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Target Your Markets
By Rohn Engh

Times are tough, and they have been tough economically for a while. Many photographers are experiencing a drop in stock sales, and many publishers of magazines and books are trying to cut corners.

Some photographers are cutting corners, too.
But a word of caution. Cutting corners can be a necessary business practice when times are tough financially, but of course the key to doing this right and not hurting your business instead of helping it, is to know what to cut and what to leave alone.
Generally speaking, you naturally want to avoid cutting anything that directly generates income for you, providing the profits outweigh the expenses. This includes things like image production, marketing, information services, and advertising. You may have to cut down in some of these areas, but don’t cut them entirely.




As you know by now, getting on the radar screens of photobuyers and staying there is the single most important thing for your business. Cutting your advertising and marketing activities is a surefire way of falling off that radar screen. Yes, you may have sold your first stock photo to Jane Doe, a photobuyer, last month. But remember the old adage, “You are past history to a photobuyer after your first sale. Continual promotion will keep you on that radar screen.” The current dip in image usage is only temporary, and when things get back to normal, you’ll want to make certain that you are on the minds of all the photobuyers that are important to you.
Good, professional marketing is the key to success for any business, but this becomes even more important when times are rough. In fact many successful businesses will increase, rather than decrease, marketing during rough times. In the case of the stock photo business, when fewer images are being licensed, there are fewer opportunities for your work to be selected over the work of a competitor. Even though the number of customers may still be the same, the number of sale-opportunities have shrunk, and it’s more important than ever to keep your name in front of your buyers.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Telephone: 1 800 624 0266 Fax: 1 715 248 7394. Web site:

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