Hey fellow photography shutterbugs, let’s talk shop.  It should come as no surprise if you’ve followed me for a while that I believe very strongly in creating measurable and attainable goals for myself. When it comes to marketing, this is especially important. If you’re relying on social media alone as your only marketing avenue, well then, you’re missing the mark. Pun intended.

If you’re ready to level up your business game in 2024, I’m here to help you recognize the importance of making SMART goals.  What are SMART goals?  They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  So, grab that notepad and get ready to craft a 2024 photography marketing plan that’s as crisp and clear as your best photograph.

how to set intentions for your business

Decoding SMART Goals for a 2024 Photography Marketing Plan

Let’s break down the means to this method. Your goals should be:

  • Specific – you want to start with defining precise and unambiguous objectives. For example, let’s say that your 2024 goal is to increase your website engagement.
  • Measurable – Instead of a broad aim, as above, you’re going to want to establish a concrete criteria that will help you gauge your progress and give you a measurable roadmap for how to get there. With measurability, you establish a concrete number that’s going to help you gauge your progress.  This might lead you to a goal of increasing your website engagement by 25%.  In order to measure your success, you’re going to need an understanding of where you are starting.  If you aren’t sure how to establish a baseline understanding of your current marketing reach, might I suggest you delve into the world of understanding your current web traffic, how to find those numbers, and what they mean with the google analytics academy.
  • Attainable – Dreaming big might be encouraged on instagram, but I’ve got two feet squarely on the ground and I’m here to suggest that practicality is the way to go. You want to create goals that are challenging, yet realistic. Think achievable. You want your aspirations to be within reach, enough so that it fosters a sense of motivation and doesn’t leave you feeling incapable or discouraged by something insurmountable.
  • Relevant – By creating relevant goals, you’re aligning your intentions with the broader strategy of the growth of your business or your professional development. It’s not just about setting goals, but about setting goals that will purposely help you foster your brand identity, increase your revenue in a way that honors your ideals, and purposely contributes to your brand’s narrative.
  • Time-Bound – No procrastination here kids! Goals demand not only deadlines, but schedules that you can work with and that will help you create lasting habits.  You want to set a deadline for your goal that provides you with a sense of urgency so that it doesn’t get shoved to the back of your to-do list, but that is also, yes – attainable. Consider specifying weekly steps that will help you achieve said goals.  For example, every Monday you sit down and write your blog post for the week before you tackle additional tasks.  Your revised goal now becomes that you intend to increase your website engagement 25% over the next 6 months through the creation and promotion of weekly blog posts that you write on Mondays featuring targeted keywords.

As you start to practice creating business goals for 2024, you’ll come to find that using SMART criteria forms a foundation that helps lead to success.

Examples of 2024 photography marketing plan goals:

  1. Specific Goal:
    • Objective: Increase Portrait Session Bookings
    • Details: Book a minimum of 20 additional portrait sessions specializing in families in 2024, spread equally over all 4 quarters of 2024.
  2. Specific Goal:
    • Objective: Expand Social Media Presence
    • Details: Achieve a 25% increase in Instagram followers by consistently posting captivating behind-the-scenes content, reels, and client testimonials over the next six months.
  3. Specific Goal:
    • Objective: Enhance Website Engagement
    • Details: Increase website engagement by 25% within the next six months through the creation and promotion of weekly blog posts featuring targeted and long tail keywords that are posted every Monday.
  4. Specific Goal:
    • Objective: Show up consistently on social media
    • Details: Achieve a 50% increase in social media engagement with followers by posting 3 images and 2 reels a week, every week in 2024.

Crafting Your 2024 Photography Marketing Plan:

Enough with the theory; let’s get to the practical aspects of shaping your 2024 marketing plan. From specific campaigns to measurable targets, achievable milestones, relevant strategies, and time-bound deadlines – consider this your systematic roadmap to business success. Your homework, should you choose to accept it is to:

1. Create Specific Campaigns: Identify and outline specific campaigns that align with your overarching marketing goals. Instead of generic promotions, pinpoint initiatives that cater to precise audience segments or highlight distinct facets of your services. Specificity is going to give you a sense of direction and, more importantly, a sense of purpose. If you aren’t sure where to start, head on over to the always helpful ChatGPT and ask for suggestions. An example of a prompt might be, “Suggest 10 specific marketing campaigns for a professional photographer looking to grow their portrait business.”

2. Create Your Measurable Target: Numbers matter, and so does your ability to track progress. Establish clear, measurable targets that serve as benchmarks for success. Whether it’s tracking website visits, lead conversions, increasing revenue, or social media engagement, having quantifiable metrics allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and make adjustments as you go along.

3. Achievable Milestones: Set milestones and mark them on a calendar. They should challenge you but remain within the realm of attainability. These are the stepping stones that bridge the gap between where you are now and your ultimate business goals. Breaking down larger objectives into achievable milestones provides a roadmap that builds confidence and momentum.

4. Relevant Strategies: Ensure that your chosen strategies align with the broader narrative of your business and with your ideals. Consider how each tactic contributes to your brand identity and resonates with your target audience. Don’t know who your target audience is?  Ding, ding, ding! Maybe finding out WHO your target audience is is your 2024 marketing objective. Aligning your marketing strategies with the relevance of your brand ensures a cohesive and compelling narrative that will continue to drive sales, traffic, and interest in your services.

5. Time-Bound Deadlines: Only 20% of New Year Resolutions are attained – don’t be that person. By establishing realistic but firm timelines for each goal and milestone, you are providing yourself with a way to focus on the task at hand in manageable chunks and a path to effective execution.

Consider this breakdown not just a strategic exercise but your systematic roadmap to photography business success in 2024. Now, let’s turn those aspirations into actionable steps and make strides toward a year of unparalleled success.