Another great marketing tool is networking. You make connections, build relationships with other professional people and refer business to each other. It's taking control of 'word of mouth' marketing and making it work for you.
There are several ways to go about it. The most proactive is to join a networking group like BNI (Business Networking International). There are thousands of different chapters all over the world, 75 just in Orange County. You can find them at www.socalbni.com
I joined BNI a few months ago. It's great for building up your business through referrals and also learning from other professionals there. They teach you how to present yourself effectively. It's quite useful. I have gotten a few portrait jobs, but that is not really my focus. A friend of mine made over $30 000 in portrait photography jobs in his first year in BNI alone. Not bad for 90 min. a week in meeting time. I think, as far as referrals go, it works mainly for portrait or wedding photographers (ie. consumer photography). Nevertheless, I have gotten a lot out of it.
Also check out http://www.letip.com as well as the trusty Chamber of Commerce. For upcoming meetings: http://www.hbchamber.org/
The Chamber is not as effective because attendance is haphazard. In the networking groups, attendance is mandatory. This creates reliability, consistency and trust within the members of each group. That's how you build relationships and then feel comfortable referring business to others.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Posted by Greg Clarke at 10:53 PM