How To Really Get Ahead
Text By Emmanuel Eman Lacoste  © All rights reserved.

The photography field becomes more competitive daily. As a freelance photographer, you need to make sure people know who you are and what you are capable of. Unfortunately, most of us don't have a large advertising budget to get the word out. The good news is that with a little time, some practice and a little imagination, you can develop a very strong marketing campaign at little to no cost.
 
You Are An Expert:
 
As a professional, you are an expert and using that to your advantage will have a huge impact on your success. To establish yourself as a local expert, consider teaching local workshops, offering classes through a community college or the University's continuing education system, start a club.
 
Another way to position yourself as a local expert in your field is to write product review, testimonial, or how to articles. Editors of small local publications often listen to new column ideas that their readers might be interested in reading. If the publication has a website, make sure the editor puts your column online too. You may or may not get extra pay, but your exposure will grow rapidly.
 
Once you start, ideas for your column are everywhere and easy to come up with. Not only will writing a column position you as a local expert, but with today's technology, your column is liable to be seen around the world.
 
Open The Communication Lines:
 
Ways you communicate can have positive or negative impact. Make sure you project a professional appearance. Show you appreciates your clients by responding to telephone calls in a professional and timely manner. Replying to emails concisely and quickly reassures potential customers that you care about their needs. Make sure you proofread what you write and use the spell check feature even if you're a good speller.
 
Communication shouldn't stop once you're filled your end of the agreement. Keeping a client posted on new developments, events, or services you developed keeps you on their mind. This makes all your customers feel like they are important and that you value them. The easiest way to do this is with a blog. A blog will not only inform your clients of new developments, but it will add new content to your website. New and pertinent content is what keeps people returning to a website over and over.
 
Be Reachable:
 
Once you're considered an expert, potential clients may feel stand offish about contacting you. Make sure that you are approachable. Make sure that the community knows how to contact you. Prominently display you email and telephone number on your website, handout business cards, and market your service with clear and consistent contact information.
 
Be Consistent:
 
Make sure that everything you do looks and feels the same. Having a professional looking product does nothing if the rest of your business is piece-meal together. If your personality is casual and friendly, make sure that everything you do reflects this. People like knowing what to expect, generally, people don't like surprises when they are buying something.
 
Make sure that your business is incorporated into everything you do to promote it. Brochures, website and email address should all be consistent. Providing a consistent message about who you are and what you do doesn't mean you can't change things that aren't working. If something doesn't work, get rid of it and refocus your efforts on the things that do work.
 
Do It:
 
Your local community is full of potential opportunities; you just need to leave the office or house to find them. Volunteering your service at local non-profit organizations helps the community to know you. It also shows you as someone who cares about improving the community instead of just out for a profit. Attending local Chamber of Commerce meetings or local clubs also increases you networking circle. You'll find new clients or customers in the most unusual places.


 
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