Self-employement can be great, but one of the worst parts about being in business for yourself is…well, being in business for yourself. So much more responsibility rests directly on you, and you almost literally hold the key to your success or failure. You are salesman, accountant, receptionist, customer service representative, coffee fetcher…and, somewhere way down the list is the actual service you provide.
Many of us dislike or perhaps loath some of the other hats we must wear. We’d rather be shooting the covers of magazines than spending time cold-calling, trying to land that next magazine cover shoot. But, one area where many well-meaning and driven photographers lack expertise is in actually marketing their services and bringing in new clients. Sure, there are plenty of divas who simply think if they shoot what they love that the masses will blaze a trail to their door, but most photographers are simply intimidated by the prospect of marketing or at a loss as to where they should begin.
And then, there’s always the cost factor. Many of us don’t have large marketing budgets. We can’t afford to launch TV campaigns the are synchronized with print and online advertising pushes and reach tens of thousands of people in a short time. We are stingy with our money, not because of a dark, miserly side, but simply because we know the value of the money we earn and always seem to have a million other areas to which we could apply it. However, marketing your photography business doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Fashion and editorial photographer Jeff Rojas is based in New York City. He has competition on every street corner and a budget that doesn’t come to close to rivaling the GDP of even the world’s poorest nations. (I mean, which of us really does, right?) So, with a little time and creativity, Jeff has done his best to maximize the budget that he does have.
5 Marketing Approaches Under $50
- Create Great Content – Content is king, no matter what industry a person might be in. For photographers, generating new and exciting images and content is one of the best ways to create interest in your work and showcase your skills to potential clients. Nobody likes a stale sandwich, and very few like a stale portfolio.
- Network with Other Professionals – Building relationships with other professionals is extremely valuable. In the same way that pandemics can spread, so can your reach as a photographer.
- Do It For Free – Contrary to what many are preaching throughout the photo industry, there are times when working for free can be particularly beneficial. As Jeff explains, he often does editorial shoots for free because those editorials often end up in front of art directors, fashion designers, and publishers – all of which fall within his demographic. However, if a project is not mutually beneficial, there is no obligation to say yes.
- Mailers and Cold Calls – This might seem a little outdated and annoying, but it is an effective method for targeting prospective customers and building relationships. Jeff uses the analogy of dating: You wouldn’t just walk up to someone on the street and expect them to date you, so why would you expect strangers to select you simply because you told them to? Relationship first, business second. And, he’s not talking about sending out giant direct mail campaigns but rather small, precision mailings, which costs him about $50.
- Become a Guest Author – This doesn’t cost a thing except time. Find blogs within your industry or content publishers in your demographic’s industry and offer to write guest content for them. Blogs are always looking for fresh content (because content is king). It doesn’t cost them anything for the content, and it costs you nothing for the exposure. Win-win. In fact, DIYP accepts guest content…click here to learn more or submit a post.
Add these simple approaches to your marketing strategy. Maybe you don’t have the time to jump on them all at once, but if you add them to your daily business routine, bit by bit, I’m sure you will see the effectiveness of your efforts before long.
[via SLR Lounge]