Ah marketing. I’ll be honest. It is my least favorite part of the job. But it is such a critical component of every photography business. Here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way…..
1. Blog regularly. The more written content the better!
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I will say it again, SEO is important! Social media algorithms are impossible to figure out, so the best way to manage your online lead funnel is to have solid SEO that puts you at the top for your local area. One of the best ways to improve your SEO is to blog regularly with content-heavy posts. That said, I don’t always have a story to go with every session, and some sessions I really do just share the images, but I try to have a content-heavy post at least twice a month. And if possible, use a plugin like Yoast that will help you ensure that your blog scores well with search engines.
2. Repeat your marketing message often across every point of contact.
Once you have dialed in your unique marketing message shout it from the rooftops! Include it on your homepage, your social media profile, in your marketing materials, in your lead response. Keep telling people why they need your work in their lives. Keep stengething the power of your brand with consistent communication to your target audience.
3. Always look ahead.
You want to always look ahead. Where do you want your business to be one year from now? Two? Today is the day to start working towards that. Want to book more weddings? Brides typically book a year out from their wedding date – now is the time to start targeting them! Are you exiting the portfolio building phase of your business, and working your way toward your long-term pricing structure? You will want to have a well thought out and consistent marketing plan to get there. Planning 6 months to a year at a time, gives you the opportunity to offer varied and interesting marketing efforts that are specifically designed to speak to your brand and reach your target clients.Vary your approach by month/season to meet the needs of your clients (i.e. maternity special around Mother’s Day, print special in December, school portraits in October, etc) Use your marketing calendar to stay in front of people!
4. Network beyond fellow photographers to reach your target clients.
You must remember that you are NOT selling yourself to your peers. You are selling yourself to your target client. All the photography accolades and features in the world may not matter to your target client. You have to be able to sell them on what you create, your process, your product, and your personality. The photography market is too competitive to sell on technical ability alone. You must offer more. It’s important to understand that YOU, the artist, are part of the value that you are selling.
5. Get your clients to buy from you more than once a year. Create sessions and offerings beyond the portrait session to keep people coming back.
Consider baby milestone sessions, Santa sessions, Valentines Minis, Mother’s Day Specials, water sessions, etc. Just make sure that if you price these sessions lower than your standard session that you don’t give too much. The objective of these sessions is to bring in more money – not to erode your full paying business. A good rule of thumb for a smaller session is 1/4 of the value for 1/2 the price.
6. Use video to help sell your service. Behind the scenes videos have a great professional look to them that can help you sell to your target clients.
In today’s visual world a behind the scenes video can grab a lot of engagement. With their ability to highlight before and after, videos also help communicate the magic you are able to create through your lens and your editing process. You can also use video to highlight the quality of the products you offer or to show a personal side of yourself to your clients. iPhones and other mobile phones take such high quality video that you don’t have to invest in anything massive (although professional video would definitely be great!). So don’t let technology limit you. Have your friend or spouse film you, combine the clips with the final images, and run with it!
7. Market where your target clients are!
Yes, I know you hate Facebook, but if this is where your clients are, then you need to spend time there. Are you a family photographer? Moms are on Facebook. And don’t limit yourself to social media marketing. Wedding photographer? Connect with local wedding planners. Get involved in your schools, partner with a local doula practice, talk to small businesses at your farmer’s market. Involve yourself where your target clients are.
8. Have a pop-up freebie for clients on your website.
This is also called a transitional call to action. You are asking your clients for only a partial commitment – they only have to give their email address, rather than a full commitment – booking you. The idea is that once you have their email address you can then continue to attract them through a series of emails designed to draw them toward the “book now” moment. Consider creating an iphone photography tutorial or other quick guide that will attract your target clients.
Hope this helps! And remember…. Well-Defined Target Client + Knowing Your Unique Value Proposition + Planning & Timing = Effective Marketing
Oh – and if you want to really talk business join me for my 2 week workshops Business From The Ground Up (for those just launching their businesses) or The Profitable Photographer (for those new to business or at it a while who are ready to establish a sustainable and profitable pricing strategy) this September at Click Photo School!