How to get your business seen…and remembered!
This is different to advertising but people can sometimes get the two confused. Advertising is about getting your business seen whereas marketing is more about getting your business known.
When you do your marketing, you need to establish exactly what it is you want people to see when they visit your website or receive your information pack etc. How are you going to brand yourself?
Make sure you try and stay consistent.
If I said to you “R Whites”, and you live in the UK and are of a certain age, you will immediately think of Lemonade. If you saw someone with a set of white earphones coming out of their ears, you would probably think of “Apple” or iPods. If you saw a big yellow “M” on the horizon, you would think of burgers and Ronald MacDonald.
All of this is branding. A clever way of “imprinting” logos, companies and products in your mind so that you immediately think of them when one of your senses is triggered by these “tags”.
You need to get yourself a logo and branding early on so that you can use it on all your products, business cards, letterheads and websites in order to start your own “sensory manipulation” (I made that term up)!
Check out websites such as Elance where you can put your job online for designers, website builders, writers and a whole host of experts to bid for your work. You can usually get a really cool design and marketing plan together for a very reasonable price.
They have 12,000 professionals for graphic design alone and you can read feedback on them, reviews and even how much money they have earned! Maybe use their skills to design your company’s logo and overall look and feel.
In fact, whilst you are at Elance, you could always sign up and pimp your services there. They have a section where you can see photography work available, I have just placed my first bid as I write this…for a Photoshop retouching job.
Get a bid accepted and it is instant work with no overheads!
I actually used another designer, recommended by a past student of mine, who created my “Freefly Multimedia Ltd” logo below for just £25. The little green man is a skydiver in freefall which represents my years jumping and free-flying.
Once you have your business and website established, you can start to have marketing promotions to launch your new business…even if it has been trading for a while:
- Create a Referral Incentive
We have mentioned this before but it is a great way of marketing yourself…people love free stuff! Offer gifts, gift certificates, free prints, a free photo shoot (for bringing a wedding to you) and as we discussed, you can even pay people a percentage of your income from the job they referred.
- Daily Contacts
Take your business cards or flyers everywhere you go. You can place them on bulletin or message boards at the supermarket or local shops. You can leave your business card with your bill (and tip) when you dine out. Hairdressers, salons, clubs and associations…basically anywhere that you would feel comfortable leaving you card, do it.
- Viral Marketing
Get this right and away you go. Add a signature line to all your email accounts with a short sentence and link to your website. Add a “tell-a-friend” button to your website…make it easy for people to refer you.
While you are at it, make sure to add your promotional videos/slideshows to all the video hosting companies out there, you can never have too much exposure and the links back to your website will do you the world of good:
If I have missed any, there are more at Wikipedia
I haven’t used a lot of these so use your own due diligence but the ones I like are YouTube (obviously) and Vimeo.
Of course, set up accounts and add your videos and marketing efforts to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.
It is definitely worth having a blog attached to your website. For one, regular, existing and future clients can add it to their RSS news feed to keep up to date with what you are doing or offering, and it also keeps the content fresh on your website which Google loves.
You may not like doing this but I did it for one of my non-photography businesses mentioned earlier and it worked. It didn’t work by putting my photography flyers in amongst all the other junk mail in a newspaper, but giving them out in town or through letterboxes may work.
Even if it doesn’t, it shouldn’t cost you too much and at least you have tried that avenue.
Get some very professional looking flyers made up and spend one or two nights posting them through letterboxes or handing them out personally with a great big smile!
- Submit your Website to Search Engines
You need to get your website seen by all the search engines and I would suggest you submit them manually. Google and the likes don’t necessarily index your site automatically so to be sure, open a Google, Yahoo and Bing account and get it logged. Once you have a Google account, go to…
account – webmaster tools – adding a site
…and include it there.
You should also have a Sitemap made for your website, this will enable Google to re-index updated pages and index new ones that their normal spidering process cannot do for whatever reason. It keeps your site fresh on Google’s database.
To start with, submit your site and create a sitemap for Google, Yahoo, MSN (Bing) and any other that you currently use. These are the main ones but bear in mind that Yahoo charge $199 for submission but in many people’s eyes it is worth it.
I didn’t submit All Things Photography to Yahoo and it took 4 years to get indexed although when it did…boom, I was at number one for many terms
Yahoo is still good so if you have the budget, pay the $199.
- Send out Press Releases
There are excellent PR companies online such as PR Web who charge a minimum of $80 per press release but they will get your release seen by tens of thousands of journalists.
These journalists will then hopefully add your release to their website as current news so make sure you add a link to your site within the release. Use your best keyword as anchor text if you are able to have a click-able link.
There are also free press release agencies online and some that charge just $1 per release so do some research and start doing some PR.
A press release could be used to announce:
- A new website
- A new product or service
- A special promotion you are offering
- A move of premises, web domain or business
Please note that a press release should be well written and carefully thought out before submitting. It need to be written in a “third party” voice and it should be newsworthy and not just blatant advertising. For example:
Professional Wedding Photographer Nick Stubbs Releases His New Portfolio Website
Nick Stubbs, a professional wedding photographer for more than 25 years, has today launched his new portfolio site and is offering a 10% discount for brides who book him for 2010..
The new website, www.nickstubbs.com (link) has been created……blaa blaa blaaa
The release would be finished off with a short bio about the author (you) and a link to the website and you would set it to be released in the appropriate category, in this case it could go to bridal, wedding, home and family…something like that.
Most PR companies operate in much the same way with similar layouts but read their terms and requirements before submitting.
Press releases work very well and certainly help with SEO (search engine optimisation) as they can create good links to your site as well as getting your branding and name known.
A bride could read a website after searching for “wedding photographer Spain” for example, and come across your press release from which she clicks through to your site.
Many websites that use and host your release already have good standing and SEO so as soon as the release is added, it may shoot high up in the rankings straight away. I like press releases!
- PRWEB – Paid (Min $80)
- Free Press Release – Free
- PRLeap – Paid (Min $49)
- PRLog – Free
- 1888 Press Release – Free or Paid
- Participate in Relevant Discussion Forums
Join a few good forums and become an active, friendly and helpful member. Don’t just join and start spamming everyone with your site, that will get you banned. If you are a wedding photographer, join a bridal or wedding forum and start to help out. Find a thread about photography and “gently” offer your free advice.
Don’t pitch yourself at first, let people get to know you and see that you are genuinely helpful and friendly. Add your website to your signature if you can…that is a much more subtle way of getting your site seen.
Don’t be a stranger. Once you have helped a few people or given some advice, don’t just leave knowing you have left your link…it will soon get buried. Stay an active member, become part of their community because there will be a constant flow of brides and mothers through the forum no doubt.
Do the same with photography forums, be a helpful chap or lady! Give more than you intend to receive…karma!
- Write Articles
Articles work in much the same way as press releases combined with helping out on the forums.
You write a comprehensive, helpful and interesting article that relates to your business and submit it to the many article distribution sites on the web. Make sure it meets their criteria and always include a link to your site. If you want, make it a “deep” link which isn’t just a link to your homepage, but a link to a page deep within your website somewhere.
These articles get picked up by website builders as content for their site and in most cases, they will include your link which has all the benefits we discussed earlier.
This can be a never ending flow of traffic the more you write. It can be a bit time consuming writing the articles but once you have them written, it is just a case of uploading them to each account.
Finally, you could set up branding for each “arm” of your business…weddings, portraits, commercial etc and have a website and campaign for each.
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