I recently had lunch with a friend who owns a wedding photography business.

Hit the sweet spot: finding business success in creativity

We were eating eggs Benedict and talking business when I asked him about the average lifetime of his clients. He told me that if he can secure a client who’s just about to get engaged, he’ll get the contract for their engagement shoot, wedding, pregnancy shoot, family portraits, and anniversaries over the next 10 years. One good client picked up at the right time will make him thousands of dollars over the next decade, and he signs up at least 15 of these happy couples a year.

Success for him means finding clients who are just about to get engaged, and getting them to use his services. While he could invest heavily in social media advertising or SEO (and he does to some degree), he finds the most effective way to get long term clients is to be creative.

“It’s simple,” he said. “Find the one thing they all have in common, and invest your advertising there.”

Being the creative that he is, Dave realised that all couples who get engaged visited a jewellery store at some point. So he made a deal with local jewellers in the nearby cities so that, any couples who come in and spend over $3,000 on an engagement ring, get a discounted engagement shoot. It’s valuable to the jeweller since it encourages upsell and helps capture that moment of joy. And once the couple see how talented, skilled, and professional Dave is, they keep coming back. It’s genius really.

Find what customers have in common

I’m sure by now you’ve heard people telling you to know who your customers are, and that you should have a profile of what they do. This is why.

Most clients will have at least one thing in common, even though they’re from all different walks of life. A banker and a locksmith walk into a bar. To you, they couldn’t be more different. A marketer sees that both of them are in the bar: they have something in common. This is an opportunity.

Know who they are!

If my friend had just tried to find middle aged men and women for photo shoots, he wouldn’t have been able to focus his marketing effort like he has. Instead, he narrowed it down to a specific group of people (newly engaged couples) within his broad target market (25-35 year olds with money to spend). Getting super specific like this helps you find the marketing opportunities.

Get all up in your niche

I’m not going to tell you how to find your niche because there’s a fantastic article on doing that right here. The most important thing is to remember that a niche market satisfies specific market needs. Find these needs. Talk to your customers and find what makes them different from everyone else.

Don’t worry about your competition or what they’re doing. There are several photographers competing with my friend, but he doesn’t worry about them. He thinks about the customer first, and this allows him to beat the competition.

Since you’re working in this industry, it’s fair to assume that you, like Dave, have abundant creativity. This gives you an advantage over other business owners. If you know your customers and know how to reach them you don’t need to do your marketing like everyone else. Your creativity will spell success for you and your business.