This is the time of the year to review your marketing plan and think about what you are going to do to market your real estate photography services in 2009. Here are some things to think about that will help you stretch your marketing dollars:
- Focus your marketing resources on just a few clients: Real estate photographers have the advantage of being able to create a list of every single potential client. With a little work you can go through all the broker sites in your geographic area and compile a list of the top 10 percent of listing agents (based on how many listings each agent has) in your area along with names, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses. This list tells you exactly who to focus your marketing on. Marketing is expensive, so why market anyone who isn't on this top 10% list?
- Keep in touch with clients who have already hired you: Don't get so wrapped up in promoting yourself to new clients that you forget to keep in touch with the people that have already used your services. These past clients are the most likely to use you again so make sure they know you are still in business.
- Visit the clients you want to work for: Nothing sells you as effectively as personal, face-to-face contact so put a portfolio in a notebook or on your laptop and go talk to the agents you want to work for. Explain to them what you can do for them. A way to break the ice in this kind of discussion is to be familiar with the agents listings and the photography they are using. Also, be sure you take some kind of brochure or handout to leave with the agent after your discussion.
- Make trades with stagers/interior designers: Real estate photographers and staggers have exactly the same clients. Team with them to give a more complete service to these clients. Agents that stage listings are likely to pay for good photography. For more details on this subject see this previous post on this subject.
- Optimize your web site to appear at the top of search engine results: It's essential to have a web site even if it's a bare bones page with your contact information on it. People who are searching for a real estate photographer will be doing Google searches with terms like "real estate photographer yourtown". You want to come up on the first page of that kind of search. See this previous post for a way to easily get on the first page (in most cities) of a Google search like this.
- Take advantage of every opportunity you can to get links to your web site: Links to your site from other sites with high Google ranking helps get your site on the first page of a Google search. One way to get these kind of links is when you make comments on blogs or forums make sure your site URL is on the comment. There is usually a place on the comment form to put your URL. Make sure it's filled out. If you look at the comments on this blog you'll notice that less than half of the comments have a link back to the site of the person making the comment.
Remember that the service you are selling is to make a home "look great" on the web. Your web site is the place where you demonstrate how you can do that. So what ever marketing you do should refer to your web site as a demonstration of your skill in this area.