How to Start a Pet Photography Business 06: How to Market Yourself
Good job! You have been making great progress in our “How to Start a Pet Photography Business” series. Last time, we talked about testing your skills as a photographer. It’s important that you are confident in your skills to move forward and start making money with your artistic abilities. Moving along onto this week’s topic which is about marketing those skills.
If you’re just joining us, here is what you have missed up to this point: In Chapter one, we discuss the differences between opening a studio or using the great outdoors for your studio. It’s important to choose a path that supports your pet photography business vision and photographic style. In Chapter Two, we focused on the products you will offer and your unique selling proposition that supports raving fans that tell their friends and family how amazing you and your artwork are in the marketplace. In Chapter Three, we discussed the essential pieces of equipment you need to get your pet photography business on track. In Chapter Four, we discussed what you should charge for your pet photography. In Chapter Five, we focused on testing your skills.
Now that you have set the stage for a great business, we are ready to dive into Chapter Six. This week, we will discuss how to starting marketing your business. Ready? Go!
Branding vs. Marketing
First, let’s talk about the difference between branding and marketing.
Branding – A name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service.
Marketing – An organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders (thank you wikipedia).
So you broadcast your BRAND out to the public through MARKETING. Yep, it’s that simple.
First we need to start with your brand. One of the best pieces of advice I received from someone was to send my website of images out to 5-7 people that I trust and respect. Then ask them to describe your work in 3 to 5 adjectives. You will be amazed with the responses. Go ahead and do this. We’ll wait.
6 Marketing Ideas
Marketing is the key.
I don’t care how bark-a-licious your images are or how delicious your session treats are. If you don’t market your work, then only you will enjoy your bark-a-licious images while you gulp down tasty dog treats (yikes!) Marketing is the fun stuff so release your inner creative and go for it!
If you’re crafty then hand make your business cards or coordinate events with your referral partners (aka people who send you business) at their place of
business. Here are some more FREE or inexpensive marketing ideas:
1. Big Events
What are some big events in your town? I contacted a local dog 5K and asked to do a Cover Contest. The winning dog got to be on the cover of a local dog magazine (I utilized two referral partners for this one – magazine editor and non-profit prez).
2. Unique Product
Create a special product like hand-painted frames to get people talking about your business – get the “buzz” going about you and your fab artwork.
Call a rescue or non-profit and ask to be in their live auction with a gift certificate and attend the event. Meet potential clients and have fun! Offer to photograph a charity event and give them 15 free images in exchange to have your gift certificate in the Top Donor’s prize basket.
4. Random Parks
Put on your blog that you will be randomly showing up at parks in your area to photograph dogs. Tweet it, Facebook it and tell everyone and their mother what you are doing.
5. Doggie Day Cares
Place samples of your artwork in doggie day cares and pet stores in neighborhoods with your target market.
Do a “Woof of the Month” newsletter.
I interviewed Janie Hewson of Marketing Creatives and she shared with me some fabulous insights about photographers and branding. Branding and marketing was so confusing to me when I first started. This response from Janie really tackled some confusion bubbles for me (pop!)
JANIE: Branding is not something you do.
It’s something you understand and use.
A business, person or creative is branded by others — it is the other’s thoughts, feelings and understanding of you that is your brand.
In photography, knowing and using your brand is an asset. It allows you to maximize your talent and business in decision-making by giving you a criteria or benchmark to judge all choices. The most important thing a creative can do is to know how you and your work are known and perceived in your market. It is process of studying how others describe you, know you and what they feel about you. It takes research into the mind of your market.
The work of understanding your brand teaches you what steps will work for your business
How your work is perceived by your clients determines how much you can charge for your work. In order to get a high-end perception, you need to eliminate some terminology from your language and replace it with more fabulous work. Here are some examples:
BAD: “I just ordered your photos”
GOOD: “I just ordered your artwork”
BAD: “Here are our packages” (we are NOT JCPenneys!)
GOOD: “Here are our collections”
BAD: “This is my sitting fee”
GOOD: “ This is my creation fee”
BAD: “I can take your pictures”
GOOD: “You can commission me for artwork”
Use words that GIVE VALUE to you and your service!
Great job! Now you have a good idea the difference between branding and marketing and a few marketing ideas in your back pocket, you’re ready to move on to Lesson 7: Sales Consultation. We will take a look at the key success factors when running a smooth and easy sales consultation.
In the meantime, please visit our Facebook page and tell us what questions you have and how to connect to other pet photographers. See you next week!
About the Author
Barkroom is the #1 online community for current and aspiring pet photographers. Check out some sweet puppy noses or join a conversation about pricing. with us. Chat with Barkroom on Facebook and ask questions or share a favorite image of your favorite kitten!