So you’ve decided to parlay your love of animals into a pet photography business… congratulations! There’s definitely a market for it; according to the Humane Society, pet ownership in the U.S. has tripled since the 1970s. In 2012, there were an estimated 164 million pet owners; that’s 62 percent of American households with at least one pet in the family. Dog photography in particular is enjoying a surge in popularity, but cats are also frequent subjects as well as more exotic animals like parrots, iguanas and pot-bellied pigs. You’ve honed your photography skills and creative abilities; you’re equipped with a variety of awesome pet photography backdrops and props as well as the perfect lighting equipment. You’ve chosen a business name and perhaps have already created a logo and business card. However, without a marketing strategy, no one will know about you. Use the following tips to market your pet or dog photography business successfully in your area:
1. Website, E-newsletter, Blog and Social MediaFor starters, you’ll need a solid website for your business. Be sure it’s loaded with your best pet photography work, and keep adding to it as you become more experienced. Write text that includes your most relevant keywords such as pet photographer in ________ (insert your city) or dog photography ________ (insert your city). However, don’t just stop there; start collecting email addresses so that you can send your client base a monthly e-newsletter that includes your business updates, services and seasonal specials. A weekly blog post can help showcase your knowledge and experience, and social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter can help you with networking, drawing in new clients and keeping a rapport with existing ones.
2. Pet Stores and Animal SheltersConsider having brochures printed about your business and create a display that showcases and promotes your talents and services. Visit the local pet stores and animal shelters in your area and ask if you can put your marketing materials on their counter or bulletin board.
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3. Auctions for Non-ProfitsMost animal shelters hold live or silent auctions at least once per year. Consider donating a gift certificate for your business as well as a framed sample of your work along with some business cards. You’ll usually receive at least a mention if not a full ad in their brochure or literature for the fund raiser. Find out about other fund raisers in your area as well and do the same; pet owners are in every walk of life, and you just never know where you’ll connect with an animal lover who wants a pet portrait.
4. Cross-Marketing CampaignsAlong with pet photography, boutique and specialty businesses are growing in popularity, too. Pet washes, doggie day cares, pet bakeries, holistic veterinarians and organic pet food shops are more prevalent than ever. Approach these businesses and see if they will do cross-marketing so that you can promote one another.
5. Expos and Trade ShowsKeep an eye out for home and lifestyle shows at which you can have a booth and market your pet photography services. Decorate your booth and display with framed and matted samples of your best work. Offer attendees a discount if they book a session during the show.
6. Veterinarian Waiting RoomsThe primary focus of veterinarians is on the care and rehabilitation of animals, as it should be. However, because of this, design and decor of their waiting room tends to be low on the list. Offer to hang some of your pet prints in their waiting room in exchange for being able to leave a stack of your brochures on their counter and waiting room table.
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7. Dog ParksOn a nice day, bring your camera to your local dog park and offer to photograph dogs with their owners. Post the photos you take on your website along with an option for the pet owner to purchase prints. Hand out your business card along with session coupons while at the park.
8. Unique Promotions and ProductsCreate “buzz” for your business via social media and by offering special photo products such as 12-month pet calendars or artisan-made picture frames. Tweet or post on Facebook about these items as well as where you’ll be throughout the week (such as a trade show or dog park outing as described above). Pets are a permanent part of the American family, making demand for pet photography higher than ever. Use these marketing tricks and tips to connect with pet owners and help your pet photography business to be the best it can be.
How many years has your pet photography company been in business?
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
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