Book Review: "Marketing for Solos"

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By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently ordered a copy of the newly released book, “Marketing for Solos,” by Jeanna Pool. After reading the book cover to cover in a single weekend, I thought to myself: “this book could be really helpful to photographers!” As small business owners, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with various facets of running our business (usually a one-person show). In her book, Jeanna Pool cuts through the philosophical jibber jabber of marketing, and offers real world advice and practical suggestions for the solo business owner.

The tenets of marketing aren’t new to me. I came away from college with a degree in both Studio Art and Business Management, so I know the theories of marketing. I know what we all, as small business owners, should be doing to market our businesses. But I also know that, too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running our studios and forget to devote time to our marketing tactics.

That’s where Pool’s book comes in. More than just a book to read once and add to your library, “Marketing for Solos” is designed to help you work through some of the important cornerstones of your marketing plan. Pool walks you through how to determine or find your niche market, why you need to focus your marketing efforts on prospects with specific traits, and how to develop effective marketing pieces that will yield results. Additionally, the book focuses on strategically diversifying your marketing efforts so that you don’t end up with all your eggs in one basket.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Pool about how this book could be particularly useful for photographers. Pool said, “It's one of the only books of its kind that teaches the solo photographer how to market their business successfully. It can be really hard to market your business when you can't be in two places at once … [‘Marketing For Solos’] makes marketing manageable.” I also asked Pool what one most useful tidbit of information photographers might take away from her book. She said, “The biggest thing photographers need to do is pick a focused niche. It separates the successful photographers from those who are just ‘getting by.’”

I really took to heart one of Pool’s comments from the book: “Most small businesses struggle, fumble, and ultimately fail for one simple reason—lack of clients. And a lack of clients is a result of one thing—a lack of marketing” (p. 20). There are many artistically competent photographers whose businesses are walking a fine line between failure and survival simply because they don’t know how to market. Waiting for clients to fall into your lap is not an effective way to stay in business. You may be the one “doing it all” at your studio, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice when it comes to marketing. “Marketing for Solos” will help you to market yourself, and your business, in a way that is sustainable for the one-person small business.

“Marketing For Solos” is available at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Solos-Ultimate-How-Successfully/dp/0976996278) for $19.95. For more information about the book, visit Jeanna Pool’s website: marketingforsolos.com.

Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP, has a portrait studio in Dexter, Michigan (BPhotoArt.com); she shares tips and ideas for photographers at LearnWithBetsy.com.

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