Attention Photographers: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

What is that I hear? You are sending out hundreds of promos and emails a month and aren’t getting any calls from photo editors? Here is something for you to think about…

Image by Evan Kafka(Here is my visual representation of what happens to too bad promotions.)

Photo by our very own Evan Kafka.

Obviously marketing goes in swells….. When people were focusing on print mailers, emails were less annoying and received more attention. Now when email promos fill all our mail boxes, I tend to respond more to those archaic and touchable little 4×6 cards I get. SO what’s a photographer to do? Well…there is no right answer. From a photo rep’s perspective (mine), you have to hit your audience from all angles. Now I certainly can’t promise as thorough of an explanation as some of you might like. For that, take a class. I can, however, hopefully make you see your own marketing differently. Many of you are already doing this with blogs, without even knowing it had a fancy business term!

Whatever you decide to do, the term “inbound marketing” is cropping up all over the place… and you should know it! If only to sound smart at your next office holiday party.

Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is more or less how it sounds. It is the promotions we put into the world (direct mailers, calling clients, email blasts, portfolio reviews, etc.). This can only be so effective when we all get ten million emails a day and junk mail from companies who absolutely insist that we are pre-approved for one scam or the next. I’m not saying outbound marketing is not effective, only that it can’t be your only recipe for commercial success.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is helping yourself get found by those who need you. Hmm….tricky? Not so much. Essentially, this means make yourself interesting! Make yourself easily search-able through having a blog or being linked to on others’ blogs. You are no longer Mr. Photographer named Joe Schmoe. You are Joe Schmoe, photographer and person with a valuable opinion! This is, in many ways, the purpose of blogs. Suddenly it isn’t just your images which are recognized but also your words, your ideas, your rants, and your silliness. Getting people to read your silliness is your problem…can’t help you there.

Don’t you get really excited when you find a blog or a neat website that no one else has found before? I know I do! So turn yourself or your photography into the next great thing. THAT, my friends, is inbound marketing. And it will become more and more relevant as it becomes increasingly easy to pester each other with emails/phone calls/pop up windows. The next trick is, once you have your audience to keep them coming back….

Sorry for the mini-lecture but…it is my own version of inbound marketing.


Tell me what you think! Leave a comment or email me, Jacqueline Bovaird, at


  1. Jacqueline, You’re a saint. I love your willingness to spread the exceptionally wise, and well written, words of wisdom the photographic population at large. All at the same time creating your own inbound marketing ploy (nice photo by Kafka, whats the next publication we can see him in anyways?) You know if you have extra time on the side, though it seems slim with the two new glasshouse adds, you should set up a photo consultation firm for the all of the people needing photographic business make overs. I heard it could bring in some hefty extra coin. I’ll only ask for 10% idea commission fee.

    Stay well.


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