Success takes hard work, period.
One of the things I’ve learned in many years of running a small business is that there’s no guarantee of success, no matter what you do, how well you do it or how talented you think you are.
I can guarantee you one thing, though: You will fail in your attempts at success if you expect not to work hard, or plan to let other people do the hard work for you. I’ve seen a lot of talented people fail miserably, and some rather marginally talented people have immense success, based on their attitude, passion and dedication, as well as their marketing and promotion work. I do my best to make sure that I’m taking responsibility for my success.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
– Winston Churchill
If you read my blog or follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know I’m a huge fan of quotes. I find these pearls of wisdom to be the perfect antidote to the blues, or just a reaffirmation of what I already know but need to hear again and again. Positive reinforcement is a good thing if it gets you to take action on the things you need to do in order to have a chance at the success you think you deserve.
“Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.”
– Napoleon Hill
Writing about the work that we must do and the responsibility that we must take in delivering our message to the right audience is as much an exercise for me as advice for you. It’s an effort to believe in yourself and work your ass off – but that’s how you make good things happen.
If you’ve been reading about My Marketing Adventure, you know I’m working with a great team of Agency Access marketing experts, who are guiding me through the plotting of my marketing and branding strategies. Notice I said “guiding me,” not “doing the work for me.” We are a team. If I didn’t take responsibility for the overall success of the campaign, it would be doomed from the start.
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
– Maya Angelou
I’ve been working with Jennifer Kilberg, my Campaign Manager Pro consultant. Together we’ve planned my website flow and design, tied in all of my branding elements and worked on getting my email and direct-mail promotional pieces delivered to the right people. I didn’t hand this work off to her and forget about it; quite the opposite. I’ve never spent more time and effort on my marketing than this year. I’m doing my best to assume responsibility for my own success.
Will this strategy work for me? Who knows? But I do know that if I work harder and smarter, my chances for success are much higher.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
– Samuel Goldwyn
Agency Access has a fantastic internal search engine and list builder, which helps a lot with their national database of over 70,000 creatives. Going through all that data is not one of my favourite chores – this is one I definitely share with my marketing team – but when the lists are done, we send an initial email blast and eagerly check the open and click-through rates.
This data tells us who should get a direct-mail piece and who we should contact by telephone. I also check the lists to make sure they include important contacts at companies or magazines I want to work with. This means more work for me, but more marketing work will give me more opportunities to get actual work from good clients.
Let’s take a look at how we refine a list in the Agency Access database.
Under “List Options” I’m going to select:
- Company Types: Magazines
- Hiring Frequency: Companies That Hire Photographers and Companies That Buy Stock Photography
- Campaign Type: Email and Direct Contacts
- Countries: All (in my subscription package)
- United States: All except Kansas. No, I don’t hate Kansas. I’m just showing you how specific you can get when selecting locations.
- Metro Areas: All
- Canada: All Provinces
Under “Company Criteria” I selected:
- Titles: Art Director, Design Director, Graphic Designer, Editor, Publisher, Photo Editor, Creative Director
- Specialities: Architecture & Construction, Landscapes & Locations, Photography, Travel/Hotels/Airlines, Urban
I left “Awards” blank, but if you really want to refine your selection for creatives who have won big industry awards, there are filter choices:
In this list we get:
TOTAL: 1,042 contacts from 433 companies.
Let’s take a look at an obvious choice from these companies and contacts, such as National Geographic Traveller. I’ll click on the line once to highlight it to see the details of the contacts in the top right of the screen; for even more info, I’ll double-click and a new screen will open with the full company info:
As you can see, this allows you to see the names, titles and email addresses of the creatives and the company websites. This is a great resource for doing even more research into companies and magazines that interest you. Any of the individual contacts in these lists can be added to your final saved list of contacts.
There will certainly be companies that you’ll want to research more to see if your type of photography applies. This matters; even more after you finish an email blast and want to follow up with phone calls or direct-mail cards.
Take the time to find out if the ad agencies, companies and magazines are using your type of photography. Follow the links to their websites and do some sleuthing to see what brands an agency represents or what type of photography a magazine really uses, and use that information to make your decisions about who you should follow up with, and how.
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
Agency Access can provide you with the tools to do your marketing, but tools can’t build anything without someone using them to their potential. A great new camera or lens is not going to take amazing photos for you, and your marketing plans won’t work if you don’t take the time to work on them. The tools are there to help you –it’s up to you to take charge and dedicate the proper amount of time and enthusiasm to your own marketing adventure.