Image courtesy of woodleywonderworks
This is third and final part of our series focused on answering some challenging questions that wedding photographers may have when considering free vs paid advertising options, both broadly and within the specific context of SnapKnot.
In Part 1, we discussed some conceptual differences to consider between free and paid listings, and took you through some simple return on investment calculations.
In Part 2 we discussed commitment (“are you in it to win it, or are you just dipping your toes in the water.”) and how to avoid the costly traps of Confirmation Bias.
With Part 1 and Part 2 as background, today we’re going to discuss the “we tried it; it didn’t work” phenomena, within the specific context of long term commitment to your online advertising plan – we’ll assume you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and jump into the pool, but now you’re wondering how long you should hold your breath.
Consider this example from Gary Vaynerchuck’s book The Thank You Economy, where he is specifically talking about “excuses companies tend to make when justifying their refusal to commit to and invest in social media.”
[The “we tried it, it doesn’t work mentality”] shows a total lack of patience, which makes no sense in a business setting. A lot of business leaders have been willing to give social media initiatives a shot [often to the tune of several hundred thousand, if not millions of dollars]. They posted comments and tweeted like crazy for six months or, worse, six weeks, and they didn’t see any results. Web traffic didn’t increase enough; sales didn’t spike; content didn’t go viral. Faced with disappointing results, they patted themselves on the back for trying something new and slammed the door. If they’re progressive they chalked up the failure to getting in too early on an immature platform, but most are convinced the platform is hype and not worth the effort. They’re like people who have not seen a bicycle and try to pedal with their hands, then toss it aside, declaring the thing a waste of time and impractical for transportation.
Social media is a long-term play, which is why a majority of companies that have tried it have failed to reach their potential…You can’t reap the benefits of social media…without a ton of patience, as well as commitment and strategy.
So what does this mean for your wedding photography business? Simply put, it means that in the same way it takes a long time to build a meaningful social media presence, online brand exposure takes time, and you have to be in it to win it. But how long, you might ask?
Remember the return on investment calculation from Part 1? That’s a perfect place for you to start determining your time commitment. While we recommend a trial period of at least 6 months on SnapKnot paid listings, you should try running different numbers and come up with a plan that is desirable for you both in terms of expected financial return and the financial commitment required for you to stay the course. This will be a different threshold for everyone.
But most importantly, if your return on investment calculation is based on a test period of one year, then it only makes sense to stay committed for that entire year. If you “don’t see results” in 3 months and then choose to downgrade to a Free account, you’ve actually eliminated 75% (9 months) of the upside in your calculation! If you’ve made the smart decision to invest in a paid listing, you will want to strongly consider the equally smart decision to stay committed to the entire course.
So just like building a social media presence, investing in a paid online advertising platform should be considered a long term play. It’s truly the case that the path to success requires not only an in-depth assessment of the likelihood of success for different advertising options (for example, reasonably analyzing the feature differences between the Free and Diamond SnapKnot listings), a complete data analysis (make sure to avoid the confirmation bias trap), a certain financial investment (consider that return on investment calculation), and long term commitment.
Of course, in the end all of this means different things to different individuals and businesses, but we hope this discussion has been useful for you as you consider the different marketing options our there for your wedding photography business.
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