Monday, December 31, 2007

Marketing. What works?

You can't imagine how many emails I receive in the course of a day from young and new photographers seeking advise about equipment, lighting and marketing their business.

The vast majority of the questions I receive are marketing related questions. I'm constantly asked how I market my business... "How do you get your jobs?"

Marketing your business or services is a complicated matter and the method you use will depend on the clients your serving. If you are a portrait photographer shooting families and seniors for example or you shoot weddings, your method will differ vastly from that of an adverting or corporate photographers.

I've worked as a corporate photographer for more than 24 years and have tried many different methods to market my business. So many so, that I feel that it might take several posts to get through all of them and to offer the many avenues available in today's business world.

I've used SOURCE BOOKS, DIRECT MAIL and the INTERNET to advertise or market my business. Source Books are hardbound directories that photographer advertise in, Corporate Showcase, AR-100 and Black Book would be examples of those. Direct mail would include collateral material like post cards and brochures. The Internet might include banner ad's, pay per click advertising and emails.

When I was starting in business 24 years ago, I used source book directories as my main source of advertising along with direct mail. Quite honestly, I can't say that I had much luck with source book advertising over the 8 or 9 years I advertised in them. I felt I had better luck using a direct mail campaign in the form of post cards.

Each month I would send out 500 post cards to clients and potential clients, I believe the consistency of those mailings where the key to their success. I had a years worth of post cards printed at one time which forced me to a schedule. Near the end of each month, my wife and I would sit in front of the TV and attach mailing labels and stamps for the monthly mailing.

After 18 months of post card mailings, I'd get bored and tried something else. I'd do a small brochure or some other type of mailing just to do something new. It is really hard to say if one particular mailing worked or was it a accumulation of all that finally landed a job? Hard to say.

If you are thinking of starting a direct mail campaign, I can point you to a very inexpensive printer that does a nice job. Try looking at Vista Print I've used them recently and have found their service to be very good.

In future posts I'll discuss the Internet and how it has changed my marketing and research for clients. Knowing your market and where to find new clients and many other marketing related topics .

Let me leave you with this final thought: Clients are not going to just fall in your lap, you need to be proactive and seek them out. Learn who your potential clients are and pursue them with your marketing efforts. Marketing your business takes time and money but, by using various marketing efforts you will slowly grow your business to the money making machine you want.

I wish all of my readers a happy and prosperous New Year.


Beau A.C. Harbin said...

I appreciate all the great information and videos you have shared with us in 2007. They have been extremely enlightening and helpful. I am looking forward to more great things in 2008. Best wishes.

Charles C Stirk Jr said...

Thanks for this & please do continue the series .

I think the how of making the jump to professional has to be one of the tougher bits for emerging photographers .

I am also curious as to if or how your interaction with clients has changed after your embracing of Web 2.0 marketing tech ..

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

One question however, do you leave a personal message on each postcard or just stamp and go?

emotionslos said...

Great article! Hopefully you're continuing this series.
Thanks, at least because not many talking about their business insights.

Maik Dobiey said...

Great info! I am right now figuring out how to market my buisines. I have set my studio just las week and now I am figuring out potential clients' adresses and will send them cards. But any further advise is highly appreciated!!!
I hope you continue the series soon.