Choosing your business name and logo, setting up your shiny website and having something to sell to clients is just the starting point. Now you need to get out there and tell people all about yourself and what your do – market yourself. This is where the real work begins!!
So you want to start a photography business?
Part V: Marketing your business.
In today’s economic climate Portrait Photography is considered to be a luxury commodity in many quarters, which makes it even harder to get clients into your studio. So you will need to be able to market not only your business but you must also be able to sell yourself. Sadly, it’s not something that comes easy to many people, photographers included, but like it or not clients do look for personality and book people they feel they can connect with.
Where to start?
This is not an exhaustive list but more like the 5 most popular methods used by many businesses, including photographers.
There are lots of print companies that will print large quantities of flyers at a very reasonable price. You then need to decide which area you are going to target and then deliver the leaflets through the letterboxes.
Your flyer should be low on text and high on images. Make sure you highlight the services you offer and don’t forget to include contact details – e-mail address, website AND phone number. You think I’m joking, sadly I’m not. I was once shown a draft promotion flyer and there were no contact details . . . oops!!
Offering a discount or free product on production of the leaflet never hurts either.
Distributing flyers is a cheap method of advertising, it’s also supposed to be good for your health but not necessarily your feet!!
What’s the difference between a flyer and a poster I hear you cry?
Besides the difference in size, quite a lot. The main one is that Posters are static, usually pinned to walls, and require a captive audience; an audience that is also stationary in one place for more than just a few seconds. Think Dr’s waiting rooms, think cafe’s and coffee shops, think of anywhere that potential clients can be seated for longer than 5 minutes.
Most supermarkets, public spaces and shopping centres offer free bulletin board space for announcements or advertisements. This method can be hit or miss depending on footfall so try to make your poster stand out and be “visible”. Whilst its not as captive as a Dr’s waiting room or a cafe there is the potential to find clients if the poster is right.
Ideally your poster will be a minimum of A4 in size, eye-catching, with fantastic images and an easy to read font; believe me there’s nothing worse than trying to read a poster with a squiggly font that’s hard to read at a distance!!
3. Social Media and the Internet:
As I mentioned in a previous post, your website will play a significant part in your marketing strategy so it’s important to some attention to your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Whilst I could give you some good basic tips that will get your website found, I’m not an expert and can’t guarantee you a position on page 1 of Google.
But I know a man who does know what he’s doing and he does it very well 🙂
Kevin Mullins not only runs a highly successful wedding photography business but has also helped other photographers with their businesses, marketing, SEO and social media strategies for the past 5 years – he’s also a really nice guy. Full details of all his training PLUS lots of other useful information can be found at the Idea Hub – did I mention he’s also a really nice guy?
Social Media has really taken off over the past 5 years and now plays an integral part of many businesses. For photographers they are an excellent marketing tool. All have the opportunity to upload images to show off your latest shoot to your clients, they in turn will (hopefully) be shouting your name from the rooftops. Is there a better way of getting free advertising?
** It’s also worth remembering to get the clients permission before uploading any images. The majority will not have any objections but the odd one may refuse, for whatever reason it’s best to respect their decision.
What about once you’ve got some clients?
The simplest way of staying in contact with your new found clients is with a Newsletter. An e-mail newsletter is simple to construct and gets to your client quickly, it also saves you having to call each one in turn when you have something to tell them.
How to do it? Simply get their emails when they first come to your studio and create a database or list, then just keep adding to it.
With your ever-expanding client list you will be able to give your clients prior warning of any promotions you may be running, offer them additional discounts as existing clients or just use it as a way of keeping contact. Don’t forget to allow for enough time for them to react to your promotions – for example there is no point contacting clients at the beginning of December to tell them all about your Christmas promotion; some of your products may take 4-6 weeks to arrive and Christmas will have been long gone.
Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful sources of bookings for photographers. People are way more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend than an ad in a magazine. You need to be working hard to get referrals.
There are lots of ways to encourage referrals. You can set up a formal referral program that rewards clients for sending new business your way. Or you can simply give them a stack of business cards along with their photos, and let them know just how much you appreciate them telling their friends about you. Or do both!!
However you do it, just don’t neglect those referrals. They will be the backbone of your business!
These are just a few ideas to get you started on the market path, now its up to you to do the hard work – have fun x
The penultimate blog post will look at the importance of quality training.