If you have a blog, use it. Blogs are a great marketing tool if used strategically. First of all: Write about and link directly to your portfolio.There are a lot of good microstock blogs out there, but most of them focus a lot on photographers and not on customers. Try to write posts that could be interesting for customers. You can also find other blogs and comment on them, even adding links to your portfolio there.
Try googling for blogs about a specific theme you have great images of and comment there. Remember that blogs are virtually free and have no time limits. The posts you write now can continue to drive traffic to your portfolio years from now, and therefore generate sales.
If you post relevant content, include a call-to-action (ex. link to portfolio) that fits contextually, update regularly and add an rss-feed, your blog can give you a good return on the time invested. And remember: Never spam (don’t post comments like “Nice blog, check out my portfolio at…”).
Check out Jeremy Wright’s book Blog Marketing.
Facebook has gone from being a news-and-photo-sharing-site for college students, to being both mainstream and big business. With 200 million users, you can’t afford not be there. The problem is how to use it for marketing purposes.Well, use your social network for what it’s worth. Try to get your “friends” interested in what you post.
Upload low-resolution images of your latest shots, and explain the story behind them. Make a group or a page for your portfolio and spread the word. Add links to your portfolio in posts and on your status bar. Try to get the people around you engaged, ask for their comments and tips.
Inside CRM has an extensive list of resources on how to use Facebook as a marketing tool.
Twitter is the fastest growing social network on the web, and gives its users a chance to write short messages to everyone that’s interested. Use it for what it’s worth. Write interesting tweets and get potential customers to follow you. Tweet about new images, recommodations – and search for others looking for images that you have and message them. Ask your followers for recommandations and comments on your work.
Toprank has a short article about Twitter and marketing which includes an extensive list of references.
Flickr/Photobucket/other photo sites:
Upload images to Flickr and other photo sharing sites. This is a great way for potential customers to see what you can offer. Then link to your portfolio. More and more small publications use Flickr for finding CC (Creative Commons) images. If you can lead these guys to microstock, there are money to be made. Flickr isn’t just a place to upload photos – it’s a huge community, and its got great tools for commenting images, creating groups and easy guides on how to add images to your homepage. Flickr has also been integrated into Yahoo’s image search, which drives a lot of traffic directly to Flickr-images. And I wouldn’t be too afraid of people stealing images – people who can’t afford to use a few euros for an image, isn’t going to buy your images anyway.
Doshdosh has a great article on how to use Flickr to generate traffic.
Invest in an ad campaign that links directly to your images/portfolio. Adwords is easy to use and you can control exactly how much/little you want to use on ads. If you do it correctly, it can become an impresive sales booster. YAY is working on setting up an extensive Google Ad campaign that will start with the launch of the new site layout.
You should also link to the sites that give you the best commission (YAY!). Also remember that any links to your portfolio will increase YAY’s overall visibility, which again will lead to more traffic and increased sales. Since the commission photographers get at YAY is far better than other sites, it is better to market your portfolio here than on other sites that represent you.
Microstockinsider has an article with more hints and tips on how to market your images.
The winner of the competition in the forum will have his/her pictures on the front-page and be used in marketing material YAY sends to its customers!
So, what are you waiting for? Go market your images Good luck!