But finding new clients has definitely become a priority in 2009. Certainly setting up a website and email address were a must, but without some work, no one is going to find you.
I started my marketing efforts by letting everyone I could think of know that I was in business for family, portrait, and wedding photography. This included family, friends, and co-workers in my day job. In my office at my regular job, I hung nicely framed images of mine on the walls. This has driven quite a bit of conversation, and led to four clients through my work, including a wedding, a couple family portrait sessions, and a new baby session.
Next I looked into traditional print advertising. I found out a couple things quickly. Even "free" newspapers and magazines in my local area charge a lot for ads. None less than $500 for a single ad, and most much, much higher in price. Second, I found from talking to other pro's, that such ads are rarely effective. Most new business comes referrals.
But I did find an inexpensive print ad source. My daughter's elementary school newsletter! My business card has run in the newsletter every month this year, for a donation of only $25 for the whole year! So far no business from that yet, but it was cheap advertising, and may eventually provide some benefit through community name recognition.I could probably go to every school in the area and try this, but this is a start.
Next I decided I needed to drive some traffic to my website. The easiest way to do that appeared to be through Google's Adwords service. This costs money, depending on the number is hits per month, but you can control your monthly budget to keep the spending under control. I start this effort at $50 per month late in 2008, and have I had several inquires since I started using Google AdWords, so I consider this effort a success so far.
Next steps? There are several other web based technologies that can drive traffic to your website, and I'll be exploring them in the months to come. These include:
Social Networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have been recommended to me as important to connecting with the younger generation for Senior Portrait work.
In the next few months, I'll be trying out each of these methods, and I'll report on how well they are helping my business.