Marketing is not selling. It is getting the word out that you are
in business, what your business is about, and how you can be
contacted. Your goal is to inform people who have the need and the
funds to purchase your product or service.
Marketing is something you will be doing forever, one way or
another. It is always cheaper and more effective to market to
existing customers, so keep records, get email addresses, phone
numbers, and contact names. Create a spreadsheet and back up the
data at least three times, one or two for the office and one for
your safe deposit box. You need to safe guard this data as if it
were cash, because it is. Update the copy in the vault regularly.
Your Paperwork and The Web
Your business card and your brochures must be sharp. Your Web
site must be a thing of beauty. Remember, your target customer, like
you, is visually oriented and understands composition, color, and
saleable photography. All of your business materials must present a
polished, professional image.
Your Web address, its Universal Resource Locator (URL), is
important. An address like www.joesmith.com or www.travelphotos.com
is fine. We do not suggest using the address that is included at no
additional charge by your Web access provider because it will be
something like: webpages.webprovider.com/joesmith. This pegs you as
Personal contact, the face to face meeting of one person with
another, can’t be beaten for effectiveness. Join professional groups
or local business groups and attend as many meetings as you can.
This type of contact is not to be underestimated. You can easily
meet someone who needs your product. Or meet someone, who knows
someone, who needs your product.
Your name tag
Many people simply put their business card in a plastic holder
and pin it on their shirt. Don’t do it. Have a name tag
professionally made that looks sharp. Dress like a professional, pin
the name tag on, and have your business card in a left pocket. Why?
When you shake hands with your right hand your left hand passes over
a card. Order at least 500 business cards, 1,000 is better, and give
them all out. If you are not giving away 1,000 cards every year you
are not networking enough.
You say you are shy. That was yesterday. Today you are no longer
shy. Here is all you need to do. Stick out your right hand and give
a firm, but not crushing, handshake, saying, "Hi, I’m Joe Smith, A
Your Elevator Speech
An elevator speech tells someone, in 30 seconds or less, what you
do. Literally, it's done in the time it takes to ride an elevator.
For example, you say, “Joe Smith,” as you stick your hand out,
“Travel photographer, we specialize in England and Scotland. We’re
on the Web at TravelPhotography.com” as you hand the person two
business cards. When you are told that he or she has no need for
your cards. You say, “Please keep them anyway. Give them to a friend
The door opens and you and your elevator speech have struck
again. Who knows, maybe at lunch this person will be introduced to
an editor of a travel magazine and have your card to pass along.
Cold Calls and Cold Emails
Cold calls are a numbers game. When cold calling, keep track of
your success rate. What you want to do is get a decision maker on
the phone and tell them what you do, refer them to your web site,
and to schedule a personal meeting if appropriate. So, have all your
ducks all in a row. Keep track of who answered the phone, if you got
by the gatekeeper, if you need to call back and when, who to ask
for, the business name, phone number. Everything. Make a spread
sheet in your computer to do this.
Cold emails. Don’t write each and every email. Here is how to do
- Write the email in your word processor. At the top of your
email include a few words for the subject line which you will cut
and paste later. Save the document and copy it to the clipboard.
- Open a blank email. Enter the address and paste the
information on the clipboard into the body of the email. Cut and
paste the subject information from the body of the email into the
subject line of the email.
- Send the email. Repeat.
Keep records. You may be able to do a mass emailing. Find out if
your email software supports Blind Carbon Copy, (Bcc). If so, this
may do what you need and save you time and money on additional
Teach a Photography Course
This is an excellent way to become known. Write up a one page
sheet to advertise the course beginning with an arresting statement:
“Stop taking bad pictures.” Or “Stop wasting money.”
Next describe the course and say a few words about you and your
expertise to be an instructor. End with a clear call to action:
“Sign up today!” When you teach the course have your business
materials available. Remember that you are teaching a course about
photography not about you.
Always conduct your self appropriately. Be the sharp,
intelligent, get-the-job-done kind of a person that people want to
work with. Always have three things with you.
- Your business card
- A ball point pen. When you attend a seminar or networking
event always carry several pens. Why? One is for you, and the
others to give away. Be sure they have your business name and
contact information on them. Things like this are cheap
advertising. Do a Web search on ‘promotional pens’ or
‘personalized pens’ for places to buy these and other like
- Something to write on. Always carry a small spiral bound
notebook. Failure to have something to write on cost us a Web
Read business books for ideas and talk to other travel
photographers. Don’t be surprised if they greet you like a long lost
brother or sister. These conversations can be very rewarding
personally and professionally.
We do not wish you good luck. Our best wishes will avail you not.
Making you own luck will. So, don’t wish for luck - manufacturer
About the Author
Wayne is a professional writer. He has been published in The
Futurist, Smart Computing, Intercom the magazine for the Society of
Technical Communication, Fate, and many others. He can be reached at