Photographers need help. Most photographers are photographers for the creativity and freedom of the profession. Often, people jump into a creative endeavor because they hate business. Unfortunately, if you want to be a full-time professional photographer longer than six months, you must understand business.If you want to be a full-time professional photographer longer than six months, you must understand business. @roshsillars Click To Tweet
This post is a basic tutorial outline of a few ideas to help photographers grow their business with marketing. However, I recommend you watch the full tutorial video below for more insight.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/47B3I4Qbacw
When you start the process to develop your marketing, you must first ask a few questions. One, why you? Some may suggest there is an over-supply of photographers, with more opening their doors everyday. So, why should someone hire you?
It’s not your great service. Service just is; it’s not the foundation of a good marketing message. You must have great service to succeed. The answer is your eye. No one has your eye and applied style. Only you can create your imagery. However, this does not mean you are entitle to a successful photography career. Your style and technical photography skills may need work. Still, if you have no understanding of business or marketing, it doesn’t matter how good you are at photography. You can still fail.
This is why the awesome photographer you met years ago is doing something else and photographers you thought might have a rough road ahead are making a killing. The difference is business and marketing. Now, if you are an incredible photographer with excellent marketing talent. Watch out world!
Dig deep, every time you give an answer to why you, ask again — Why? Once you understand why people want to hire you; you can build a story around it. Your story is simple and to the point. It’s a story people want to share. As a photographer the story should be a little more about you than the average business owner. This is only because photography is exciting. You can share the interesting people you photograph, and the amazing things you see through your viewfinder. Yet, make that only 30% of your story. The rest of your story is what you can do for your customer.
For example, you make them look like they belong on a magazine cover, capture the important moments in their life like a top photojournalist, or make their product more desirable on a website.
When you can communicate the benefit of using your photography well, you win.
When you create your marketing plan, you must address four important areas of marketing.
Awareness: This is the branding part of your marketing plan. You need to create awareness for your photography. This can be accomplished with social media engagement, Google display ads, Facebook ads or traditional media.
Traffic: It’s important to know how to drive traffic. As a photographer, prospects who land on your website portfolio are gold. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an excellent method to drive new traffic. These are people looking for a photographer. It’s no secret — this is how I grow my businesses. If SEO is a struggle, you can always buy your way to the top of the search engines with Pay-Per-Click advertising. AdWords is where you want to go to buy search engine marketing (SEM) ads.
Conversions: It doesn’t mater how many people know your name or land on your website if no one buys from you. Review your analytics and use A/B testing to figure out what photographs people really like. Test your message and calls to action with Google analytics experiments. Make sure people know what to do when they land on your web page.
Retention: It takes a lot of time and money to earn a client. It’s a lot easier to sell more to a current client who trusts you, compared to a stranger. Good retention is about communication. Don’t let old relationships die. Keep in touch with social media and email.
If you address all four of these areas of marketing, you are ahead of most photographers. When you discover a new tool or technique, ask where is it most affective? Does it increase awareness, drive traffic, improve conversions or help me keep my current customers.
There is nothing wrong with testing new tools against the ones you already use. However, make sure you don’t load up on tools which only address one of the four issues.
Marketing is not a one time event. It’s a process, which with quality activity, provides rewards over time. Yes, there are short-term rewards with some techniques, still, I recommend having short, medium and long-term marketing plans.
Don’t stop marketing when you are busy and don’t stop marketing when you are slow. Everything in your business which faces the customer is part of your marketing. Returning emails, your voice mail, your studio environment and the client experience is marketing.
The photography business is not easy. This does not mean you can not have the career of your dreams. You do need a plan to get there. You have time and/or money to apply to your marketing. Get active and use both wisely.