Most people groan at the idea of networking, and no wonder with the thought of another chamber of commerce event not really wanting to introduce yourself to another random person. I suggest you take a more targeted approach, like partnering with a clothing boutique to do a photo shoot in your homes. Now that, is interesting.
There are multiple reasons why this kind of targeted networking with businesses is extremely effective.
1. When you positively connect with businesses who work with your same clientele, you have an immediate emissary for your work.
2. A boutique business who does social media is always looking for unique content, the use of a beautiful home to use as a backdrop for their product is a win-win.
3. Using people in architectural photography creates an important emotional connection to your work. It’s much easier for your clients to imagine themselves in a home if there is a person in a photo to provide scale and feeling.
4. You can split the costs of photography.
5. When you post photographs to social media and tag each other, you introduce your business to a whole new group of followers and visa versa.
Types of Businesses to Target
A clothing boutique, or fashion designer is a perfect fit, but don’t limit yourself to that category specifically. Search Instagram for businesses in your area who post consistently to the demographic you are trying to reach. Services like hair styling, nails, massage, car dealerships, art galleries. They could all use photographs in a custom built home, and they will likely have people in their network to use as models.
I prefer to use real people over professional models because the pros look too good. You want your marketing to feel authentic and using regular people doing regular things will get you there.
Your choice of photographer is important. I like using wedding photographers over architectural photographers for this kind of project. 1. Their lifestyle skills are honed. 2. They aren’t usually busy all year round and they are accustomed to working with people. 3. They can give you ideas about how to stage the event. Architectural photography is a very different skill, that doesn’t lend itself to capturing quick moments. There certainly are architectural photographers who can do both, but they are harder to find.
Networking with businesses
Working with businesses is going to be the most efficient way to network because their network of people becomes your network and they know business. They are also looking for creative ideas to market their business and connect with businesses to strengthen their reach.
Networking directly with prospective clients
I also recommend joining organizations or doing activities that you know your ideal clients enjoy as well. Skiing single is a fabulous example. I live Taos, a small town with a world class ski area, Taos Ski Valley. When I ski by myself and join other people on the lift I meet some of the most interesting people. Skiing attracts people with money, people who enjoy an active lifestyle, world travelers and people who set aside time to recreate. These are all values I appreciate, and as a result the 10 minute conversations to the top of the mountain are almost always fantastic.
The first question I usually ask is “where are you from?” The second is “what do you do for a living?”. When they ask what I do I say, “I run a marketing agency for architects and builders.” Often they say, “nice, I know an architect . . . “. Know your pitch and your client. “I build custom ski-in ski-out homes.” Something short with an element of wow.
Don’t live near a ski area? Golf, race cars, join a bike club, gourmet cooking class. Pick something you love, something you’ve been wanting to do anyway, and make time for it. Not only will it be good for your business, it will be good for your soul.
Why networking should be at the top of your list
You might say, “I don’t have time to network, I’m too busy with work.” I have an entirely different post that addresses this topic, but the brief version goes like this. When you start thinking like a CEO, you become a master delegator. What work are you doing that you could hire out at a lower cost than you charge? If you are busier than you want to be, it’s time to raise your prices.
My objective for you is to find higher quality clients and more freedom. Networking with the right people is one of the most important things you can do to make that happen.
What networking opportunities are in your area? Post them in the comments.
What I love about the photos I’m sharing here is the texture of the fabrics and stone together, the funny model faces and how you can feel the wind coming off of the ocean. It feels real. It makes me want to buy a plane ticket. This was a trip I took to Cadiz, Spain in 2012 where I met a group of students studying Spanish who were delighted to have their photos taken in a castle by the sea.