Self-Promotional Campaigns - What's Your Plan?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by bill schwab, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    3,754
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Meeshagin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I get asked time after time about self promotion and how to be seen, recognized and collected. And, with the recent eBay selling thread touching so much on self-promotion, I thought it might be good to hear the stories of others either doing so, or planning to do so. I had even thought of approaching Sean about the possibility of doing an APUG article on the subject. However, with the recent thread it seems that it would be far more beneficial to get more takes on the subject. I am sure that collectively we could write a pretty useful thread on this subject.

    So... here's the deal. High cost or on a budget, what do you think the ideal plan would be? What has worked for you? What has not worked for you? And if you could design a dream scenario, what would it be? How do you plan to get your work seen by galleries who are inundated each day by photographers with high hopes?

    From the other thread I realize there are those out there that have no intention of selling their work or trying to get known. I'm not trying here to exclude anyone and I do think this could be helpful for everyone.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2006
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,431
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think an essential component of any marketing campaign must include a bit of a personal touch - people want to feel like they are getting something special from the artist. I have always included postcards mailed to previous customers as one part of any promotional campaign. Modern Postcard is a great source for these - they have easy-to-work-with standards and templates you can download, and they offer some sizes and styles that are rather attention-grabbing (the Sumo size, and the bi-fold postcard formats among others). There are others who are cheaper, but their quality may not be as good, or their turnaround as accurate.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
  4. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's important to distinguish the kind of photography business you are promoting.

    For the portrait work I do, nothing in the world works like word of mouth and a referral program. What I do NOT see working (for myself or any of the students I've taught, which last year was around 400) is direct mail and print ads. It takes many rounds of print/mail advertising to generally yield anything, and it is extremely expensive.

    Personally, I went from not being in business to have a very full-time portrait business in the space of two weeks, due almost entirely to a big Starbucks display and an encorporated referral program.

    - CJ
     
  5. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,948
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    South Norfol
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gosh. That illustrates how quickly situations can change. What was your degree of "readiness" when that happened?

    Tom.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,431
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Cheryl -

    I think the lack of success with direct mail is in part because of the business you're in. Doing portrait work, people want a much more personal touch than they would if they were looking to buy a piece of artwork, or hire an advertising photographer to shoot still-lifes. They really want a "personal relationship" with the photographer, and nothing says impersonal like a direct mail advertisement when it comes to personal services.
     
  7. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Flying, there are many more variables than that, actually. Part of the challenge is getting a quality mailing list. If you buy a list from a mailing list company, you can get great quality or absolutely terrible quality, just depending on how efficiently they compile their data and how accurately they sort it. If your mailing list has come from those signing up to receive mailings, it's far more productive, however you are right back to the question of how to get people to sign up. :wink: If you are an advert photog and are specifically targeting art directors and companies who hire advert photogs regularly, you will likely have more luck than a portrait photog will.

    I don't believe it's the personal touch issue that keep people from calling portrait photogs off direct mail -- I think it's the simple fact that you cannot know someone's taste via a company's sort list. That, and the simple fact that 'junk mail' is incredibly irritating to most people, and they'll throw it away without a glance.

    High-end portrait photogs also have to consider whether they want to market in the same way that Kiddie Kandids and the other portrait mills work. It will almost always come across to people as cheap. Direct mail would absolutely not appeal to my clientele in any way.

    - CJ
     
  8. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Tom, I was definitely not ready for the response. LOL. I got buried alive, and raised my prices very sharply to slow it down a bit. It was incredibly effective.

    Here are a few things to consider when you're thinking of putting up a display for the purpose of generating business:

    - Who frequents the venue? In my case, the Starbucks was in a very affluent neighborhood on the edge of a major shopping district. Lots of moms with disposable income who were generally there because they had time to kill. Also, lots of businessmen having casual meetings.

    - Where will your work be hung? It's not terribly effective to hang prints where people are waiting in line to order coffee, for instance. They're juggling purses and children, thinking about their order, pulling out wallets, etc. Too many things on their minds to really take notice of prints, let alone pull a business card. Rather, I chose a show where I had an 18-ft wall in the seating area, where people were sipping and socializing, often with other moms.

    - What incentive do people have to call you? I placed business postcards there with a new client credit -- not a huge discount, but enough of a push to get people to pick up the phone.

    - Do you have the freedom to show the kind of work you REALLY want to do, to truly showcase your style? This is particularly important for portrait / people shooters, because people are paying you to produce the kind of work that caused them to want to book you in the first place. I was very careful to hang not only my most 'me' prints, but also a sequenced "slide show" of 30 small prints with text under them, explaining my philosophy and why I work the way I do. By the time people read the slideshow across the wall from left to right, they knew a whole lot about my work. At the end of the slideshow were my referral cards. It was very effective.

    Anyway.

    - CJ
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Cheryl neglects to point out that having an amazingly beautiful ability to recognize those fleeting moments which symbolize a childs life experience, and to put them on film, probably accounts for 98% of her success. The other 2% was 1/2 getting the gonads to go for it, and 1/2 picking the perfect venue and presentation to launch from. Me-thinks her work would have percolated to the top, no matter what :smile:

    Thanks Bill...this thread has had me in hyper-pondering mode all day!!!!!!!

    Murray
     
  10. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In that case Murray, Cheryl would be what is called in China a "big potato" (an important person). When transporting potatoes in wagons or trucks over rough roads, the big ones jiggle to the top.
    Cheryl will probably not want to use this useful bit of information in her advertising however.
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,561
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In the Brett Weston DVD, Brett says "well I don't sell it, people come and buy it".
    He has a show and people see and hear of his work and they seek him out. Wouldn't that be nice?
     
  12. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Direct mail can work for anyone, it just depends on the manner in which you approach it. A mailing list can be bought and structured very specifically depending on parameters/criteria you provide. From one penny to 4 or 5 cents per name (more variables=more money). So a list of 1000 names could be had as cheap as $100 up to $400-500.

    A well designed piece catered to your clientele from a mailing list that was gathered with multiple specific criteria, designed, printed and mailed may cost around $1.00 per person, or $1000 for 1000 addresses. It could be as little as $600.

    The info I've gathered is that out of 1000 mailings, perhaps 200 people (20%) will look at it to some extent before tossing where the rest just toss. Out of that 200, another 20% (40 households) will give it a good look. Out of that 40, maybe 10-20% will keep it, either for future reference, immediate interest, or pass on to someone they know. That's 4-8 households. Then maybe half that will call and inquire.

    One gig from that for someone like Cheryl doing family/children portraits will come close to paying for that mailing. Then add to that the new clients future needs, word of mouth (from a new source you didn't have) and I would say well worth it.

    Add to that the name recognition that will be implanted to some extent in those initial 200, who may at some time down the road have a need for your service and remember.

    Many think or expect an immediate response where it is sometimes several months down the road. Advertising is an investment in yourself.

    One of the biggest mistakes is to think you don't need to advertise, however you decide to do it. I have a good steady clientele, but in todays economy that could change very easily. I continuously market myself (my services) to current clientele and every three months, send a packet out to new businesses, or ones I discover who utilize my type of services. That may only be four or five or up to 10-12.

    Each year (of my six years in business) has added at least one new corporate or business client. Each of those has (As I have tracked) referred me to subsequent clients, and etc. Before I started on my own, I worked in marketing which included advertising campaigns, focus group studies, as well as participation in outside consultants doing marketing analysis for us. I'm no expert, don't even come close, but I strongly believe in it.

    Ask yourself how many differnt products or services you've used as a result of seeing their ad or receiving a direct mail piece. I admit though, (as a natural skeptic) do ask around for the best product/service/person in addition to what I see or receive as advertisement.

    Considering what we have all spent on camera equipment, which took time for most of us to acquire, I think 1-$2k a year to advertise is nominal.

    My business is primarily Commercial-Design, Marketing and Photography...so I have a bias on this topic.

    Soon I will be implementing my services and abilities to promote sales for my fine art photography. I will do a mailer, very specific to a list I have already been fine tuning. I have some advantage as I can design and print it (at wholesale cost).

    I recently did an email solicitation (for my prints) to a list of only 60 as an opportunity for them to pre-purchase a print at a certain size, at a discount over current print pricing, to help finance a (photography) road trip. I had eight bites (7.5%) and that paid for my gas and hotels while on the road for 30 days and over 7000 miles. I thought that was good considering none had seen any of my b&w darkroom work. They bought based soley on my rep as a commercial photographer and designer. I designed a PDF flier with a few images, history/bio.

    A few others here that I'm aware of have done similar "pre-purchse" solicitations and done pretty well.

    Another valid avenue is to pick 2-3 non-profits who do annual fundraisers that include silent auctions and donate a print (or as in Cheryl's biz, a session/service). The demographic is usually excellent and the visibility factor is good. Do the research and ask what the attendance is, etc.
    Remember, the one who buys your print will likely hang it. Their guests/clients will also be exposed to your work (or service) and the word of mouth factor is then amplified.

    There are many more avenues I am exploring and once I implement these and some time has passed to do a summation, I'll post that info if anyone is interested.

    The most unique item you are selling is yourself.
     
  13. Shinnya

    Shinnya Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    567
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a feeling that, in some way, this is what surprisingly a lot of people are seriously hoping. That they will be the hidden treasure among the collectors when they are discovered.

    While this may happen to a few people in a very while, I do not think that it is realistic. My feeling that things just do not happen "naturally." If you see a news anchor wearing a certain earring, there must be someone working hard to get her wear the earring behind the scene.

    Certainly a quality has a lot to do with it, and I am sure you have to work hard to get to where you want to get to. But it still remains a fact that the marketing has a lot to do with it in my opinion.

    My understanding was that AA's prints did not sell that much until he worked with a marketing person who did a tremendous amount of work to promote his work (Will someone confirm on this?).

    In fact, I would like to even say a quality without marketing does not go anywhere, whereas, sadly enough, marketing with a mediocre quality goes much further. Think of all food products, businesses to politicians which are not necessarily good but they are popular enough to be where they are. I think it has a lot to do with how they market them to the right people.

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2006
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I disagree that direct mailing will work for everyone if done right.

    A client's perception is everything. It's not just about getting their eyes on your work, it's about them realizing the value of your work. In high-end portraiture, being exclusive and selective with the jobs a photog takes creates the perception of value and desirability.

    My clients are happy to pay $5000 and upwards on a single session because I am exclusive and I avoid all the typical portrait trappings being offered today. (Purses, jewelry, CD's, mugs, mousepads, yada yada.) If I were to start sending direct mail campaigns, my clients would be totally turned off.

    It's the same reason I turned down an opportunity to display my work in a major shopping mall kiosk. I'm NOT a shopping mall portrait photog -- displaying there would be counterproductive to me.

    Don't forget, too, that it's not just the physical cost of the mailings that counts. It's also the time spent designing those mailings, printing address labels, sticking them to thousands of cards (or whatever your process is), taking them to be mailed, dealing with the ones that are returned, sifting through the responses to find the client who is a good fit with your work style. Frankly, whether they like my work or not, I'm too expensive for most people.

    Marketing is only effective if it reaches your specific audience and accomplishes what you need. In my case, I get FAR better return from approaches that cost me absolutely nothing, or close to it.

    Oh, and thanks for the nice comments. From now on, my website will be www.TheBigPortraitPotato.com . :wink:

    - CJ
     
  16. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well you may disagree as is your option.
    And I can disagree as to why you disagree, as I will.

    Your first sentence is a bit off. If it's done right, it should work.
    Many don't do it right. A subjective area, but a real one. A client's perception is exactly what you're trying to create. Done right, it will have a cause and affect. Done wrong, well, you'll know soon enough. It has to be a consistent offering to work well and in the long run too. A one time shot isn't going to give a proper gauge.

    I'm assuming you've done specific (to your demographic) mailings so have the facts to make that statement as to return. If so, then that is what you should adhere to, absolutely. No marketing effort has a guaranty.
    If you've done both direct mail and then your approaches, perhaps share with us the facts. I'm sure many want other avenues and choices to consider.

    I'll consider anything. I do disagree that your client base/demographic (for new clients) would not be reachable via direct mail. Again, I stress a well designed piece.

    Not sure what you mean by exclusive, but what you're saying is what I mentioned, in affect. Sell yourself and what it is you offer that sets you apart from the norm or usual. Be it direct mail, magazine ads or whatever. Everyone one has an exclusivity to offer.

    Did you rely on word of mouth since your first paying customer when you started out? Do you or did you advertise in the yellow pages? Surely you did some form of marketing back then. And surely you didn't start out finding people happily parting with $5k for a portrait session.

    For those starting a business, whether it be child, general portraiture, fine art or advertising photography, marketing in some form is essential to build a business. My comments and insight was not addressing those who have reached their pinnacle, as you have.

    Once you have established yourself in whatever market (local, regional, statewide, national, etc.) in your niche, then different approaches can replace traditional marketing avenues. But you still market in some way shape or form.

    You still do so by offering workshops, a form of marketing yourself and your work. That's based on your success, a marketing tool for you for these workshops. Without that success your workshops would not have as much appeal.

    A stepping process, a building process.

    Again, my previous post was for those mainly trying to establish themselves, build, as well as maintenance of their business. It does not apply to everyone, but I think for the majority it does.
     
  17. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Blaze, you're making my point for me, actually.

    No, I did not start with a yellow page ad or any other print ad or marketing. Yes, it was absolutely my display and word of mouth that built my business that rapidly. My very first clients averaged over $1200. It built steadily, due to word of mouth and high quality work.

    If we're talking $600 - $1000 on a regular basis for direct mail, we're talking a major investment. Most people just beginning their business will not have the luxury of that kind of budget. Plus, don't forget postage which will add several hundred dollars to that cost.

    Personally, even before I got into photography, I would never have called any portrait studio that marketed by direct mail. It just comes across as cheap, volume stuff. No matter how well done the piece, it would not suit the personality of my business.

    Why spend such volumes of money when there are so many more effective and inexpensive ways to go about it? $1000 will pay for a lot of displays in specifically targetted places where people will see a whole lot more of your work than they can on a postcard. And the web is an incredibly inexpensive and very powerful marketing tool as well. I've NEVER paid to market my workshops anywhere. If you'd like to count the cost of my website, that would be $15/month.

    Certainly I market. I just don't PAY to market.

    - CJ
     
  18. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not at all.

    Since the intent of this thread was to share your marketing efforts, why not do so? Your display...where did you place it? How many? Who designed it? It cost you nothing? How large? I'm sure many would appreciate that info, especially if they can market for free in this day and age.
    And, If you haven't paid anything for marketing, then you did not do a direct mail piece, therefore your disagreement is not as valid if you had done it. If you believe it won't work for you, fine. But I don't think you can discount it as you did. If it comes across cheap and volume as you say, then it isn't done right.

    I included postage and didn't forget that. I did forget (apologies) that I do most at wholesale cost pricing though. So here's a general breakdown (retail) for those who might try direct mail (1000 names/pieces) using outside sources:

    • List of names - $100-$400
    • 5.5x8.5 postcard printed (4/1) - $200
    • mail sort/inkjet addressing - $225 (well worth it vs. by hand)
    • Postage (bulk mail) - up to $390
    • Professional design (optional) - $125-$300

    Range: $1040-$1490

    What this thread is trying to do is to assimilate various marketing efforts. Direct mail is one of them, and a valid one for many. If not for you, or in your budget, there are many other avenues.

    As a handout (or to leave at appropriate places) a postcard is also good to have on hand-something to hand a prospective client other than a biz card, as it can show a few samples of your work. Keep it simple, and I recommend no pricing so as not to date or invalidate your piece if your pricing increases.
    Design your own and print for about $200. It adds a higher professional profile, i.e. "I'm serious about what I do enough to spend money advertising it". I have had many jobs as a result of leaving these at business and having on hand.

    Inserts in local newsletters (chamber/non-profits) work for some. I did it way back, one time, got a couple calls (mostly for my design work) and one actual job. Cost was about $400 for 3500 pieces. ($200 insertion fee and $200 to print a one sided flier). The one job paid for the insertion plus a decent profit and to this day, still a current client.

    Ads in local or regional magazines. Some will work a deal for discount or free ad if you provide certain services for them in return. Always ask if you can work a trade. It's worked for me and although I've only done 3 actual ads in the same regional magazine, they have each netted at least one gig. I paid for only one ad, traded for the others.

    Affiliation and services to non-profits (i.e. symphony, arts council) has netted me dozens of good, high paying gigs from it's various sponsors and board members. To repeat, a good demographic as most board members are well off, successful people. Most.

    The main thing is to determine your target market, research the options available as to how you can best address them. What works for one may not work for another.

    There was a rule of thumb back when I got into marketing some 14 years ago, and that was to allocate 10-20% of your net profits back into marketing.
    But I don't, and am more around 5%.

    Again, many variables when deciding which marketing tool/avenue is right for you.

    I've done about everything for my clients regarding marketing, and that has included a few national campaigns.

    FWIW, I'll be doing a direct mail piece soon, targeting corporate for lobby display of fine art prints on a rental basis. As I will only be doing about 150-200 pieces, the cost is nominal to me vs. the possible return. I'm hoping for 1-2 to bite and hope to gain exposure, print sales or even commissions. Exposure is a given, the other a crapshoot. If none bite, then at least I added to the name branding. Sometimes the payoff comes way down the road.

    Anyway, I hope others add to this and share what they've done or would like to do. It's a very competitive world out there with many who offer what we all do. Getting them to hire/represent us vs. them is the thing, be it fine art, or commercial.

    One person here whose marketing efforts I commend is Kevin Saitta. Kevin sends out a regular newsletter to his mailing list which I assume is built upon those who have purchased his prints. And with his hand made bags and template website business, he's diversified and has marketed both well, at least on apug. And a "readership" of 17,000 isn't a bad place to do so.

    I'd be interested (more) in what those who do strictly fine art photographs are doing to sell their work, aside from websites. If you only have a website, how are you directing traffic there?

    Thanks for initiating this thread Bill, as I think it will be a good resource as long as posters address the threads intent with actual experience. What has worked-what hasn't for you? Why do you think it has worked and why do you think it hasn't?
    Happy New Year to all,
    Matt
     
  19. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Matt,

    Yes, I did take a stab at the direct mail thing at the very beginning, and no I didn't pay for it. I had a friend in the marketing business, and we bartered. I abandoned it after it yielded absolutely nada. Not one client, not even a phone call that I could trace back to the direct mail.

    I am speaking from direct experience. I'm a full-time professional photographer who built a high-end portrait business in two weeks, and grew from there. I think my experience is very valuable for those wishing to pursue a similar career.

    I've already shared a whole lot of information about my display. Did you read it?

    Rather than pay to do a print ad in a magazine, I prefer to write articles of interest for the magazine and/or offer up a unique angle for a magazine to do a feature on me. It costs me nothing, and often generates pay.

    I also found ways to get my local news interested in my work, which generated two news features on prime time. The first came about from my pitching an idea directly to an anchorwoman via e-mail. The second came about in a similar way, except through a friend of mine with contacts at the TV station. No cost at all for either of those, and it generates a lot of name recognition and contributes to a the artists' reputation.

    I print referral cards for each of my clients. Ten each, to be precise, with small credits for the referred client and a complimentary print for the referring client. These are readily passed around and shared because I put the client's own kids on the card, and it's fun for them to show them off. I apply a 30-day timeframe for the credit, which ensures that people will not have time to put off the session and forget to book.

    I make complimentary photo bracelets with six images from the client's session in them. It costs me approximately ten dollars per bracelet, which is well covered by the session fee. I get many, many clients who call me after seeing another client's bracelet.

    Most importantly, I talk. A lot. To a lot of people. You never know which contact knows someone who knows someone who will love your work and pay you well. Everybody I meet knows what I do for a living. I'm not obnoxious about it -- I don't have to be. Photography is seen as a 'sexy' career, even if it isn't in reality, so people are genuinely interested and ask a lot of questions. They ALWAYS ask for my card. I've booked sessions while chatting with someone on an airplane whose grandkids happened to live in Denver.

    I have contributed to silent and live auctions for charity. While I feel good about helping a worthy cause, auctions have never generated any business at all for me. Still, it's a way of giving back and that's never bad. It's just not necessarily a great marketing tactic.

    Ask me whatever else you might want to know, and I'd be happy to respond.

    - CJ
     
  20. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    3,754
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Meeshagin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was deep into my commercial work, I can't say I ever once paid for any kind of marketing beyond the materials it took to put together a few portfolios and mail them to a few prospective clients. My experience was that my business grew via word of mouth after my first few solid clients, which were magazines. Art Directors move around a lot. One would leave and would tell the incoming AD about me. The work would continue to come from that publication as well as from the new publication the previous AD moved to. It was a win-win situation for a long time. The corporate and annual report jobs, which were far more lucrative, would come from these jobs as well. I was happy to see that people who hired me actually did read credit lines. I never once bought a page in the Black Book, etc. I'm certain I could have gotten more jobs had I spend money on advertising, but I was always comfortable, working and keeping things at a manageable level.

    Bill
     
  21. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,888
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Cheryl... about these referral cards you make... how do you generate them exactly? And do you give them to the clients when you deliver prints? And, last question, are they good for 30 days from the time you give them to your client?

    Great thread, everyone! Lots of good ideas. Thanks for starting it Bill.
     
  22. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Suzanne, I design the cards in photoshop as a 4x6 print, burn them to CD, then have them printed by my local pro-sumer lab. I tuck them into the top of the print packaging ribbon. Yes, it's thirty days from the delivery date. I print the deadline directly on the referral card so there's no confusion. It works wonderfully, and costs me just over a buck per client.

    - CJ
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,969
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i do several different types of photography professionally from magazine/editorial portrait work to architectural documentation of historic buildings that are going to be torn down. i have bought and used mailing lists over the years and done the every 10 week route, but i haven't gotten any jobs out of it.

    i have gotten jobs through other means. mostly i cold calls to businesses that i know would use my services. magazines, architects, engineers and other consultants. i mainly tell them who i am and what i do, and then send them something in the mail with my web address &C on it. sometimes they ask for my "hard" portfolio but other times when they talk to friends in the field, they pass my name on and i get work that way. repeat business is always a good thing, but things can change overnight - clients can vanish, people leave and go across the country &C.

    for the black and white portraits i don't really advertise, its mainly word of mouth. i have donated portrait sessions to silent auctions, and soon to a radio station fundraiser, since there aren't many people left who do large format black and white portraits, the unique factor plays itself out ...
     
  24. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,888
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Thanks Cheryl, that sounds like a great way to offer a referral program.

    I've done a little advertising, and that has generated work for me, but less than I expected, though it paid for the ad, and then some. I have also done the silent auction charity thing three times. First when I was quite new at this, and did the shoot. They bought more prints than I offered, so I made some money. I did two more of these type of events, and the second set of folks couldn't get a mutually convenient time as they were moving out of the area. Third time... they never called! I was worried they'd call after Thanksgiving (auction was in March!! :surprised:), so next time... the offer will expire at the end of August. Our local library, however, did very well in the deal!!

    This is a great thread everyone. Thanks for the help. It's clear, and, frankly I've been wanting to do this for awhile, that I need to get work in more local retail businesses!
     
  25. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    I donated to two local auctions. On one auction they misspelled my name. On the other auction someone saw my work at the show (Viewpoint in Sacramento CA) and contacted me to buy several prints from my website.

    Jon
     
  26. PhotoBob

    PhotoBob Subscriber

    Messages:
    535
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    thanks

    Just wanted to say thanks for the data.
    Seems that marketing is one of the necessary things for selling one's images.
    I don't consider myself good as a marketer of my photography, so appreciate the tips Cheryl.