Simple Marketing Strategies for Photographers

Introduction

Abandoned house with "For Sale" graffiti

“If you build it, they will come.”

So said the sign hanging behind the counter of countless stores that have, ironically, since gone out of business.

The failure of many businesses, especially of many creative professionals, can be traced to a poorly executed marketing strategy. Or none at all.

It is certainly possible to start a business without doing any marketing, so long as you can find customers within your immediate circle of influence (friends, family, acquaintances) or through word of mouth. But once those possibilities have been exhausted, it is imperative to make your existence known to a larger audience if you want to grow your business.

When I first had the idea of turning my passion for photography into a profession that would initially afford me some extra money and eventually become my career, I was horribly naive about marketing. I had the belief that it was enough to create a blog, do some SEO (search engine optimization) and try to rake in followers on social media. As an engineer by education and a creative by vocation, I also regarded marketing as something vaguely sleazy that I was not cut out for.

It took me years to realize how wrong I was and that effective marketing had to be an essential element of my strategy. Along the way, I also realized that marketing could be challenging, honest, and fun.

“Marketing is simply the process of communicating to a specific group of people and making them aware of you and what you do.”

The Sprouting Photographer

With this short book, I want to share with you some of the knowledge I have gained in the competitive landscape of professional photography, also known as the school of hard knocks.

There are five sections in this book, each introducing one strategy that every creative professional should employ to grow his or her business. Chances are, if you are finding it hard to reach and convert customers, you are not doing all, if even any, of these.

These strategies are all cost effective. Most of them are free, even though some may cost you some time – time well spent. I am an advocate of being smart with your finances rather than spending thousands of dollars on ads, for example.

I won’t pretend that these are the only strategies that work or that you should forego any others. If you have money to spend on ads, for example, by all means, do so. Ads have been proven to work when done properly.

I also won’t pretend that these are original ideas. I owe much of what I am presenting here to people who have an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience about marketing, sales, and business management. I read their books and articles, listen to their podcasts, and apply their advice to my own business, testing what works and what doesn’t.

What I will tell you is that these strategies are all things that have worked for me.

With that said, I would like to thank Seth Godin, Bryan Caporicci, Sean McCabe, Jeffrey Shaw, Daniel Priestley, and my good friends Jay Patel, Brent Mail, and Viktor Elizarov for being such great sources of inspiration.

Whether you’re just starting your business or have an established one you would like to grow, I am confident the suggestions I have given you in this small book will help you succeed.

Here are the five strategies:

  • Build your mailing list.
  • First create the market then create the sales.
  • Tune your 6 second pitch.
  • Invest in networking before content marketing.
  • Start before you’re ready.

You don’t have to do them in this order and you can start doing them all at the same time, if you want. And now let’s get down to work!

Build your mailing list