Marketing your photography studio does not have to be expensive. I've used hundreds of low cost marketing strategies over the last twenty five years and managed to build my photography studio to the point where I am one of the busiest and most successful studios in my city. Here's a few tips for you:
1. Create a photo display. A photography display can be as simple as displaying a few small portraits at a store and offering some free information about your studio or more elaborate set ups with framed wall samples. You can even create large temporary displays inalls or at events such as trade shows. The important thing is how it looks. You will attract a lot of attention with some great images, especially from woman, who happens to be your target market. Displays will help you create a lot of business if you play your cards right. Have a great selection of images, be presentable yet never pushy, have a system for collecting names and address's from those wanting more information by simply asking or offering a draw prize, and keep in touch with all those prospects. It's the beginning of a potential long term and lucrative relationship.
2. Have a free giveaway. Offer a time limited in studio session and small reprint. Tell them there is no obligation for further purchase, and mean it. You will make some sales anyways and you will acquire many long term clients if you do a good job for them. Some will only grab the freebie, but the odds are very good that you will upsell without being sneaky or pushy. Especially if you are professional and create some great images. Do this at mall displays, banks, schools or offer it to a list of clients from a non-competitive business in your town or city. Freebies are the best way to get your studio busy, start making sales and most of all for getting tons of exposure.
3. Reward referrals. Make a policy to reward anyone who brings you referrals. When a client brings in a relative client, give them a gift of appreciation, such as a coupon worth reprints dollars at your studio, frames, or to a local spa or restaurant. As an added incentive, give a small gift to the new client as well.
4. Create a tie-in with another business. Contact a local business and offer to exchange coupons. For example, your client receives coupons from a local restaurant, hair salon, spa, or where your typical prospect would shop. A great place to start is with clients of yours who already own their own businesses.
5. Make your reception or waiting room "prospect and sales friendly". Whenever you create a family portrait or are shooting a wedding there are often people waiting in your reception area. Offer them snacks or something to drink. Make sure your place looks great and smells nice. Make it comfortable. Use this time to increase your upcoming sales presentation by explaining some of the items such as wall portraits and other packages and services. Answer objections that you know will be coming up later during the sale presentation with a consultative approach and people will not only trust you more but will likely make the sale easier for you and even buy more. This is also a great time to collect names. These people are somehow associated with you and at this point make excellent prospects.
6. Make copies of news articles about yourself and your studio. Hang them on the walls or pass them out. Past publicity is better than any advertising or promotional literature you can create. Give copies of positive articles to everyone who comes in for information.
7. Raise money for charity. Not only do you help a good cause, you get plenty of free, positive publicity and exposure. Hold a contest, offer some photography classes, give out free booklets- that you can easily write yourself and print for pennies by having them photocopied- think up your own exciting charity event.
8. Submit press releases to the local newspapers about a noteworthy event at your studio or a human interest story. Did you win a photography contest? Is there and article on photography that relates to local sites in your area or has to do with the seasons? Make your release interesting to the readers, never self-serving and you will get press coverage.
9. Give a free photography seminar or presentation at your studio. Invite members of the public and clients family members to be a part. A seminar gives them the chance to see your studio and your work. Offer something timely to do with how to create great photographs with digital cameras or offer a slide show from some of your more exotic travels. You could create an exhibition highlighting your work. Do not forget to invite the local newspaper.
10. Leave your business cards everywhere. Whenever you are at a restaurant, leave a nice tip and your card. Drop a stack off at the local jewellry store. Make sure card is loaded with your best samples and print on both sides to maximize the space for your sales message.