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Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 28 of 41

Develop a Marketing Strategy


Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 28 of 41

Develop a Marketing Strategy


Lesson Info

Develop a Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategies. Give, give, give, give, give. Give in a way that gives you back. So when you donate something make sure that you have a way that it helps your business in return, okay? When you donate your time, make sure it's a good representation of what you do as a business and as a photographer. Press, this is an interesting thing. How do you get press? This was always the huge enigma for my business. How do you get press? Well, you do something cool. You do something interesting. You do something newsworthy. So when I donate to these organizations, oh my gosh, a local photographer is a philanthropist. A local photographer is doing something interesting in the community. Oh my gosh, a local photographer is teaching workshops to young moms so that they can get better images of their kids. These kind of things are newsworthy, and do you know how you get in touch with the news? There's this little button on their website for TV, radio, and newspapers that says if you have an int...

eresting story contact us. You push that button, and you say, hey, I just thought you might, I just thought you were interested in, we did this event, or we did this, or whatever it is that's newsworthy, you reach out. Sometimes you get a response, sometimes you don't, but if you are constantly reaching out saying this is new, we're doing this, I just went to a workshop here and learned about all these things, this is a local business that is reaching out, investing in the community. These are all news stories for local news. This will get you press eventually. Keep reaching out. If it doesn't work change your strategy a little bit and reach out again. Change your strategy a little bit and reach out again until finally the news anchor calls and says, this is a great story, thank you so much. They're always looking for local news stories, okay? It just takes trying. That's the scariest part. It doesn't have to be perfect, just try. And then online marketing strategies. We're gonna talk about these in the upcoming segments. So website development, PhotoBiz. You guys have the link for the discount code. We're gonna talk about social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, all of those fun things that we spend so much time on. You guys get a feel for how this marketing works. It's super cool, and you get to be creative, and try new things, and keep trying new things and once you figure it out enjoy it because it's gonna change, and you have to figure out something else new, and that's part of the joy of this business. It's never the same. You constantly try new things. You constantly push into new areas, and if you make a mistake it's not big deal. Just try something different. Any, this is from Becky C, who sounds like is newborn photographer, and says, any ideas for newborn photographers at doctor's offices and hospitals in terms of that give and give back and giving value. She says, I'm not sure how I could benefit from the, how I can benefit them aside from giving them beautiful art work. That's a great thought, and it's a good question, because you have to think about just because somebody's having a baby doesn't necessarily mean they are your target client as a newborn photographer, and so doctor's offices have all different kinds of patients, and so have to make sure that you are hitting your target client. So if your doctor's office that you're interested in partnering with does support niche pretty specifically then often times they give their new moms little goody bags with all kinds of specials and recommendations and little gifts. So that would be a place that you could use your gift certificates. That would be a nice perk that the doctor's office could include for their new mommies. But maybe what would be a better fit is the boutique down the road that specializes in providing all kinds of goodies that new parents are looking for because when they go to the doctor they're thinking about the health of their baby, and how this whole process is going to work. When they go to the boutique down the road they're thinking about, oh, let's think about all these fun things that I can get for my baby. So it's a whole different mind set whenever you're going shopping. So that might actually be a better fit for a gift certificate or a promotional piece to hand out to new moms. In terms of the 800 to $1,000 threshold for clients and that if, that everybody can afford $800. Sometimes you might have to set 'em up on a payment plan. How do you go about doing that and not have that become a chase after the money issue? Oh that's a really good question. We learned that one the hard way as well. So, payment plans there are a couple of really firm rules. I always get two forms of payment and I make it very clear that I am gonna automatically run the first card. If that doesn't work I'm gonna automatically run the second card. If I have to pick up the phone and call you it's a $45 fee, okay? And so that eliminates most of it. I also set it up so that it is custom for what they can afford. So, they tell me the dollar amount that I'm gonna bill every single month and I give them the option of having me run the card on the first or the 15th, okay? So they can choose, or both. Sometimes if they get a paycheck every two weeks it works really well to bill both times. So, for some clients it might be better to do $ twice a month. Other clients, it's better to do $100 once a month. Just talk to your clients about that, and then don't deliver the product until it's paid in full. So there's a surefire way to get that to happen every time and I can tell you over the years we've had a couple of clients that have started out on payment plans and have never finished them. They may have paid us even four or $5, and then they just kind of fell off the face of the earth. So, but we didn't ever create any product, and we've tried to contact them, and they just have never happened. So as long as you don't deliver product ahead of time you are in that control position again and who knows? Maybe they'll call us someday. (laughing) But that basically is it, and it's allowed a lot of people to invest with us that ordinarily wouldn't be able to do so. Yeah. Yes? How would you suggest using gift certificates for corporate clients? For corporate clients. Hmm, for corporate clients like event photography, or commercial marketing kind of photography? Both, okay. I don't know that you can use a gift certificate as effectively with a business as you can an individual. But what businesses need more so than a donation is a reason to want to work with you, and so rather than giving them $100 off or whatever that is, say hey, I know that you do events all the time, and I would really like to work with you in the future. Why don't you let me come in and photograph this event for you and show you how easy I am to work with? Go in, kill it, do an amazing job. That's your job interview, basically. Do a great job. Make it super easy to work with you. Create a high quality product, and they'll call you again and again and again. So if you wanna work in that arena, give up front, do an amazing job, and it's hard to find people that you really enjoy working with. So if you can be that person for them they will call you all the time, whether it's a wedding or a corporate client. When contacting businesses, for marketing would it be easier to make a phone call and try and figure out who to talk to, or is it easier to email and try and figure out directly who I need to speak with? Yeah, that's a great question. I struggle with that all of the time. It depends. If it's a big company that has a receptionist you can call and say hey, who's in charge of whatever it is that you wanna interact with, booking events, or the marketing person, or whatever. You can find a lot of that information on LinkedIn. You can find out who the marketing person is, or PR. That's a great way to go about it. If you know who they are, like a wedding venue, often when you're searching for weddings, you can see who the coordinator is, and just email them directly. Me personally, I always say pick up the phone because I want them to know that I'm easy to work with and I'm fun and personable. All of those things are really important for my brand. So it's always a phone call. Or, if there's an event where a bunch of people that you wanna work with come together figure out a way to get in that event and just be there. Show up. So that makes a difference as well. So, like if there's a trade show where all the marketing people come together, that's your gateway. This is from Adamu Nicoli who says, the gift certificates, can you explain again what exactly are you giving away? So if it's for a family portrait session, is it money, credit towards the actual session fee itself or is it only towards product or what is it that you're giving away and then still maintaining profitability? Absolutely. So, it depends who I'm giving the gift certificate to. So if I'm partnering with a local store I might give away a gift certificate that is valued at the same amount as my session fee. So $100 or $200, whatever that session fee is. If that's the one where when they come into a store and they spend $100 they get $100 gift certificate to Holcombe Photograph, that's gonna be good for the session fee. If I'm partnering with an organization and I'm trying to help them raise money and it is a gift from my heart to that organization I'm gonna give them something much bigger. So that's where I would give away the $1,000 gift certificate because I'm making a generous donation from the heart and I know that that's gonna be my target client coming back to me that I'm going to serve again and again and again, and if you think back to the pricing section earlier where I had a markup factor of at least five, instead of 3.3, I know that I can survive with a markup factor of three, but I always mark it up by at least five. So when I give away $1,000 I know that I'm still breaking even. I also know because my sales strategy is solid that I will likely get a $3,000 sale from that. So I still have $2,000 that I'm gonna collect from that client, even though they already spent $1, and donated that to the organization. It's not as profitable as a session where I got that $1,000 for myself, but it's still profitable because of my demand based pricing that we talked about earlier.

Class Description

When starting a new business, you will make hundreds of decisions, and many of those can be costly and affect the future of your business. Most photographers have little direction available on how to take these critical first steps to set themselves up for success.

Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter have built multiple photography businesses over the last 15 years. Kathy will share what they have learned so that you won’t waste time, money and resources trying to find the perfect formula.

You will learn how to:

  • Define your brand
  • Set up social media channels and a business website to support the vision of your brand
  • Develop an effective strategy for marketing to your ideal client
  • Develop a product line and profitable pricing structure
  • Develop a sales strategy to maximize your time and sales average

This class is for anyone who is standing at a crossroads, wanting to start a photography business, but not sure exactly how to go about it. You’ll not only learn how to get you started but also how to turn a profit through your photography in your very first year of business. Skip years of trial and error and invest your precious startup dollars in strategies, tools, and equipment that will immediately start making you money.


Amanda Beck

Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!


Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!

Tristanne Endrina

I am VERY impressed with this class! The structure of the class is well done. Each segment was thorough and backed up some knowledge from the previous segments. Kathy breaks everything down into understandable knowledge and also makes it very enjoyable to watch. I HIGHLY recommend this class if you're unsure about what to do to start your photography business. $3000 may sound like a lot of money, but you'll going to find yourself in a determined state to raise that money if you're REALLY passionate and serious about starting your photography business. Thank you, Kathy & Creativelive, for this class. I'm excited to get the ball rolling and build my photography business.