Before you invest in buying marketing lists, advertising, even taking the time to get involved in your community - get out and OWN YOUR ZIP CODE. This isn't rocket science, but it is time-consuming and too many photographers fail to recognize the importance of good old labor-intensive footwork...pounding the pavement!
Yes, I'm suggesting you literally walk out your front door and then introduce yourself to every business in the community and I don't care what your photographic specialty is! This is all about being helpful and reinforcing your number one marketing tool - building relationships. As a photographer and an artist you've got some very unique skills and it's an opportunity to remind people you're there.
You're not asking for anything except the time to say hello, drop a short one liner about being a photographer in the area and offering to help if they ever need anything. You're going to leave you business card and where appropriate you might even follow-up and take a shot at a lunch date.
I consider myself the biggest lunch slut in photography and while I joke about it here's why: Grabbing lunch with anybody is harmless. It can be completely social with a very soft-sell approach to business. Plus, just about everybody has lunch. It's a chance for people to get to know each other. However, in your case as a photographer, it's an opportunity to listen and show your interest in a future client's business, while sharing a few highlights from your own experiences. You might even have some fun giving them tips on getting better family pics of their own.
If you're blogging and doing a series of community profiles, as I suggested a few months ago in a post, meeting the business owners in your area can also give you some great potential content. You might also find some partners for cross-promoting with other companies. And, don't forget to include other photographers as you knock on those doors. Your competitors often have the potential to become your greatest partners in future projects.
So, here's the real point - take all that energy you're wasting worrying about business and take some action instead. It's an ongoing process and after the first few introductions it will all become routine. Then you can schedule one day a week where you're just getting out and knocking on doors.
Illustration Credit: © Creativa - Fotolia.com