Over 60 percent of all households own some type of pet. And in many cases a family pet is exactly that – a part of the family. So with billions of dollars being spent on pets every year, why not take your own piece of the pie?
If you are thinking of opening up a pet photography business, or already have one in place, you are doing it out of love for animals. You have just as much fun working with them as you do their human counterparts. But how do you market to people for this type of business? Take a look at these seven ideas to get your business going in the right direction.
1. Start with a mailer in your local area. Any mailing list company should be able to get you a list of pet owners within your local area, or by zip code surrounding your studio. Mailings are still very effective, and because costs are up and the economy is down, we’re actually receiving less mail than ever. Which means your postcards will stand out more than ever. Start up a mailing list and keep it up.
2. Look for specialty shops. In my local area, we have a gourmet dog food shop, a shop catering to “pampered pups”, a store offering custom ceramic bowls and storage containers for pet food, and many day care facilities specifically for dogs and cats. Talk with the shop owners about doing a special promotion together.
3. Pets aren’t always dogs and cats. How about an exotic bird, an iguana, or a snake? People love many different types of animals, and would love to be able to have a professional portrait together. Look for clubs in your area. Or check with local pet stores. We have several in our area that cater to exotic animals. A store that sells exotic birds may allow you to put several portraits on their walls, and offer a special coupon on their counters.
4. Head to the country. Even if you are a big city studio, it shouldn’t take you too long to find a rural community. Look for rodeos, ranches, and horse training facilities. Many people spend a ton of time, money and energy with their horses, and would love to have a portrait with their favorite friend. In action while riding in competition, or in an elegant pose in a field of flowers, you have many opportunities in this area.
5. Watch for community tradeshows and expos. The key is standing out from the rest of the crowd. A lifestyle show, or a home decorating show will be offering a ton of stuff to the community. Your pet portraits will be a sure winner, especially if you have a display filled with elegant portraits.
6. Talk with a local shelter. There are many shelters in your area, and a lot of them have annual fund raising events. Volunteer to get to know people better, and donate a portrait session or two to the event.
7. Offer to fill the walls of your local vet with portraits. Many vets spend a ton of time on the medicinal part of their business; little time on the decorating. Offer to put portraits up in the waiting and checkup rooms for free in exchange for a few brochures at the check out counter.