PPA Today: Search Results

Results tagged “Marketing” from PPA Today

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By Lisa Sharer


If you've read our previous article Marketing 101 for Photographers, you may have a general idea of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Now, let's break it down to exactly how it works, and what you can do to optimize your websites for search engines... and ultimately get more clients from improved search results.

Top Level Search Engine Marketing Factors

You probably know of some widely used search engines like Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com. These sites decide what rank to give to your website amongst the other photography businesses out there in the world and this directly impacts how far up your studio's name appears in a search results page. How they do that raking is a more involved process that you might want to learn to help you improve your own SEO ranking.

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Search engines sort the search results they serve based off a few different factors:

  • Content - Does your content match the search of your potential client?

  • Site Structure and Internal Links - Is it user friendly, and do all your links work?

  • Geographical Location - Are you in or nearby the city where the client is looking for photography?

  • Mobile Optimization - Is your site easy to use on a mobile device (phone, tablet, e-reader, etc.)?

  • Loading Time - How long does it take for your site to load its content (photos, videos, etc.)?

  • Social Signals - Are you getting traffic from social media platforms?

Search engines have "bots" or "crawlers" that visit websites and check each of the items above. Once they have tested those items they then compare your website to other similar websites. Your ranking will depend on how you fare against those sites, which is why it's imperative that you make sure each item is performing at its best.

Improve Your Ranking with Authority & Relevance

Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com all use two common criteria within the algorithm used to produce search results. And while they all evaluate them differently, there are two key factors for you to understand as they will help with your optimization: 

Authority- A website shows its level of credibility based off how many links tie it to other websites. This is what search engines call the level of 'online authority' and this is where you look to other sites and influencers to help raise your site's authority. When a search engine finds your site through an outside link, it's showing it that you have enough authority that other people/sites trust your content. Beware though, it's not the quantity of links that helps you but their quality. For example, a direct link from PPmag.com would fare better than JoeSchmoPhotography.net.

Relevance-  The content on your site must be relevant to photography or some version of your expertise (portraiture, wedding, etc.) in order to rank higher. That means you'll need to use keywords that speak directly to what your photography business offers to your prospective clients. It's not just the words on your landing pages that you'll need to keep an eye on, though. You'll also want to make sure that your URLs and text formatting are shouting about your business. For example, when PPA wanted to tell you how insurance could help protect photographers, then we created the link PPA.com/BeMoreProtected. Likewise, to emphasize the content relevance of a blog post, it earn will you more SEO brownie point if you embed keywords in the headlines of your blog post, and it is even better yet if you bold keyword-related phrases. Make sure to keep those small things in mind when creating any kind of content, as they make a large difference to the search engines that crawl your site.

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Keywords

When someone does a search online, they generally type in a few keywords. For instance, photographer or family portraits in [location]. These keywords are important to make sure you are attracting quality leads. Of course, it would be amazing to rank #1 for photographer, but if you're not Wikipedia, that's not likely to happen. That's why long tail keywords have become more important than ever to your SEO strategy. You'll need keyword lists in order to run search ads, but it's also important to think about these keywords when creating content for your site.

Remember, those search engine results pages are looking for relevant and authoritative information to improve your ranking. So you will want to include information and keywords that are specific to your specialty and locale. Rather than just "portrait studio," maybe you'll want to include things like "outdoor family photography in [city]" or "high school senior photography in [area]," etc.

Most photographers overlook the power and importance of long tail keywords. Getting by on the basic short tail keyword is fast and takes little to no research. So, of course, we want to get things done quick and easy. However, if you take that route you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Optimizing for long tail keywords will make your site stand out over the quick solution photographers.

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Content is King

If you know or have even met anyone in the online marketing world, we can guarantee they've said this at least a thousand times (and you've probably heard it at least once). Content is King. Gone are the days of dial up and Encyclopedia Britannica door-to-door salesmanship. People use the World Wide Web daily for work and for pleasure. Hungry minds are looking for education, news, social interactions, and of course, information gathering and shopping. A trusted website is going to capture those hungry minds ahead of any bells and whistles that you can sound off.

This means you need more than your homepage and gallery. You need to include content on your website that is engaging and valuable. And that content has to be 'relevant' to the searches of your potential clients. So, how do you easily add this essential content to your site? Through blogging. Having a regular blog with new and continuing content will not only delight clients looking for an added value to a site visit, but it also helps improve your search ranking.

Even if writing isn't your strong suit, blogging is a good way to relate to your clients, make you a real human being, and again help with your rankings. We do recommend having someone proof read for you if the copy is more than a couple of paragraphs long, but you are in the visual business! Use this to your (business') advantage and share behind the scenes photos, or selfies with clients, or location scouting shots by adding captions that show that you are who you and your clients say you are! Here are a few tips and ideas for blog content:

  • Added Value - Don't just write a bunch of words because you can. Think about what would really add value for your clients and go nuts! (How to prepare for a session, organizing the family for the portrait, best grooming tips for your puppy's first photo, what not to wear and why, etc.)

  • Compare - Look at the top 10 photography sites that you currently aspire to rank with. Take a look at how they used your keywords (frequency, position, etc.) and compare that to your current content.

  • SEO_Goldfish_1200x1200.jpgBe Engaging - A white page with black text is going to put most everyone to sleep. Make sure that you include photos, graphics or videos, if you can, but also remember to use bullet points and headlines (ahem, look at this blog) to help organize the content and guide the reader through your content.

  • Get To the Point - along with the age of super-fast internet, also comes people's super-short attention spans. Use enough detail to get your point across, but also get to the point quickly.

  • Have Fun - If you're not having fun with your content, it will show. People enjoy a good personal, conversational tone, and they will read more if they feel that in your words. From Throwback Thursdays #TBT, behind the scenes, bloopers or plain fun shots, people will get to know you better, making them come to like you more each time you make them smile, so have fun with them!


Stay Ahead of the SEO Game

All search engines and their bots are getting more and more complex because they're trying to think more and more like humans would think by using artificial intelligence to help answer your online searches. So rather than changing your site and content constantly to try and improve your ranking, put your hard work into the relevance of the content you create. That's what artificial intelligence will be looking for as well.

SEO_Robot_1200x1200.jpgAs you learn more about optimization and search engines, you'll start reaching that perfect client because you will be more liked by social media platforms, you will have more visitors on your website, and you'll have more followers on your blog. All these are indicators that your online presence as a photographer is trustworthy (relating to you online authority) and likeable (relating to the relevance of the content you push online) and, as we opened this article, people who like you who will do business with you. This fact of life also applies to Bing, Yahoo and Google who will improve your search ranking once they trust you and see that you are relevant in among photographers with in your area.

And as we've said in previous articles, test, test, test! If something isn't working, you can only fix it by trying something else. Just don't forget that you have plenty of marketing resources right at your fingertips with PPA's See The Difference® tools. Work on your website and blog to get more visits, and rock those See The Difference tools to be more relevant and start capturing more sales.




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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.
Once you've established a web and social media presence for your photography business, what should you look at next to keep your marketing rolling?

One important part to add to your business' digital marketing strategy is mobile marketing. "Mobile marketing" is quite a buzz word these days, so you may have heard about it before (for those that haven't, mobile marketing is any marketing that leverages mobile devices, such as a smart phone or a tablet, as an additional means of communication with your target audience).

All in all, only a small proportion of photographers have started looking into mobile marketing for their business. Opportunities are immense and it's not that complicated. Plus, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, yet it greatly helps to set you apart.

Why is mobile marketing so important? Consider these stats:


  • The Mobile Marketing Association says that there are 7 billion people on Earth. 5.1 billionmobiletoiletinfographic.jpg own a cell phone. 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. That's right, more people are connecting through their cell phones than using toothbrushes!

  • According to Morgan Stanley, 91% of all smart phone users have their phone within arm's reach 24/7.

  • What's more (no shame here, it's a factoid): three-fourths of the participants of an 11Mark study admitted to using their smartphones in the bathroom. That number reaches 91% for the Generation Y, confirming Morgan Stanley's survey.

From those stats alone, it's easy to see that a lot of us are missing out on a huge audience if we are not leveraging mobile marketing tools. Imagine the business you could create if even a tiny fraction of those smartphone owners found you using a mobile device.

Now that you understand the importance of mobile marketing, it's also worth keeping in mind that a client searching for you on a mobile device behaves very differently than one that found you on a traditional website. How so?

Here's some surprising behavior of users that find you on a mobile search:

  • Mobile Marketer says that 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. 70% of online searches result in action in one month. Meanwhile, mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons.

  • According to Search Engine Land, 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase.

  • Google points out that 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call.

  • There are more than 2.7 billion internet users on the planet, including close to 1+ billion Facebook.

These statistics show the trend that mobile searchers often make quicker decisions than potential clients using a traditional web search. By establishing a mobile presence, you'll be able to have users find your photography business and convert them to clients faster than you could just by being found on non-mobile web searches.

So, how can you get started? It's not nearly as difficult as you might think.


Adaptive/responsive design

A great place to begin your mobile marketing efforts is by building a site with an adaptive design. Adaptive design allows the display of your site to automatically fit any screen a potential client might view your site on. So, whether your site is being viewed on a desktop computer, a smart phone or a tablet a visitor will see information optimized for their current viewing screen.

Not only does this prevent a visitor from getting frustrated by having to re-size your site to fit their mobile screen (less scrolling and tapping around means a better customer experience), it also makes managing your website much easier as you won't have to worry about updating a separate mobile site in parallel.

Social from your mobile

When you consider the level of social media interaction occurring via mobile devices, it becomes blatant evidence that interacting socially with clients and prospects who are on their mobile devices is part of the way of doing business (and you might even be responding to them on the go from your phone). Facebook recently announced that close to 44% of their users access through a mobile device. These users are also twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile visitors.

These active users are the folks you'll really want to connect with, as they're more likely to share the content you've posted to social media outlets. However, if a blog post that you've shared does not adapt its display for mobile; you might miss out on some great opportunities for gaining web traffic. After all, if it can't be easily read by a user on a mobile device, it won't be shared.

Mobile compatible comments

It's also important to make sure that the comments feature on your blog will also work with a mobile device. This will allow you to consistently connect with mobile visitors to your site and respond to any of their questions or concerns.

Offers or contests

Along with using an adaptive design, another quick way to get involved with mobile marketing is by offering an exclusive offer or contest designed specifically for mobile devices. There are many companies that can help you set-up a contest that potential clients can enter via text message. It can be as simple as having a mobile user text you a keyword that enters them in the contest or gives them a special discount.

Perhaps the best part of a contest like this is it offers the opportunity for potential clients to share their contact information with you when entering, giving you a database to focus your future marketing efforts on! Just remember to keep the entry process as simple as possible so you'll receive a good amount of submissions.

Customer Service on the go

Another potential benefit of getting involved with mobile marketing can be the ability to provide better customer service to your clients by using mobile devices. For instance, say that you've been shooting on location and would like the ability to take orders while on location. There are many apps out there that will not only allow you to take and process the order using your own smart phone or tablet, but also generate an invoice that will go directly to your customers' mobile device. Some of these apps will even connect with your own book keeping software, making it easier on you to keep up with your sales.

Galleries & apps

Last but not least, many photographers also have created mobile apps for their business to share their work via smartphone or tablet. You can tell your clients to download the app and share it with their friends looking for a photographer, creating your own mobile referral network! There are many app providers out there, but if you're a PPA member check out your member benefit with StickyAlbums for a custom built app for your business.

Mobile marketing is truly the next frontier, so don't delay. Get started on your own mobile marketing plan today.

Already have a mobile marketing plan in place? We'd love to hear about it! Share your comments with us below or on theLoop.

INFOGRAPHIC © 11MARK


This is post one of two of the Mobile Marketing for Photographers series. Use the link below to read the other post in the series.

Mobile Marketing for Photographers: Email Optimization

Dear PPA Member,

A few months ago, I listened to a conversation between my father and one of our graphic designers here at PPA. Dad used his GI Bill after the Korean War to study graphic design; and in over fifty years, he has developed an opinion on what constitutes "clean design" and what just doesn't appeal to an audience. (He's developed a lot of other opinions, but that's for another Vital Signs...)

Despite the half-century gap in formal education between Dad and Mark, the PPA designer, it was interesting to note that their views were the same on how to create compelling pieces that inspire people. Colors, readability, spacing...all of this and more play an important visual role in a marketing campaign's success.

As a photographer, I'm sure you can relate to what makes a "quality image" versus what doesn't appeal to your target market. Similar attention needs to be given to selecting the elements of graphic design that will influence your ability to effectively reach clients. This week's Vital Signs gives you some ideas about such design and the important role it plays in your business...and what you can do right now to step up your own game.

Cheers,

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

One of the things I love about PPA members is their willingness to share their thoughts and ideas.

I see it every day on the OurPPA Forums, hear it in conversations during classes, and watch the Twitter posts fly with questions about what works...and what doesn't. Idea-sharing between professional photographers helps not only the businesses whose owners and employees listen and share, but the industry as a whole. Wouldn't you hate to spend a lot of money on a marketing campaign, only to find out later that you could have implemented it for less money with better results? If there was a great idea out there that someone else has already successfully done, wouldn't you want to know how they did it?

That's why we're listening to PPA members...and sharing their knowledge. Whether you're new to the business of photography or have been running a studio for years, it's never the wrong time to look at what someone else is doing with their marketing. Take what will work for you, and share the rest. Read this week's Vital Signs article, "Marketing for the New (and Not So New) Kid on the Block" here.

We want you to continue to be successful, and we don't want you to have to do it alone. We're doing what we can to give you what you need--just let us know how we can help. 

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

P.S. You've got a new member benefit - Precision Camera. Click here to find out more!



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