It's true. Image matters. You know it's important to have a great photograph of yourself on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc. profiles, but do you realize the importance of all the other images, in particular, the photographs, that populate the white space on your social media sites, blog and website. As a professional photographer and a creative business owner, I know exactly how important great images are to your image and I'm going to give you five ways to brand your creative business with photographs.

1. Use photographs consistent with your branding
Photographs that convey the overall look, feel and color scheme of your business will easily showcase your brand across your website and social media platforms. Develop a style guide to ensure consistency. Of course, if you have yet to develop your branding, this first step is a great place to start. Photographs are extremely important in today's online world, so think about the types of photos you have access to (paid or royalty-free, never steal photos!) or can create on your own.

2. Create your own branded photographs
It can be difficult to find photographs that convey your brand, especially if you are looking for free or inexpensive images. A very reasonable solution is to take your own photos. Even if the only camera you own is the one on your smartphone, you can take great images. It just takes some planning. (Note: I'm working on a post on how to do that very thing, so be on the lookout!) If you have created a style guide, this should be fairly straightforward. Branded photographs are the images you will use on your website and social media platforms, not necessarily ones of your products.

3. Define a photographic style for your products
No matter what you sell, you need to have a photographic style. Think about how you want the items to look when customers visit your online shop or store. Is the look and feel of your brand light and airy? Dark and brooding? Vibrant and energetic? Your photographs can illustrate your branding in your product images by choosing how your photograph the items, the lighting, the background and your post-processing. Sometimes it is easier and less complicated to hire a professional photographer or even a friend with a great eye for light and composition. Consistency is key when creating images of your goods. 

4. Styled photographs will showcase your brand
One of the easiest and most fun ways to showcase your brand is with a styled photoshoot. It will help if you have developed a style guide for this one, but even if you haven't, don't let the formality of a guide stop you. You will; however, want to make a shot list of all the different images you want to create and take. Examples of these types of images are: your workspace, your desk, tools and materials of your trade, you creating or doing what you do, details and the "big picture". The primary use for these photos will be on your website or online shop, but can also be used in your blog posts. In addition to creating a list of all the different types of images you would like to create, think about where you will use them. This will help you determine if you need horizontal and vertical versions of the same or similar shot. Remember, Pinterest loves tall photos, but Facebook and Twitter cover images are horizontal. Consider leaving plenty of open space in some of the images so you can add text!

5. Put your best face forward
I know the quote is actually "put your best foot forward", but I don't want to see a photo of your foot on Facebook! I've saved the best for last when it comes to branding your creative business with photographs. Make sure the profile photos you are using across your social media platforms and on your website are also consistent with your branding. Incorporate your brand color scheme into your wardrobe or objects in the image to really pull it together. One of my clients spent a whole day choosing her wardrobe and settings for her headshots so her brand would be evident but not too obvious. Her signature color is hot pink and it could have been overdone, but her choices were spot on. Put some planning into your appearance and wardrobe before taking new headshot photos. Remember, as a small creative business owner, you are your brand!

Need some photography?
I am available for headshots, and to coordinate and photograph styled shoots as well as photograph your fabulous products anywhere in the US, so contact me if you would like to find out details. If you have several fellow creative business owners in your area who could benefit from a photo shoot, we can work out some group pricing.

Share your tips for suggestions for branding your creative business in the comments or tweet them to me at @PinkSparkCr8ive and I will share them! Spreading the love!

For a limited time I am offering FREE 30-minute strategy calls to work through your number one burning issue and give you an action plan to give your creative business an instant spark! This is a great opportunity for us to chat and see if we'd be a fabulous fit to work together. Schedule your strategy call today! I can't wait to ignite your spark!

Email Pink Spark Creative
Call us @ 865.406.3870
Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Facebook
View us on Instagram
 
 
The other day I came across a print out of an email I had sent to a writer at the local newspaper titled, "Lisa's Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Creative Business With Little or No Money". It was these five tips that I would share with other artists, creatives, and makers who were complaining that they weren't selling much of their work. The date on the email is October 15, 2009; nearly six years ago, and the really cool thing is that all of these tips are still relevant and, in some cases, can be expanded upon. I thought I would take a few moments and retype (because all I found was the printed email) these tips to share with you today. These tips were a catalyst of sorts for the launch of Pink Spark Creative, so they are very special to me!

Please let me know if you were able to use any of these tips to market your creative business and share them with others who may find them useful. I encourage you to pin this post on Pinterest, tweet it on Twitter and post it to Facebook because these are easy and inexpensive tips that anyone can do! And did I mention that are wallet-friendly!

Here we go!

1. Get some inexpensive or free business cards. There are many places to order cards, like VistaPrint, MOO and Overnight Prints, with your business name or Etsy shop name and some information about what you create along with an image or two. Putting a photo of yourself or what you create on your business card will give people something to identify with when they look at it again.

2. Set up a shop on Etsy. It's free to open a shop and the costs are low to list and sell. Etsy is the place anyone looking to buy handmade will visit and you have a good chance of being found through searches. Take advantage of all the helpful information Etsy has to offer and be sure to use all your available keywords as well as give your items search-friendly descriptions and titles. Get on the forums and learn from other sellers!

3. Take advantage of social media! Facebook and Twitter are great places to start. (Since writing this list in 2009, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ among others have come onto the social media scene, so there are lots of other platforms to use!) Get on Facebook and set up a Page for your business. It is easy and it gives you the opportunity to get information out to the people who 'like' your Page quickly and most importantly, regularly. Set up a Twitter account and start following other creative business owners to get ideas and see how they are utilizing Twitter to market their business. Tweet about what you are creating, listing on Etsy and communicate virtually with the people you would like to have as your customers. Don't tweet about what you ate for lunch unless it was personally prepared by Emeril. Don't tweet only your Etsy listings. Sprinkle in some non-sales generating tweets or folks will unfollow you for being boring or too salesy. Less IS more with social media. Social media is all about growing a following of people who like you and the what you create. Most importantly, be yourself on-line.

4. Start blogging. Set up a blog at Blogger or WordPress and start writing about your business. Write posts about what you are doing, what you have created, your ideas for new work or even other artists and craftspeople whose work you admire. Let the people you write about know so they can post a link to your post on their blog or website. Follow the blogs of other creative people and learn. It's also nice to comment on someone else's blog when you have found their post informative, fun or if you shared it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. A great blog can take the place of a website especially if you don't have the time, money or skill to maintain a website. Blogs are free and you can post photos and information instantly. Another reason blogs are great is because you can share links to your posts across your social media platforms for even more free marketing reach! 

5. Send out newsletters via the Interwebz. Newsletters sent to the recipient's email address are an effective low-cost method for reaching your customers. Get the name and email address of each and every customer (and potential customer) that you can. Mailchimp is a great free tool to use while you are growing your list as it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Place a clipboard and sign-up sheet at art shows and craft fairs, put a suggestion for people to email you their contact information on your blog and ask each Etsy seller to sign up for your blog. You may also want to consider adding a link to your newsletter sign-up on your blog and on your Etsy shop page. Before you know it you will have a large mailing list of people who are genuinely interested in your and your art or craft. Send a newsletter on a regular basis, but not too often. Content is important so be sure that you have something newsworthy to share in each newsletter such as a special or promotion, a new design or collection, art shows or craft fairs where you will be exhibiting, or business milestones. Keep the newsletter short, easy to read and includes lots of visuals like photos.

So, there you have five easy to follow tips for marketing your creative business that won't empty your wallet! Since writing this list in 2009, I have taught several workshops and courses on utilizing the various social media platforms to spread the word about your creative business and I would love to teach you if you need help in this area of your creative business marketing. I'm also working on a post with five tips on using photographs to brand your creative business, so be looking out for more low-cost ways to grow your biz in that post and future posts too.

Share your low-cost and free tips for marketing in the comments or tweet them to me at @PinkSparkCr8ive and I will share them! Spreading the love!

For a limited time I am offering FREE 30-minute strategy calls to work through your number one burning issue and give you an action plan to give your creative business an instant spark! This is a great opportunity for us to chat and see if we'd be a fabulous fit to work together. Schedule your strategy call today! I can't wait to ignite your spark!

Email Pink Spark Creative
Call us @ 865.406.3870
Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Facebook
View us on Instagram