Online listings, do they work?

Online directory listings are one marketing stream for a photographer to show off his/her work and as a link to their main websites. They seem to be taking over from printed sourcebooks, but do they work? On the whole they are priced more economically than large sourcebooks listings, ranging from £40 to £500 for on average 12 months online, but is anyone looking at them? Calling around some titles and agencies recently to gain old fashioned printed folio showings – if you manage to get past the receptionist ( I had one insist there was no picture editor at the title, some digging on the internet gave up the true details ) – a common mantra was to send in your website details first ( I did get some old  fashioned appointments though ). Is this ” send in your website details ” a brush-off or are commissioners actually viewing these listing sites also? I have gained good work enquiries and commissions originating from several online directories over the years but do editors/designers actively search these listings? What about approaching direct electronically – e-mailshots? Even e-mailshots have worked. Sure like many postcard mailings that hit the bin upon opening, e-mailshots can be declared spam, unsubscribed from, ignored amongst the hundreds of emails from photographers editors/designers get every week, your email address can even be blacklisted – but some are read and connections made to your website from them. But e-mailshot campaigns aren’t cheap and it is often a matter of luck – as with mailshots – that your work lands on their desk/screen and  is seen at the right time. The recent post about the Chief Medical Officer annual report was a commission that came about from such an e-mailshot, so that paid for itself. Other campaigns, you may get interest, a nice email back, etc but no work.

But listings are more passive. You are one of many in a directory, hoping that one or more of your images will catch the eye. You are dependent upon commissioners actively using them – past the first page! Looking at Google analytics, I see links coming in from these sites to my main website ( martinbeddall.com ) all the time and I have gained good commissions, particularly from US clients, from such listings. Here are three screen grabs of some listings that I am currently on, two of which I have just got onboard. They are Contactacreative, Select, and Creativematch ( this last one , rather than an online folio of 12 or 25 standalone folio images, has the portfolio arranged as projects, showing images from different assignments, which I like as a means of showing off your photographic style/versatility ).

These are the direct links to my listings as seen below: Contact, Select, Creativematch

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