The Death of Traditional Advertising

The economy, the increased competition caused by fewer clients, as well everyone that buys a digital SLR thinking they have become a professional photographer and to top it off, the advertising that used to work to bring in more clients has stopped working.  Good Lord after writing that I want to sell my studio and become a school teachers or something!  While these times are trying to our determination, the solutions comes in learning new ways to cope with our new challenges not resort to old ways that are ineffective.

Just about every traditional advertising method that photographers have used in the past is much less effective than it used to be.  From direct mail to television, our advertising messages are reaching fewer and fewer potential clients, while the costs keep increasing.  But so many photographers, desperate to recapture the business that increased competition and the economy have taken from them, keep pouring more of their dollars into traditional advertising.  Even mall and theater displays which used to drive major traffic to our studios, have lost a great deal of their impact and are much less of a wise investment for many photographers.

This isn’t just in photography, business owners across the board are having to reach their clients in different and unique ways.  My wife breeds high-end, Champion White German Shepherds.  She has always sold the majority of every litter before they are ever born.  For the few remaining puppies of each litter that are not sold, she used to simply advertise in some of the newspapers in the larger areas around the state.  Newspapers simply stopped working, although the cost to run the ads kept going up!

Part the problem with traditional advertising is the change in our society in the way we buy things.  The internet has given us the ability to find any information about products or services we want, when we want them.  Before the internet, people would hear of a product or service they might have a need for through advertising and that person felt that they needed to remember the ad or it would be lost.  Now,  people for the most part ignore advertising or look at is as the equivalent to spam, because they know they can look up the information quickly and easily when they have a need.

This shift has brought about an explosion of online and social media marketing.  I was working with my son on search engine optimization the other day and found a local photographer had a paid ad for the key word search of jeff smith photography and photographer!  Flattering and confusing at the same time.  If someone was looking up Jeff Smith Photographer specifically and I am at the top of the natural search, why would that person click on an ad for another photographer that wasn’t Jeff Smith?

As we change our focus of marketing from offline to online we need to give our marketing plans some thought and use the same principles of marketing that have always worked in this new medium, instead of using knee-jerk reactions to changes in our business and coming up with one bone-head idea after another to see “what sticks”.  Social Media, Blogs, website and PPC give us many opportunities to be where are potential clients are, but we have to learn to use these new tools properly.

Right now my new book Social Media Marketing For Photographers, that comes with a 20 minutes video tutorial is on Sale for $15, Save 25%.  Both PC and Mac compatible, secure download and paypal payment.

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 25, 2010.

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