Being good at photography or filmmaking doesn't automatically lead to a successful business. You have to make yourself known to the world. Making that possible doesn't always require a lot of money. In this article I will share my personal approach to marketing my photography and filmmaking business.
This article is not for those who want to grow their followers. Growing a business means having clients to pay you to do certain types of jobs. You don't have to have a lot of fans to have a successful business. They don't pay your bills.
Who Are Your Clients?
Unless you have unlimited amount of money you should know and study your clients. If you try to please everybody it will be fairly hard to find a niche with customers. You'll be simply spraying and praying. If you know what you are good at, it's easier to target a certain group of people.
How People Get to See Your Work
In my experience people happen to see your work by either searching for artists to do a certain job or stumbling upon your art by chance. The second type of events is the ads we see around us, the brochures we are handed, the social network posts we see, and so on. People who are not intentionally searching for an artist are less likely to become your clients.
If you are offering a cheap service that is a no-brainer for potential clients, you may afford yourself to make an attempt to reach wider audiences. If cheap service ads are pushed into the hands or eyes of people they will probably respond positively. The problem is most of the awesome photography and videos require time, knowledge, tools, and a team. If you try to be an awesome artist the only way of being cheap is to have another job.
If you offer a premium service you should not try to put your ad in front of the eyes of everyone. That's a waste of money. Premium services are for clients who need you at the right moment or clients who can afford them at any time. You should reach those two types of clients.
I personally do not prefer advertising myself by pushing my work into the hands of everyone. That's why I don't run Facebook ads or any other banner-based online ads. Unless it's a very targeted spot that potential clients visit, I stay away from this type of marketing. I found it's too expensive and it's more effective for bigger brands than for small boutique businesses.
I prefer people to find me like in the old days. People are looking for a photographer or a filmmaker, they see my work together with the work of others, and if my service and portfolio suits their needs, they hire me. Usually people find me from word of mouth or by searching online.
Dogs don't like apples
Word of mouth clients started coming more in the past year. This is the best way of marketing and the slowest to develop. It is organic in its core and the only way to develop it is the natural organic way: by offering a great service, giving more than people pay for, being a nice person, and networking with the right groups of people. Word of mouth marketing is like a fruit tree. You have to constantly take care of it so it yields its good fruits on time.
Networking is not just having dinner with potential clients. Sometimes it's working for free as a complementary service or working on projects for mutual benefits (like photographing models for their and your portfolio). Potential clients are those clients who find your services expensive or not suiting their needs. Be a nice person and give them options or recommend another artist. That's networking too.
As I wrote in my previous article, building a successful career is a slow process. The most important thing I try to focus on is the quality of my work. Next is the most organic way of finding clients. What works best for me is regularly updating my website, my blog, my video channels, keeping my clients happy, networking, and investing in ads in search engines. It's a slow process. Remember that.