Five years ago my husband and I moved to a new state where we knew not one soul so he could get his double masters. As a photographer and a mom who was about to have her second baby, I wasn’t sure how to move my photography business. Not just legally, but practically. How would I establish a new clientele without word of mouth referrals?
Fast forward to life in Illinois and 6 weeks later my husband still can’t find a job. My second baby was due in 3 months and I needed to find a way to provide for my family in a way that was FAST and FREE.
Did it feel like I was starting from scratch? Yes. Especially since we didn’t know anyone. But, being a naturally strong-willed human being, I was up for the challenge.
The first thing you should do when trying to move your photography business to a new location is evaluate the place you’re moving to. Look at the demographics. The town we were moving to had 13,000 people. The average income was $30,000 and most people were on some sort of government support.
That didn’t sound very hopeful…
However, this town was a central location! Only a 30 minute drive from 4 major cities. Immediately I knew that the audience I would be targeting would be mainly from out-of-town. Then I went on to see how much of that town (demographically) was made up of my ideal client. Which is, working moms between the ages of 25-34 that are married with working spouses as well. Their average income is $80-$150,000, etc.
If you don’t know much about your ideal client, make sure you snag my FREE Ideal Client Worksheet!
Now that I knew who I was trying to reach, I wanted to make sure that my brand was going to attract them. I updated my website, portfolio, logo, copy, email templates, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
In addition to those things, make sure your client workflow is up to date. How will these people contact you to book? What will they want to know? How can you communicate that quickly and most effectively and avoid back-and-forth communication? What do you want to know about them? What will encourage them to move from inquiry to booking? How can you encourage them to become a permanent client?
These are just a few questions you’ll want to think through BEFORE you start actively marketing and getting inquiries.
The next step to move your photography business is to check out your competition. Not so that you can try to “beat” them. But so that you can make sure you are showing off how you are different.
Your differences as a photographer don’t always lie in what type of photography you shoot. Sometimes your differences are in:
Thankfully I had done this portion of it BEFORE we moved. But either way, it should be mentioned that BEFORE you start marketing yourself, you need to make sure your taxes, contracts, accounting systems, and all that behind-the-scenes madness are up to date! Want to see the one tool I use for all of these things? Check THIS out!
I was in a true pickle. How would I gain new clients without word-of-mouth marketing (my main method of growth in my previous city)? And how can I get these new clients for free?
I did all 10 of the free marketing methods listed HERE! But in addition to that, I got on Facebook’s give-and-take sites. A spot where LOTS of working moms were buying and selling stuff for their children and I posted this…
What’s amazing is that 10 people didn’t just sign up. 55 people signed up for the 2.5 months before I went on maternity leave. And while yes, the price was cheaper. They had no problem when my prices raised because they knew this was a “special deal.”
The reason I accepted 55 was because I was pressed for time. I was about to have a baby, had bills to pay, a family to provide for, and a business to grow and I needed to do it free and fast. If I had time to grow my business at a slower pace, I probably would’ve cut it off at like 20.
Not only was I SURE that my client experience would keep them coming back for more since that is what my business was previously known for. But, every single time I shared their photos on facebook and tagged them. I would get more inquiries.
I know this method might be unconventional. But in a town where I knew no one with NO marketing budget whatsoever, not to mention the pressure of trying to pay the bills, this is just what my business needed to hit the ground running.
This method of marketing is NOT recommended unless you recently moved your photography business to a new location. If you try to do this in a town where you’ve previously had bookings, it could come off as desperate, undesirable AND will make them more unwilling to pay full price later.
Instead, implement these 10 free methods of marketing and focus on perfecting the client experience for the clients you do have! Want to learn my entire system for our I market my business under regular circumstances? Check out my More than Marketing course HERE!