“Let Your Work Do the Talking”
There is nothing more satisfying than getting a call from a client to thank me for using their photo on my brochure, and to ask if they can have some to pass out to their friends.
In this market, it’s tough and frustrating to pump out a few hundred dollars for a display and getting zero return. I know some colleagues who have spent thousands of dollars on marketing and branding supplies and it sat in their studio because the fliers, cards, and information packs were to be given out to select clientele because they are too expensive for just anyone. It is great to build your brand by impressing your clients or potential clients, but for this to happen they need to see your work. As I mentioned before on “Your Brand, Your Name”, branding is more than just a symbol it’s an experience. For this to be effective, well they need to see your work. Here are some steps that we have personally used and have worked for us.
Having a website is the first and to me the most important. It is the foundation of building a brand. This gives everyone in the world free access to my work and my contact information. Set up your website to be clean, easy to navigate, and appealing to the type of client you want to attract. For example keep your site uniform and specialized. Although we do photographs newborns, seniors, families, etc. We specialize in Wedding photography. Our wedding photography website only has that, wedding related photographs. We want our clients to come to the website and know what we do. I expose my brides to what they are looking for, wedding photography. Remember the bride to be is in buying mode and we need to capitalize on that and get the client to our contact page. Have your galleries well defined and up to date. Check all information on your site to make sure that it too is updated. Once inside your contact page, make sure you remind them what they are here to do “hire you”. Put some recent work on your contact page that they may see while filling out the contact form. Ask them how they found out about you. This is very important; when they tell you who referred them to you make contact with that individual and thank them for the referral. A good gesture goes a long way. Keep track of your referrals; this lets you see where to focus your future investments.
Another way to get your work out there is to produce brochures’, thank you cards, mailing labels, envelopes, etc. There are many companies in the industry that do this and are amazing. However as mentioned before they can get a bit expensive. A good way to cut costs is to purchase a template from your favorite designer. White House Custom Color (WHCC), Miller’s has some great designs you can tweak yourself as well as Design Aglow. Purchase the template then customize it to include your branding elements, a little alteration of the background and font changes will really make the difference in building your brand. Then use your favorite printer. One recommendation is to print these on water color paper; this gives the rep cards a bit of an artistic touch.
Make sure that the design you choose matches your brand. For example if you have neutral colors on your website try to match that same design on your postcards/rep cards, being uniform is key.
Keep it Simple
You have your brochures/post-cards ready, now it’s time to tell the world what you are all about. Use them to outline your uniqueness. Tell them your company’s features and the benefits of hiring you as a professional. Do not bombard them with pricing menus, time-sensitive promos, and do not applaud yourself too much. Pricing menus on a post-card or brochure are too overwhelming, and time sensitive promos you will have to throw away once the date expires (this costs you money). I have seen some brochures that have an about me section and all it talks about is how many awards this individual has won and how he/she is the best photographer in the area. This is just silly. Let the client make that choice. If you truly are the best, then they will hire you as such. It’s okay to be proud of your work but be humble about it.
Find a Reliable Vendor
We have all seen those really cool metallic postcards and they look amazing. However depending on your vendor these can cost up to $1.25 each, this is not cost effective. Find a vendor that will give you the best bang for your buck. Shop around try different labs both nationally and locally. Many times local labs will work out a deal for their preferred customers.
Display your Work
Everything above is done with one thing in mind, getting the client to your place of business, may this be a studio or your home. Stimulate the client visually. Show them your work. Have it displayed proudly around your home/studio. Let the client walk around and see them if they wish. Use canvas and frames to enhance your photos. But as anything else make it cost effective for you. If you purchase canvas prints buy a large canvas and have a collage of 4-6 of your favorite prints. A single large canvas 20×30 with multiple images and your logo can go a long way. Instead of buying six medium sized canvases that will set you back about $600. Also keep these images fresh rotate them every six months or so, another reason to do a collage with multiple images.
If canvas is not your cup of tea, feature a large framed print. Now don’t go and get a custom framed job a nice black frame will do most will cost about $50. Shop around thrift stores are a great resource. As anything else make them your own, repaint the frames, use colors to enhance the photograph but do not take away from it. The frame should enhance not over power. If you do purchase custom frames then use these in the area where you will spend the most time with the client such as a studio meeting room or home sales area.
As with anything, be creative. Know your client, know yourself, and know what you want to sell.
-As always, all comments are appreciated.