You’ve started your photography business and have had some bookings, but you would like to get more clients to fill the holes in your schedule. The question is, how do you do that?
There are many approaches to attracting more clients, but one stands above the rest in terms of effectiveness.
It’s simple: stop relying so much on the internet for leads and get back out into the real world.
This isn’t to poo-poo the idea of online marketing because it is indeed a powerful and necessary tool for your success. But it’s also not the end-all, be-all medium for attracting more customers.
That phrase “it’s all about who you know” isn’t a common saying for no reason. Sure, it’s nice to have a ton of followers on Instagram or have a wide reach with your blog, but if you live in Los Angeles, your followers and fans from Moscow aren’t going to be booking you for a session anytime soon.
As a result, if you want to ramp up the number of bookings you have, it’s important to get out into the real world and pound the pavement in your area. Talk with other local business owners, attend chamber of commerce functions, attend local events, shake hands, maybe even kiss a few babies too. Get your name and your face out there, and people will take notice.
Of course, making the most of networking in your area requires knowing when and where to show up. The key here is to spend your time with as much of your target audience as possible. So, if you’re a wedding photographer, beat the streets and have some face-to-face discussions with bakeries, bridal shops, flower shops, and other local businesses that deal with the same clientele as you. Introduce yourself, ask if you can leave some fliers or business cards, and offer to cross-promote. If you’re willing to scratch their backs, they’ll be willing to scratch yours.
If you’re a portrait photographer, attend family-oriented events in your city or town. Fourth of July celebrations, winter solstice parties, parades, rodeos...anywhere that you might be able to set up a booth and promote your work will attract the attention of locals and get more butts in the seats, so to speak.
Another option is to volunteer your time and services to local organizations. Whether it’s a pancake supper fundraiser for the local school or an adoption drive at the animal shelter, non-profit groups and organizations are always looking for a way to publicize their events. Offering to take photos of these kinds of events means you get involved in the community, help out a good cause, and get some exposure for yourself as well.
While it’s nice to be able to sit on the couch in your pj’s and write a blog or spend a couple of hours promoting your posts on Facebook, there’s nothing quite like putting on a smile and shaking hands with the people in your area. After all, they will be the ones most likely to need your services, so the more you engage with them face to face in the real world, the better off you will be.