When you hit ‘Search’ in Google, you get submerged in a virtual environment that resembles a market place. You’re attracted to the fancier stores on the first page and lose your interest as you scroll. What becomes important next are things like website designs, appealing blogs and catchy titles. So how do photographers promote themselves?
When you’re starting a photography business, you are entering this virtual space where your social media presence, website and blog all become central to acquiring customers. With an abundance of advice online, we gathered information from some of the most trusted sources to help you in your ambitious marketing endeavours.
#1 Find your niche and stand out from the crowd
Every photographer works in their area of specialty. What is your niche? There must be elements in your work or patterns that are reflective of your expertise. If you haven’t thought about this, it’s a good place to start and concentrate your efforts.
In answering basic questions, you will edge closer to defining your personal style and your specialty. You have something unique to offer your clients and making this evident from first looks should be key in your marketing strategy.
Begin with a basic research in the market to see how other professionals are advertising themselves online. Gather your ideas in one place and channel them throughout your social media accounts and website.
#2 Start building a mailing list right away
Email marketing is a tough one to tackle because it requires a lot of time, expertise and even special software. What you can do as you’re starting your business is keep your clients up to date with your latest work. Have a subscription option on your blog to send out your latest work to those interested. There are plugins that can help you with this as well.
Without submerging yourself too much into email marketing, include subscription buttons on your website and other channels so that people interested in receiving updates will have the opportunity to do so.
#3 Build a website that represents you
Your website is the unofficial business card, the face of your business and at the same time the first page of your portfolio. A lot of your success rests on your personal website. Potential clients will sift through websites and make their pick based on what they see.
To learn more about building your own website, read our blog post “How to Build Your Own Portfolio Website”.
#4 Put your efforts into SEO
Search engine optimization is important when it comes to traffic. If your website and blog are not optimized, how will your clients find you? It is worth your time to look into effective SEO techniques. Some photographers even hire people to take care of SEO. There are useful tools available such as the Yoast plugin in WordPress which will help you tremendously.
#5 Know your ideal client
Knowing your ideal client is important because everything you implement in your marketing strategies are targeted at your ideal clients. You should know things like their age, gender, location and even income level. You are building the foundation of your business plan and it starts here.
#6 Create impeccable content
One of the things you have to do is keep your blog and social media accounts alive and updated. This lets search engines know that your accounts are active and you will rank higher with fresh content.
Find places where you can get published and share your expertise. Guest blogging is a popular option with professional photographers and it’s yet another opportunity to get exposure. Blog as often as you can and keep your website up and running. This will do wonders for SEO, traffic and your reputation.
Find photography communities where you can participate in discussions. This can be particular websites in your niche, Reddit and other forums. Spend a little time each day giving advice to other photographers on platforms such as Quora.
#7 Dominate social media
In order to dominate social media, one must be omnipresent. This means you need to have all your accounts active and in sync on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. Managing all these can be time consuming but it can be a pivoting point in acquiring new clients.
Spread the word on all your social media platforms and you will reach a wider clientele in a shorter span of time. These channels will help you get noticed and perhaps even be key in how word is spread about you and your business. Social media platforms are also great for networking.
#8 Develop a marketing plan
Having a solid marketing plan will help you save time. Your main objective is to acquire a solid stream of clients. Earlier, we looked at three important elements to your marketing plan: who is your audience, what is your selling point (niche) and your website.
Other important areas that should be included in your plan include email marketing, social media presence, SEO optimization and blog. You need to cover a majority of these points and fit it into your daily routine.
This is a lot of work for one person but you already know that as a photographer, 10% of your work is actual photography and husting makes up the other 90%. You are an entrepreneur after all!
#9 Network like your success depends on it
Although we have devoted a lot of attention to your online presence, word of mouth is still a powerful tool and remains valid in the digital age. Attend events, network and get your name out there. As one famous quote states, “Work hard until you don’t have to introduce yourself”. For now, get creative with your offline marketing and always have your business cards on you.
#10 Do one thing everyday to promote your work
If there is one thing you should commit to, it’s doing one thing everyday to better yourself and promote your work (online or offline). You might even find inspiration in other fields, such as advertising, to inspire new projects and learn to think outside the box. See our article on creative lessons from successful ads. This kind of curiousity should become a habit and you will quickly be able to reap the benefits of your hard work.
As you put into motion things on your ‘to-do’ list and your marketing plan, you will begin to notice patterns. You will see what works and what doesn’t and which area of marketing you should invest your time in. This is a learning process so commit and watch success unfold before you.
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