Archive for December, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21st, 2007


As is my tradition, Burns Auto Parts purchased a big load of games (no Prozac) for the San Diego chapter of Toys For Tots. The donation was made in the name of all my clients and friends, as a way of thanking you for all your support–passing the good stuff on to others.

I couldn’t do what I do without you. Thank you, deeply, for another successful year.

As is also tradition, BAP will be closed from the 24th until January 2nd, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year and a successful 2008!

A Creative Lube for Your Lover

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

There’s a new Creative Lube available (free, as always, and also available on iTunes) but this one isn’t for you creatives directly–it’s for people like me who are romantically involved with a creative. So go download it and give it to your spouse/lover/partner.

37 Signals on Self-Promotion

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Great post about “getting ink” from 37 Signals. I’m particularly fond of the quote from Steve Martin. I saw him recently interviewed and he made the same point there. It’s a good one.

Quickbooks Pro Major Bug!

Monday, December 17th, 2007

If you are using Quickbooks Pro 2006, Mac version, DO NOT run it! It seems that there is a bug that is deleting data! Here are two links for more info:

A contest with good rules

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Here’s what sounds like a fun and creative contest…and it involves shooting FILM! Even better, the rules are clear: the photographer owns the images. Woo hoo!

Make sure to read the details, though. It might be more challenging than you first think…but that’s a good thing. 🙂

New Manual

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

For those of you who don’t get the Manuals in your email (and, thus, get them a month before posting!), there is a new one posted on my site.

More sporadic

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

You’ll probably have noticed the posts have been a bit here and there lately. That’s partially because it’s the holiday season with all its added stuff-to-get-done-ness, and partially because my father unexpectedly had a heart procedure on Monday. He’s doing well now and already back home (got a 2nd stent at 81 years old), but I was understandably not thinking too deeply about work during the hospital-related events.

Now that he’s on the mend, my only excuse is, happily, the season.

SB2 video preview

Monday, December 10th, 2007

ASMP has posted a preview of some of the video you’ll see at Strictly Business 2. Go here, then look to the right-hand side for links to Flash and QT versions.

If you haven’t signed up for SB2 yet, what are you waiting for?

It’s just work

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Sometimes we need to be reminded that, no matter how much we love what we do for our careers, it’s just work. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way at all–but I do mean that, while important, work needs to be kept in perspective.

There is a balance to be struck between career and other parts of life. While you will hear me say “If you really want it, you should be willing to do whatever it takes to follow your dream–including working second jobs, etc.” you also need to remember that your family and friends are incredibly important to your success as well. They need your time and attention.

Those two ideas aren’t in conflict but they can get convoluted at times. Usually, friends and family get sacrificed in pursuit of career. That can be just as dangerous to your success as ignoring your business.

Having support from friends and family is vital to being successful. We all need cheerleaders at times, and people who will sympathetically listen when we bitch about clients who are difficult, and people who won’t judge us on what we produce. It’s not our clients’ job to tell us it’s okay when we screw up, or to love us, or to be there for us when we are hurting or struggling. Our friends and family hold those “jobs.”

However, you need to give to them to keep the relationships healthy (for both of you). If you are choosing to work rather than spend time with your spouse (or kids), regularly, then you might need to re-think that decision. If, for example, you are indeed working an extra job to bring in money while you build your business, you need to deliberately schedule some time with your sweetie. S/He’ll understand you can’t spend hours every day, but if you make the effort to schedule a fun Saturday afternoon or something, that will go a long way towards feeding the relationship. Turn off the cell phone and email and spend that bit of time completely with them.

Take some time to give to the people you love, if for no other reason than so that they will continue to give to you (but hopefully just because you want to give to them, too). Call your parents, spend 30 minutes playing a game with the kids, take a walk with your lover. Feed your soul with these relationships and you’ll find that you will be better able to focus on work when working–making better creative, doing better marketing–generally being more productive (and happy) in your work.

No magic bullet

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Successful marketing in the creative industries today is not formulaic. I can’t tell you how often I hear from photographers (especially on forums) who say that they just want to know what to do–as in “give me the formula for success.” These people are looking for something like:

3 postcard mailers + 6 email promos + website = 25% increase in business

Trouble is, there is no formula. There are common tools which usually work at some level and some others that are usually less successful, but even within those categories the phrase “it depends” still is supreme.

For example, a print mailer is a good thing, generally speaking, but only if the image(s) on it are fantastic and it’s a part of a whole campaign, not a one-off shot in the dark. Oh, and if the design sucks, that’ll reduce its effectiveness. Same for printing. And if it’s a postcard it probably won’t be as effective as a folded mailer…except, of course, when it is, especially because of reasons like image choice and design.

Then there is targeting. If you aren’t targeting well, then you’re wasting a lot of your marketing budget. You *could* send out 6000 cards each mailing to a list of buyers who buy lifestyle photography and maybe you’ll get a hit here and there. Or, you could spend more money on each piece, making a higher-end-looking mailer (maybe a mini-book?), and send it out to only 1000 much more targeted targets–ones you know have used work like yours in some way and with whom you really want to work.

Instead of throwing it out there and seeing what sticks (old school marketing, imho), by building a highly targeted list you can then devote more money and energy to seeing the commonalities of your targets and making pieces that really speak to those targets. You don’t have to worry so much about “70% may like X but the other 30% will be offended” and the like, because, as you target, you’ll see that your best targets are more alike than not.

So no, there is no formula for marketing success other than doing the research, being consistent, and having the persistence to keep trying for the rest of your career.