Consistency Is Key When Marketing Your Photography Business!
Marketing can feel overwhelming for the photography business owner. Social media, website, word-of-mouth. It can be hard to know where to focus your attention. Further, it can be tempting to stay behind the comforts of social media marketing. However, while social media may be easy and low-risk, but it also doesn’t always yield the returns we need – especially because we are up against algorithms we cannot control. Accordingly, attracting the right clients and expanding your local reach means moving beyond social media.
Effective marketing is rooted in 1) defining your target client, 2) finding out where they are, and then 3) finding a way to involve yourself in that space. To accomplish this, think of your marketing plan as a 5-pronged approach consisting of the following:
- Social media
- Your website + SEO (we will talk more about this the next two months).
- Community Reach
- Your Newsletter
To effectively manage your marketing, you will want to have something going in each of these areas at all time. But don’t let that intimidate you! You can have effective marketing activities going in each of these areas with as little as 2 hours a week devoted to marketing!
Some of your marketing campaigns will get great traction and generate exciting leads. Some might fall a little flat. That’s ok. And that is why consistency is key. You have to stay in front of people. You have to keep your website active. You have to be a visible part of your local market.
1. Social Media: At Least 1 Post Per Week (daily if possible)
I’ll start with the obvious. We all know how valuable social media can be in reaching new potential clients, and also all lament about how exhausting it can be to stay ahead of the algorithm. Consistency is key. If you can post daily, great! If you cannot, aim for at least one post per week. But more importantly, know where your target clients are spending their time. For example, don’t neglect Facebook if you are marketing to mothers – mothers spend time on Facebook! Also, tag local locations and use relevant local hashtags. Make sure you focus your social media shares on local reach, not reaching fellow photographers.
2. Your Website + SEO: At Least One Blog Per Month
You already know this, but I’ll say it again – SEO is important! Don’t underestimate the importance of this marketing channel. Many potential clients still prefer to search for photographers on their own rather than going by social referral, and they use google and local search terms to find a photographer. Accordingly, you want 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. Google loves text, so even if you are sharing the images from a session, make sure you talk about the session, using your key phrases and search terms. If you can write a tutorial that will be of interest to your target clients – such as seasonal what-to-wear tips. And if possible, use a plugin like Yoast that will help you ensure that your blog scores well with search engines.
In addition, make sure your website is optimized for SEO and ensure you are fully utilizing your Google Business listing. (More on this in a future tutorial….)
3. Community Reach: One Outreach Activity Per Month
One of the toughest challenges we face as business owners is growing our business within our local market. Many of us operate in areas that feel overly saturated with photographers and it can feel like a daunting task to carve out our own niche. It is important to spend time where your target client spends their time. For example, if you want to photograph school-aged children, how can you get involved in the schools? Could offering school portraits that help you grow your business within your target market? If you want to do newborn photography, is there a local maternal wellness center you can get involved with? If you want to photograph school-aged children, how can you get involved in the schools? Even taking a walk down your local Main Street may inspire you and help you see opportunities for collaboration, partnerships and exposure. Go where your target client spends their time. Some other ideas include:
- Supporting local charities
- Partnering with a local mother’s group
- Partnering with a maternal wellness center
- Partnering with local small businesses, such a children’s boutique
Just keep putting yourself out there so that you are the photographer that comes to mind first when people are looking for a photographer in your community.
4. Referrals: Activity Per Month
Consider creating a solid referral program. Word of mouth goes a long way in your local photography market. It can be a good idea to reward both the new client and their referring client. For example, a $50 print credit towards a future session for the referring client and a free 8×10 to the new client that came in via the referral. Consider including referral cards in your packaging for clients to pass on to their friends. But don’t just tell your clients once about about the referral program. Remind them consistency using your newsletter or social media.
5. Newsletter: At Least One Mailing Per Month (1 hr per month)
It is important to grow and utilize your newsletter. You can’t control social media algorithms, but you can control who gets your newsletter. Your newsletter is a very effective way to get the messages you want to communicate directly to your target clients. Services like MailChimp are free (up to a certain volume) and can help you create really beautiful newsletters. Encourage your clients to sign up for your newsletter by announcing deals and specials via your newsletter first.
You can also offer something for free as an incentive to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Just make sure that what you are offering will entice your target client, such as a free PDF on how to take better pictures with your iphone..
Be Consistent & Don’t Give Up
This might seem like a lot, but accomplishing this each month is absolutely achievable. You must run an active marketing strategy, not passive. You cannot simply post on social media now and then and hope that people find you. So give these minimum* tasks a try and see where it takes your business:
- Social: 1x per week
- Blog: 1x per month
- Community: 1x per month
- Referrals: 1x per month
- Newsletter: 1x per month
(*Stressing the word “minimum” because of course the more active you can be in these areas, the better!)
Also is important with any marketing or growth strategy that you evaluate it for effectiveness regularly. This means taking a thorough look at where people are coming from, who’s booking sessions and where they came from. Use your booking or intake form to find out how people came to you. Are they coming to you via referral from a friend? Facebook? Study your Google analytics. How are people landing on your site? Is it through organic searches or via referral from another page such as Instagram? Keep track of your lead conversions. How effectively are you booking people that want to learn more about you?
Just keep at it. Carving out as little as two hours a week to solely focus on marketing will transform your business! I challenge you to try it this month focusing on this 5 pronged approach. Your bottom line will thank you!
And if you want to really talk business join me for my 3 week pricing and profit workshop The Profitable Photographer.