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This is the last in a series from Megan DiPiero with advice about how to build a stronger brand and brand message — to add purpose to your marketing, draw attention to your service, and ultimately increase sales. Click here for Parts 12 and 3. Today Megan shares her opinions on marketing.

I’m betting that many of you clicked this mentor post because you thought your question would finally be answered: “How do I get more people in?”

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In the past 6 years, I’ve created a six figure profitable business that provides the sole income for my family of four. But I've got to be real with you, and tell you, my success today would NOT be a reality if it weren’t for the foundation I laid back in 2010.

Meanwhile, over that time, I’ve seen more photographers than I can count close their doors. Frustrated and disillusioned, they were left asking: “Why can’t I get more people in the door?” when the questions they should have been asking were: “How can I create an experience of value? How can I infuse my passion into everything I do? How can I better refine my offerings and price points? How can I best direct my time and resources towards profitability? How can I put passion and purpose first and let profit follow?” 

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When you know your purpose and passion inside and out (step one), when you know your numbers like the back of your hand (step two), marketing with purpose is so much easier.

Note: It certainly isn't a piece of cake. It’s work. No doubt about that. But that work is going to be much more successful and focused when you’ve completed the appropriate steps leading up to it. Start at the beginning and you’ll find that one thing leads naturally to another.

Remember way back at the start of these posts, when I listed the commonly voiced wishes of photographers? That pining for more clients to walk in the door? I’m going to break it down here as a way of demystifying what marketing can do for you WHEN YOU’RE READY FOR IT.

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WISH: “I could be successful if only I knew how to get more people in the door.”

REALITY: When you can clearly project your brand promise, clients will find their way to you. By creating an experience (step one) that is rave-worthy, word of mouth referrals will give your business a constant boost. By knowing your numbers and systems (step two) you will be ready to serve those clients with a price point that makes sense for your profitable operation.  

WISH: “I could be successful if only I could reach the RIGHT people.”

REALITY: There is a myth or a wish that all clients have to be wealthy to support a luxury brand. I’m here to tell you there is no “right” client except for the client who loves and values what you do. By understanding how you are unique, and what you do that’s special (step one), and by appropriately pricing that offering (step two), you allow your client to decide if she/he values what’s for sale.

I’m here to tell you there is no “right” client except for the client who loves and values what you do.

Sometimes I find value in running in quickly for a Subway sub, and sometimes I find value in relaxing with fine dining. I have the luxury of choosing either, but more than just dollar signs influence my choice of restaurant. Those on a limited budget might only eat at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse once in a decade, and to them, the experience is completely valuable and memorable. The RIGHT client will find you and be truly satisfied only when you are clear on what kind of steak experience you’re selling.

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WISH: “I could be successful if only I knew the magic marketing formula. I know it’s got to be out there. I just need to find it!”

REALITY: Hate to break it to you, but there is no silver bullet or magical formula when it comes to marketing. Successful marketing is nothing less than committed work, time, and effort sharing what you love most (step one) and what you deliver flawlessly (step two). After spending a few years in business, you’ll start to notice that there’s nothing new under the sun. Basic marketing concepts (business partners, gift cards, promos, charitable endeavours, etc.) are taught over and over again. Why? Because they work. But they ONLY work when you understand your fundamentals AND work to share, share, share… consistently… persistently.

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Even with a pretty fine understanding of the basics and a very solid pricing approach, it STILL took me three years to earn a significant paycheck. So if you want to get to $250,000, you must realize that that could mean starting at $0, $10,000, and then $50,000 (gross, not net!). All the while you’ll be building momentum and working towards the career of your dreams!

Don’t let the years slip by without achieving your full potential. Just try it, identify who you are as a brand, set your money making goals, and be realistic with this. Then begin to share who you are as a business, why you add value, and how you would better your clients. When you know why you are marketing, and truly believe in it, you will be more driven in campaigns amd more focussed in where you spend your time.

Before I go, promise me this… You won't go nuts “marketing” yourself until your foundation has been solidly formed. Don’t sell the sizzle until you know what kind of steak you’re preparing. 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these posts. Join my Facebook group to get more articles similar.

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Happy to answer any questions you might have and support you as you Rise to the Top! I’d also love to hear what step you are committing to working on. Do you need to focus on Step One: Purpose and Passion? Step Two: Money Making Systems? Or Step Three: Marketing? 

Megan

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