Options. There’s plenty of things you can do to improve your business. You can spend money on cameras, you can spend money on ads in your local newspaper, you can spend money on software, a website, lenses, and much, much more.. But, before you go out and spend money on another lens, ask yourself one simple question:
Why am I not getting as much business as I want to get?
If in fact, you’re losing jobs because the quality of the images aren’t good enough, you really should get a new lens or camera. But, if you’re like most photographers, the reason you’re losing business is because there aren’t enough people inquiring about your services! Ultimately, you have an issue with exposure.
People can’t hire you if they don’t know your in business. That’s where a good website comes in.
Websites are cost effective methods of advertising your business. To understand why, let’s use some math!
A typical 3-line classified ad in a newspaper might cost you about $100/mo. Now, for a photo business, a 3-line ad may not be enough. After all, people tend to hire photographers based on the quality of the photos. But, for the sake of ease, let’s assume a 3-line ad is actually useful in attracting clients. You’re spending about $1200/year on a classified ad, that’s going to people reasonably close by to where you live. After three years, you’ve spend $3,600 on advertising in the local paper. If you decide to not run the ad one month, your exposure will be zero; no one will be able to find your business as the ad wont be published anywhere.
On the other hand, if you spent about the same amount of money on a website (including hosting), you’d have something that will work forever. Once you’ve built a website, it’s yours to keep. You may need to pay for hosting, but, it’s much cheaper than another ad in the newspaper. Also, content wise, your website can have lots and lots of text, lots and lots of photos, and interactive forms that your prospective clients can use to contact you.
So, for about $100/month, would you rather have a 3-line ad in the classified section of your newspaper? Or, a gorgeous website that will actually show off your portfolio, and allow prospective clients to hire you for a photo shoot?