Is your well running dry? Do you have those days where the ideas just aren’t coming and you just find yourself at a loss for what to do to get customers’ attention, fill the appointment book and make the phone and the cash register start ringing?
We’ve all been there.
Here are a few things I’ve done to get the creative ideas flowing again.
Check your mailbox. Almost every day there is some kind of advertising piece, usually more than one in my mailbox. I like to study and analyze them–yes, even the bad ones–to see what they did right-or not-and to see what I can learn and how it might spark my imagination.
Surf the web. Visit other commercial websites. What kind of promotions or marketing campaigns are they running? What do you like or not like about them? Take notes. It is not cool to “lift” someone else’s marketing campaign and claim it for your own. There is nothing wrong, however, with being inspired by it and finding a way to make something similar work in your own business.
Go to the mall. Look at colors, ideas, see what the trends are, especially as they relate to your target demographic. Are you a photographer marketing to high-school seniors? Check out the trendy clothing & accessory shops to help give you ideas for your next campaign. Are you selling products and services to new moms? Check out the kids’ stores.
Do something completely different. Visit a museum or art gallery. Go to the zoo or the local botanic gardens. Go for a hike or a drive through a scenic area. Look at your surroundings; relax and enjoy where you are and what you are seeing. Giving your mind a break from the day-to-day of business often helps to get your creative juices flowing again.Get out of the office. Go for a walk. What catches your eye? Is there something memorable on a bus ad, a billboard or a shop window? Take a notebook and jot down impressions, thoughts that pop into your head or ideas that are sparked by what you see.
Check out some magazines. You should keep up with news in your industry, but choose other magazines as well. What is your demographic reading? Read a couple of those. Well, not so much read as study the advertisements. That’s where you’ll get the best marketing ideas.
I prefer not to subscribe to too many magazines; instead, I go to the bookstore and see what catches my eye. There are many options and I can choose different magazines each time I go to make sure my inspiration sources are fresh and varied. When I was doing more photography, I read Vogue, Grace Ormond Weddings, Computer Arts, Photoshop Creative and InStyle. Now I tend to study more magazines that fit the business interests and demographics of my clients so I can help them develop their marketing strategies.
Create your own mastermind group. Plan a regular get-together with other professionals in your area. They can be in your industry, or in different industries. This is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and help one another build your businesses. Someone may come up with an idea that doesn’t work for them but might be perfect for you. They might also help you figure out a way to make an idea you like but are stuck on work for your business.
What do you do to get inspired? How do you recharge when the well of creativity dries up? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.