How many of you are thinking about starting up and targeting local clients. I am about to tell you why that is wrong. Get that thought out of your head. It will come with world wide traffic. Let's face it running a website isn't free. We pay for SSL certificates, domain names, and marketing isn't free. This shouldn't be coming out of your pocket. Well at least not past the one year mark. Think of your website as one star in a vast universe. What can you do to stand out?
List your potential income
- Art Prints/Stock Images- These can be built up in between client shoots. It also keeps your photography a bit fun as you can express yourself.
- Affiliate Links- Do you drive a large source of traffic interested in topics you are discussing? That is where affiliate links will drive some income your way.
- Booking clients- If you are driving a lot of traffic to your site you will rank higher with local people that are searching for your services. This is a natural way to get high quality traffic and build a name for yourself online.
Art Prints/Stock Images
Take your photography in the direction you want with art prints. There are a few companies that will run that side of your business for you. Customers can purchase online and they drop ship directly to them. Personally I use Fine Art America for the art prints I sell. I also contribute to stock agencies ranging from Alamy to Adobe Stock.
I first started against the idea of using affiliate links. Let's face it we hate ads. If you place a few ads that are relevant to your blogs or articles people do tend to click on them if they catch their interest. You won't get paid for clicks. I believe you have 24 hours once they click to recieve a small commission if they purchase that item. If someone has come to your site to read about some equipment and you give them a link to purchase the equipment after reading your review why not give people that option. I don't claim to make a lot of money with these links by any means. It is strictly there to help cover the cost of maintaining the website's annual fees. I also believe that any of the affiliate link purchases should be earned with hard work in providing people with meaningful content to get that commission.
This can be the hardest challenge of opening your new business. The hardest part is that most people will naturally be drawn to the well known photography studios in the area. People build a relationship with their clients and a trust that is not easy for you to move in on. I have had the best luck with just setting up downtown and selectively choosing average people walking by. Get a quick shot or two and email it to them for free. The shot isn't the only thing in this situation that will get their attention. This is where you have three to five minutes to make them feel a connection worth paying for. Getting them to feel comfortable and happy in front of your lens is the only thing that will get them to try a real shoot through you. If you just sit back and wait for a call you will fail in your first year. You have to be on the move and constantly searching for events nearby where you can show your face and mingle with locals.
Do not turn away possible income avenues when you go into a business. The tricky part will be figuring out how you want to create your brand and separate your photography, art, and stock photography. This is all something that you will have to sit down and figure out for yourself. Your brand should come first. The secondary income sources should still be there, but they should be taking a back seat.