How to Market Yourself and Gain Clients When You're First Starting
It can be so challenging to know where to begin when you are first starting. You need more clients and don’t know where they are hiding. You need a marketing strategy but don’t even know where to start. I was asked in the #askjordanbrittley facebook group how I marketed myself and gained more clients at the beginning of my business! I love this question! Everyone starts somewhere. First of all, remember that simple statement. You are not the first one to have started and your are not alone in this endeavor. Now, let's talk about online presence, getting others talking about your business and networking!
Build a website that is reflective of you and your business Is there anything you don’t like about your website? Make a list of things that you don’t like and a list of things that you love and get to work! Your website needs to be something you are passionate about sharing because it is often the first impression that people have of your business.
Post consistently on social media Get yourself in front of your audience at least 5 days a week. Do you want to take your social media to the next level and grow it quicker? Post different images to each platform so that only a few posts are the same.
For example, the images that I post on Jordan Brittley Facebook are different than the images that I post on Jordan Brittley Instagram. Occasionally I will post from instagram so that it shares to my facebook page. I do this so that people who are following me on facebook remember to follow me on instagram. Plus, I tend to post more behind the scenes images to instagram and I know that people love to see those images on facebook too!
GET OTHERS TALKING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
Keep cards on hand I would pass out my business cards everywhere I went! Did someone have a question about what I did for a living? Business card. Did I hear someone talking about just getting engaged at the Clayton Creperie? Business card. Did I meet another photographer? Business card. Was an industry professional in line behind me at Starbucks? Business card.
Produce new content all the time Whatever your field is, create new content multiple times a week. Share sneak peeks of what you’re working on and where you’re going with your business. People want to know that you are going to be around for a while before they invest in your business, so show them that you have no plans to go anywhere!
When I was first starting, I would ask my friends and sisters to model for me. One time our friends even dressed up in their wedding gown and suit so that I could photograph them.
Develop your photographic voice By producing new work consistently, you will begin to grow by leaps and bounds. Constantly challenge yourself to see things in a new light (pun intended). Photograph 2 shoots in the same place with the goal of making it look entirely different! Once you know what your photographic voice is, others will begin to see it as well.
Get Published Getting published is one of the biggest pieces of marketing for Jordan Brittley. Not only do brides like to see that you're being published, but potential clients can find you through the online blogs and magazines.
Related: 5 Lessons I Learned from My First Style Me Pretty Feature, 10 Myths About Getting Published and What You Really Need to Know, Does Getting Published Really Matter, Jordan Brittley's 2015 Publication Plan
Let people spread the word You know those friends and family that you are photographing all the time so that you can have fresh content? Let them know that you would love for them to spread the word.
By encouraging people to come alongside and rally for you, it makes your business stronger. Not because of what’s in it for you, but because sometimes the people around you want to cheer you on and see you succeed.
Second shoot for free When you’re first starting, let other photographers know that you want to learn from them. Tell them that you’re interested in second shooting for free and even willing to carry their bags on the wedding day. Start by building relationships with these photographers. Prove that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to see their business grow and they will take notice.
Find an internship Do you want to take it beyond learning about the camera? Find a photographer who is willing to let you intern. I would be much more likely to bring someone along on the wedding day after I had seen them work in the office alongside me. Your focus shouldn’t be about how you can serve yourself, but how you can serve the team you’re on.
So what if they aren’t necessarily looking for an intern? Email them. At the very beginning of the email, let them know that you want to learn from them. Let them know that you want to serve them. If you start an email off like this, you are bound to get their attention.
Book a coaching session with me If you want to know how to grow your business in the direction that’s right for your business, get in touch with me. I am good at recognizing strengths and weaknesses in a business and pushing people to capitalize on their strengths.
Related: Jordan Brittley Coaching Sessions
Connect with others in your industry When I was first starting, I was convinced that all photographers were ruthless and mean. Not true. Yes, I know those photographers exist, but they aren’t the ones I want you to connect with. Connect with like-minded industry professionals.
When I first moved to St Louis, I was invited to be part of this referral-sharing group. I have booked weddings just because they were (and are) excited about passing along names when they are booked. I would suggest getting involved in a smaller group so that the lists of people available are much smaller and you stand out a little more!
Offer to do head shots for other photographers and industry professionals A great way to get connected with others is always by serving them! By offering headshots to a florist, wedding planner, or baker, you are communicating that you are interested in seeing their business grow.
Once you take the headshots, share a little bit about their business on social media! Tag them and get people who follow you talking about them! If you have the tools to serve someone, do it!
SUBMIT IT ALL
We had just moved to St Louis and I was leaning on one simple promise from God. Because He had said “I will make you a wedding photographer.” So I expected Him to come in and save the day in a weeks time. Yes, I would have all the weddings a girl could dream of and my life would be… perfect.
This is not how the Lord chose to fulfill His promise to me. After being so discouraged and disheartened and wondering if I had heard the Lord correctly, He told me to prepare. So I did. I prepared the contracts and the invoice templates and the website and my portfolio. I prepared. And then the Lord did what only He can do.
It’s not that the inquiries flooded in and I could hardly keep up with it all. No, it was slow and steady and it was a beautiful, refining process. I learned to trust the Lord with every booking. I learned to pray for my clients and serve them well.
So if you have a relationship with the Lord, you have what you need to run your business. Ask Him about everything. Submit your business to the Lord. All of it. Every last piece. The styled shoots and the potential clients - every part of your business belongs to Him. Submit it to Him and watch Him do immeasurably more. And yes, your immeasurably more might look completely (even terrifyingly) different than you expected. But trust me, it will be immeasurably more.