I wish it were that easy, but building a business doesn't work that way - you've got to drive your business. There's no time just to kick back, advertise a little and then wait for the crowds to come knocking on your door. However, here's a starter list of things you can do to get yourself recognized!
- Keep building your skill set! As an artist, you've got to be the best and always better than your competitors. Don't slow down on practicing and working to further develop your skills.
- Be active in the community! You're looking for the community to be good to you, so you better make sure you're damn good to the community! Look for ways to help in fund-raising, supporting non-profits and being helpful; with or without a camera in your hands.
- Be a publicity machine! You've got to get the word out on things you're doing in the community, promotions, special projects, etc. I wrote a post a couple years back that should help you with ideas on how to get noticed more.
- Create exciting promotions! It's more than just marketing and branding, but about presenting ideas that get your target audience excited about photography and your skill set.
- Join the local affiliate, guild or camera club! You need to interact with your peers and competitors. The best way is to participate in the professional photographic community.
- Keep your blog consistent! There are two types of consistency. The first is in your content and always making sure you're sharing content targeting the interests of your readership. The second is in your timing - you've got to post to your blog on a regular basis. Post at least twice a week!
- Build relationships! Your greatest marketing tool is relationship building. Keep in touch with past clients and work to meet new ones. For example, as a wedding photographer call your past clients on their anniversary. Find out what's new in their lives and build a relationship. Be more than just a past vendor they worked with.
- Own your zip code! My buddy Scott Bourne planted this in my head years ago. Draw a 1-2 mile circle around your location and then start knocking on doors. Make it a point to introduce yourself to every retailer, regardless of your photographic specialty.
Here's the point. Way back when you had a dream of becoming a successful artist in photography. If your business isn't going the way you hoped or visualized, then take a step back and think about what you're missing. It's rare that businesses just take off on their own. That means you're in the driver's seat and the only one who can keep building your dream!