So, I present: how to market when you’re totally broke. Ten easy ways to market your business that cost less than $10 each.
Kindly remember that with NO money, you’re going to have to rely on your talents and negotiation skills. You may have to barter or give something away to get what you need. Trying to get yourself hundreds of postcards or other hard goods with $0 and no willingness to earn them simply won’t work. But shooting some free headshots to get a free booth at a bridal fair? Now that’s using your noodle.
1.) Leave your business cards on three community bulletin boards.
Can’t think of anywhere? Starbucks, the YMCA, the gym, your coffee shop, your laundromat, your deli, and your hairdressers’ work station. You know you’ve heard this before, but how often do you get your cards into other businesses? Yah. It’s been too long. Hop to it!
If you don’t have business cards, grab a set of rep cards from WHCC — recycled stock is available, and they’re $12 per set of 50. If you don’t have $12 OR business cards, I can’t help you.
2.) Buy a local businessperson coffee.
I’m just going to keep saying this until you do it. Meet with or without an agenda, but get to know the people who have businesses in the same vicinity as yours. Your network is your net worth!
3.) Use Facebook to remind clients that you exist.
No, not by sending them a suggestion to join your fanpage.
Upload a single favorite (watermarked) image from your past ten portrait sessions or weddings to Facebook, tag the subject, and just say ‘hey.’ Don’t sell anything, just be human and give them a little gift.
4.) Offer new digital headshots to a local businessperson in exchange for an introduction to X.
X is a person with connections who’s been around the community FOREVER. Of course, X is busy and a cold call will get you nowhere. Garner an introduction to X with your photography and then make business cross-promotion happen.
5.) Send your top three clients vouchers for a free portrait session to give to a friend.
Let them take credit for having paid for the session, but give it to them. They’ll give it to their best friend, who’s probably like-minded and like-pocketed. Worst case scenario, you do three free sessions and have fabulous blog fodder. Best case scenario, one of your clients has a best friend named Donald Trump.
6.) Queue up 10 posts of favorite photos on your blog. Post one per day with the story behind it for the next ten days.
Blogging regularly increases readership, which increases Google juice, which increases the number of eyeballs on your work. Just keep blogging.
7.) Send a letter to your favorite client ‘just because.’
Your most loyal clients are more likely to keep the referrals rolling in when you keep them happy and remain at the forefront of their thoughts.
8.) Send an e-mail full of photo tips for summer to your client e-mail list, and add your latest promo at the end.
Don’t have an e-mail publishing service? Mad Mimi is FREE if your list isn’t too large.
9.) Refer jobs that aren’t a perfect fit for your business to other photographers. They’ll return the favor.
10.) Create a marketing plan for the next six months. Goals cost absolutely nothing to create!
Jot down one goal per month, complete with the dollar amount it will take to make that goal happen. Then add the estimated $ amount to your studio’s budget and make it happen!
Some examples of marketing goals: display work at a bridal fair, send out two e-mail newsletters, double your number of Facebook fans, donate to three live auction events, host a studio event, start blogging, blog 3 times per week, start a local business networking group.