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- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers
- Tabletop Photography: Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
- Low Budget Shooting: Do It Yourself Solutions to Professional Photo Gear
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
In this post, I want to talk about the power of referrals. For a long time now, many people in the business world have known that word of mouth marketing, another way of saying customer referrals, is extremely effective (not to mention cheap).
Chances are, if someone is looking for a photographer, they will start their search in 1 of 2 ways. Either they will go online and search, or they will ask their friends or coworkers. In both situations, you can capitalize on strong word of mouth marketing in order to drive more potential clients right into your arms.
The most important part of mastering the art of the referral is to be good at what you do. If you give your client a great experience, and a great product, they will obviously be more likely to refer you to people they know. But the problem with most professionals in any industry is that they think it ends there.
The second most important part of mastering the art of the referral is to actively seek them. At the end of a job, ask the client if they were happy with the experience. When they say yes, ask them if they know anyone looking for a photographer. Even if they don’t this lets them know you’re interested in them sending you work. That will stick with them.
It’s a good idea to keep in touch with past clients. Send them emails every once in awhile to say hi, to check in, to wish them well, and to remind them that you are still open for business. You may find it helpful to give them coupons to share with friends, offering discounted services for “friends of a client”.
And to help you with the online aspect of referrals, remind those satisfied with your work to say so in public. Tell them to check out your profile online and give you a good rating or review. Maybe you are listed on Yelp, or Angie’s List, or your own Facebook page where it would help to get a strong testimonial. Most people are happy to do this, they just need to be asked.
The worst mistake you can make is to assume that your clients will recommend your services on their own. Don’t hesitate when it comes to asking them for help. It doesn’t make you less professional or desperate, it makes you smart.
Homework: Get in touch with a past client and ask for a referral. If you don’t have any past clients, get in touch with a friend and ask if they know anyone who needs a photographer. Report back on what happens next in the comments section below.
P.S. If you have a marketing question, feel free to ask it in the comments here or Tweet your question to us with the tag #PhotoMarketing101 . Your question may be the next one we answer on our blog!