If you’re in business for yourself, you’re already well aware that a majority of your time isn’t spent taking or editing photos, but doing all the other stuff that’s necessary to be successful. There is accounting to be done, phone calls and emails to return, and all that marketing you need to do to spread the word about you and your brand.
When it comes to marketing, we tend to think big - Facebook ads, having an online portfolio, business cards, and the like. But there are other highly effective ways to market your photography brand that are much more subtle and personal. Let’s have a look at a few!
Send a Print
What better way to impress a potential client than by sending them an actual print? Sure, a well-crafted email and a tasteful online portfolio can be impressive, but they just don’t have the same impact as one of your photos printed on high-quality paper with a nice, smooth finish.
If you want to make a lasting impression, invest in a set of cards like the Nature Collection from Plymouth Card Company. The cards are sized to fit a 4x6 photo - big enough so that potential clients can really have a good look at your work but small enough that they aren’t intrusive. They can be used in portrait or landscape format, and have an embossed border for added visual interest. Best of all, the cards are blank inside, so you can write a personal note to make your final pitch to the client or thank them for considering you for hire. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to make a real impression, whether you specialize in portraiture, landscapes, or wildlife photography, just to name a few.
The chances are that most of your clients will be from your nearby area, so when it comes to marketing yourself, it’s essential that you pound the pavement to spread the word in your hometown. However, doing so doesn’t have to entail loud, brash salesmanship, like hiring a sign twirler to stand on the main drag and promote your business.
To go local, try a more subtle approach and visit other businesses in your area. Introduce yourself. Ask questions of other business owners. Make inquiries about local needs for photographers. In doing so, you can make connections with other community members but do so in a very genuine manner. Plastering your face or your logo on park benches is certainly one way to go about spreading the word, but physically interacting with other people, shaking their hands, and having a conversation will be much more effective in promoting your business in the long run.
Donate, Donate, Donate
Since you work in a service-based industry anyway, rolling up your sleeves and donating your time to a worthy cause shouldn’t be that much of a stretch for you. There are always organizations in need of help, whether that’s stocking shelves with food to distribute to needy families, bathing animals at the animal shelter, or serving on the board of a local charity.
But since you have been blessed with the artistic know-how of photography, why not donate your time to photograph these kinds of events as well? Taking a Saturday afternoon here or a Sunday morning there to document an event for free will further the bonds you’ve created by talking to other business owners and extend that good will to the greater community.
What’s more, you get to help improve the lives of your friends and neighbors, while also getting a little face time for yourself. Try not to make a fuss about handing out business cards or talking too much about how great you are - instead, do a good job, take the free marketing that comes with offering pro bono services, and reap the benefits of increased exposure. Additional business will come along in no time!