One of the challenges of charging for your photography is figuring out how to get clients. You’ve got the technical know-how, but what about the business and marketing side? Strapped for cash and looking for ways to generate buzz about your photography? No problem. Marketing doesn’t have to cost much money if you are willing to put in the time. Here are 11 proven ways to get free marketing for your photography business:
Networking is a great way to get your name out there and make connections with other businesses that can lead to partnerships and referral business. Be sure to have a plan of what you would like to accomplish (meet two new people, etc.) go prepared to chat up lots of new people and finally, have a plan for follow up. It’s those follow up get-togethers for coffee that can lead to new business.
Wisestamp is a free email app that allows you to turn every email signature into a mini marketing campaign-you can add your links for Facebook, Twitter and your blog, as well as include feeds so your latest update or post is featured.
Many photographers are successfully building their business with Facebook marketing. It only requires about 10-20 minutes per day, and you will start to see your reputation grow. Why would you want to get on Facebook when you are already blogging? Because that’s where your clients are, and it’s another opportunity to connect with them in a fun, social way.
Pinterest is basically a way for users to collect and share images of things they like or convey a concept they want to express. It’s another great way to connect with your clients and prospective clients about creative ideas for their sessions or to express your own creative vision. It’s a very diverse platform that works for photographers who tend to be visual.
Cross-marketing is partnering up with another business in order to help each other with marketing. Perhaps you could approach a children’s clothing store about offering a photo shoot with their latest clothing collection in exchange for holding a mini marathon session at the store?
Think outside the box and figure out where your clients are. This concept can be applied to any type of photography. Not everyone you approach will be receptive, so you keep trying until you find a good match.
A blog is a great way to communicate with your audience what you are all about and what you offer. Your blog is basically a blank canvas to express creative ideas, share bits about your personal life, educate clients, share images and showcase products. A website is like a brochure, whereas a blog is like an ongoing conversation.
Check out this article on ProBlogger to learn how to start and set up a blog.
Search engine optimization is not as complicated as it seems. If you have a blog, it’s easy to get started. All you do is include keywords in text, tags and images that will help customers find you. For example, you could do separate blog posts about different types of services to help people find you when they are searching for that service. To take it a step further, name images with keywords, so instead of loading up 3209KL rename to “Wake Forest Wedding” so people searching for images of weddings in Wake Forest will find you. Once you understand the basics, it becomes easy to include SEO as a part of your regular activities.
Local Listings Online
Get Listed is a free one-stop service for updating local listings online. The process can easily be completed in about ten minutes, so it is well worth the time and super simple to do.
Past clients are a great source of referrals, and what better way to encourage referrals than offering incentives? Offer a service or product that doesn’t cost too much but has a high perceived value as a referral incentive. When business owners say “my business is based on referrals from happy clients” and “the greatest compliment you can give me is a referral” they are letting their clients know what they would like them to do. You have to ask for the referral.
Contests are a great way to do build buzz and build excitement for your brand. You’ll want to put together a plan that encouraging sharing so your message can be spread to new potential customers, and therefore build your base. Be sure to follow state laws and Facebook terms whenever holding a contest on your page or blog.
If you want to focus on building press and prestige for your work, getting published is a great way to go. You can submit images and story ideas to trade publications in your field as well as local media outlets. Once you’ve been published, you can use that publicity as a tool to promote yourself and open doors to more work. I’ve written a free guide on getting published that you can download today.
So there you have it. Some of these techniques can be implemented in the next 30 minutes; others require a greater time commitment. Marketing takes time to nurture and grow into a reliable source of leads, so don’t expect overnight results. However, if you are planning to build a business to last, then what better time to lay the foundation for success than right now?
Lara White is a professional photographer and blogger. Her free guide explains the step-by-step process she used to get featured in over 70 magazines and blogs: Get Published: A Guide for Wedding Photographers. For a weekly dose of business and marketing advice for photographers, check out her blog at PhotoMint.