I own a photography and videography company. It is my husband and I, with myself being the lead photographer and he is the lead videographer. We dabble in a lot of diverse events and bookings, but weddings are the bulk of our business. We started our company locally in North Carolina but we both always had this immense travel bug. We decided to spend an entire year building a tiny house inside of a bus so that we could sell our home and travel full time. We knew we had to make a living though and that we would need to grow our business on the road.
I am going to give you 5 tips that I used to gain clients and bookings, literally around the world. The best part is that they didn’t cost me a dime either. We all know there is the option for advertisements, and this is never a bad idea if you have the funds to do so. This advice I am sharing has taken us to Finland, Africa, Costa Rica, and cross country (of the United States). A little bit of hard work and consistency goes a long way with these tips:
1. Reach out first
If you want clients all over then you must be willing to reach out to strangers to get started. People in other states or countries (if you are wanting to go this far) have probably never heard of you. As a wedding photographer, I follow relevant hashtags on Instagram such as #engaged and #isaidyes. People post with these hashtags every single day so I can see all the newly engaged couples and a lot of times they include their locations. I take some time each day to like and comment on posts that are trending. I even will send messages to these couples to congratulate them and let them know what I do and to check out my work when they start planning their vendors. I make sure they know I am available to travel and will go just about anywhere. This technique has worked too! I have booked some of my favorite clients from this because they remember I reached out, so they look me up and contact me again. I make it a point to connect with the community and markets I hope to extend my services to. You can use this method across different social media platforms too.
2. Offer something free
If you are offering your services or products somewhere which you have not done before and are wanting to enter a new market, then you need to offer deals. This might be a discount for being the first person in that area to use your services or products. This can also be an additional offer on top of what you are already marketing. When I am wanting to book photoshoots in a new location, I usually find people willing to be my models and get photos done in that area. I travel a lot already so if I am heading to Florida for a trip, I use the location on Instagram to reach out to people that might seem interested in a free photoshoot. Once I work with them and deliver the gallery, they usually share my information with friends and family. Getting recommended by them is a sure way to book another client in the area. You can have them write you a review for the public to see as well.
3. Market your website to travel
You must make sure all platforms are set up for people to know you offer your services across a wide range. If someone is looking for a photographer, goes to my website, sees a location listed at the top that isn’t their location, then chances are they won’t keep looking through my website. Make sure it is obvious right away that you travel or offer your services wherever the client’s location might be. My website has “traveling photo and video team,” on the home page and I have this in my Instagram bio as well. It makes a difference, trust me!
4. Utilize Instagram
I have mentioned this app a couple of times because I am a huge advocate for it. You can access a lot of neat features and free marketing tools all within one app. You can find potential clients based on hashtags and locations and you can advertise yourself and your company as freely as you want through your own account. You have the freedom to post content that showcases your business and use your feed as a type of portfolio. Also, people want to know the person behind the business too. If you are more personable then they are going to remember you and feel more compelled to seek what you are offering. I use my story a lot on Instagram and I talk to my followers a lot. It might seem awkward at first but once you get to use it, you will notice people interacting back with you and watching for your stories more often because then genuinely enjoy seeing what you have to say or offer. You now have the further option of IGTV on the app and can create story highlights to stay on your feed for as long as you want. I have booked so much work just through the use of my Instagram story.
5. Word of mouth travels far
This tip kind of wraps up all the others in one. If one person likes you or your business, they will likely mention and recommend you to others. I have booked weddings in Finland and Costa Rica and while at the wedding we had guests coming up to us asking about our services and for a business card. Afterward, the couple’s wedding we were working will recommend us to their friends that get engaged to follow. You can have your clients write you reviews on FB or for your website too. If you make yourself personable along with what you are offering, then this only benefits your business. The majority of my business is run off word of mouth and not even advertisements. I mean it when I say, word of mouth travels far and quick!