Pump Up the Personal, Skip the “Salesy”

Question: How do I market myself without coming off as too “salesy?”

Marketing is all about having a great product or service, getting it exposed to the right audience and having people remember it and know how to find you. In my last blog post on “cold calls,” I stressed the importance of avoiding the strong sales pitch when calling potential customers. The same ideas apply here: By marketing yourself correctly, you can sit back and let the jobs come to you – no lasso needed.

First and foremost, it’s best to know who your audience is. Rather than cast the net too wide, be sure you are fine-tuning your marketing list to those who hire your services. This will avoid wasting their time and yours. Agency Access’s database and list-building tools make it easy to find out exactly which agencies hire your services, and which are receptive to your best marketing efforts.

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Having been an art buyer and working on the receiving end of sales a lot longer than I’ve been a photo agent on the “selling” end, I’ve learned a few things. Here are a few tips on what’s worked for me and my ilk:

  • Familiarize yourself with which clients are interested in what you’re selling. Reach out to them often enough to stay on their radar, but not so much that they automatically hit “delete” when they see your name or face!
  • Advertise relevant and exciting new work via advertising sourcebooks and sites, direct mail and e-blasts.
  • When meeting in person, be sure to bring interesting and well-crafted leave-behinds.
  • If you’re chatting with potential buyers in person, read their body language. Keep the sales pitch brief or avoid it altogether. Ask about specific projects and remember this information for next time.
  • Consider hosting a lunch or gathering. Then let your guests have a good time, without ambushing them. You can follow up with a note afterward that includes your awesome logo and website, plus a promo piece.

As a rule, art directors and art buyers like sales pitches as much as a root canal, so keep your time with them pleasant and casual. If they like your art and feel you’re easy to be around, they’re going to want to work with you.

About Bonnie

I recently became a Partner/Producer/Agent for the wonderfully talented Graham Brown Photography.

Prior to this, I wore a Sr. Art Producer’s hat for 15 years. I was fortunate to produce great work for some fantastic agencies. The most recent position was at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, and a good many years at Carmichael Lynch. Among my Freelance arsenal, are: Goodby Silverstein, Apple, DraftFCB, Olson, Y&R, Cutwater, BabyCenter, and Pereira & O’Dell.

I enjoy facilitating portfolio reviews, and participating in workshops, panels and blogs for APA, ASMP, and Agency Access.

This spring, I’ll be reviewing portfolios at the Palm Springs Photo Festival. Bonnie Brown

Related Articles:

1. Blending Your Creative Nature With Your Sales Efforts

2. Creative Collision: The Other Side of In-Person Meetings

3. Dialogues Podcast: Effective Methods for Strong Client Relationships

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