Business is Hard!
If you are a photographer looking for clients to pay you to create images, like it or not, you are in business. The question is, will you stay in business very long with $50 assignments? You would need to find 500 people to pay you that amount to make $25,000 a year, before expenses. Heck, the cost to find 500 people will eat up a good chunk of your income. Unfortunately, family members, friends and Instagram followers telling you how good your eye is does not make up the difference.
You must think big. You need strategies that not every photographer knows about or is willing to do. Listed below are nine strategies that will help advance your business and beat the competition:
- Search Engine optimization (SEO). SEO is not dead!. As long as people use search engines, SEO is alive and well. One method to regularly earn links to your website is to take your smart phone images and place them in Flickr Creative Commons for bloggers to use. The fee for use is attribution and a link to your website. This is an excellent way to participate in the valuable link economy.
- Pinterest is a popular visual platform. One nice thing about Pinterest is that a link is connected to your website, if an image is pinned from your site. Make it easy for visitors to share your images through this powerful platform. Also, make sure you have a business account. There are good business advantages over using a standard account. Pinterest business has analytics designed for business users. This offers you the opportunity to see which of your photographs people really like and share. I consider that valuable strategic information.
- Create video testimonials. Every time you talk to a person who is enthusiastic about your work, pull out your camera or phone and ask if you may record their testimonial. Place the testimonial videos on YouTube and your website. When third parties say good things about your photography, it gives prospects added confidence.
- Try new social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a must, however there are other platforms where you can grow a good community. Instagram, Periscope (app) or Bebee.com are social sites that can introduce you to a new audience.
- Create a plan. Half of winning the business game is showing up. Really. Having a plan behind you is incredibly powerful, especially if you follow it. Create an editorial marketing calendar to keep you on task and regularly test new ideas to put in your plan. Often the simplest ideas are the strongest; if you don’t test them, you will never know.
- Customer Service. Use your social media platforms as a customer service center. Search your key platforms to see if anyone needs help. Maybe their photographer cancelled and you can come to the rescue. It’s possible someone wrote a bad review about you, use Google alerts to keep track of your name online and follow up to fix any issues.
- Webmaster tools. Google as an awesome tool now called search console. You can see the keywords Google lists your website for when people search for certain terms. It is your connection to Google. Not a lot of people use it compared to Google analytics. This gives you an advantage over your competition.
- Use marketing tools that work well together to increase conversions (sales). I call it combination marketing. For example, retargeting ad campaigns support your SEO work. You can send an email campaign and follow up with Facebook audiences. Audience campaigns target messages to the people on your email list only.
- Blog about it. Is there a location or hall in town that your wedding or business clients often use? Write about the location in your blog. A nice long meaty post with over 1000 words, photos and videos will help you rank well when someone searches for the location. You can use this technique for many subjects related to your photography. Blog about the questions people ask related to your town or how to hire a photographer in your area of specialty.
There are many little things you can do to improve your business. Never stop looking for new ideas. Work with one strategy at a time to make sure you do it well. Then move on to the next.
What strategy would you add?