Marketing Your Business in a New Location is the topic of todays blog. As many of you know, five years ago (wow, has it been that long?!) my husband and I packed our bags and set out for an adventure to move to the East Coast. But let’s back up a bit…
Before our wedding, I lived in the Portland Metro area of Oregon, and had a business established. My photography gigs primarily consisted of friends or family and their referrals. After our wedding, I moved three/four-ish hours south to live with my husband in Bend, Oregon. I didn’t have many connections there. Bend, Oregon is a smallish town. I tried to make connections for the few months I was there, but things never really took off. I felt a little defeated by this but before long we were on our way East.
I left in May 2013 to live in North Carolina for a few months, and while there received the phone call from my husband that he was offered a position in Chevy Chase, Maryland, near the DC border. He packed the remaining items and make the trek across country with our belongings in tow.
I officially joined him in August 2013, where we made our new home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Roughly 2700 miles away. If you aren’t familiar with where Maryland or Oregon are on the map – They are pretty far apart! 😉
We all move for various reasons, and we all face different challenges. If you’ve been in your new location for 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, it can still be new to you, and that’s okay!
Controlling your overall perspective will help in the direction of your business. Marketing Your Business in a New Location can be overwhelming. When I relocated across the country I had moments where I felt I wouldn’t make it and I was at a loss- but once I changed my attitude and looked at everything as an opportunity the doors really started to open up!
Now photography is my main source of income, I book clients all around the United States, and I’ve had a few outside the US. I’ve worked hard to get where I am at, and I am so excited to see what the future holds. Lucky you, I am going to share all of my wins and loses right here.
First things first, know your target clientele. Who do you want to hire you? Who would you be passionate about working for? What makes your creative juices flow? Sign up for our email list & receive a questionnaire on defining your target clientele. Click here.
Here’s the down and dirty for Marketing Your Business in a New Location…
When I first moved here, I worked really hard to make connections with other industry leaders in my area. I spent a few days, or maybe even weeks, researching other photographers in my new home base. I read their about me sections, I looked through their galleries, I read their reviews, I studied their style, their brand, I spent a long time finding a photographer that I believed was similar to the overall vibe I wanted to be with my brand and business. I crafted a genuine email asking this photographer if she needed a second shooter for the coming season. Not long after we met for coffee and hit it off. I second shot with her for two seasons (that’s basically two years). She sent me a few referrals during that time, but not many. What she did give me though, was an invaluable experience. She allowed me to learn what this new location’s market was like, the pace of the wedding day, the elements that made it a Washington DC wedding, and allowed me to refresh my portfolio while serving her clients as an extension of her brand. In growing myself, and my business, I sincerely wanted to help whoever I worked for. I wanted to serve their clients as if they were my own.
Get to know others who are also starting out in the area. If you’re a birth photographer, then reach out to local doulas, and midwives. If you’re a wedding photographer, reach out to wedding florist, wedding planners. If you aren’t sure who your niche would be – comment or email me and we can brainstorm together!
Get out there. Grow your content and put meaningful stuff out there so your target clientele will see it and be drawn in. Especially for photographers posting beautiful images and keeping your portfolio up to date with your desired brand and style is really important in drawing in those clients that you want to work with. Marketing Your Business in a New Location means showing those potential clients what you offer. Create content that will draw them to you!
-Craig’s List when I first moved to Rockville, Maryland, I posted on Craig’s List that I was a wedding photographer. I actually had someone contact me and hire me for her wedding. While I absolutely adored this bride, and her family has been so wonderful to my growing business, I wouldn’t suggest going to Craig’s List for your clients. I got really lucky.
-Wedding Wire I subscribed to a tier of wedding wire and made an investment for my business. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t do it again. I only needed to book one client to cover the cost, but I didn’t book any. If I had it to do over again, I would consider investing those pretty pennies differently.
-Bridal Shows haven’t been the best for me. Although, I haven’t done many, they don’t attract my target clientele, so I stay away from them. That being said, I have been offered a free spot at a Bridal Show this fall, and since the venue is giving me a complimentary spot I’ve decided to give it a try. I’ve got nothing to lose!
Blog, blog, blog:
I haven’t always been good at blogging regularly. Even as I write this I am skeptical that I will be able to keep up the routine of blogging, but I give it my best shot! I find it can be challenging to blog every single photo session, or activity. However, it’s so important. There are times when, honestly, I can’t even think of words to say. I don’t want to sound boring or say the same thing for each client, BUT blogging has done wonders for my business. True story: I was ranked as a top wedding photographer in Rockville, Maryland by Expertise. I was super proud of it, so I posted it all over my social media. I had someone from work approach me, and they were really excited to hire me for their wedding because they saw I was one of the top wedding photographers in the area! They even told other people at work – it was awesome.
This falls under making connections and blogging but it’s worth its own paragraph! I run a series on my blog called Featured Fridays where I highlight other businesses on my blog. It’s a fun way to showcase their talents while having meaningful content to share. I meet with the business owner, take head shots of them, and photograph some of their services. This gives me images for the blog post. For the written portion I send them a questionnaire and use the conversations we’ve had. It’s a lot of fun! Feature Friday boosts both our SEOs too, which is always good for ranking higher with Google. A lot of these connections have become referrals, too.
Check out a few of my Feature Fridays series Melissa’s Creations
Talk yourself up
If you are working outside of your business, don’t be afraid to let people know about your side hustle. This is a great way to start Marketing Your Business in a New Location. I’ve never hid that I am a photographer, even while at my full-time gig. The word of mouth referrals I’ve gained from just putting myself out there have paid off greatly for my business. It has been super beneficial to mention to co-workers that I am a photographer, and they tell their friends and family. Even months, and years after I’ve left a job I still have returning clients that I met through that job. This can be applied in many areas, if you have children, telling their friend’s parents, or their dance studio, or the local school they go to, mention it at the dentist, or the doctor’s office. Just letting people know what you can offer is the first step! If they don’t know, they don’t know. Let them know!
Get yourself out there. Step out of your comfort zone a bit and look at everything as an opportunity. You’ve got this! I’m cheering for you. Now, Start Marketing Your Business in a New Location!
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