challenge them to really think about their target market. Because, if you poke around and listen enough, you might find out some commonalities between your buyers and a whole group of other potential buyers. When consumers receive highly targeted marketing, you have a much better chance of success and a much lower cost per client acquired.

“I have 1,000,000 followers on Twitter!”

There are meaningful metrics and then there are vanity metrics. Meaningful metrics are quantifiable aspects of your marketing that mean something either negative or positive about your business.

For example, if all 1 million followers on Twitter are potential buyers and partners for your business then hooray! Go you! But if your 1 million followers are people who will probably never buy from you, then that metric means as much as a hill of beans. It’s a vanity metric that makes you feel good but doesn’t and won’t equate to more business for you. In other words, be sure that you’re measuring what matters and what will make a difference in the success of your business.

For each photographer, that’s different stuff that needs to be measured. It may take a while to figure out, but once you do, you only need to pay attention to those few key metrics (and you can pay attention to the vanity ones for just a good old ego pick-me-up when needed).

“My ad is in such and such! Isn’t that cool?”

No, it’s definitely not cool. You see, we’re starting to ignore advertising more and more every day. We fast-forward through commercials, we’re on the do-not-call list and we buck Facebook for throwing promotional content into our feed. People dislike ads and the companies who pay for them are getting pinned as “the annoying advertisers,” and why would you ever want your business in that category?

Instead, find a relevant, content-driven or benefit-driven way to get in front of potential buyers. Sometimes this takes a bit of creativity and advertising just seems so much easier. But trust me, when the bill for that ad comes and you haven’t seen new revenue, you will wish you took the time to brainstorm better ways to generate interest.

The key is finding a better way to market. One that works.

Everyone’s photography business is different. Just the other day I talked to two photographers. One photographer did weddings and wanted my help with landing more portrait bookings. The other photographer did portraits and wanted only to shoot weddings going forward. I’m sure you have goals that are very unique to your business, too.

Don’t get frustrated by the daunting task of marketing.

Every Tuesday I mail out an email with photography business and marketing tips. I hope you’ll sign up for a little piece of insight from me every week. More than anything, I want to help you avoid marketing mistakes, make the most our of your precious marketing dollars and use creativity to find the best way to reach the clients you want.


About Angela Pointon

Angela Pointon loves photographers and artists. She studied photography but had a love affair with business and marketing. She decided to combine all three together when she started Steel Toe Images. She coaches and inspires photographers and other artists to kick major butt through her one-on-one sessions, blog, emails, workshops and her first book (coming soon), called “The Art Of A Photo Business: What Every Photographer Wished They Knew Before They Started.” Follow Angela on Twitter, Facebook or her blog.