Writing Your Photography Marketing Plan: Marketing Mix – Place

Eighth in a series.

In Monday’s post, we overviewed the four Ps of photography marketing and discussed the importance of defining your product. Today, we look at “place” — also known as distribution.

As a photographer, how do you get your product in front of your prospect and convert the sale? Do you take orders and provide free quotes online? Tell people to call you? Partner with a photographer’s rep or agency? Put your work in galleries? Use stock or microstock sites? Deliver prints?

How you distribute your work has a lot to do with how and what you shoot. A fine art photographer, for example, is more likely to focus on gallery distribution than a wedding photographer. But virtually all photographers today should be using multiple distribution channels.

Where Are Your Customers?

The first question to ask yourself in identifying the “place” in your marketing plan is this: “Where are my prospective customers?”

That’s where you should go to meet them.

I have an acquaintance who has used the same photography studio for all his children’s pictures since they were newborns. Do you know why? Because a representative of the studio came to the hospital when the baby was born and took a set of photos for free.

These were, of course, delivered to the home later — along with the offer of additional photography.

In this case, the studio had an exclusive arrangement with the hospital. However, there are lots of other ways to be where your photography customers are. If you take baby pictures or family portraits, you could cut deals with children’s clothing stores or toy stores, family restaurants, recreation centers, daycare centers, pediatricians — the possibilities are numerous.

Agencies and Reps vs. Direct Selling

Of course, it’s always nice to have some help in your selling, isn’t it? That’s why photographers work with photo agencies, photographer’s reps and stock sites, rather than attempting to do all the heavy lifting themselves.

Working with a Getty Images, Black Star or other agency is attractive, because it allows you to focus on taking great pictures rather than finding a buyer for them. But smart photographers today know that they must distribute through as many channels as possible, and take control of their own business.

A great example of this is John Harrington. John is a longtime Black Star photographer who receives assignments through the agency. However, he has also established his Web site as a top destination for corporate and editorial clients seeking photographers in the Washington, D.C. area. More channels means more opportunities.

So build a great Web site and sell your work through it. Upload your photos on stock sites. Try to hook up with an agency. Put your photos on posters, postcards and t-shirts and sell them at CafePress. Shoot free promotional photos of children at the neighborhood toy store on a Saturday afternoon.

Whatever you do, don’t just do one thing. Your customers don’t stay in one place; neither should you.

Next: marketing mix – promotion

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