Everything your do in your business life that in any way reaches other people is marketing. There are the obvious bits, like promos and your website, but there are loads of less obvious bits that, added up, are pretty damn important.
Take your clothes. The way you dress for any sort of interaction with a client says a lot about who you are and what your business is like. I’m not saying that in a creative industry you have to be wearing Armani suits (though it wouldn’t hurt), but you should be aware of your appearance. Even if you are dressing casually, like on a outdoor shoot in summer, wear good pieces. And great shoes–always great shoes.
And don’t forget about general grooming, too. Keep your hair cut and your nails clean and trimmed. Make sure you smell good and, if you wear make-up, make sure it looks good–not too flashy. Same for jewelry.
Creative people are supposed to be at the spear-point of trends, so we do get to experiment more than many professionals, but that also implies a certain responsibility. It is the balance of trendiness with professionalism that we need to be aware of. For example, I met a vendor to the photo industry at an event. Just about everyone there was in jeans–typical group of photographers at one of their professional group events. He, however, was in an outstanding tailored dark suit with a crisply starched white shirt and no tie–collar just unbuttoned (but not open down his front). Peeking out from his immaculately pressed french cuffs, with classy cufflinks, was a hint of a tattoo that, I’m betting, was full-sleeve. More ink was noticeable on the back of his neck. His earrings were classic studs. His hair was cut very short and looked as if it had just been trimmed that day. His hands may have been manicured–if so, it was done well so that you just noticed how nice they were. He wore expensive cologne, and just enough to notice if you were standing close to him–not overpowering. His shoes were perfectly shined and just at the edge of trendy over classic, but not too far. He held his head up, shoulders back, and led with a free and natural handshake–not smarmy, but rather sincere and with a warm smile. Overall, he got the balance just about perfect.
And he was constantly surrounded by his potential clients. People wanted to talk to him, and not just because of his product. They were drawn to him. Oh, and to be clear, he was not some gorgeous model-type. Just an average man who, by taking the time and effort to groom himself for the event, got the chance to talk to many more potential clients than he would have otherwise. He was as classy-but-trendy, forward-thinking, and successful-appearing as he wanted his product to be perceived. That’s good marketing.