As a real estate photographer or home stager, it is likely that you work locally. I do, I prefer to keep things close at home and not to sit in the car for half a day for a shoot or staging assignment. Never the less, your online presence is crucial for your reliability as a business owner. It is the place to show your work to a broad audience. But it is also necessary to get your name out in your surroundings to become the go-to expert in your field. So marketing your business offline is pretty significant and absolutely not dead as many business owners tend to think.
So what kind of offline marketing things can you do to grow your business?
1. Create a list of your prospects
Make a spreadsheet of companies that are likely to need your services: Real estate agents, interior decorators, architects, flower and furniture shops, constructors, real estate developers, and museums will need photography and/or home staging on a regular basis. But try to think outside the box too. There are so many opportunities, not just the ones that are related to your niche. Schools, fashion shops, even the dentist and the hospital. Basically, every single business is a potential client. They all have interiors that they need to show online or in brochures. Even though a list does not bring customers, you now have a good overview of the business opportunities in your vicinity. You have the information at hand, and this is useful for future marketing actions.
2. Attend networking events
Even small communities have networking groups that have in-person meetings on a regular basis. Search for the ones where the potential customers on the list that you have created hang out. Many of them show a list of their members on their websites. These groups are always looking for new members.
Ask your local chamber of commerce if they have events scheduled. Get an invitation to a BNI group (Business Network International or attend an open coffee meeting. Even though it is scary to go to a meeting without knowing anyone, these meetings are an excellent way to meet business owners who are your target audience or know someone that you might be able to help.
3. Build a strong brand, both online and offline
Get your brand out there. Be sure that all your marketing materials; flyers, brochures, and business card have the same look and feel. But that’s not all you can do. I use a branded camera strap, an on-brand notebook, even my smartphone cover has my logo and pattern! Not a single day goes by that a client refers to these things, and yes, they all love it. In our field, we help brands and houses stand out with staging and pictures. It builds credibility and trust when your brand stands out from your competitors. Check this post with 11 Things you must do to create a strong brand.
4. Make your car a driving billboard
I bought a brand new white Fiat 500. Unfortunately, it turned out that I am not the person to go to the carwash on a regular basis. So my car is not much of a billboard. My bad, love the color, stupid choice for a lazy business owner! On my previous black automobile, I had magnets with my logo, tagline, and URL. But be aware: My insurance company does not pay when someone steals gear out of my car when it clearly shows that I am a photographer. So check your insurance policy before you add stickers all over the car!Get your name out there: Read these 12 offline marketing ideas for photographers and Home StagersClick To Tweet
5. Ask for referrals
Create the habit of asking every single happy client for referrals. Do it shortly after you have worked with them. At that point, you are fresh in their minds. Make them feel free to share your work on social media and let them tag you. They are most likely willing to share their positive experience with their friends, co-workers, and family. Create postcards with some of your best work and hand them to your clients to give to potential customers. Just add a small logo and your website on the back. Make these cards attractive and pleasant to receive, so it is more likely to pin to a board instead of ending up in the trash.
6. Drop your name everywhere
I have already mentioned my branded notebook. When a client tells me he or she likes it, I always have a couple in my car to give away and surprise them. Having pens printed with your logo and/or website is not that expensive. Let’s be honest, everybody is always searching for pens. So keep them in your bag and each time when you see someone looking for one, hand it over and let them keep it.
7. Bundle your products and services and create a pricing list
One of the best things I did for my business, was creating a clear price list with all the services and products I provide. On this list, I offer 3 different package deals. Most of my clients choose one of those deals instead of separate products. I can give them a discount on for instance elevated shots or 360º photography because I am already on location. Another thing I added to my pricing least was seasonal photography. For real estate agents and homeowners, it is one of the main reasons to hire me for new outdoor shots when the house is listed longer than expected. However, I don’t put my pricing on my website; I want prospects to call me so I can explain what they get for the money.
8. Send a postcard to your customers
Make them feel special by sending a hand-written thank you card after you have finished your work. Try to find out their birthday and send a birthday card. Don’t forget to include them in your the seasonal greetings mailing at the end of the year. This way, you will stay in their minds, and they will be more likely to hire you again or refer you to someone else.
9. Get to know the competition
For many photographers, this feels contra-productive but knowing your competitors in person has many advantages: You will be able to refer clients that are not a good fit for you and they can do so likewise. Besides, when you can’t take up an assignment because you have a vacation planned or you are ill, it is always good to have a reliable backup for your clients. In fact, connecting with other home stagers and photographers in my niche and even teaching them how to shoot interiors is one of the best things that I have done for my business. I am more likely to be hired by larger clients because they know I have a backup at hand. So pick up the phone and schedule a lunch or coffee date!
10. Connect with reporters at the local media
Local press and radio and tv stations are always looking for content to share with their audience. They need to fill their newspaper or show. Launching your business is an excellent opportunity to send a press release but also when you add new services or products. Perhaps you can write a monthly column with photography tips or a returning item with inspirational interiors that you have shot. And of course, you can use that content in your blog later on.
11. Create a welcome kit
This is a more common practice in the portrait and wedding photography industry, but it is also a good way to leave an impression with new clients. Answer the questions before they get the chance to ask them and even respond to questions they didn’t know they had. For instance, I created a welcome package for my business to consumer clients. They get my company’s brochure and checklists to prepare their home for the home staging and photo shoot and an additional one for showings. They also get a discount coupon for my Dutch book that’s all about tips and tricks for preparing and staging the house for sale.
12. Ask for reviews
I have to admit, I hate asking for compliments, and that’s basically what asking for reviews is. But I have to, and so do you. Share the reviews in your marketing materials and online, it’s those reviews give your photography business social proof.
I am curious if you have any tips to add to this list that all of us can benefit from. Feel free to leave them in the comments below!