People in the creative industry are used to tight deadlines and small budgets. And there’s no denying the magic they can do with the limited resources at their disposal. But a creative business is still like any other business, with the same difficulties and challenges. You think they might have a leg up on things such as marketing, but you’re mistaken. They still have to work with a limited budget, and they need to find a way to stretch their dollars while achieving all of their business goals.
There’s no rule book for the right way and wrong way to market a business in the creative industry. The best marketing for photographers may work differently for illustrators or writers. What you can do is to experiment with different marketing strategies and see what sticks. The good news is there are many tactics you can try, and some of them won’t break the bank.
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you grow your creative business. Let’s begin.
Always carry business cards
Even in the age of smartphones and LinkedIn, business cards still reign supreme. It’s still one of the best ways to exchange contact information. And a well-designed business card printed on good paper lends your creative business a sense of credibility. There’s no telling when you’re going to meet a potential client, so you should always carry a few business cards with you.
We’ve all been there: We meet someone by chance, and they tell you they need a photographer or writer (or whatever it is you do). You can always swap numbers, but it often comes off as clumsy and unprofessional. Meanwhile, having a business card at the ready makes you look smart and important.
Publish samples of your work online
It goes without saying, but a great output is the bread and butter of the creative industry. Whether you’re a painter, a photographer, or a writer, people aren’t going to hire you unless they can check your previous work, so make sure to publish samples online. And even if you’re new to the business, you shouldn’t have too much trouble creating something new.
Reach out to your network
Make the most of your network to gain potential clients. Of course, you need to plan your approach carefully. You don’t want to burn bridges with your friends or alienate potential clients. Work on your pitch and your smile and you’ll see better results.
Your existing network is a great way to start. After all, they already know you and you can trust them to connect you to the right people. Let your friends and family know that you’ve started a business and ask them to keep you in mind if they know a potential client. Your first customers will likely come from your network so it’s important you don’t skip this step.
Start a customer referral program
The funny thing about business is you need customers to get more customers. Starting a customer referral program is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you leverage your existing network to gain more clients, you can grow your business in no time.
For instance, you can offer discounts to your current clients if they can refer you to another paying customer. Make sure to inform your clients in person and in writing, so they won’t forget. You can also extend the discount to clients you haven’t heard from in a while.
Collaborate with our businesses
The creative industry is built on collaboration, so it makes sense to partner with other complementary businesses so that everyone can benefit. Let’s say you run a photography and videography business. You can gain more clients by collaborating with a wedding planner. You can also set up an arrangement where you refer your clients to your partner establishment for a percentage of the fee.
Many customers read the marketing emails that arrive in their inbox, and you would be remiss if you didn’t invest in email marketing. Emails are a great way to stay in touch with your customers and inform them of news, deals, and other updates.
You need to invest in marketing if you want your business to grow, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost an arm and a leg. These marketing tips will help you get your fledgling creative business off the ground.