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Author Topic: Promoting your business, what methods work best for you?  (Read 1843 times)
Harold Clark
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« on: June 14, 2011, 07:21:33 PM »
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I have been at this game for over 30 years now, and have promoted business in the old days by calling potential clients and trying to arrange a portfolio review. I still do this, but more often now I email relevant jpegs to potential clients. A successful insurance agent I know once told me that the primary goal of anyone in sales was to meet in person, and I think that is still good advice.

Things have changed drastically, of course. In the 1980s I had a few clients giving me a lot of work over the year. Now I have a lot more clients, some of which only call once or twice per year. I have good clients, interesting assignments and I am happy with the fees. Despite this, there have been very few years when I couldn't have used more volume. If I could get another ten solid years in I would be happy to slow down at that point and do more personal work etc.

I want to streamline the marketing efforts so I promote business in the most efficient manner, and increase volume. Any advice would be much appreciated on how you guys and gals go about getting new clients. Do you use directories, how often do you follow up, etc.

I do a lot of architecture, and that basically involves contacting architects, pretty simple. Architecture is seasonal here though, so I need corporate and industrial projects in the winter. Many of these people are now adherents of the "receptionist who just got a new camera" school of photography, so the trick is to find the ones who have potential as clients.

I look forward to your thoughts, I suspect many of us are in the same boat. You can have a look at what I do here: www.haroldclark.com  Also, I have photos posted on ASMP Find a Photographer, if you search under Toronto.





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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 08:18:03 PM »
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I am trying to understand your question. Do you want more clients in the same area you work in or you wanted new clients in a different area while keeping the old ones?
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Harold Clark
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 08:46:24 PM »
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I am trying to understand your question. Do you want more clients in the same area you work in or you wanted new clients in a different area while keeping the old ones?

Thanks for responding to my query. I am happy with my existing clients, but would like more volume of assignments, hence more clients of the same type. To that end I would like to streamline my marketing in terms of efficiency, to derive the greatest results from a given effort.

For instance, one goal being able as much as possible to find potential clients that are good prospects, rather than spending time pursuing dead ends. Besides that, figuring out an efficient  method for timely follow up so they don't forget to contact me when a potential project materializes.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 09:11:05 PM »
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The best way to get them to give you more projects and for you to receive new clients is for you to contact them. Without being a nuisance. You have to remind them that you are still there and your work is valued and sought after. Unfortunately, you have to do the work of marketing.

Which brings us to marketing. It's tricky because you don't want to sound desperate. You want to sound confident and you're the one being chased for work.

How I would do it is I would go to a university and look for a final year student studying marketing & advertising who is looking to intern and I would hire them. Being an intern you don't pay them a full salary but you can help them in travel costs and food while working for you. They can intern once a week. They carry your work for you to the clients and speak in person. It will project an image that you are a very professional person who is also busy.

I like your idea that the best way is to meet in person.


That's just one idea. If I think of more I will post it here.


Good luck.
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Pacific Photos
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dont quit your day job marty


« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2011, 11:49:10 AM »
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Yes Harold,  good day to you sir. 
Your fantastic web site showing your work should be your calling card!  You have such a pro back ground to "bank" on  and that you would ask folks like us on this LL forum for some marketing tips shows  great humility * and resourcefulness*  considering your stellar background.
  most of us would "die" to have such a diverse and successful "past".
    Could it be for you (and "us" of course) that this recession we are clawing our way out of,  is causing your concern...to keep up the volume of quality clients  as say, you had in the past?
  Harold, if you would kindly read every "post" in this section and each response, and the "child boards" archives,  I think you would get a better "sense" of what's really going "down" in these "Pro Photographer Times".  You would see that many of us have the very same concerns about these "unusual" times as it relates to our field of endevour.
  It seems that every person is now a "pro" photographer, with eager housewives and blue collared workers (myself) touting wonderful state of the art digital equipment and Adobe Photoshop for the masses makes retouching available to literally......everyone!
2.)  How about bringing your very professional web site "along" wherever you go on a key chain style memory "stick"....even a large display "Droid" phone can bring the splendor of your great pro photo history...."in your face" to every client you are wooing..(or prospect). 
Finally Harold....my operating mantra...."Luck is where opportunity meets preparedness".  God Bless you,
Sincerely, marty schreiber...Pacific Photos.
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biggiesnows
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2011, 02:07:48 PM »
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Hi Harold,

I've been a professional mountain sports shooter for 15 years. The cliched advice to the problem of the "receptionist with a camera issue" you mention is to be the best at your subject matter and to persevere and eventually one will succeed. This doesn't address the reality of ever and more competition at all levels and especially for pros like you, competition at the top. In my business I used to make some of my income shooting ads and catalogs for outdoor gear maufacturers who were in the middle of the pack financially and some who were at the top. In the last seven years the number of young guys with digital cameras wanting to make a living at the outdoor photo game has exploded. For the companies in the middle of the pack, where the bottom line is more important than stunning photos, they can now draw from a huge pool of images that are "good enough". Lots and lots of shooters are working "on spec" as they try to get a foot in the door. This leaves the small pool of top level companies to compete for and my income has dropped dramatically as there is just not enough work at the top to go around. Perhaps this is relevant to your situation or maybe not. As I try to revamp my business to deal with this situation I'm following a path that says when everyone is competing to sell the same thing the major thing that separates the competitors is marketing, marketing, marketing. I'd be interested in hearing your feedback.

Best,

Bill Stevenson www.theoutdoorpictureswebsite.com
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biggiesnows
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2011, 02:53:22 PM »
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Hi again Harold,

Here are some more thoughts.

Art directors are inundated with emails from photographers. So how to get noticed and have them take your phone call? This is what I do and it produces results. If you go to my website you'll see the What's New section on the home page. www.theoutdoorpictureswebsite.com My goal is to keep this fresh and to drive art directors to it. I use an email program called Constant Contact which I like because it gives feedback about how many people open your email etc. With emails do not send just a link but have a photo show up in the email and make this a link. The visual grabs interest more than a text link. After I send the email I'll call in a couple of days to see if they got it and took a look at the site. 90% of the time I get voice mail so I just leave a message. Often it is the phone call that gets them to look at the email and go to the site. For prospective clients I don't necessarily worry if I don't get a response right away as I consider marketing a long term undertaking. I do this about 4 times a year and it's my way of softening up people and getting them to eventually return my calls and perhaps make an appointment. It is a slow and tme consuming process.

I look forward to hearing marketing techniques from you and others.

Cheers,

Bill
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