As a product photographer, you know that marketing is key to finding new clients. But what kind of marketing works best? Active marketing is a great way to get exposure to potential clients and encourage them to hire you for their next project!
In this article, we will discuss how active marketing can help you find new product photography clients. We will also provide some tips on how to get started!
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Active vs Passive Marketing For Product Photography Clients
In one of our recent articles, we discussed the truth about how profitable product photography is. When we first started creating product photos for clients, we were under the impression that everyone needed product photos and that people would be beating down our door, ready to throw money at us.
We were wrong.
There is a misconception that there is an infinite number of clients out there just waiting for you to take their money.
Despite how good your portfolio may be, people are as excited about hiring a product photographer as they are about hiring a bookkeeper. It’s a necessary expense that is often resented.
The reality is that most clients are busy and they view product photography as a low priority – despite it being one of those most important aspects of actually getting sales online.
While there is a demand for product photography, it’s not as straight forward as we thought it would be. This means that, as a product photographer, you need to be proactive in marketing your services in a certain way if you want to find clients.
Let’s take a look at the differences between active and passive marketing:
Passive Marketing For Product Photography
Passive marketing is when you wait for clients to come to you, and is essentially the easiest way to get clients to convert for your services.
This could be in the form of a website, portfolio, or online gallery. You might also have an Instagram or Youtube channel to promote your services, or have clients referred to you through word-of-mouth (which is the best way).
The problem with passive marketing is that it can often take a very long time to generate results, and even years to get a consistent flow of word-of-mouth clients.
Active Marketing For Product Photography
Active marketing is when you go out and find clients, rather than waiting for them to come to you. This could be in the form of cold-emailing, attending trade shows or meetups, or even offering free mini-sessions.
The benefit of active marketing is that it can help you get exposure to potential clients much faster than passive marketing. It can also help you build relationships with new clients, which can lead to repeat business!
However, it is very much a grind and can often be a lot of work for very little return. This is why it’s important to have a plan and focus your efforts on the right clients.
But there is more to active marketing than just cold-calling and sending your portfolio to businesses…
How To Get Started With Active Marketing
We’ve learned one of the only active marketing techniques that actually works by Don Giannatti, an experienced product photographer who has a background as an art director for Ad Agencies.
First, you need to build out your portfolio with work that you’re proud of and with work that you want to do more of. Make sure that your website is up-to-date, easy to navigate and easy to contact you.
Then spend a day or two looking within a 50 mile radius of every single business in your area.
Check to see if their website or online store has product photos that need to be updated – or if they seem like the kind of business that would need the kind of work that you do.
Gather up all of their contact information in a spreadsheet:
- Contact Name
- Mailing Address
- Phone Number
Print out a series of high quality postcards with two or three pictures of your best work on the front, and your contact information on the back.
Then, every other week, send out 1 postcard to each business with a new photo of your work for each mailing. The main focus should be on the quality of your work and how it can help them solve their product photography needs.
After a week or two, email or call the business and ask if they’ve had a chance to check out your postcards.
Let them know that you’d love to work with them and how your work can help increase their bottom line by improving their marketing and product photos, and ask if they have any upcoming projects you can help them with.
Be a real, authentic, person and avoid being “fake nice” that is so common with many other photographers and realtors. Everyone can smell it.
The key with active marketing is to be consistent so that you are top of mind when clients eventually do need your services. It might take a few weeks or even months, but it’s the only method that is guaranteed to get you results.
Tips For Success With Active Marketing
There are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of success with active marketing:
- Set a goal of how many businesses you want to reach out to each week, and stick to it.
- Keep track of your progress in a spreadsheet so that you can see how many people you’ve contacted and how many responses you’ve gotten.
- Follow up with businesses that you’ve contacted in the past, even if they didn’t hire you right away. They may have forgotten about you, or their needs may have changed!
- Personalize your outreach to each business. Generic template emails will likely be ignored, so take the time to write a personalized message for each business.
- Keep your messages short and simple. No busy business has time to read and process paragraphs of text.
- Don’t get discouraged! It can be tough to get responses from businesses, but if you stay consistent, you will eventually see results.
Examples of Successful Active Marketing Campaigns
When we first got started, we did a similar method to what we just described, but with an email and a bit more personalized work.
We went to a few local businesses we thought would be a good fit for our services and bought one of their products, took it into our studio, and took a great hero image of their product.
After editing the images, we emailed the businesses with a short message that said we were local product photographers and loved their product, so we took a photo of it and they can use it for their social media – completely free.
After they saw the increased engagement and how silly their other product photos looked when placed next to ours, a lightbulb went off and they realized how important great product photography is for marketing their business.
They were stoked, and we got our first client a few months later when they needed more work!
Active marketing is one of the best ways to get exposure to potential product photography clients because it keeps you top of mind when they eventually realize that their blurry smartphone pictures aren’t getting the results they want.
Don’t forget to personalize your outreach, follow up with businesses, and keep your messages short and sweet. In fact, the more personal you can get with your outreach, like the example I shared above, the better.
So if you’re looking for a way to find great product photography clients that actually works – give active marketing a try! It might take some time, but it’s guaranteed to get you results.