So here’s the deal. Marketing is a lot easier than we photographers have been led to believe. And we’ve run the gamut for sure. From dropping thousands of dollars on the biggest, best wedding show in the US to spending well over $500/month “advertising” on The Knot and WeddingWire. And we know that there is a lot of benefit from paying for ads on social media and/or Google. We definitely booked and grew our business by dropping mad cash on big wedding shows and, really, the only relevant (for better or worse) online marketing options. We also generate leads on social media. And you can too.
But that said: you don’t need to. Nope. Not at all. Why? Because we can guarantee you haven’t thought of the myriad “offline” marketing options that are available to you. So here’s our best list of 12, with which we have been experimenting over the last year in particular, and refining with our good friend and business mentor, Steve Saporito of Steve Saporito Education.
For ease, we’ve categorized them into two groups: getting your current clients to use you more often and marketing directly to your local community. (And you can start knocking some of these out ASAP!)
Here are 5 easy, free, and painless ways you can get your clients to use you more often:
1. Care about your clients.
Okay, that’s a bit broad (and should be obvious), but when’s the last time you sent out an anniversary or birthday card? We used to never do this, and even though we’re more apt to call then write, Steve Saporito got on us about this after the first seminar we took from him. He was right, of course. And we’ve netted a load of business from connecting with past clients.
2. “Stalk” your clients on social media.
Alright, alright. You know what we mean … Have you noticed on social media that one of your clients just had a baby? Got a new pet? Give them a call! Tell them congratulations! They’ll likely bring up photographs, but you can just as easily offer them a gift certificate toward a session.
3. Ask past clients if they’d like you to design an album or some wall art for them.
This is particularly for our wedding photographer friends out there. Why? Well, not many of us did in-person sales back in the day, and now, loads of us do. All your clients deserve to have their photographs printed. So, see what comes from a phone call and a conversation. Heck, we bet that if you post a few video clips of an album unboxing or some of the wall art you now have hanging in your studio, they’ll contact you before you contact them.
4. Photograph your clients’ friends and/or families.
Maybe this isn’t exactly getting your clients to use you more often, but you should be getting leads off of every session you do (whether it’s a portrait session, an engagement session, or a wedding). How does that work, you ask? Easy. Ask. Yep. Ask your clients who they think would also love a photographic experience with you.
5. Create an alliance with a client’s business.
Do any of your clients own or manage a business? Most likely. Is there a way you can help them better serve their clients? Realtors make for great alliances, for example. They are apt to give gifts to their clients when they close on their new home. New home. Wall art? You bet!
And here are 7 ideas to help you generate leads in your local community:
1. Set up a table or booth at your local farmers market.
2. Set up a booth at one of your city’s festivals.
3. Join a BNI (Business Network International) chapter or your city’s Chamber of Commerce.
4. If joining a BNI and/or the Chamber are not your thing? Join another local business networking group.
Ask around. Do some searching online. We bet there are multiple networking-type groups you can join. (“Pro Tip”: They probably have a Facebook group.)
5. Start your own networking group.
Relatedly (see 5 above), start to form some alliances with local businesses. And at the least, you should be dropping in, supporting them, introducing yourself, and leaving your business card.
6. Take out an ad in your local newspaper.
Our city, for example, has a newspaper and magazine that goes to every resident and business in town! Try it. You might like it.
7. Be present in your community!
Volunteer. Talk to people in line at the bank or the grocery store. Chat with the family playing by you and your family at the park. Basically, be a nice, caring human. We bet you can literally trip over leads every time you go out of your home.
If you want to learn more about why you should have at least 7 streams of referrals (some online, some offline) and how to make sure those 7 streams are effective and working for you, we can’t recommend Steve Saporito Education enough. Our photography business has changed considerably since we met Steve. Check out some of his course offerings here.
Amii & Andy are a wife and husband team of rad portrait & wedding photographers (Sunshine & Reign Photography), who absolutely love life and are generally just stoked! Yeah! When they aren’t photographing, or writing and teaching about photography, you’ll find them off on a seriously legit adventure with their little ones, lifting weights in their garage, refining their archery and/or jiu-jitsu skills, or surfing every chance they get. They are Community Directors for SLR Lounge; ambassadors with Zeus (10% off code amiiandy10) and Tenba; and are always down for convincing other photographers to get JPEGmini Pro (20% off code SRJPEG). Connect with Amii & Andy on Instagram!