As freelance artists, it is our sole responsibility to market our work so that we can gain a loyal clientele. While many artists can produce work that will please their clients, they often struggle when it comes to self-promotion and branding. For those that are just starting out as a freelancer, it can become that much more daunting a task.
With Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads, advertising can also become a costly venture. That doesn’t always have to be the case, however, and this list of budget-friendly marketing tips by New York-based photographer, Jeff Rojas, will put you on the right track.
Become a Guest Author
This first tip is all about taking the hard-won knowledge you have gained as an artist and writing blogs, articles, or tutorials that showcase your expertise. Being viewed as an expert in your field is a great way to inspire confidence with your clients. Whether you are writing for your blog or contributing articles to industry websites, this a great way to engage with a wider audience.
RELATED: We welcome quality guest articles and video tutorials: Submissions
Think Old School
In the current landscape of our digital age, everyone e-mails, everyone sends messages, and it gets lost within the sheer bulk that your potential clients receive. The best approach is often the one that people find the most difficult and uncomfortable: the old school methods of contacting someone.
Call them to request a meeting, or to touch base and receive a proper e-mail for sharing your portfolio. All this will cost you is time and adequate research. With social media, in particular sites like LinkedIn, it’s easier than ever to locate the appropriate contacts and to introduce yourself to those decision makers.
Another method is to consider sending mailers to private and commercial clients that you are hoping to be commissioned by. Multiple online print services can create relatively inexpensive comp cards for you, typically running 50 for under $25, plus the cost of postage. When you produce new work that you’re proud of and wish to remind existing or new clients that you’re available, this can be a fantastic way to gain even just one more client before the month is up.
When to Work for Free
There are often opportunities that will come along from reputable brands, where the compensation is nonexistent, or simply “for credit.” This has become especially common for Reposts on Instagram, as well as print editorials. For the right brand with the right kind of following, however, sometimes free can mean money, because your work can get in front of those that might not have known about you otherwise.
Free work can also extend to unpaid tests with agency models, or trade for print (TFP) retouching with an accomplished photographer who will have the images published in an established publication. These types of images are often the best ones for marketing yourself on social media so that you can keep a steady stream of fresh material to help grow your following and demonstrate your current skill level.
No list of marketing tips exists without a reminder of how important it is to form connections within this industry. Whether it is attending photography conferences, meet-ups, fashion shows, or just collaborating when possible, networking is one of the most valuable ways in which you can invest your time. If you produce quality work, are reliable, and you’re a pleasure to work with, then the people you know will refer you, and those referrals will end up as paid gigs.
Create Great Content
One question we often hear is: “How do I get people to notice my work and follow me?” Typically this is in reference to Instagram, but the answer is always the same: post great content, consistently.
If you have a day off, consider making that a social media content creation day, where you capture or retouch images specifically for sharing with your audience. Create a low budget personal project, or test with a model from a local agency. There are a ton of options for capturing and retouching gorgeous images for little or no cost at all.
Sometimes just the limitations of working within a shoestring budget can inspire you to think outside the box and put your skills and creativity to the test.
As your audience continues to expand and you gain more and more clients, all of the time and effort you put into your marketing will have paid off.