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NYIP offers three distance education multi-media courses for photographers looking to improve their skills while working from home at their own pace.

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Entries in Marketing (8)

Thursday
Sep222011

Photo Marketing 101: Video Killed the Marketing Star

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our series of blogs on Marketing for Photographers. Last week, I shared with you some ideas for designing your business card.

There is one thing that every marketer out there is learning quickly, video is becoming one of the most important marketing tools of the digital age. You see video in ads, across websites, in every social network, on mobile devices, and practically everywhere else you look. The fact is, video is a quick and entertaining way of conveying a message to your audience, that people are more willing to view than a page of text.

As a photographer, it’s time for you to take notice of this trend as well, because you can use it to attract new customers for your business.

Even if you don’t offer video services, a video can be used to promote your photography. However, learning how to create a great video for yourself is the first step to offering video services to future clients.

Add video to your website, create a YouTube account and add your video there to. Send links to the video out over your various social media accounts. Put a link to the video on your business card or promotional materials that you hand out.

Many companies have learned how to use video to promote their businesses, and photographers have the added advantage of already being in a visually powerful field. Your customers are looking for artistic ability, and a good video could be enough to get them through the door.

For more information on using video to market yourself and your services, check out these 16 tips.

Here is an example of a good video used to promote a photography tour. It fits the topic of this post in two ways in that it promotes a tour that will help you learn to create video:

Homework: Share links to your videos, videos you find inspiring, or tutorials on how to create great online videos.

P.S. If you have a marketing question, feel free to ask it in the comments here or Tweet your question to us with the tag #PhotoMarketing101 . Your question may be the next one we answer on our blog!

Thursday
Sep012011

Photo Marketing 101: Get Creative with Business Cards

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our series of blogs on photographer marketing. Last time, I asked you to do the work, calling for questions from our readers about marketing. Response was limited, but the questions we did get in the comments and via Twitter were good ones. In fact, I wanted to take the time to answer one of those questions in this week’s post.

Lime Light asks, “Any advice on business cards? With photos or without? 2 sided or tent fold?”


I would like to preface my answer with this very simple fact. There is no “one size fits all” approach here. Some of the ideas presented below will appeal to you, others won’t. Some will work for certain photographers, and some won’t. What I will do is give the reasoning behind each suggestion so that you can make the decision on your own.

There are 4 main aspects of your business card that you should pay attention to, because each will send a message about you and your business: size, photos (design), the back, must-haves.

1. Size

The size of your card will make a big difference in the reaction it gets when you hand it to someone. We’ve all been given business cards in the past, and there is an assumption of the size a card should be, because most are cookie cutter jobs that meet the standard. So, when someone receives a card that is smaller, larger, or a different shape entirely, it stands out. Any marketer will tell you that standing out from the crowd is a good thing. Better to be remembered for anything than forgotten altogether.

I would not recommend using a fold of any kind, because I think that takes the notion of standing out too far. And keep your size and shape in check, which means don’t go overboard trying to stand out. There is a fine line between something that stands out and something that is just plain annoying. If I keep business cards in my wallet and yours doesn’t fit, where does it go? 

2. Photos

Treating your business card as a marketing tool means using it to deliver a message. As a photographer, that message is that you are a pro, and your photography is of the highest quality. Think about using one or more of your photos in the design of your card.

Another idea is including a head shot of yourself on the card. When the potential client looks back at your card, the headshot will reinforce who you are and what you do.

Plain white or solid color business cards are formal, and professional. But photography is an art, and your card is a chance to show off your artistic ability. Leave the plain white cards to the financial advisors.

3. Back

Use the back of your card. The biggest mistake people make is that they keep the back blank because it’s cheaper. The back of your card is prime marketing real estate.

That is where you can show off the best photograph you’ve ever taken, a headshot with a short bio and references, a promise or guarantee that you offer your customers, the URL to your website, blog, and social profiles, or anything else that deserves attention.

Check out some interesting business card designs here.

4. Must-haves

Business cards are a great place to get creative. But it doesn’t matter how creative you get if you’re missing the basic information a client needs to see. If you are missing some or most of the following items, you might be missing out on some business too. Your name, the business name (if different from your name), phone number, URL where they can find your work, email address, business address (if you have one).

The business card is a marketing tool. Sometimes it’s the first impression that you will make on a potential client or customer. So treat it that way. Get creative, and leave a lasting impression in the mind of anyone you hand it to.

Homework: Share with us any other business card tips you have.

P.S. If you have a marketing question, feel free to ask it in the comments here or Tweet your question to us using #PhotoMarketing101. Your question may be the next one we answer on our blog!


Friday
Jul082011

Photo Marketing 101: Growing Your Brand

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our semi-weekly blog series on marketing yourself as a photographer. In our last post, we discussed some basic ways to use Twitter and Facebook to promote yourself and your work.

Over the next couple of posts I will start to introduce some marketing and advertising ideas that photographers can use to spread the work, and grow a brand. Some will require some investment from you up front, others will not.

One of the big decisions that many of you will have to make is whether or not to spend money on marketing, and when to do it. We’re getting closer to the point where testing some more direct forms of advertising might be a worthwhile endeavor. That will require you to take some chances, and spend some money.

But this week, we keep it free. Here goes:

Blog

We’ve previously covered the notion that you need to have a website to promote and sell your work. And if you do, you should also be blogging as well. A blog provides the perfect platform to connect your social media presence to your website, and write about photography in a way that makes you accessible, while displaying your expertise. You can get started on any number of blogging platforms; Squarespace, Wordpress, Blogger, or Tumblr. Blog about your work, about your life, about photography in general. It will open up a whole new way of communicating with potential customers.

Contests

Enter them. Photo contests are all around us. There are online contests hosted by a variety of companies and organizations. Many are open to the public. Some are free, others have a fee to enter. My advice is to enter as many contests as you can handle. Winning a prize in a contest is a great way to get noticed, and can be used to promote your work on your website. NYIP frequently posts about photo contest opportunities, but you should research on your own to find the ones that makes the most sense to you.

Become a Media Source

When your name is referenced in an article, those people who read it will immediately know that you are an authority on the subject. When this happens online, you’ll often get a link back to your website which will help your search engine rankings and drive traffic to the site. The trick is getting in touch with reporters at the right time. HARO is an email list designed to do just that, connect journalists with sources for their work. It’s completely free to sign up and start receiving the emails. When the emails come in, they will present you with a long last of needs posted by journalists all over the country. See one you think you could contribute to? There is an email provided to get in contact with the writer. Sign up today.

In the next edition of this series, we will cover some opportunities which may require spending money up front to make them work.

Homework: Your homework this week is to pick one of the 3 ideas discussed above and do it. Then use the comments below to tell us all about it.  Share the URL of your blog, let us know what contests you’ve entered, or tell us you signed up for HARO. Better yet, do all THREE!

Thursday
Jun232011

Photo Marketing 101: Social Media Promotions!

Marketers the world over are trying to find the best ways to use social media to promote business. As a photographer, the opportunity is there for you to use social media to create interest in your photography, and gain new clients and customers as a result.

Welcome to Part Five of my series on Marketing Yourself as a Photographer. In Part Five, we introduce social media as a tool that you need to be using in order to increase your online presence, and attract more people to your website. This week, we’ll take a more detailed look at social media, and offer up some ideas for ways you can use social media to drive sales.

There are several social media strategies that have become popular with marketers, and each one can be applied to your own photography business in a different way.

Contests and Giveaways

Many companies have used these types of promotions to draw interest, introduce something new, or increase the number of people that are following them online. You can use Twitter or Facebook to promote a contest where you offer up your services to one lucky person for free (or at a discount), which could lead to a growing number of interested prospects. Sure, you’ll have to give up a little to accomplish this, but it could lead to much more business down the line.

Example: If you’re a portrait photographer, have potential customers submit the worst portraits they’ve ever had taken and you’ll do a portrait of the person with the worst photos for free.

Special Events

Plan on being somewhere, or doing something, that might be of interest to the people that follow you online. Use Facebook and Twitter to invite people to join you or speak with you. Companies will do this to create interest among current customers who wish to learn more about a company they like, or to get answers from a company they’re not so happy with.

Example: Going to a photo trade show? Let your followers know you’ll be there if they want to stop by and say hi.

Discounts

Plenty of companies have tried to make offering exclusive discounts for social media users work. Some have succeeded, others have not been so fortunate. If you are comfortable offering discounts on your photographs or photography services, get creative. Offer 20% to the first person to answer a trivia question about your work correctly. Or offer 25% off to your 1,000th Facebook Fan. And promote that you’ll be doing this ahead of time as a way to draw interest and get more followers up front.

Question and Answer

Much like an advice column, you can ask for inquiries from your followers which you will answer in real time via Twitter or Facebook. This helps demonstrate your value in their eyes, by making you an expert on photography. Be clear about what you will and won’t answer for them, and be available to everyone who is interested. And again, promote it ahead of time to draw added attention.

No matter how you use social media, it’s important to remember why people are there: communication. Open dialogue will help you promote yourself by adding something of value to the social media realm. Share things of interest to you and people will respect you for it. And the more creative you can be with promotions, the better. Because what you really want is for your followers to share it with their followers, increasing the size of your audience and making new business that much more likely.

Next week we’ll discuss some other ways that you can share your work with the masses in order to get your name (or brand) recognized by more people.

Homework: This week’s assignment is more time consuming, but I hope you won’t let that get in the way of you taking part. Share an idea you had for using social media to promote your business with us in the comments below. If it’s something you’ve already tried, let us know how it went!

Thursday
Jun092011

Photo Marketing 101: Get Social!

Are you a photographer, or are you a marketer? If you’re familiar with my Photo Marketing 101 blog series, you’ll know that I want you to tell me that you’re both. In today’s world, everyone is a marketer. It’s up to you to market yourself, and the internet makes that easier to do than ever before.

In Part 3 of this series, we discussed different ways to ensure that your website gets the attention that it deserves. One tool that is perfect for driving traffic to your website, and reaching a wider audience online, is social media.

Social media has created a whole new side of the internet that marketers all over are struggling to understand.  Here is what we know:

  • Social media is exciting
  • Social media is open
  • Social media creates new opportunities for communication, networking, purchasing, sharing, and – of course – marketing

It’s time you get involved. If you already have active social media accounts, congratulations. But your job is not done, so stick with me.

First, it’s important that you have a strategy. How are you going to use social media to drive visitors to your website, interest in your services, and new business?

Linking is vital. Use lots of them.  Link to things you find interesting, link to other people in your area, and link to your own website as often as possible.  These links will bring new visitors to your site, and will tell search engines that there is interest in your website.

Don’t dominate the conversation, join it. Share things that you think people will enjoy. Answer questions, and create a dialogue with people you follow and people who follow you. The more active you are, and not just posting links to your site, the more respected you will be in the online community.

Facebook and Twitter are two places to start. They are the most popular social networks, and will open your brand up to the largest populations. But for photographers, there are other social media sites worth checking out. Flickr is the most popular photo sharing service outside of Facebook, and YouTube is a great place to hang out if you produce video slideshows of your work. Take some time to check out multiple networks, but don’t spread yourself too thin.  Pick 3 or 4 of them, and visit them often so as not to look stale.

It’s important to keep your message consistent across all platforms. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, you should think of yourself as a brand. Whatever that brand is should be clear in each one of your social media profiles.

And of course, just as you should link to your website from your social media accounts, you should include links on your website to your social media accounts. If a new visitor to your site likes what they see but don’t purchase right away, an easy option to follow you on twitter might lead to new business further down the line.

Next time we’re together, I will take a deeper dive into social media, and offer ideas on specific promotions you can try to create interest in your photography.

Homework: This week’s assignment is simple. If you’ve got a Twitter account, share your username below. If not, create one at http://www.twitter.com/ and share your username in the comments below.

I’ll start: @nyip & @zheller