Every photographer is different in what marketing techniques they use to promote their business. It’s easy to google this topic and get a bunch of different ideas. In this post, I’m going to share questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on your photography marketing along with some tips that will help you get more client leads.
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Photography Marketing Tips: Ask These Questions First
We all know that marketing is a big part of business. The problem is that a lot of different marketing efforts can take up a lot of your time and cost more money than you’re able to spend. No matter what approaches you take, you are either going to get a lead or you’re not. It can be a risk of how you spend your time and money.
If you want your marketing to work, it will take some thinking, because it’s very personal to you and the promotion of your business. Before you can really figure out what marketing techniques make sense for your business, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS?
- WHO ARE YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS?
- HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO INVEST IN YOUR MARKETING?
- WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET FOR MARKETING?
How Are You Different From Your Competitors?
This question relates to you and your business. In other words, your brand. What do you do and and how are you different from your competitors? If you don’t know the answer to this, your marketing efforts are going to blend right in with everyone else’s.
Take some time to figure out your brand for your business. What do you love about your industry? What do you hate about it? What can you do differently? Then, demonstrate this through your marketing. The photography industry is incredibly competitive, so saying that you’re a “photographer” and “your work” is what makes you different isn’t going to work. Why? Because it’s what all the other photographers are saying.
I bought a book called Badass Your Brand a few years ago and it was incredibly eye opening about figuring out your brand. I’ll link to it below so you can check it out. It can feel comfortable to follow the crowd, but if you’re not willing to stand out, you won’t.
Read More About: Badass Your Brand, by Pia Silva
Who Are Your Ideal Clients?
This question can take time to figure out when you’re first starting out. In the beginning, I was pretty much willing to work for anyone. This wasn’t a good business practice for me, however, because it caused me to become overworked and underpaid.
When it comes to finding your ideal clients (not just any client), you might be surprised to learn that it actually starts with discovering your most important client first… yourself. I wrote a blog post all about the three things you need to practice in order to find and attract your ideal clients. Be sure to check it out below.
Read More About: How To Get The Right Photography Clients: A Shift In Mindset
How Much Time Do You Have To Invest In Your Marketing?
This is a big one, because your time is incredibly valuable. The more time you spend on marketing, the less time you’re spending on your craft.
I’m not a big fan of “the hustle.” I don’t go to portfolio reviews or networking events anymore. I also don’t invest in mailers or other printed materials to send out to potential clients. I found all of these things to be time consuming, exhausting and expensive with little to no results.
After testing a bunch of different ideas, I ultimately decided to simplify my marketing efforts. And, believe it or not, it has resulted in me getting more leads than ever before. It’s very possible to get yourself out there without the crazy hustle and spending a ton of money.
What Is Your Budget For Marketing?
How much money do you want to spend on marketing? Before you can figure this out, you need to know how much it costs you to be in business each month. Then, figure out how much you can (honestly) afford to spend on your marketing.
The good news is, not all marketing needs to take over your time or cost an arm and a leg. In fact, the following tips are things you can start doing TODAY without exhausting yourself or breaking the bank.
Are you ready to dive into the tips!? (YESSSSS!!!)
Photography Marketing Tip 1: Build A Good Website
This may sound like a no-brainer, but having a good website for your photography marketing is super important. It’s the face of your business online and everyone is online. And, when you think about it, no matter what other marketing techniques you use, clients are always led back to your website to see your work. Right?
The problem is a lot of photographers don’t truly understand how powerful their website can be for their business. We all have a website, but is it actually doing its job and getting you leads?
My website wasn’t a strong marketing tool for me in the beginning. I basically found a pretty template that I liked, added my work, added an easy way to contact me… aaaaaaaand hit publish! Does this sound familiar?
Sure, I would email the link out to people and include it in my email signature and on my promotional materials. It helped a little. But, overall, my website wasn’t being seen by many people.
ADD COPY & KEYWORDS
My website wasn’t very effective because I didn’t have any SEO-friendly keywords on my website. In a nutshell, I didn’t include any copy. And, if you check out a lot of photographer’s websites, you probably won’t see much copy on their sites either. A photographer’s work does all the “talking” for them, right? Wrong.
When it comes to building a good website, it takes more than a pretty template to showcase your work. Don’t get me wrong, having a beautiful design and highlighting your work is very important. But, your website also needs copy to tell your clients how you’re different and to help Google find YOU when clients are searching.
If a potential client is searching for a Chicago-based food photographer and your website is ranking so they can find you, that’s a GOLDEN moment. Copy is your friend!
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS
But, what are keywords? How do you know which ones to use? And, where do you add them on your website?
Keywords are the words people are using to find something on the internet. You don’t want to call yourself a “storyteller” if you’re a photographer. Yes, it might sound more creative and fun, but no one is searching for a “storyteller.” They’re searching for a photographer. Keywords need to be specific.
A quick way to discover keywords is to simply go to your search bar in Google and start typing something. Let’s say you want easy camping recipes. You will start typing that, and Google will populate other popular searches that may help you out. Those are examples of keywords.
There are strategic ways and areas to add keywords to your website that will help you stand out to clients and that will help Google find you:
- BRAND STATEMENT
- CLIENT LIST
- ABOUT PAGE
- CONTACT INFORMATION (TIP: DON’T USE A FORM)
- PAGE TITLES
- META DESCRIPTIONS
- BLOG CONTENT
I assume you already have a website, so you probably should dive a little deeper on all of this and check out my blog post about improving your website (linked below). You can easily start improving your website today!
Read More About: How To Improve Your Photography Website
Photography Marketing Tip 2: Drive Traffic with Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual search engine (no, it’s not a social media platform) and it has the potential to be your website’s BFF. There are 454 million monthly users coming to Pinterest to find something. And, here’s the best part… Pinterest wants to send people to the right content that they’re searching for.
The problem is a lot of people are trying to use social media to drive traffic rather than Pinterest. Social media platforms are designed to keep people engaged and on the platform. They don’t want to send anyone away, so using social media as a way to drive traffic is incredibly challenging when you’re up against the algorithm. Pinterest is a much better option for getting people to your website.
Consider this simple and very popular Pinterest scenario:
A creative director is putting together a mood board for a food brand. She (or he) will need pretty images to help communicate the mood they’re going for. So, they hop onto Pinterest and search “beautiful food photography.” Chances are, if you are pinning regularly and strategically, they will probably see some of your work, which will lead them back to your website. That’s another golden moment right there!
I have a blog post that dives deeper into why every photographer should be using Pinterest for their business and how to use it correctly, so be sure to check it out!
Read More About: Pinterest For Photographers
Photography Marketing Tip 3: Introducing Tailwind
You will have to pin regularly for Pinterest to work for you. In order to avoid the Pinterest hustle, I use a program called Tailwind. Tailwind lets you schedule several pins in advance, so you can spend less time pinning and more time shooting. If you’re on Instagram, it also lets you schedule your posts too! It provides you with all the analytics you need so you can see what’s performing well and what isn’t. Check it out for FREE through the banner below.
Photography Marketing Tip 4: Connect On LinkedIn
I love using LinkedIn to connect with potential clients. There are 774+ million members in more than 200 countries worldwide on LinkedIn. That’s a lot of people who are there for job opportunities, professional connections, industry news, business trends and insights. It’s a great business tool and can be really effective for getting leads. You can share updated work with your network, make new connections, discover mutual connections and basically, grow your professional community. You’re a business person… use this platform to your advantage.
One of my favorite features of LinkedIn is discovering mutual connections… and it’s FREE! If someone you’re connected with is also connected with a potential client you’re interested in, they can introduce you to each other. How COOL is that? People will always respond to people they know and trust, so don’t be afraid to ask your connections to help you get connect with theirs.
Photography Marketing Tip 5: Word of Mouth & Testimonials
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. If someone you have worked with or know personally can recommend you to a potential new client, it’s most likely going to result in a lead.
Testimonials are also a really powerful way to highlight “word of mouth” advertising. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from clients you’ve worked with in the past. Words of praise from happy clients are really valuable for you.
Add testimonials to your website. It will help you stand out. Think of it this way, when you’re considering buying a pair of jeans (there are a lot of jean brands out there) and you see a pair you like with a lot of good reviews, it makes you more confident to invest in that particular brand instead of the others.
Photography Marketing Tip 6: Grow Your Email List
Growing your email list is incredibly powerful marketing tool. Unlike social media, an email list helps you build your own community of people who genuinely want to hear from you. You have complete control over what you share, how often you share it and there’s no algorithm to get in your way. Your email subscribers are valuable and you can stay top of mind with them.
On social media, you have followers. This is great, but it’s not the same as having your own email list. You don’t have any control over social media platforms. They decide when to show your content and when not to. They can make changes whenever they want and it can be a real scramble to try and keep up with it all. Your favorite platform could also disappear tomorrow causing you to lose the followers and engagement you’ve worked so hard to gain.
I recommend directing your social media followers to sign up for your emails. And, while you’re at it, include a way for people to sign up for your emails on your website. Building your email list the best way to keep your people close to you.
Photography Marketing Tip 7: Introducing Flodesk
In order to start collecting emails, you will need an email marketing service provider. I use Flodesk for collecting my email subscribers.
Flodesk is an email service provider that helps you grow your business and email list. They have simple and beautiful templates whether you plan to write text emails or provide more of an image-based email experience.
I also find this platform to be really easy to use unlike others that I’ve tried to use in the past. I can write emails in real time or schedule them in advance. I can separate my audience into segments so they are hearing about specific topics that they’re interested in. And, I can analyze how my emails are doing with very straight forward analytics. It’s incredibly insightful to help me grow my email list.
Flodesk is usually $38/month, but since I’ve partnered up with them, you can get 50% OFF your monthly subscription FOREVER. This means your Flodesk subscription would only be $19/month when you use my code: SAVE50WITHREGAN.
At the end of the day, when it comes to marketing your photography business, you need to do what’s best for your business. Figure out your brand and how you’re different. Think about who your ideal clients are. Then, be honest with yourself about how much time and money you want to spend on it. If you focus on photography marketing that costs too much money, takes up too much of your time or simply exhausts you, it is going to burn you out really fast. Focus on marketing efforts that you can maintain.
Did any of these tips surprise you? How do you market yourself to potential clients? Share in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2021.