A Unique Way to Market Your Food Photography Services
I’ve been really busy this week. I was out of town on a multi-day shoot and then when I got back, I had two solid days of shooting after than. And then, yesterday (Saturday), I started to finalize the details on a redesign of a Directory website. I worked on that sucker all day and well into the evening. I was starting to wonder if I would get around to blogging and what I was going to blog about. Then it struck me! Why not talk about my newly-designed website? It’s actually very applicable to the marketing of my food photography and it’s a bit unusual at the same time. So let me tell you about this really unique way that I market my photography services…
It all started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. No, actually it started back in the mid 80s in the City of Pittsburgh, PA. You see, I’ve always been interested in marketing. In fact, that interest has probably been the greatest reason for my success as a photographer.
So, with this interest in marketing, I put together a list of people that I wanted to market my services to, that included mostly local Advertising Agencies and Graphic Design Firms. I gathered information like company name, address, Company URL, and phone number. This gave me the necessary info to call and see who the photography buyers were and then I could send them an emailer and maybe call them to make an appointment to show my portfolio. Just kidding about the emailer. Al Gore hadn’t quite gotten that far yet… I would send out an occasional post card.
Because of this interest in marketing, I was probably one of the very first photographers in Pittsburgh with a webpage. Besides showcasing my amazingly beautiful photos, I decided to put my list of Ad Agencies and Graphic Design firms on the site. I didn’t think much of it, and because this was before I really know how to track such things as “hits”, I just let it sit and went on with my life.
A few months after putting the Advertising Agency and Design Firm list on my site, I was at an agency doing an interview. The potential clients brought up the list and asked me a few questions about it. I was a little surprised that he knew about the list so I asked him about how he heard about it. He told me that everyone he know in the industry know about it. It was a great resource for them to see what their competition was up to and if anyone needed a job, PittsburghCreative was the first place they went. My list was FAMOUS! At least locally…
So, I had this great idea that I would give the list its own website and maybe charge for some paid advertising. And that’s how the Pittsburghcreative.com website was born.
So, I’ve had this site for quite a few ears now and it’s made me some good money and I still use it for my own marketing needs, just as other Pittsburgh Creative types use it too. By maintaining the site, I have a few additional perks that other visitors don’t have.
I have this setup so that someone from the agency has to signup to update their listing. This gives ma contact person to reach out to if I have any info I need, like maybe, who the current Art Directors are and how I might reach them… :o)
Until a day ago, I’ve restricted the advertising placement to non-photographers. I decided to do this because of my insecurity and my wish to have exclusive exposure to potential clients. And besides, it was my site and I could do whatever I wanted… :o) I put ads on the site for my own use, which gave me some great exposure over the years. If you knew about the site, you’ve seen my photos.
Over the years, I’ve become friends with some of the people that advertise on my site. There is some one-on-one communication with people that I would have a hart dime reaching any other way. Relationships are important in this business.
Additional Source of Income
Besides all the contacts, relationships and exposure, the site has generated some decent money over the years. I like money… In fact, now that I’ve become a little more secure with my status in life, I’ve decided to open up the advertising to other photographers. I guess my greed has overcome my insecurity… :o)
So that’s the story of a rather unique way to market your food photography. I’ve done something similar with the Food Stylist Directory and its paid off really well and since I really don’t care to scale this up to encompass other cities, the idea is yours to exploit. It’s worked for me and it can work for you.
And just so you know, since this redesign was just launched yesterday and I’m having my ads designed as you read this, you won’t see much advertising in place at the moment. I also have some more plans to make the site even more valuable, so come back in a few weeks and take another peak…
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.