The more I network with my peers and attend business seminars, the more I realize how fast things change, as far as marketing and ways to stay in touch with your customers! Just being good at your craft as a photographer isn’t enough to sustain a business, unfortunately. It’s increasingly necessary to use social networking as a medium of advertising, as far as finding new prospective clients and keeping in touch with your existing clients….so it’s a brilliant tool if used for that! With more saturation, I have learned that your work must stand out, but also your company image and brand. People recognize what they see multiple times. It’s usually not until then that they become familiar with it. Part of this image is how polished you are when speaking to your audience, how well you listen to their needs, the design and ease of use of your website, and presentation. As much as some photographers don’t like spending hours on end marketing on the web, it’s necessary these days.
I have personally found customers appreciate a user friendly website and straightforward approach to doing business. Most of my business is word of mouth which is the best kind! I also try to maintain a search engine and social media presence, and local presence by networking. If you look for wedding or portrait photographers in Nashville, there are TONS popping up every day it seems….not all of them are qualified by any means! Many got their first SLR for Christmas and think they can make easy money at it and offer ridiculously low priced shoots….because they don’t have overhead or understand business. Once they get out, knowing they had no skills to support their effort, others pop up. It can be a frustrating thing to many professional photographers, because the service provided and the type of expense it takes to run this business are different from the yesterday’s entrepreneur. It may cheapen public view of our industry….and yes, it is frustrating having to spend extra effort to educate people about what makes a professional a professional…..but it’s not changing. So, we might as well embrace it, and spend the extra time blogging and networking, so we can continue to stand out amongst a sea of others……some qualified, some not so much.