Some photographers (and I’m just as guilty of this as the next guy) are not naturally adept at marketing and, at the same time, not solvent enough to afford a dedicated marketing person. This means that the bulk of marketing falls on you but it doesn’t have to be traumatic.
Your business card is the single most important marketing and promotional tool. While seemingly tiny, this lowly card has billboard-like implications. Are you using those cheapo, generic cards from a business-card-in-minutes machine? And vertical cards! Let’s strangle the designer who came up with that idea by his or her mouse cord. No Roladex in the world is set up for these and you want potential clients to save and refer to your cards even if they just end up scaning it into a database.
Avoid the temptation to knock out some cards on your ink-jet. Future clients will be less likely to toss out something with a quality look and feel especially if it has a photograph of a person on it. It’s like a real photograph to them. When Mary and I owned our studio people would hang onto out photo business cards for years before calling for an assignment. Tip: Take a look at inexpensive photographic business cards using your own images from Moo. And make sure the card has your website, e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook addresses as well.
Wear your company. One successful entrepreneur I know always wears a golf shirt emblazoned with his company’s logo. These are nice-looking shirts, some are even silk but all of them get attention because you never know where your next sale might come from. Several of his clients liked the shirts so much they’ve asked him for one, turning themselves into walking advertisements for his company.
Let me tell you a true story: I was photographing a car show in Los Angeles. On day one I was wearing a nice short with a blazer and wanted to photograph a particular racecar but it was surrounded by stanchions and ropes and I could never get a good angle. On Day two I wore one of my long sleeved shirts that has the Tortuga Racing logo discreetly embroidered on the front and www.joefaraceshootscars.com on the back. I went back to that same display and someone from the race team sees me and says “let me move these out of the way so you can get a better shot.” And while shooting I’m shooting he returns and says “ Would you like one of our models to pose with the car?” Needless to say, I got much better shots. A coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
Finally, look for ways to show your company in a positive light, because I believe that where small photography businesses are concerned “Nice Guys Finish First.”