It may sound impossible to make it big as a brand photographer when you live in a small town. Some folks initially think that small towns have fewer opportunities to gain more clients, but moving out to a bigger city means you have to leave your family and friends behind – and it could also mean more competition. Would you believe me if I said that you can make it big even if you live in a small town?
The secret is in the marketing!
If I can do it, I know you can too.
Whether you are a working mom looking for another income stream or someone else who prefers to stay in your town to fulfill your passion for brand photography, you can grow your business by learning how to market your service to your ideal client.
Businesses and self-employed professionals can all use a brand refresh from time to time and some need a total brand revamp. It’s your job to let them know that you are conveniently there in town and ready to help with their projects.
In this article, I’m sharing traditional and new ways I’ve marketed my brand photography service while living in a small town.
1. Build your brand
It’s important to have clear, attractive branding for your business before trying to sell your services as a brand photographer. This will help your clients see that you can represent their business well and show the potential of their products or services through your photographs.
Building yourself a visually stunning brand image as a brand photographer will help people remember you, even in a small town.
How can you build your brand? For starters, choose a niche. Some types of brand photography are:
- Product shots
- Commercial shots
- Content images for social media and websites
Pick a niche among these types to start with, and then gradually explore more types. The good thing about having a niche is you can focus and become an expert in this field. But don’t just settle for one narrow type of work; as you move forward in this business, expand your expertise and gradually add them to your service.
In branding, images are important, but they are not everything! Little details like font styles and colors in captions, locations of your images, and themes will help your brand photography business develop a unique identity.
2. Build your network
Here’s the exciting news – the real advantage of starting a brand photography career in a small town is that everyone knows everyone. It’s easier to know who might need your services. Your reputation will spread via word of mouth. Do you live in a tourism hub? The local hospitality industry needs you! Use this advantage to help your service get into the consciousness of your town’s residents.
Start by listing potential people to reach out to. You can start with your family, friends, school community, church, bed and breakfasts, or even mommy groups. Tell them about your brand photography business and show how it can help a business brand’s image and reach. Ask them for feedback and take it into consideration as you move forward.
Create special referral programs where referrers can earn a commission every time they help you close a deal with a client. This program will encourage people in your network to advertise your service within your town or even nearby towns and cities.
3. Maximize social media presence
Social media is all about visuals, so this kind of marketing is perfect for businesses that focus on beautiful visuals too, such as photography!
It is one of the best ways to advertise your brand photography business. Thankfully, with its global scope, being in a small town is not a hindrance in social media marketing. You can create your profiles comfortably from your home on Instagram, Meta, and so many other platforms. Social media sites also have paid marketing tools to help your posts and advertisements get better and wider reach.
The question is, how can you maximize your presence in the online world? Here are some tips:
- Be present on all platforms like LinkedIn, Meta, X, Instagram, and even TikTok.
- Plan your content ahead of time using a content calendar. Create a monthly theme by focusing on a specific topic. For example, consistently post and discuss headshots for a month and then commercial shoots after that.
- Regularly post your brand photography projects and collaborations. Your page will be your portfolio that potential clients can check and see.
- Actively engage and answer queries on your pages.
- Know how you can boost the reach of your posts by learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Hire an expert social media manager if you don’t have much experience yourself.
Having a post go viral is a surefire way to get your name out there but being consistent is the key ingredient in social media to stay relevant.
Remember that while social media is important, your website is where it all happens. Having a website gives you a professional image and provides a place to showcase your portfolio. Be sure to include a blog and post regularly to create content for search engines to find you. Invite locals to visit your site.
4. Partner with local businesses
No man is an island, especially in business! A successful brand photography business relies on building great partnerships with other businesses. Don’t go too far afield yet; you can definitely start locally in your town.
Check your town’s directory for businesses that target the same market as you. Some examples of businesses to check are stylists, makeup artists, hair salons, spas, graphic designers, marketing consultants, financial advisors, pet trainers, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Sending them an email and messaging on social media can help but why not meet them in person?
A formal business meeting may be daunting, so why not invite them to join you for a coffee? After all, you’re both in the same town!
Research your potential partners before meeting up with them so you can curate your portfolio to match their tastes and help them see how this could be a great collaboration.
While you’re at your local coffee shop, observe the place. Maybe this very coffee shop needs some upgrades in its displays and wall art. Your photographic art could be hanging on that wall or in their ad!
Your photographs hanging on the walls of galleries, offices, coffee shops, and restaurants can help you advertise your service.
Another way to partner with other businesses is by doing pro bono work. Join charity events with different local organizations. Yes, you’re going to offer your service for free but it will help you to become known and will hopefully lead to paid work in the future.
Submit your portfolio to magazines, newspapers, or popular websites in your community. This will also give you wider exposure.
5. Always give your best shot!
Securing a client is half the battle; maintaining the relationship is the other half. You want to keep your clients as happy as possible so that they will leave you a great review and come back with another project. Remember, in a small town, your reputation is everything and word of mouth is king.
Give the best service possible the first time and be consistent. Returning clients are different from new clients because you already know them and you know exactly what they want. Past collaborations can help you to understand where you can improve to help them grow their businesses.
Having loyal clients even in your small town will help you build your reputation as a brand photographer so that you can start to venture further afield later if you choose to.
Building a Thriving Photography Business in Small Town is Possible
The right marketing will keep your business alive and thriving even if you live in a small town. Keep your professional reputation pristine and word will quickly spread. Besides, when you choose to stay in your small town, you’ll stay closer to your loved ones while doing what you’re passionate about!
Learning and innovation never stop for brand photographers as this field continues to evolve. So, what are you waiting for? Hone your skills by signing up for my free workshop which will help you to develop a custom approach to your service!