Eleven Tips for Business
I love Twitter. Have I mentioned that before? When I say that, I often get looks from people like I’m insane. But, I’m done pretending… I’m saying it loud and proud: I LOVE TWITTER. Jenna is one of my favorite Twitter friends. She’s not only a talented photographer, she’s an extremely savvy marketer. I’m honored that she’d spread a little holiday cheer (and 11 great marketing tips) here on the blog.
Hello, my name is Jenna Leigh. I’m a small town Midwest gal with big dreams. I’m a photographer, a wedding blogger and a branding extraordinaire. I am a wife, a puppy mama, a runner and a lover of life. I have grown a small empire of businesses in a year’s time and I truly believe that nothing is more important than a strong brand.
A brand is more than a logo or a style — it’s a story you have created to reach a desired audience. You want to captivate a crowd and make people eager to join your movement. It is your story to write, keep it original, unique…
In the past year, I have launched two successful businesses and have given myself opportunities I never dreamed of. In order to be a successful creative entrepreneur you need to be able to find that difficult balance between your art and being a successful and savvy business owner. That’s why I’ve put together my 11 tips for branding a small business…
- Logo: It is hard to argue against the importance of a strong logo. Your logo is a chance to showcase your style, your flare. It should be a designed representation of your work. I believe that a logo begins to tell your story, so it should be something you absolutely love. If you aren’t a graphic designer yourself, find one… it is well worth the investment, I promise you!
- Target Your Audience: Who is your dream client? What kind of people do you hope to work with and how do you plan to meet them? Aiming your business towards particular demographics means you will get to work with the kind of people you love (and who love you). Know your audience and appeal to them. I attract brides that love the same aesthetic as I do, which makes my job that much more fun!
- Be Memorable: How are you going to set yourself apart from the competition? I set out to stand out, I found clients who were up for anything. One of my favorite engagement shoots took place at the Wisconsin State Fair. Those photos attracted a new audience and were so memorable. I have had many of my brides say that when they saw that shoot they were hooked, why? Because it was different…
- Consistency is Key: Create your story and stick with a cohesive message — that’s what branding is all about. Make your message reflect your story and the stories you plan to tell. Something that drives me bananas as a photographer is when photographers over-edit their photos. When you scroll through a blog and see a million different colors, edits, and presets it ruins the story. Keep it consistent and organized, it is all about appealing to the eyes of your viewers.
- Stand Behind Your Brand: This is your business, your message, you must believe in it. Defend it and do not give in to fads or trends. Things in the photography industry change so quickly, your brand must endure the test of time. If you are confident in your brand, your clients will be confident it you.
- Marketing: How do you plan to share your business with the world? You need to be prepared to make some investments, so do your research. I jumped into marketing when I started because I believed that what I had to offer was worth it. Sure, it seemed like a big chunk of money, but within two days I had booked a job bigger than the expense of advertising for a year. Believe in yourself, it will be worth the investment.
- Keep it Simple: Another mistake so many business owners make is making their websites so full of information. Simplify it all and share only a few reasons why you are the person for the job. The reality is, time is limited and many clients may browse hundreds of options. Long paragraphs will often be skipped over. Write a few sentences that sum up you and your business and be done with it.
- Social Media: Do not forget about social media (read: free advertising). It gives you the opportunity to share your passion, your business and can help you tell your story. Share your work and stick to your brand. I have networked and met so many incredible people through social media; it has been a stepping-stone for my business.
- Show Your Personality: I get so many client emails and inquiries that it is important that my voice is heard through email. Don’t feel like you have to be a rigid business owner — showcase your personality! When I email my clients, I keep it fun and light, it attracts the audience I want to work with. My emails tell a story, a story about why my clients should choose me and it gives them a look into what working with me will be like. Keep it fun, lighthearted, and share your brand through your writing.
- Research Your Competition: I spend a good amount of time checking out my competition. The photography industry is exponentially growing, which makes it even more important to have a great brand. Knowing what you are up against, allows you to determine how you want to be different. Look at their brand through the eyes of consumers.
- Have fun: Branding a business is a journey. Have fun with it. Once you create your story, share it with the world. Get out there and tell it. Just be you — a fabulous creative — and don’t ever look back… keep on chasing your dreams and take your clients along for the ride of their lives!