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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Postcards from the Edge - Showing Who You Are

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Snail mail seems so passe, but you would be surprised at the potential a well-placed postcard can have when sent to your niche market. I was reminded of this just a few days ago when I received a glossy, 4-color postcard from an artist friend announcing an upcoming exhibit and book signing for her newly published memoir.

Entitled Life on the Rocks: One Woman's Adventures in Petroglyph Preservation is exactly who this woman is. Katherine Wells lives in the middle of an amazing mountain of petroglyphs (rock art) and has devoted her time and life to protecting and preserving centuries of art carved by the Tewa Native Americans. As I once visited this site and understand the timeless beauty that can capture a person's curiosity and connection to the past, I was thrilled to receive a postcard announcing her new book. I immediately went to Amazon and pre-ordered the volume.

Katherine's postcard was sent to the right niche market. As an artist-at-heart and amateur archaeologist living in New Mexico, I was her perfect market.

Think about who could benefit from your stock photography. Web designers? Art directors? Book publishers? Consider who your perfect niche market is then introduce yourself with a beautifully printed full-color postcard that includes a link to your stock photography agency.

If you would like to know more about Katherine's book, go to: Life on the Rocks: One Woman's Adventures in Petroglyph Preservation. It will be release on May 16th. Read the Editorial Review and you will become intrigued by an artist who lives and works among ancient art and how it has influenced her life.
posted by La Roach, 6:17 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

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Selling to Your Niche, Part 7 - Work Your Leads List

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time to get to work. Use the leads database you have created along with your marketing vehicle of choice (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal email, printed mailer, etc) and begin working down your list. Every time you send information out or contact someone, note how you did it along with the date in one of the columns of your spread sheet.

I usually keep track of my marketing efforts by first trying one avenue (such as personal email), naming one column for this piece such as Email #20, than placing a date next to each entry in the database for when I sent it out. In that way you keep a history of your marketing venues and hopefully never send the same email or Tweet out to the same contact.

This might seem a tedious chore, but once you get the hang of it, the challenge of connecting with someone who wants to buy your stock images is exciting!

It comes down to finding the right person, at the right time, and having the right photograph ready to sell them when they need it. Yes, it might somewhat feel like chance - but there's no reason why you can't enhance your odds a little bit in your favor.

If you enjoyed this series, drop me a comment to let me know.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Stop by and visit me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LaRoach

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posted by La Roach, 5:40 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

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Selling to Your Niche, Part 6 - Contacting Your Leads Database

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How did your leads database turn out? You should have at least 10 to 20 possible contacts to start with. A normal success rate when you are cold calling leads is between 1 to 3 percent. So you need to have enough of a database in order to make your marketing approach successful. Of course as your stock photography business grows, so will your data base of leads.

Now that you know the importance of gathering leads, possibilities will jump out at you throughout the day. Here's a trick I use to always capture a contact when I stumble upon one - place a shortcut for your spreadsheet folder on your desktop. Whenever I find a good lead, I immediately stop what I'm doing, click on my spreadsheet (from my desktop) and enter the info. Easy! Before you know it, your data base will fill up quickly.

What do you do now that you have leads? This is probably the most difficult part of the process, but it can also be the most fun if you enjoy networking! As a marketing professional (that's my job in the real world!) I have two philosophies:
1. the best presentation always wins
2. allow the lead to "discover" you

This means: make your marketing approach look good and let the lead come to you. Whatever technique you use to contact your lead, it needs to be professional and polished. No misspelled words, incorrect grammar, or sloppy appearance. Plus it's always better not to spam your lead, but give them the opportunity to find you. Are you confused? It's pretty simple - figure out some way to present your photography so you're leads can find you on their own - and do it well.

Here are some of my suggestions for allowing leads to "discover" you:
- Twitter: I love this form of social media. Set up a nice looking Twitter page than search for your leads on Twitter. If you find a few, "follow" them. Chances are they will reciprocate the "follow". Then all you have to do is tweet about your latest images to let them know what you're doing. Soon other leads will locate you on their own through searching Twitter. Before you know it, you'll have a growing network. I just began Twitter about 10 days ago and have made several good connections. (Follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/LaRoach).

- Facebook: I have not used this approach yet, but I'm suggesting it here as Facebook is extremely popular and you have a good chance of connecting with leads.

- Linkedin: I do use Linkedin for my day job and find it's a great place to make business connections and communicate with other professionals.

- MySpace: I also use MySpace for marketing in the corporate world. It's easy to create a professional profile and find leads that you then invite to be "friends". As with Twitter, MySpace is the perfect social media vehicle for people to find you through their own searches. This offers the opportunity to broaden your exposure simply by being present and participating on a social network.

- Personal Blog: Build a strong blog that represents your photography and use the URL in your email signature. If you email a lead, chances are very good that they will click on your signature links because they are curious. Why a blog? Unlike a website (onless you are very good at webdesign and persistant at updating) you can constantly add your latest images and appeal to specific niches through ongoing blog entries.

- Personal Email: never ever spam a lead or send an email to multiple addresses! Spamming is an unsolicited email trying to sell goods or services. This can get you in big trouble. But there's nothing wrong with visiting a site or blog owned by a lead and writing them a friendly email commenting on their service or asking a professional question. Of course, always include a link to either your website, blog or stock agency page in your signature so they can "discover" you. Another interesting approach might be to write a free white paper on how to purchase and use microstock photography in business. Post this to your website and add the link to your signature. You must be clever when sending personal emails to leads. If you are too pushy it can have a negative effect and drive leads away.

- Old Fashioned Snail Mail: yes, some people still use snail mail and this may be the best way to connect with your leads. You can create and print a simple postcard featuring your microstock photography for pennies. There are numerous online printing services that are very easy and efficient to use. I suggest UPrinting.com where you can get 500 full color 4x6 postcards for only $53! That's a pretty cheap marketing investment.

I've presented just a few techniques that you can employ when developing a leads network for selling microstock images. Let me know if you have other suggestions.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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posted by La Roach, 5:18 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

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Selling to Your Niche, Part 5 - Creating a Leads Database

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Big Sky CloudsI apologize for being away for so long. Much going on in my personal life, ended up putting my photography on hold for the past year. But now I'm back and hope to move forward with what I really love to do!

This is Part 5 of an 8-part series. If you have gotten this far, you should now have several collections of images compiled, have identified the niche markets who would be the most likely people to purchase each collection, and considered the various categories within this niche that you can market to.

In my previous blog, I determined that the best people to buy my Southwestern stock images would be travel agencies, regional publications, tourist-centered businesses, regional business and web designers - all of who concentrate or have a tie to New Mexico. Now where do we go from here?

It's research time! Begin a spreadsheet (such as Excel or Google Docs) with each page containing a list of possible leads within your niche market. For example, I would have one page for Travel Agencies that book Southwest trips, another for Regional Southwest Publications, a third for Southest Businesses Located in New Mexico, and a fourth page for Regional Web Designers.

You'll need to create columns on your spreadsheet for Company Name, Contact Person, Address, Phone Number, Email and Website. Then add colunmns that will help you keep track of your marketing efforts to reach each company, such as "1st Email", "2nd Follow-up", and Comments.

Now you can get started by filling in your leads and contact info. The easiest way to find leads is a Google search or Google maps. I could begin by searching for "Travel Agencies booking trips to Santa Fe". Or "New Mexico publications". Or "New Mexico tourism". Now you start visiting the websites that came up under your search and build your leads list with contact information found on each website. This should get you off to a pretty good start with many possible leads.

As you work on possible searches, take a few side trips to explore other possibilities you may not have considered. While working on my list of Web Designers, I thought about New Mexico bloggers. Yep, that's a good idea considering that bloggers are always looking for new content and images to populate their posts. New Mexico Bloggers became a new category on my spreadsheet.

You get the idea - search and find as many leads with contact info as possible that fits with your photographic niche.

In Part 6, we'll discuss what to do with your leads after you have compiled your list.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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posted by La Roach, 4:24 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

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