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Plan Ahead Now For 2006; Marketing Plans And Strategies For Building Your Business Page 2

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Then There Is Stock Photography
Looking to increase your stock photo sales? Are you just breaking into the marketplace for stock photos? Whether you have been in photography for two minutes or for 20 years, there is no avoiding the issue of stock. You can "hold the line" on the topic of royalty-free and other issues, but getting into stock someway or somehow is inevitable.

Take charge and decide how you will do this. Sell on your own website? Buy a page on a stock website? Both? Whatever path you choose, read Rohn Engh's book, Sell & Re-sell Your Photos. Now in its 5th updated and revised printing, this book is considered an industry standard marketing reference for stock photography. Also, another of Engh's books, sellphotos.com, is now in libraries and bookstores and at Amazon.com. You'll find this book a helpful guide on how to use the Internet to see your stock photos. Both books are also available at: www.photosourcefolio.com/bookstore.htm.

Also check out the Stock Asylum. They have added a directory of Internet stock photography pages and a listing of alternative approaches to selling stock photos. Links to in-depth news and feature articles are also featured on the website, www.stockasylum.com.

Don't Give Up On Direct Mail
"Something different" is the key to getting response from mail with a stamp--many photographers have used direct mail but the usual methods are simply worn out. According to the Direct Marketing Association's Response Rate Study, here are some of their suggestions to improve response rate for direct mail:
· Get personal--Use new mail/merge technology to personalize your direct mail messages (check with your printing company).
· Premiums work--According to the Direct Marketing Association, direct mailers that offered premiums (gifts) received response nearly 400 percent more often than their general mail counterparts. Traditionally these are specialty adverting incentives such as notepads, white papers, tote bags, plush animals, flower bulbs, stickers, calendars, and calculators. Your challenge? Find some "gift" that is affordable for your campaign and appropriate to your targeted photography audience.
· Envelopes trump self-mailers--Successful direct mail marketing featured fewer post cards and other envelope-less formats. Self-mailers accounted for only 14 percent of all mailings, compared to 25.9 percent of all other direct mail received by the Direct Marketing Association Archive in the past decade.
· Four-color vs. two- or three-color--Mailing in four-color is the standard for direct mail today. The majority of mailers that are printed in two- or three-color typically originated in the 1990s and has worn out its welcome--the exception of course is a very nicely designed piece where the photo service is actually classy black and white photography.

Another Direct Mail Resource
In addition to the Direct Marketing Association, we talked with the folks at ADBASE Inc. (www.adbase.com), an online custom list service and provider of self-promotional resources for photographers, artist representatives, and stock agencies.
For 2006 they are adding new features based on industry feedback from photographers, artists, and creative professionals in today's online marketplace. Features like:
· Custom lists--The ability to create your own custom lists that are automatically updated every time you use them.
· Detailed contact information--The most detailed and easy to use contact information--including e-mail addresses for buyers and direct links to company websites.
· Flexible output--Numerous output options, including e-mail.
· Quick start/specialized lists--Ready-made lists full of the right buyers for particular artist specialties like People and Lifestyle Photography, Editorial Photography, Fashion Photographers, and more.
· Advanced researching--The ability to quickly and easily find information on specific buyers based on chosen criteria.
· ADBASE contact manager--Keep track of personal contacts and output them together with those from the ADBASE database.

That should give you enough ammunition to start your planning for 2006 right now. Get going and it will pay off. And have a successful year!

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