If you are in business for yourself, then you know that advertising is the key to building your business. Advertising can be expensive and without guaranteed results. Thinking outside of the box tends to get more results and if you are creative enough, cheaper as well.
So, how does a photographer stand out above other photographers to get work?
One way to stand out is to specialize in something and then broadcast it to your community. Do you love taking family portraits the best? How about pets? My goal is to specialize in maternity/newborn photography. If you want to go with this route, then it narrows your market down to make it easy to connect with the right people.
Some marketing ideas to attract specific clients:
Connect with maternity clothing stores:
- Ask to swap brochures, business cards, etc.
- Offer to hang a maternity or newborn portrait on their wall if they will put your business cards on their counter.
- Offer to do a photo shoot modeling some of their clothing.
Connect with Ob Gyn offices:
- Make a desk calendar with photos of babies and drop off at all doctor's offices-I do this and it's a big hit with the doctors. They love them!
- They would probably love to have a baby portrait on their wall as well.
- They might be will to exchange advertising too.
- Make a mini "magazine" with short articles about pregnancy and babies in it and include an ad for your photography services. Stick a postcard advertising a special in them as well. Drop the magazines off at doctor's offices, letting them know they are free for patients to read. This isn't as expensive as you might think!
Do maternity "model" casting call sessions:
- Put an ad on Craigslist, offering a discounted (or free) sessions stating that you want to try out new props or outfits.
- Offer prints from session with every referral they send.
- Offer a free newborn session if they send 5 clients your way.
- Go to local second hand clothing stores and exchange advertising.
- They might be interested in free portraits for their walls.
- Have a give-a-way and ask if they would let you put a bowl on their counter for people to enter.
- Go to mom related vendors and ask if they would be interested in networking.
- Go to family restaurants that do parties, like Chuckie Cheese types and offer to do a give-a-away to shoot a party for free in exchange for your business cards on their counter.
- Go to shelters and offer to do their pet photos for the paper.
- Volunteer to shoot a pet event like doggie runs, etc.
- Hold a holiday photo event, like Halloween costume contest. Donate proceeds to local shelter.
Marketing for all photography markets:Below are ideas that you can use no matter what you specialize in:
Start a "vendor bag"- Collect local businesses' cards and specials and put them together in a pretty bag that you give to clients.
Mini "magazines"- You can make wedding and family mini magazines as well. Sometimes, a business may turn up their nose to networking-I don't know why-but, I have come across businesses that think you are trying to get free advertising out of them. That's why I find it easier sometimes to be able to walk into a business and offer them something for free to hand out to their customers instead.
Desk calendars- These work well for other doctor's offices and even dentists!
Do a charity calendar or book-I heard these give you lots of free publicity!
Some more expensive advertising routes:
If you have the budget, I would definitely recommend putting your business in the phone book. I really don't think that it's THAT expensive to list your business. Ours is 300 a year. I don't have mine in there yet, but, I think I'm going to see what my budget is around the time that they do printing.
Another more expensive route you might want to consider especially if you specialize in seniors is renting a kiosk at your local mall. These can be costly, but the return could be worth it. Our mall has 1-3 months options, so I might consider doing two months to see if it pays off.
I'm sure there are lots of more awesome marketing ideas that you readers have and I'd love to hear about them! Leave us a comment and let us know what you do!