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.
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 ...
Originally Posted by Cheryl Jacobs
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!! :o), 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!
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.
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.
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I almost think that you have to change the expectation of how the advertisement works. In my opinion it is not cost-effective especially if you are on a budget marketing.
Instead, I think one of the most effective thing is to have someone write about yourself whether it is on magazine or newspaper. It does not have to be national-level, and of course that is difficult to being with. You can start from local news and even a community newspaper. If you have a friend who is a writer, you should ask if he/she may be interested in writing about you and your work.
Again, you will need to pitch the story to them in a way that would interest them. Whether it is that you use a 100 years old camera or the way you make your prints, you should emphasize something "unique" about it. You may think those are a superficial quality to your work, but the important thing is that you need to be catchy.
One article about your work goes much further than a series of advertisement. People think there is something authoritative about you and your work if it is written in an article. You may think it is superficial, but that is the world we live in. You got to play their game. But once it is written somewhere, it would be much easier to be written again in something else. On top of that, it does not cost you anything aside from your time.
Last edited by Shinnya; 12-31-2006 at 10:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: spelling, spelling, and spelling!
Tsuyoshi, that's exactly what I was describing in my previous post. Works very well.
One thing I am thankful for is having some of my work published, unfortunately not as consistently as I would like. However, this to the best of my recollection has not resulted in clients save one inquiry some time ago which went nowhere.
I also think highly of word of mouth which I believe was already mentioned.
OK, so maybe let's direct this thread to a no-or-low budget approach.
I will continue to do paid advertising including direct mail because, well, they work for me, and I know my market. Paid advertising typically does takes a consistent approach (more than once) to yield valid results, though I've had success from one timers, as have many of my advertising clients. I'm surprised that it has not yielded results for the rest of you.
Word of mouth is almost a given if you do good work and offer good service, and of course, your clients are happy.
Displays are great but finding a place that will allow you to put one up without paying them is hard to find. I'm surprised Starbucks allowed that.
I do have my cards at several businesses (mom&pops) around town here because I know the owners or have worked for them. So definitely use that resource.
I offer a referral discount toward future service as well, but don't have a specific referral card, just let clients know. But I do give them several of my postcard handouts to pass on though, so the person receiving has a visual reference/sample of my work.
Other avenues for free advertising or no cost are limited, and will involve at least your time. Time is money. Bartering as I mentioned in previous post is always worth a try.
For those who will do or want to do a paid ad insertion, look carefully at the
magazine/paper/kiosk/whatever and see how you can make your ad pop out from all the others. Look for best placement options (section, right or left read, etc) and if possible, inquire as to what other ads will be on the same page/display/etc and design yours to really stand out. There are so many variables for effective advertising.
I mentioned I do work for the local arts council here, and they have a website where you can add a free artist profile. Check your area to see if that's available. Ours also has a class/workshop page which I have utilized as well. Free is nice, but all too rare.
Jon, don't ya just hate it when they spell your name wrong!
Matt's Photo Site
"I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin
One of the venues we use is Craigslist. If you are in a relatively larger city in US, there is a good chance that you have one for your city. It is a free classified ads basically. But they are very popular in larger cities.
We place ads like this to market our classes and workshops. Again, we always try to visually pleasant layout with some images that we will repeat. This particular image comes from our fundraising print sale. Again, I am trying to get the image familiarized.
Some people simply put their URL in artist section. While this may be ok, but I would try to describe who you are and what you are about. It certainly needs to be short and concise.
People may not look at your website just because of this. But the real benefit of posting on craigslist is that it will tremendously help any search engines to pick up your post on CL. In fact, they will pick them up before your website.
This is why the description of yourself and work is very important. I would make sure that you are using right kind of key "phrases" which people who are searching for a photographic print would use. Again, not the words, but phrases since that is how people search stuffs online.
This is one way to not only promote your work locally, but also help search engines to find your online presence.