From my Business Trends column on shutterbug.com, I talked with a handful of working photographers willing to share their tips and techniques on building a photography business. We discuss portfolios, new media marketing tools, how often they market to their clients and their recommendations for starting (or restarting!) your photography business in today’s marketplace. As you read their responses, please note that though they are in different fields of photography –consumer and commercial – there are remarkable similarities in their business building techniques.
Maria Piscopo: When you are looking at a your overall marketing efforts, what are your plans for the new year – using the traditional marketing tools (direct mail, ads) or new online marketing tools (websites, email blasts, blogs, Facebook) or both?
Lon Atkinson: Our marketing efforts are based on our website. Driving people to that website is our primary goal with any marketing that we do. We do email blasts four times a year. We position ourselves to rate high on Google searches and use several domain names to drive people to our primary website.
Meg Baisden: We no longer buy any print advertising; all of our advertising efforts have shifted to a web-based platform. We advertise through Google Adwords, Facebook, and we pay for a variety of listings in directories, and on blogs. We do still use an email newsletter for internal communications between our studio and past clients.
Tracey Clark: I credit the last five plus years of my career successes to the internet. If it weren’t for starting my blog, getting really involved in social media, then founding www.ShutterSisters.com, I have no idea what my career would look like right now. Through it all, I have found that engaging with like-minded and like-hearted communities has really helped to cultivate and sustain my photography career. The relationships I have established online through blogging only make my creative work that much more meaningful and enjoyable.
Marc Grauer: We do not advertise in the traditional sense, however, we do use email blasts about once a year to refresh our contact base. We are using Facebook to showcase some of our work directly to business friends and use this conservatively to update our current programs we believe will be of interest. Most of our marketing is focused on sponsorships or partnerships of events that include qualified meeting and event planners and buyers. Spending three to four days on-site with clients is more valuable to us and provides quality networking and the ability to showcase our services. Also, as a program enhancement we have developed a private web site setup for planners to assist with their internal proposals providing examples of photos and descriptions. What we are doing goes beyond just taking photos of guests at events. The webhosting allows guests to interact, share, and be social with the images we take. Guests can enjoy the photos well beyond the event and the client can use the site and images to further promote new events and future programs. We have had over 2 million hits to our galleries, all at no cost to guests and no cost to clients.