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A Guest post by Agnese Aljena
We all know that word of mouth is the best form of marketing, but for creative industries it is even more important. The world has a perception – “artists don’t like to post advertisments around, they love to create art. And if somebody is hanging posters about himself, it means he is not good enough.” The truth is that good artists really don’t need marketing, everybody finds them anyway.
We as artists can quietly help the word to spread around – I call it “silent marketing”. Here are a few tips, tested by myself and other creative people. I will not talk about internet and social networks – if you read this then most probably you know how powerful they are. This time I will be giving very practical, down to earth tips – they are very simple and very effective. The main goal is to get people talking about you.
Many artists have really nice business cards, but there are thousands and thousands that don’t even have one. I have printed a few pictures from my portfolio on my business cards and every time it turns out to be a long ceremony of business card exchange. There are a few really good things about it – people see my portfolio one more time (and I have an extra possibility to talk about this or that picture, thus turning the conversation into more emotional mode).
It attracts the attention of other people and usually more people get my cards. People can’t choose one picture, so they take two or more. Having a nice card that is chosen by taker, will add an extra possibility that the person will not throw it away. If the card is excellent, it might happen, that it will be shown to others. And if the card is exceptional – if somebody got several, then it might be passed to somebody else.
We live in a digital era and more and more photographers use digital tools to present their final work. These tools are very useful and they help to spread the word around, but don’t underestimate the world of tangible materials. If your customers are companies or high tech guys, then this might not be for you. I work with families with small children and I know that moms are too busy with their little ones. They don’t have time to share pictures on social networks and they don’t have time to print them.
Not all of them have iPads or time to upload pictures on their cell phones. A very good solution for spreading my name is good old prints that I am giving along with CD. I know that moms of my models will meet other moms. They will talk about babies and kids. And there is a bigger chance that they will take the prints and show them to others. And they do – this is how I get more than 90% of new customers.
When I give the final product to my customers, I usually get the first compliments about the result and they are about packaging. People know, they will get a CD. In most cases they think that it will be just a CD in an envelope or plastic box and most probably there will be something written with a permanent pen on the disk – just like the CDs we have at home. You can turn this moment into a positive and unexpected experience. Packaging is not that time and money consuming, but it gives you a chance to say without words that you care about your customer, she or he is special to you, and you invested more than it is expected from you. I have seen that my packaging is still alive after years! People wrap and unwrap it.
Think about time and place, where your customer will be or where he might open and see your work for the first time (in any of the form, files, CD, prints). If he or she is in the office, then all colleagues will hear about you. If there is planned a party, then all guests will see pictures and will talk about you. You know your customers better – find time and place that could help to whisper your name.
There used to be several months when I spent more time printing and packaging gift cards than taking pictures. The key is to get gift receiver cry or close to it. I am a children photographer and in most cases my contacts are young women – moms of little models. They are emotional and accessing their hearts is not very hard, but some of them really cry when opening gift card. In most cases it happens in parties, and it is hard to skip tears. Everybody will know why and your name will fly in the air for some time. I make my cards as personal as possible. I include the name of the gift receiver, I ask the gift giver to choose from several quotations – all of them are touchy, and I write the text using tiny emotional details that I ask from gift givers. All together with the nice packaging it explodes into emotions that are above average. People love to give presents that make gift receiver really happy.
And don’t forget to put several business cards into envelope of gift card or final product packaging!