All of my clients have been asking me the same questions in these past few months, ”Should I be marketing myself right now? What do I say to my clients?”
The answer changes slightly week to week, but especially this month as we find our feeds blacked out to support a surge in the Black Lives Matter movement. I don’t expect (or even necessarily want) things to “go back to normal” for another year or so.
What we need to be doing is communicating. In our personal lives and in our businesses.
Should you be marketing your business right now? Yes. We know that communication is our number one marketing tool, real conversations are our best ROI.
What do I say? There is no one perfect answer for this question, it depends on who you are, where you are, what your clients are doing or not doing. But everyone can be starting conversations, and then, deep listening. Listening is marketing.
In regards to emails, Ask your clients how they are doing, how business has shifted for them, what kinds of discussions they are having, what plans are being made. You don’t need to say much, in fact you probably should say very little.
If you have solutions, offer them. Your clients are eager to know what you are capable of producing safely. What does your home or studio look like? What props, people, pets do you have on hand? Is your city/state/country (safely) open for business? Don’t just tell, show. Shoot examples of what you are able to produce and share those with your clients.
If you have personal work, share it. We are creatives, we all love seeing creativity. If you have new work to share, share it.
In regards to social media, I’ve personally chosen to keep mostly quiet for now (in my own marketing). I think the more important question is, What should I not be sharing?
I see some (non-Black) photographers digging through their archives to post photos of Black people that they have photographed in the past. I don’t think this is appropriate. White photographers sharing images of Black people at protests has also been a topic of debate. Ask yourself, is this self-serving or helpful? Am I posting because I want to affect change or am I worried about followers and the algorithm? Because f*cK the algorithm right now. How many jobs have you gotten from Instagram in the past? Most of my clients say none.
How many jobs have you gotten from referrals and networking and clicking with someone in a conversation? There you go.
How can I be helpful? Maybe you shift your marketing completely and use your platform to promote Black photographers, writers, small-business owners, chefs, stylists – people in your industry, again, if you can do it in a way that does not feel self-serving.
Maybe you put together a collection of resources on how to work safely on set during Covid-19. Maybe share another sourdough recipe. What feels right for you? What do your clients need to see or read right now? If you were in their shoes, what resources would you be looking for?
You don’t have to be talking about yourself or selling anything at all to still be marketing, communicating, connecting. The return is still being set into motion.
Or maybe we just keep quiet for a little bit longer. That’s ok too.
Not sure what to say in your emails? Ready for that portfolio review? Jump on my calendar for a free call.
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