I realize this post is going to show my age a bit, but when I first started my photography business back in 2002, the Internet was not what it is today. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, in fact there was no such thing as social media. Google was only four years old and while home computers were starting to take off, not everyone had one like they do today.
Those were the days when marketing was done the old fashioned way with direct mail, print ads in newspapers and magazines, and displays.
At the time I was working a job that I really didn’t love. I was passionate about my photography businesses, but couldn’t leave my six-figure day job without somehow replacing that income. I was doing what a lot of you do, working my day job, photographing and editing portraits in the evenings and on weekends, and trying to spend as much time as I could with my two daughters who were toddlers at the time. I desperately wanted to leave my day job and open my own portrait studio so I worked like crazy building my business. I would spend my lunch hour visiting baby boutiques, doctor’s offices, etc. talking to people about cross-promotion and trying to get my name out.
All that hard work paid off! By 2004 I was making enough money with my photography to quit my “real” job and work full-time as a baby and family photographer. Two years after that, my husband left his full-time job as well to help me run the studio. I’m proud to say that through the ups and downs of the economy and the market, and the influx of new photographers with the dawn of the digital camera, neither my husband or I have worked a “real” job since. Despite the fact that the market has become more and more crowded, we have been able to maintain our lifestyle solely through the income earned through our photography business. We don’t have a back-up plan. No jobs on the side, no rich uncle, no trust fund. Photography is it for us. And no, we are not living in our car. In fact, we’re currently helping our two daughters through college. Contrary to what a lot of photographers will tell you, it is possible to make a good living as a photographer. But pretty pictures alone won’t do it. If you want a solid, sustainable business you’ve got to have a solid marketing plan. For us, making sure our pictures are where our clients are is key.
My Favorite Example of the Power of Displays
One day in 2004, I was sitting at a table with other parents from my daughter Lindsay’s preschool class. It was the day before Thanksgiving break, and we were having a little celebration. When it was over, the mom of one of Lindsay’s classmates asked to set up a playdate. I said “great, let’s exchange phone numbers.” I whipped out my business card, and to my great delight, she pulled my business card out of her own purse. She looked at the card in my hand and said “oh, isn’t she great? I just love her work.” Then she looked at the card in her hand again, paid attention to the name, looked at me again and said “Oh my God – you’re her!” I asked her where she got the card, and to my delight she said “I don’t know where I picked it up – you’re everywhere!” It was an awesome moment and a realization that my marketing efforts were paying off.
What Would It Mean for Your Business to Have Local Doctors Talking About You to their Patients?
There is no better endorsement for your photography business than to have a potential client walk into her doctor’s office and see that the doctor has chosen you to take his family picture. I have a display at one of the largest pediatrician’s offices in Indianapolis. They have thirteen doctors and three locations – and I’m in all of them! My own children have been patients there. Every time I would take them for a visit, all the doctors would say the same thing: “You can’t believe how many compliments we get on our pictures!” Those displays are a win-win. The doctor gets to show off her family and the whole thing is like a 30 second commercial for my photography studio. That, my friend, is advertising that you cannot buy.
This picture is at the checkout desk – and grandma is the receptionist! You know she’s not going to miss an opportunity to show off her grandbabies to every single person who comes through there! Again, a win-win.
Ready to Get Your First Photography Display?
If you’re ready to go out and get displays, but you don’t know where to start, I can help! During my live webinar I’ll take you step-by-step through the process of displays. Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as you think. I’ll tell you every little thing I know about getting displays and making them work for you. After all, it’s not just about putting pictures up on the wall and going away. Pretty pictures on the wall are just the first step in the process. I’ll share the rest of the steps as well, including the part of the process that gets clients to call. In addition, you’ll learn
-How to market through doctor’s offices when a display is not possible.
-How to work with other businesses in your genre like baby boutiques, toy stores, etc. to bring clients in.
-How to make your business card work for you. Again – pretty pictures alone will not bring them in!
-How to turn clients into mini-marketing machines.
If you’re looking for some highly-produced, graphic-heavy, well-polished, pre-recorded webinar, this is not it. This is classroom style, live, with me as the teacher, taking you step-by-step through the exact process I have been using for more than 15 years to get photography displays and use them to pull clients in.
Worried about the price of the webinar? If the profit from just one additional client will not more than cover the price of this webinar, you need to raise your prices! In addition to the information presented in this webinar, you will also receive
-The exact letter I use to get doctor’s office displays.
-A one-on-one phone consultation with me to chat about any issues or questions you may have about displays.
-Access to my private Facebook group that is specifically devoted to marketing your photography business.