Marketing is an overwhelming topic, especially for small business owners. Companies have entire departments dedicated to marketing, but for us solopreneurs, that responsibility, which is the lifeblood of our business, is solely ours.
My business has now had a home in three states (North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky). What I have found in each place is that the best marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Finding what works best for your area is key.
Sure, there are some common strategies–don’t get me wrong! But the viability of those strategies has fluctuated for me based off of where my business is geographically located.
Let me break it down by state:
In North Carolina, there were a ton of online groups, mostly on Facebook. This is where I marketed the you-know-what out of my business. We were in a military town where there was a) lots of turn over and b) lots of babies being born. This may seem insignificant, but it’s not! This told me two things:
- There was a high demand for maternity and newborn portraits.
- It would be difficult to establish a dedicated client base that would be in the area for more than three years.
So with that knowledge, I continuously marketed myself in the online Facebook groups for moms and military spouses and families. That is far different than what I did in Virginia.
Many of my clients in Virginia came from two sources: either they knew me from high school (I was from about two hours away from where we lived with the Marine Corps) or it was through word-of-mouth referrals from other photographers and wedding vendors.
While, yes, we were still near a military base, there were so many more people around the DC area that were permanent residents that I could start building up a solid client and vendor referral base. I noticed that there were far more in-person mixers and events with the wedding vendors in this area, so I immersed myself in networking. In-person and online collaboration was what drove the vast majority of my marketing outside of DC and in the northern Virginia area.
Kentucky I am still figuring out… It is a mixture of that in-person wedding vendor networking/referral network and some old school stuff, like the Chamber of Commerce. When I moved here, I had multiple people suggest I introduce myself to the Chamber members from surrounding counties, and honestly, I had no idea where to even start with that. Caleb took a job at a local paving company and that has actually been one of my single largest marketing opportunities possible! I was introduced to some other members of the Nelson County Chamber, a great wedding videographer in the area, and many other local individuals that have helped guide me in growing my business here in the Bluegrass state!
I am still adjusting to this new style of marketing, but it is slowly growing on me. I am just embracing every experience each transition has to throw at me and taking it in stride as I watch my business grow and pivot.
All this to say–there are many ways to market your business. Reading marketing books is actually one of my favorite hobbies. But I have learned that no amount of specific, calculated strategy can override being aware of your business’s current situation and place in the market.
So here’s your permission to try something new out this month, quarter, or year to see what works for your business right now.
Drop your observations about your marketing strategies and geographical location below in the comments! I am curious to see what your experience is!