It seems like just yesterday that I decided to start my photography business. Being an entrepreneur was never in the plan...I was supposed to be some big CEO of an international company. But there I was, a stay-at-home mom and I was learning to take beautiful pictures of my daughters, then suddenly people started asking me to take pictures of their families...and they were gonna pay me! I was like, "whaaaaaaaat?!"
Then poof! My business was born. Honestly, I thought that I would just announce to the world I was a photographer and everyone I knew would hire me. Well, it wasn't that simple. I did have to learn some things the hard way.Over the years, I did learn that there were just some marketing staples I needed to put in place before I could truly announce to the world I was in business! Not just any business, but one that could be taken seriously and one that I could be confident in marketing.
Here are the top 5 things you need to properly and professionally market yourself:
*disclaimer--these are tips I'm giving you because you are just starting your business, you have a seriously low or zero budget, but you need to look professional. As your business and marketing budget grows, I would suggest you invest more into your branding and online presence, but we all start somewhere, and I'm here to help!
I suggest this first, because what if your preffered business name is already taken on the world wide web? This may be the deciding factor in what you ultimately name your business. Get that domain name FIRST.
Go ahead and purchase a domain name for your business. You can do this through bluehost. I've had my website on many different platforms, but my domains have always been through bluehost. I trust them AND they have an actual phone number to call people. They have chat too, if you prefer that. But sometimes, especially when you are dealing with technology, you just want someone to talk to. They always answer and they are always SUPER helpful!
There are so many ways to get an affordable logo out there.
-Design your own on Canva.
-Affordable websites like Fiverr.
- Hire a graphic designer--My first logo I paid about $100 for from a gal I found online. Now years later I hired an incredible graphic that took that one logo and turned it into a whole brand to tell my stories. My website, marketing materials, and social media accounts all had accents around them that matched that logo.
Your logo should be clean and simple. Especially if you haven't really had the time or money to develop your brand, a clean and simple logo can be added upon later.
DON'T design your own..unless you have a bit of experience with it. There are so many affordable options out there, that you shouldn't have to spend the time and frustration on creating your own.
Get a Website.
Yes, Social media is where it's at. Instagram is so hot right now!! ;) True, True!
Having website may not seem super trendy right now, but believe me..there will come a day...probably sooner than later, that social media can't keep up with you. It's not efficient for clients to order that way or you can't lay out all your services or products you offer, or maybe you can't land those big clients because they want a website to visit. I've seen it time and time again. A business owner starts out on Instagram and then they are in a mad rush to get their website set up...like it's an afterthought. Don't do that. Take time and be thoughtful about your website.
Your website will be your base camp. It's where your business lives. Social Media is how you help promote and market your business. Make sense?
Some start-up options are:
-Wordpress--which I recommend but it is a little more on the technical side.
These platforms all have free options, but I recommend upgrading to the plan that allows you to have your own domain and NO advertisements. It you want to be taken seriously and deemed professional, if you want to draw those high end clients you don't want your domain to end with /wordpress.com or /wix.com...promise!
Keep your website simple. When your starting out simple is best. Best for you and best for your potential clients. Again, keep it clean so you can so you can develop a brand and you grow. I would suggest NOT using a lot of colors or funky fonts. You're in the beginning stages of your business, you're probably not quite sure yet of your brand identity...so keep it simple.
Start with just a few pages:
Contact Page--I recommend using a contact form rather than listing out your email. It's makes it easier and quicker for your potential client to contact you.
I know, I know, this is a no brainer! But it still needs to be mentioned.
There are a ton of social media options out there. You can open an account on all of them or select a few. It mostly depends on who you are targeting to. Simply think of who you are selling to. What are the demographics of your target market. Then be sure to be on the social media outlets that draw those demographics.
For instance, there was a time in my career I focused on Senior Portraits for High School Seniors. Since my demographic were teenagers, I had an account on Snapchat, and I was sure to post frequently. I had my clients post and mention me on Snapchat too. Now that I focus on commercial photography, I market on business owners and decision makers. I find them on FAcebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Decide on a few social media outlets and post and post frequently!
Yes, you still need them. Yes, they are important. Not everyone out there is tech savvy. AND even if they are, they may not have time to look you up on Insta or twitter right there in the 5 minutes you're talking with them. If your an entrepreneur, you always have to be marketing yourself. I've found clients in the most random of places bc of a random conversation. We exchange cards and move on with our lives. Eventually down the road, we do business together. You have to have your info readily available.
Personally, I like getting someones business card. Something about exchanging cards help me remember them. This is just my opinion and my experience. But I think business cards are still very important to have. You will miss client opportunities without them.
I like to order mine through vista print. Especially if I'm on a budget.
But once your business is producing and growing, I'd look into moo.com! They are amazing!
Ok...there you have it! My 5 must have items to start and market your business!
These are just the basics. There is so much more. But I wanted to help you get started and looking professional and legit!
If you find yourself needing a little more direction or perhaps motivation and accountability. Please contact me OR schedule a FREE 30 minute strategy session me so we can get you working smarter not harder!