It’s the holidays and it’s the time of year when we all need to shop, whether we like it or not ;).
I want to change how you look at shopping this holiday season.
Here are four completely free ideas on how you can start to build relationships and help local businesses you love.
You hear about this concept of spending your money locally and it probably feels good, right?
But how does this help your photography business?
I want you to think about it this way.
Your target audience is shopping and spending money at other local businesses.
Those businesses already have your ideal client as a customer who knows, likes and trusts them.
What if you could build a relationship with those business owners and they loved you so much, that they wanted to refer YOU to their best customers when they need portraits?
If you start building relationships with local businesses you love using the ideas below, it’s possible that next year, each business could send you five new clients.
And it didn’t cost you a penny in advertising.
Marketing doesn’t have to be dumping tons of money and ads.
By partnering with another quality local business who your clients already love, it puts you in front of the best clients in your market.
As boutique photographers, we have the time and desire to build these strong relationships in our community.
How do you build these relationships?
They don’t happen overnight, but it starts by identifying them and serving them FIRST.
Serve them versus trying to sell them something.
1. Shop & Spend Locally
For every gift you need to buy, find out who’s the best place in town that sells this and go buy it there.
Give your money to that local business instead of sending it to a big company which sends it out of town.
Be sure to introduce yourself to the owner as you’re shopping.
2. Create an Online Holiday Gift Guide
You can create a holiday gift guide and make it a social media graphic.
Then share it everywhere.
Curate your favorite local gifts and include all your favorite places to shop that share your target audience.
Then tag each business so they share with their followers, too.
And don’t forget to include a photography gift certificate from you on your gift guide, too.
3. Go Interview Local Businesses for your Blog
If you love to write, go interview the local business owners you’ve identified for your blog.
Be sure to share all the cool things that they’re doing and you can even add photos.
Share your post on social media and tag them.
This is such a great way for you to learn more about them and get to know them.
4. Spotlight Local Businesses You Love on Social Media
Create a post, reel or a TikTok featuring products from the local business you love.
Grab a few images as you’re shopping.
You could even do a Facebook live or an Instagram live to take your followers along with you as you shop to show off their cool inventory.
Show the products and services that you love.
Maybe you’re down on these types of partnerships because you’ve tried it.
You’ve walked into a random business with a proposal, you’ve tried to pitch to a stranger and you likely got shot down, as you should have.
That is not how you build a relationship.
There’s a better way to do this.
This is a skill and you can learn it.
We’ve taught so many photographers who told us they couldn’t do this with their photography business and now they’re thriving.
Here’s where I want you to start with… baby steps.
Go into the holiday season with the attitude that you are going to chat with other local, small business owners and help them with their business with no expectation.
See how you can serve them with the four ideas I just shared with you and be sure to come to my Instagram and get some special graphics I created for you to show your support of local businesses.
This is the season that has built in opportunities to serve your business community and your photography business.
Take action and go serve.
I’m cheering for you.