A good entrepreneur should spend 20% of their time marketing themselves – this is an incredible amount of time if you think about it (1 of your working days per week?)
- Social Media
Social media is considered one of the most powerful marketing tools available today; the potential connections are virtually endless! But in order to maintain this awesome power effectively, you must consistently engage and communicate with customers and fans so that you will standout and be shared, followed and liked. Be sure and try all the popular outlets like facebook, Pinterest, Tumbler, Twitter etc.
- Word of Mouth and Up-selling
Successful networking thrives when you balance a connection to your online community with a connection to your local community. Start local, build a reputation, and then think bigger. Your local community is a very valuable source of business and will support you, plus it is possible you will get better rates for advertising because you live in the area. There are many ways you can build and strengthen your connection with your local community:
- Stay current on events happening in your area, and participate whenever possible.
- Introduce yourself and circulate business cards and brochures. Take your camera with you – just making yourself visible as a photographer can get the word out.
- Donate a free session for a local fundraiser – include a sample of your work and stacks of cards. Donating time to a charity can go a long way; even offering reduced rates for a good cause can end up working in your favor in the long term.
- Don’t forget about the client base you already have established – contact them consistently to offer them deals and find opportunities for upselling.
- Exhibit your work in a local gallery or art center, it’s the perfect opportunity to get exposure in your local community.
- Email Marketing
Build a mailing list of existing clients and encourage potential clients to join by offering deals in exchange for their email address. Pay special attention to content and timing when composing and sending your emails. Make sure your emails aren’t so frequent that the folks on your mailing list get tired of seeing them. Send a newsletter every month as a way to keep clients aware of special deals or promotions. Thoughtful, relevant content will make sure that your emails don’t end up get marked as spam. Don’t be afraid to get personal – share stories about your shoots and latest work, experiences you’ve had on a recent trip, or information about where you find your inspiration. Also, feel free to flatter your clients a bit by talking about what wonderful subjects they are and telling them how much you appreciate them! Sharing this type of information builds a more intimate connection with your audience – an audience that is not only exposed to your work as a photographer, but that is also consistently interested and engaged in your progress and feels like an integral part of your success.
- Your Website and Blog
Showcase your talent by developing and maintaining a strong online portfolio. You can choose a professional website template especially designed for photographers and have your portfolio up in less than a day.
Your images can be one of your most powerful tools, so update and change images often to hold your clients attention. Keep your portfolio full of your best photos, but not so many that they overwhelm your viewers. Also, don’t post all your photos at once – give them something to look forward to!
Feature some client testimonials and comments on your site – they could be the very thing that convinces potential clients to choose you over other photographers. A guestbook is a great way to encourage clients to post comments and is a convenient way for people to learn about how happy your clients are.
Blog, blog and blog some more! Blogging is a super effective way to express your unique personality and feature examples of your work, but if a potential client visits your site and you haven’t updated your blog in months, they may assume you’re no longer in business. If you don’t have time to blog often (it’s a REALLY good idea to make time), then don’t include a blog on your website. Keep your blogs interesting and diverse. Many photographers only blog their photos, but posting photos exclusively can become very boring for everyone except the subjects in the photos. Your blog provides you with an ideal opportunity to connect with current and potential clients, so make the most of it by taking advantage of its full potential. Creating content and bodies of work that make other people want to share it with their family, friends, and extended social media network is like having your very own marketing team.
- Getting Published
Despite the popularity of online marketing, getting your work in an actual printed publication also has the power to get you some serious attention. Introduce yourself and engage them when submitting your work. Once you find out what they are looking for, develop shots and content that fit the publication and try pitching a story idea with your photo to give it some context.
Submit your work as frequently as you can – at least once a month. This increases your chances of success.
Don’t get discouraged with rejection – there is a reason some photographers get published; it’s because they submit regularly. Be patient and continue to submit your work. The wait time to hear back from a publication can be anywhere from 3-8 weeks, and it can sometimes take several months before your work actually appears in print.
So get out there and try these tips and techniques. You will surely be on your way to photography marketing success in no time. Let us know what worked for you and be sure to share your ideas.
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