Getting Started In Professional Photography: The Business/Marketing “Low Down”

No crap, no fluff, and no time wasting material. I hate nothing more than an article that pulls me in with promises of great information; only to scream “Buy Now” in my beet red face.

So I promise your time shall not be wasted. Ready? Let’s get started:

#1. Direct response marketing is extremely important to building and maintaining a steadily successful photography company.

-Study copy writing so that you know how to create promotional material that will get people to call. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve made just by picking up little copy writing tips here and there. The only word that comes to mind is boatload.

-Realize the importance of business cards and invest in quality product. Your card plants powerful subconscious impressions into the minds of your prospects. Never go for cheap stock paper, matte finish, or free cards with little ads on the back for the company that printed them. Cheap cards scream “CHEAP PHOTOGRAPHER”.

-Figure out direct mail campaigns that fit your niche to keep steady business coming in. Try advertising family portraits for mother’s day gifts starting mid April. How about sales letters for senior portraits, with samples of your work included, in the envelopes sent to parents around late July? Send these via direct mail or e-mail. If you don’t have an e-mail list of your past prospects, start constructing one today.

#2. Remember that the days when you’ve got a monkey of discouragement riding on your back, are temporary and good times will prevail IF YOU TAKE POSITIVE ACTION. Every business owner goes through times where they feel like cashing in and venturing back to the corporate hell hole. Resist, my friend.

-Don’t make any major decisions that might hurt your business without thinking them over for a good 30 days.

-If you feel like giving up, tell yourself that 30 days must pass without new inspiration before deciding to give up what you worked so hard to create. Then proceed to do whatever has motivated you in the past. Mission goal: get myself excited again.

-Keep in touch with other photographers (especially the success driven ones). Share you concerns and anxieties in exchange for listening to theirs. It is good to have friends in the industry. Both for networking and support.

#3. Marketing isn’t everything. You can have enough good marketing to keep your phone ringing off the hook 24/7, but you never make any money if you can’t close the client over the phone or via e-mail.

-Sales is mostly about getting the prospect to like you. That is the most important part. Smile at people and act with enthusiasm. Remember that for every sales you lose because of too much enthusiasm, you probably lost 100 because of a lack of it.

-Offer differently priced packages, even if it it just means selling them two hours of time instead of three hours. About 20% of people will choose a more expensive option just out of principal. You can offer a Basic, Platinum, and Deluxe package; each including different features and benefits.

-Become a friend to your prospects by asking them about their event (weddings), their career (head shots), or their cats (just kidding). Listen carefully as people love to talk. They also love people who are willing to listen. Be personable and don’t act TOO professional. Let a little bit of (appropriate) personality shine through.

One more tip before I let you get back to surfing the web. This tip is a keeper, and applying it is more powerful than you can imagine.

Have a burning passion and a concrete solid business plan.

Business owners often get burnt out or lost in the rough world of self employment. The government never seems to give you a break and the marketing campaigns you launch don’t always work. Sometimes you lose money.

Only a burning passion for what you do, along side a road map that keeps your next actions clear at all times, can keep you in the ring long enough to win the match.