Marketing your new business doesn’t have to break the bank. The 2 most important things you can do are get your name out there to potential clients, and create relationships with other business owners and vendors. Nothing is better than a glowing recommendation from a trusted source. Below are 6 free and cheap ideas to market your new business, whether you want to shoot portraits or weddings.
For Portrait Photographers:
Free Portrait Day
Where does your ideal client like to shop? Find a local boutique to partner up with and offer a free on-location portrait for customers who spend a certain amount of money in the store that day. If you’d like to create an opportunity to upsell, you could offer them a free web-sized download of their image, then charge for the high-resolution download and prints (just be sure they know what they’re getting up front!).
Teach a Class
If you’d like to photograph babies, children, or families, you might consider teaching a class on how to use a DSLR. The target demographic will be moms who want to take better photos of their kids. It may seem counter-intuitive to teach people how to take better photos when you want them to hire you, but it will establish you as an expert in the field. Your students are more likely to hire you than another photographer when the time comes for a family portrait, plus you’re building a client base of people who truly value good photography.
For Wedding Photographers:
Attend Bridal Shows
You don’t have to be a paying vendor to get something out of a bridal show. Attend as a guest, and network with other vendors. Don’t make it all about yourself, but instead show a genuine interest in what they do (tip: make sure you’re not bugging them when their booth is crowded – wait for a slow time to introduce yourself). Bring your camera and offer to take a few photos of them and their booth. Afterwards, send them a nice note and the digital files (no watermarks and no strings attached). Becoming the go-to photographer for wedding vendors is a long process, but it has to start somewhere. You just got your foot in the door.
Set Up a Styled Shoot
Even aspiring wedding photographers can plan their own styled shoot. If you create a vision that will pique the interest of other vendors, and you tell them your goal (IE, to get the photos published on a wedding blog), it shouldn’t be hard to gather a good team of creative business owners to contribute to the shoot. Check out my blog post, “10 Steps to Planning a Styled Shoot”.
Cake Tasting Event
Everyone loves cake (well, all the cool people at least). Partner with a bakery to offer a free cake tasting event. Host it in the evening and open it to all newly engaged couples that are getting married after a certain date (maybe a year out, so they’re less likely to already have a photographer). Decorate for the event, play music, and offer cocktails or wine. Give a short 5 minute presentation on your photography services, then send everyone home with a goodie bag filled with a cupcake, wedding planning tips, your contact information, and a list of other recommended vendors.
For All Photographers:
Improve Your Social Media
Most of us, at one time or another, are guilty of having a boring social media presence. We post photos after we shoot sessions, but don’t have much to say during slow periods. It’s time to beef up your social media accounts with information that’s actually useful or interesting to your ideal client. For instance, if you photograph families, then post information about family-friendly events in your area. Create posts that take your clients behind-the-scenes of your business. Show some love to other small business owners by sharing a photo or video of local boutiques, attractions, or vendors that your clients might like.
Don’t limit yourself to just these ideas. The sky is the limit. When you’re first getting started, it’s going to take hard work, creativity, and some good old-fashioned hustle to get your name out there. Ditch what doesn’t work, improve what does, and keep a positive attitude!
What other tips do you have for marketing a new business? Leave a comment below!
Kelly Benton lives with her husband and two adorable dachshunds in Northeast Indiana, where she works from home as a Wedding Photographer. When she’s not photographing over people’s love, she’s a wannabe-rockstar triathlete with a penchant for funny movies and craft beer. Check out her blog or connect with her on Facebook.