Marketing is all about reminding people who you are, and regardless of your status as a professional photographer, you have to constantly work at marketing yourself. The reality is that even if you’re well established, some days and weeks you’re just not on anyone’s radar. Nevada Wier is quoted as saying, “No matter how recognized I would become in photography, the phone would never ring on its own.” This from someone who many regard as one of the best travel photographers around.
Basically, if you stop marketing, people will stop calling. Period. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is. The phone will only ring if YOU make it ring, and you can do something to make it ring every single day. It doesn’t have to be hard, though.
Here are five simple marketing ideas that every photographer should do on a regular basis. Yes, social media time can be considered marketing, but you should also get in the habit of doing one or two of these things every day as well.
In the long run, a consistent effort of small marketing tasks will be more effective than one or two grand schemes in the course of a year.
1. Reach out and touch someone: No one’s called yet today? Pick up the phone and call them instead. Or send an email and introduce yourself or touch base with a few of your clients. Find out if they received your latest promotional piece or special offer coupon and ask them if there are any current or upcoming image needs that you can help fill. You don’t have to try and force a conversation with anyone, just give a quick call to jog their memory.
2. Mail a Promo Card: If you’ve done regular mailings over the years you’ve probably got a few extra cards lying around the office. Put a few on your desk, hand write some addresses and pop them in the mail. Another great option would be Then follow up with a phone call. Yes it’s true, photo buyers get lots of cards in the mail and it’s easy for yours to get missed, but you never know. I’ve gotten a number of assignments because my promo card crossed the right person’s desk at just the right time.
3. Visit a Client: Personal visits are a great way to touch base with clients. It helps build a rapport, which makes them much more likely to think of you the next time they have a job. Most business is all about relationships and if you can establish a personal connection with your clients and let them get to you know you as a person instead of just a name, then they’re much more likley to hire you.
Of course, it’s always good to leave a small promo piece behind when you do personal visits. Business cards work, as do regular promo cards, but why not step it up and leave something a little more unique, like a Photo Folder? Anything that will set you apart and create a lasting visual impact on your client.
4. Shoot New Photos: This is perhaps the most important thing that you can do for your photography business. Since every photo you take helps build your skills and can potentially translate to new income, it only makes sense that you continue to build your portfolio. With social media and instant web updates, you can get your newest work into the marketplace immediately. You never know who might retweet or share one of your shots, which obviously increases the chance that a potential new client will see it and initiate a contact.
5. Get Your A** of the House: Even if you don’t do #3 and #4 today, you should still get up out of your chair and leave the office. Take your laptop to the coffee shop. Take your camera to the park. Take a hike. Go ride a bike. Go jogging or horseback riding. Go visit a friend or another photographer. You never know who you might meet or what might happen when you step out your front door. Valuable personal connections are out there for the making, but not as long as you’re sitting at your desk.
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For more ideas, I’d recommend checking out one of these three photography marketing books. (The third one’s an eBook.) They’re all full of well tested tips that can help get you out of your marketing comfort zone so that you can get more clients to notice you.