I have recently had a few photographer-friends ask me, “how do you manage to re-start your business when you move?” Long story short, I’ve maintained clients in WV, NJ and now El Paso, TX. We will be moving again this coming summer, so I’ll be starting over one…more…time. :::sigh::: I’m tired just writing that. But!, we must keep moving forward.
Here’s what I did and what worked for me. Some of these suggestions also come from Kristin Anderson, who moved from EP to Tucson, AZ.
- Reach out to everyone you know in your new location. Message them personally and privately. Let them know your goals and that you’d appreciate any referrals/insight they might have to help you get started.
- People will be happy to help you, but you should also offer your assistance to them! It’s a great way to build relationships.
- If you don’t know anyone in your new location, get prepared to make some friends! El Paso was the first place we moved to where I did not know a single soul. I googled “photographers in El Paso,” and reached out to several photogs. Even if these new friends weren’t referring clients to me (but they did, in my case!), it’s good to be part of your local network. When Photographer Dan was booked, he sent that client to me.
- Blog your booty off. If you want clients from X City, blog about that city…or something about that city. Research and write about how excited you are to check out certain wedding venues or bridal boutiques in that area. Include links and the actual correct names of each place.
- Once you are in place at your new location, go around to as many businesses as you can (businesses that have to do with your industry) and introduce yourself. Bring lots of business cards. Once again, when we arrived to El Paso, I went around to hair salons, make-up artists, bridal boutiques, lingerie boutiques, etc. If I brainstorm more, I could go to gyms, florists, bakeries, etc. I was shooting weddings back then, so my brides were going to all of those places. If you’re a newborn photographer, ask the maternity ward of hospitals and doctor’s offices if you can help them out by giving them some wall art, as in canvases of your beautiful newborn shots! I actually did this with my boudoir photos. They are displayed in the fitting rooms of Kara’s Bridal Boutique here in EP.
- Another idea you can pursue when you visit businesses, is offer their clients a random drawing for a gift certificate. Be sure to display a few of your photos nearby.
- Google ad words can be a huge help!
- Step out of your comfort zone and walk straight up to people who look like your target client. Some will call and some won’t, but of those who do call, move mountains for them and start building word of mouth.
- If your cell phone has a different area code and you won’t be switching over to your new area code, sign up for a “google talk” number. You can arrange it so that it has the area code of your new location, and the calls will go directly to your cell! Some people just feel more comfortable dialing a familiar number.
- Participate in silent auctions, charity events, anything to get your name out there. Attend the event and network, but also include a gift voucher in their “swag bag.”