by Christian Scully
As a small business owner, I understand the difficulties that come with trying to establish your own company. There are so many things to do, so many aspects of the operation to manage and endless costs to cover. You need to market your product or service in order to earn new business, but you need to afford the costs of marketing. It’s the old dilemma of “what came first?”
It takes time and continued effort to devise a marketing strategy that works best for your particular business. We are constantly trying new things, testing campaigns, and evaluating what will cause the phone to ring and your website to flood with traffic. As business slowly starts to roll in, you might have an opportunity to bid on a project. This is one of the most difficult parts of business that I have encountered, and I don’t feel alone in the experience. How you price will impact every other part of your business.
Know Your Costs
So how do you price your product or service? Do you compete on price? Do you compete on quality alone? What you charge says a lot about your business. I can speak personally to the creative industry, one that is packed with everyone from well-established industry veterans to high school hobbyists. As a professional that tries to represent a trade with respect and pride, I don’t want to just offer the lowest price to win a job. I want to offer a thoughtful price that covers my operational costs, my desired profit and one that is fair for the value of my service.
Plan Ahead Marketing
Marketing is an operational cost often overlooked, or neglected until a need arises. If you plan for marketing costs from the beginning, you will be able to afford it when the time comes. I often speak with potential clients that need professional photographs of a completed design project, but they don't really have a budget for it. Planning ahead for marketing is the solution. The budget for professional photography can be established before the need arises. If an interior designer considers the cost of photography when estimating a project, that operational cost can be built in to the designer's fees. Then when the project is completed, funds are already set aside for professional photography.
I highly suggest to anybody looking to hire a photographer, or build a new website, or start a pay-per-click campaign, that you plan for it from the start. If not, then you are forced to pay out-of-pocket, and you reduce your profits. Cover your costs of doing business from the time of estimating and pricing, and you’ll never have to worry about affording your marketing again.
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