A nonprofit theater in our city does cutting-edge productions with incredible stage sets and fantastic costumes. I’ve been shooting their technical rehearsals pro bono for 14 years. It’s a great opportunity to hone my reflexes and “under pressure” shooting skills. Lately, I’ve been using these dress rehearsals as a testing ground for the Fujifilm FinePix S5, as well, because live theater is a perfect proving ground for a camera’s autofocus and high-ISO capability.
Every week my photos run in nearly every newspaper and magazine in our city, with a photo credit. Also, the theater sends out between 40,000 and 80,000 large, four-color postcards featuring one of my images and a big photo credit for each production. The design is usually provided, pro bono, by designers at our largest ad agencies.
Their mailing goes to the highest-income homes in our area—the same demographic we draw on for our clients. I estimate that the theater delivers well over a million advertising impressions to my potential clients every year. In addition, their board of directors talks up my contribution to their enterprise. Secondary benefits include tons of free tickets and access to a large group of talented potential models!
In addition to sending out flights of postcards to targeted professionals in the advertising and publishing industries and a monthly emailing to an ever-growing list of contacts, we have a secret silver bullet. I’m hesitant to share it with possible competitors, but what the heck: I’m convinced that all the marketing in the world is wasted unless you physically put yourself in front of your clients.
When a client hires someone to photograph their top execs or their CEO, they want to make sure they’re not putting their own career on the line. They want to make sure the photographer is presentable, personable, and socially capable.
From a numbers perspective, our most powerful tool is the face-to-face portfolio show. If we get through the door and sit across the table from a client, we close 50 percent of the deals we pitch—year in, year out. I didn’t realize this until one of my favorite creative directors sat me down and educated me. Since then, I’ve had an index card posted to the wall that reminds me of the power of personal contact. The card says, “Lunch them or lose them!”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lunch appointment with one of my favorite clients.
Kirk R. Tuck (www.kirktuck.com), of Austin, Texas, has been in business for 20 years, providing “people images” directly to major corporations and advertising agencies. He is currently working on a lighting book for Amherst Media. When he’s not photographing or lunching, he can be found in the Rollingwood pool, swimming laps.
Banking on Internet Marketing to Reach Target
Websites, Blogs, Emails Help Young Pro Reach Prospects Inexpensively
by Aaron Lindberg
I started freelancing right out of college and knew I needed a website to showcase my work for prospective clients. At 28, I have a very limited budget for my marketing and self-promotion. That said, I have discovered Internet marketing. I embrace the ideas of mass emails, linking to websites, creating a Web presence to increase my visibility, and any new technology to draw new customers though my websites.
My main website, www.aaronlindberg.com, is set up as a gallery. It is a very clean, simple site with limited text, to help focus on the photographs. My modeling/portrait website at www.kcfaces.com draws people who are looking for portraits and modeling work from the area.
My photo blog, www.photokidblog.com, drives people to my site through key wording and links websites together, generating a great deal of traffic. I update it at least three times a week to keep the search engine spiders crawling back to my site and bring in more traffic, which increases my rankings in Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
I upload a photograph and a paragraph of information explaining the photo. This helps build a database of keywords the search engines see and brings returning visitors to my site, which I track through Google Analytics.
I try to create a presence on every website I can by linking and building pages. I have pages on all of the social networking sites with links to all the other websites I have created. Building links and getting my name in front of people has been the biggest hit for my marketing. Organic leads have been a big success to building new clients here in the Midwest.
My latest project, www.kcdrama.com, is up and running now. I have started to harvest emails and will be doing a targeted email campaign to people I think will be interested in this type of work from the Kansas City area.
I keep my budget low on a couple of websites that use a pay-per-click system. I found that just for them to click on my site costs me a couple of dollars per click, so I am starting to shy away from this at the moment.