Marketing and branding is probably the most vital part of a freelancer's life. Whether that is a pastry chef, blogger, seamstress, or photographer. Most of the time, we use social to platform our brands because it reaches more volume, quicker, and easier than sites that are more difficult to maneuver - like Craigslist for example.
Craigslist is a name that has multiple feelings attached to it. We have all read the scary stories on the internet about craigslist and, in all honesty, if you log on to some of those tabs, you may wonder how people have so much time on their hands. Although, we know this about Craigslist, lets take a left turn for a second. I personally, for my business, use Craigslist quite a bit. Everyone who posts things on there aren't creeping through your window at night, some genuinely are looking for help for genuine reasons. " But how can I determine who I am talking to is even real?", " How can you successfully market your business on a site people have mixed feelings about?". Both very valid questions, with very simple answers. Heres how:
- For the freelance professional, in the top right corner of the site it will say "add post". This is a very useful tool to become affiliated with. I post specials, package prices, model requests, upon other things that help to bring more traffic to my site. I post every two weeks, and renew the post that was already there. That way, your post will always be at the top. It is VERY important to post frequently.! More traffic, more clients-- Also, using titles that will attract people, will definitely help you market to the right people . Something with ALL CAPS, or with **astericks**, helps draw the eye right to your post. I have been fortunate to have found 6 weddings, 3 portrait clients, AND my awesome second shooter, Christina Alcorn ( www.calcornphotography.com) all on Craigslist. More and more people are looking on Craigslist because it a safehaven for the common person who really isn't sure on how to search for things. They, in most cases, look for a one stop shop and Craigslist is that place!
- After a couple days after your post, you may get a few responses. Some being very vague, and some with more detail. If you receive a response that has sporadic wording, asking for your address, asking for monetary donations, or are extremely grammatically incorrect, 10 times out of 10 , that wont be someone you'd want to work with. Your safety and the safety of your business is vital. For example, receiving a message such as: " I Lik you photo, how much charge, meet mw wher?" or " We are interested in your service, please donate $150 to our company so that we may best utilize your service"...... #Byefelicia. I don't reply to these kinds of messages. EVER. If they reply with their names and a specific response to what you posted about, you may be getting somewhere. In the event that happens (praise the Lord). I always reply asking for them to send me their name, a photo of themselves (I also explain why I am asking for a photo) , and in some cases a Skype ID so I can speak to them. Every time I have tried this, It worked. Iv'e had a few that never replied after that-- that's a good sign. -----*If you are a person who likes to meet potential clients before you shoot them , like I do, NEVER meet your clients alone. I bring two individuals with me for safety every single time.*
Ultimately, Craigslist wasn't intended to be a bad place. It has actually helped me significantly in my client growth and I would recommend it to anyone who asks. Protect yourselves, protect your businesses, and get your name out!