You know what makes a great photograph. You possess a keen eye for detail. You’re a master of composition, color, texture, lines, and shapes. With a camera, you’re able to tell whole stories in single images. You’re ready to go pro. But how?
Photography skills alone can’t make you a professional. It takes time and effort to make doing what you love a life-sustaining business. You’ll need clients. How do you get clients? You’re going to have to learn how to market yourself and your business.
You can’t afford to be afraid of self-promotion. Marketing your photography is the only way to gain clients and grow your business. It’s your opportunity to show the world what you can do, and why you deserve to be paid to do it.
There are many strategies you can employ in marketing. There’s email marketing, use of social media, physical promotional materials, etc. The key is finding a marketing style that works for your brand. Read on for 9 marketing ideas you should take advantage of.
1. Know your audience
It’s important to understand to whom your particular photographic skills will appeal. By gaining an understanding of your target audience, you’ll be better equipped to reach them. This must be the first step in creating a solid marketing strategy.
For example, if you specialize in food photography, you will want to target restaurant owners. According to Brizo data, of the 892,811 restaurants in North America, nearly 650,000 use Facebook. By knowing where your target audience engages with their customers, opportunities for marketing are revealed.
2. Engage with social media
Boost your customer engagement metrics by building a winning social media strategy. The nature of social media is one of sharing and networking. Create a strong social media presence to take advantage of those connections.
Instagram and Pinterest are the most visual social media platforms. Ignore them at your peril. They provide a canvas for you to show your work at its best. Ensure you post your most eye-catching and share-worthy pictures so they don’t just get scrolled past.
Facebook, with nearly 3 billion monthly users, is king. Seek out local community Facebook groups and engage with them. They’re a great place to see if there are upcoming events where your skills could be of use.
Leverage relationships with existing clients to acquire new ones. There are a few ways to do this effectively.
- Ask clients to tag your business when posting your work to their social media accounts.
- Highlight testimonials on your own accounts.
- Offer referral discounts and benefits to those clients that share on social media.
You will need to post regularly to make the most of the social media algorithms. By knowing your audience, you will be able to choose which platforms to concentrate on. Once you know where to post, develop a consistent schedule for adding content. Three-to-four times a week would be a minimum.
3. Build and maintain a great website
A great website is a must. Unlike with social media, you have full control over it. Your website is the ideal place to display information such as price lists, your location, and the types of services you provide. This is also commonly used in ecommerce marketing. You can also use a booking tool for clients to hire you directly from your site. There are some things to consider to make it a truly effective marketing tool.
- Drive traffic to your website through your social media engagement. Make sure your web address is prominently displayed on your social media accounts.
- Ensure it looks great. If your website is sleek and professional looking, it will reflect positively on you.
- Develop an SEO strategy.
If your business is to be mostly online, get guidance on how to register international domains. You’ll be able to use memorable extensions for your web address, rather than the usual ‘.com’.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the process by which you can increase traffic directed to your website from search engines such as Google. A good SEO strategy will help you to rank higher in search results.
You can improve your SEO in the following ways.
- Regularly update your website with new content.
- Use keywords relevant to your services and target clients.
- Ensure titles and headings are descriptive.
- Create a website that others wish to link to
4. Start a blog
Blogging is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and bring attention to your business. It’s also a fun way to share what you’ve learned as a photographer. Open your blog to guest posts and you will, in turn, be able to blog on other websites to link to yours. This will benefit your SEO.
If you specialize in cosmetics photography, for example, see if you can get a guest blog on an independeant make-up manufacturer’s website. You can then link to your own site.
Your potential clients can discover your blog posts by googling for the services you offer. If you write engaging posts and showcase your best work, you’ll get more clients.
Your marketing strategy is all about making connections. We’ve already looked at some great ways to network online. Using Facebook groups from your local community or about your particular niche is a must. Exchanging guest blogging spots is great too.
Here are some other things you can do to build a network.
- Participate in local business events.
- Offer your services to charities, local or otherwise.
- Engage with community groups.
- Contribute your work to a website offering royalty free images.
By taking the time to make connections, you will open up the possibility of collaboration. Working together with other businesses may lead in unexpected, and lucrative, directions. This is particularly true in commercial photography.
6. Market for the short-term and the long-term
In the early days of your professional photography career, you’ll want to create some buzz to get your first clients. You can run short-term introductory offers to increase your profile. Consider using time-limited deals to encourage clients to book before the deal ends. Always ask your clients to review your business online to help your longer term ambitions.
Be sure to keep information about your clients for future reference. It will help you to be able to anticipate their needs when they use your services again. As the amount of information you gather grows, consider migrating data to the cloud. You’ve only got so much hard drive space and that’s best reserved for your photography.
Your long-term marketing success will come from building your social media strategy, optimizing your website’s SEO, and making the most of your networking efforts. Ultimately, you’ll use a combination of short and long-term marketing strategies to sustain growth.
7. Set up a Google My Business account
The first stage of a buyer’s journey is research. If someone is looking for a photographer for a graduation portrait, for example, they’ll probably start on Google. Having a website with good SEO will increase your chance of being discovered. Having a Google My Business account will increase it further.
What is Google My Business?
It’s a free service that Google provides to businesses. You can use it to create a profile for your photography business with location details, photos, and services. Your profile’s information can then appear across Google services like search, maps, and Google Shopping. To use Google My Business, you will need real-world business premises. It’s not for online-only businesses.
A great website with top SEO, a robust social media presence, and a Google My Business account, will really raise your profile. Good old fashioned paid advertising is still a winner, however, and a worthwhile investment.
Facebook Ads can target your business offering at exactly the clientele you’re looking for. Google Ads offers a lot of flexibility and you only pay if someone clicks on your advertisement. Both offer a lot of visibility on how well it’s working and neither have to break the bank.
You should also invest in physical marketing materials. Posters, business cards and brochures can still be effective when deployed in the right locations and circumstances.
9. Maintain and expand your client base
As you progress in your professional career you will likely get repeat clients. It’s vital you maintain good relationships with clients so they keep coming back. They will also recommend you to others if they’ve been made to feel valued. How you communicate with your clients is key to this. Make life easier on yourself by using the best VoIP solution for small business you can find.
Building a client database is a great way to keep track. You can include information about how much clients usually spend or when they’ll likely use your services again and so on.
Establish an email list so you can communicate with your clients en masse. It forms a part of an effective business communication strategy. This is vital if you wish to run a promotion during a quieter time, for instance.
Bonus: Create a Cherrydeck Photographer Account
With Cherrydeck, you get a step closer to successfully marketing your photography. With a photographer account on Cherrydeck you are able to showcase your portfolio easily and usefully.
Not only do you become searchable in your area of expertise and location, but also, you access a variety of tools and feature opportunities on their website, social media and blog – giving you all the spotlight. Furthermore, as remote jobs have become increasingly popular, with Cherrydeck you are able to apply to multiple remote photography assignments through the innovative service Branded Stock, and expand your client base.
Reap the rewards
Photography can make for an exciting and fulfilling career. But you can’t depend on your skills alone if you want to make it as a professional. By marketing yourself in the right way, you’ll be able to sustain a career in photography.
Jenna Bunnell – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system with the best features of Dialpad phone systemthat provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. She has also written articles for sites such as AgilityPR and Attention Insight. Check out her LinkedIn profile.