Gain More Exposure, Get More Leads
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet, no magic potion that will bring you immediate success—building your business in a way that allows you to capitalize on all of your hard work takes hard work! We've taken the time to lay out a few key components that, if done correctly, can help you get more creative inquiries, stand out among your peers, and ultimately gain more exposure.
Crafting your signature visual style, building a strong brand, and finding your tone with potential clients will launch you steps ahead of your competition. Being in this business for over 20 years, we've done our research, and we know what today's buyers are looking for: an artist with a clearly defined visual approach. What we also know is that defining this visual style is no easy task.
Often, artists need an extra push from someone on the outside to help them extract and understand what is important to them when it comes to their craft. As you grow as an artist, what you are attracted to and connected with changes. It makes sense, but your work should be evolving along with it.
Developing your vision isn't something that only applies to new or emerging artists; it's a continued practice to stay relevant to today's market. Fine-tune your visual voice or signature once a year to ensure that while you are evolving, your vision and brand is evolving as well.
A good exercise to ensure that you stay current with your visual voice is taking a step back and analyzing what's influencing you and inspiring you. Does it line up with what you've been creating?
Check out Finding Your Vision, a pocket guide authored by Director of Consulting, Jennifer Kilberg. In this guide, Jennifer digs deep and dishes out the same direction and words of advice she gives to her clients as they start visually communicating who they are, what they can do, and what they want to be hired for.
Marketing isn't just about sending emails or going to an in-person portfolio review here and there. Consistency is key. Have a strong physical and emotional brand, an updated website, and consistent outreach to your client database. Don't forget, a database with a healthy combination of low-lying fruit, together with your top-tier dream clients, is what will get you noticed.
We checked in with our team of in-house creative consultants to get their pulse on a few of the most important marketing channels to ensure you have a well-rounded campaign.
We always get the question, "Is email marketing still a viable means of marketing?" and the answer is ABSOLUTELY! Email is the most cost-effective, trackable option, giving you the ability to assess and classify your leads.
Creatives are tactile people; they want to feel the luxe paper and smell the fresh ink. Direct mail's physicality allows you to play with so many different options to tell your story and articulate your vision to potential clients. Our consultants suggest sending direct mail to those who have shown interest in your email, along with your dream clients.
Just because you're focused on growing your business doesn't mean you can neglect the relationships you've worked hard to create. Your existing clients are your go-to's; they know who you are and what you can do. Connect with them quarterly to stay on their radar and update them on what you've been up to.
These are a great way to show creatives your playful side. Engage your audience and create something that will make you stand out. Why are personal projects important? Because they help create a conversation with the client while having fun, being creative, and showing your passion.
Your social platforms should be as curated as your website. It's crucial that your content is consistent and speaks to the brand that you're selling. Creatives are continually scouring social media sites to find new talent, so don't let this channel fall to the wayside. This is a great way to show a more casual, personal side to your brand.
Many companies are popping up with portfolio websites. These sites allow you to search by specialty and location, making them a no-brainer for creatives sourcing talent. Some examples would be Found (disclosure: Found is owned by the same parent company as AXS, Flipside Prodigy Inc.), Le Book, and At Edge.
Is there anything more challenging than getting an in-person meeting with a busy creative? Cue the portfolio review. These can be considered a paid meeting. However, their sole purpose is to connect you with reps, ad agencies, magazines, or direct clients you want to be working with.
Who doesn't love a compliment? Kudo emails are emails directed towards a creative extending a complimenting for a project they're currently working on or have worked on in the past. This unsolicited compliment allows you to build a relationship that will ultimately (and hopefully) lead to a job in the future.
Search engine optimization is critical for clients with a focus on corporate or business-to-business work. Clients, who focus more on advertising and editorial will find that SEO plays a more significant role, but should not be the only choice for a marketing channel—interested in going further? Check out SEO consultant Blake Discher.
To make social media useful for your business, you should be consistently contributing to the industry conversation by creating content that fills a need, content you don't see that you feel needs to be shared. In the same vein, making sure that you interact with others in your social community will help build your following, leading to more exposure in the right places.
So, how can you keep on top of all of the posting you should be doing? Try creating a content calendar. Start by asking yourself a few questions:
1. What are my specific goals, and what will I be doing to achieve them?
2. How many posts do I want to share a day?
3. What type of content will attract my target audience?
4. What channels do I want to post on?
Once you have that figured out, you need to create relevant, tailored content to capture your audience's attention.
Here are six content suggestions, as well as ways to make your social platforms stand out from the rest.
Writing and publishing blog posts will help lead a steady stream of visitors to your website, primarily if you utilize correct SEO (see above). If your content is relevant, exciting, and relatable, readers will share your post, giving it more reach and ultimately leading to more ROI and more exposure.
If you have relevant content that is informative, interesting, and fun that you want to share - make it into a video! The shorter the video, the better. Attention spans are shorter than ever, so 6-10 seconds is a good target. But you can go up to two minutes if your content's engaging. Keep your messaging strong and ensure that it's attractive to the audience you are trying to reach.
Duh, right? Seriously, if the content across all your social platforms is relevant and consistent, it will help you build loyalty, gain attention, and increase engagement. If you want to be noticed, make sure your posts include copy AND photos to create a better impression on your audience.
Hashtags are like breadcrumbs. If you want to be known as a food photographer in Dallas, you have to hashtag your post correctly. Use a combination of custom and existing hashtags to maximize your reach. Existing hashtags are a great way to find new followers seeking out your type of content. Try best-hashtags.com to find popular hashtags you can use in your posts to become more visible.
Yes, it's important! Think of it as your elevator pitch, just a super short one. Most social platforms (like Instagram) don't give you much space to explain who you are and what you do. Use this as a creative challenge. This isn't traditional writing; you don't have to use full sentences. Try something fun, like a Haiku poem format, to paint the picture of who you are.
Probably one of the most forgotten rules when it comes to social media. You have to be an active part of the community. That means interacting with your followers, liking and commenting on their photos that inspire you, and actively following new users to help build your community and expand your reach.
Networking is an integral part of your marketing strategy because it's one of the only business concepts that allow you to make in-person connections, something the other tactics discussed in this blog post cannot do.
Here are our five tips to go about it the right way and bring your networking game to the next level.
Networking is a wonderful way to spark your creative thinking while connecting with people through personal conversation. Chatting with people in the same industry as you, and even people who are not, is a breeding ground for those sought after "eureka moments."
You just spent 2 hours talking to a creative you would die to work with. Don't let them forget you. Beyond exchanging business cards, send a follow-up email to help you solidify the relationship.
Finding a job
Networking allows you always to be "out there." Even if you aren't looking for a job at the moment, you're creating connections with potential clients that might need your expertise in the future. The job search is eternal, so knowing how to network effectively can help you in the future.
Investing long term
A common complaint regarding networking? There's no tangible benefit to it. You go at it intensely for so long, get a few email addresses but then what? Unfortunately, there're no instant results when it comes to networking. Like all good things, it takes time. Make the connection and, when the opportunity arises, you're in a better place than the person who never learned how to network effectively.
To be good at networking, you have to be prepared to market yourself and your career to other people at the drop of a hat. There's a balance that must be attained: allowing the conversation to flow, but not failing to ensure you're marketing yourself and your skills correctly. Beware, there is a chance you could sound self-serving or arrogant, so make sure you practice striking that delicate balance.
Marketing is not a sprint; it's a marathon. It takes time, consistency, and a well-rounded, multi-channel strategy to get your business the results you're looking for. We hope you take some of the ideas and insights in this blog post to use for your business!