As photographers, your specialty is beautiful imagery. Your time and energy is spent with your clients. Your focus is the final product. Unfortunately, none of that matters if you don't have the clients lined up in the first place. So, how do you track down the people out there who are looking for a photographer, and how do you get them to choose you? Marketing. Here's a brief rundown on the basics.
Are you a wedding photographer? Then you need future brides to see you. Are you a family portrait photographer? Then you need moms to see you. First thing is first, identify your target demographic. Who in your area will have the means to purchase the services you offer? Once you've determined that, create a persona of the perfect client. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal client based off their presumed demographics, cultural identity, motivations, and behaviors. For example, meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth just got engaged, she's likely between 21 and 28 years of age, she's just out of college and starting a career, and she is completely overwhelmed by planning a wedding. Now you know who you're marketing to, and what you can offer to make her life better.
Before you go Facebooking, or snatching up ads in your local paper, create a plan. This will help you to prepare, establish goals, and measure your success. That part is key, otherwise you won't know what works and what doesn't.
Step 1. Define your goal. Do you want more clients? Are you looking to increase your average sale per client? Will you be promoting a special product or service or perhaps working with a charity? Decide what is most important to your business at this time and then you can focus your message.
Step 2. Decide what outlets your potential clients focus on the most. This will likely take some testing. You may think it's Facebook, but maybe it's Instagram. Either way, make sure you put time into developing these platforms so that they look professional and approachable. Go with your gut, and then see how you're performing.
Step 3. Content strategy. Once you've decided where you're going to market your photography services, then you'll need to start creating content to be visible, credible, and trigger leads. Make an outline of a strategy that can help you create relevant content you need for those platforms.
Step 4. Set a marketing budget. Rather than throwing money at an issue, you need to carefully plan out how you'll be investing every penny. Set a budget to keep your financial contributions within an affordable range.
Step 5. Measure your success. By testing and analyzing, you can figure out what is giving you the best results. Check in on your original goal, and see how close or far you are from success.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine. So, basically getting your website as close to the top of a Google search as you can. You will attract more online visitors by making sure your SEO ranks higher than other photographers in your area. Better SEO equals more clients. So make sure your site is easy to use, looks great on mobile devices, and contains content that is relatable and engaging. Most photographers try optimizing for the highest Google results in general, but they forget that most potential client do local searches, meaning that you will get a bigger bang for your SEO bucks if you optimize for local searches.
You need to create content for your site and your marketing outlets. Whether it's writing, an image, or even video, you'll need to create content that is engaging and attracts your target audience. Many photographers find that including a blog on their site is a great way to engage potential clients. You have an amazing advantage over other small businesses in the sense that you have a professional camera that can take high-res videos. Even if you chose to produce a small iPhone-made video, you have a mastery of lighting that will surpass most hand-made videos, so play with it!
Having regular content can encourage more site traffic and great nuggets of info. For social posts, depending on your choice of outlets, you'll want to create a schedule so that you are regularly producing content that will catch the eye of your buyer persona.
ROI - Website Analytics
Once you've started putting yourself and your business out there, you'll want to see what's working and what's not so that you maximize your ROI (return on investment). Put that money to good use! A great free tool is Google Analytics. Here you can see where your traffic is coming from, what demographic is looking at your site, how long they spend on the site, and so much more. This is where you'll really understand which platform is working the best for you. This way, you can focus your efforts on things that are working, and spend less time focusing on things that aren't working.
Marketing is using a panoramic application of finding your potential clients and converting them to actual clients. There's so much more in-depth information out there that can help you create and manage a marketing plan. However, with this overview, you can get a good start on making that a reality.
If you need a few materials to help you, PPA offers the marketing tools as part of the See The Difference campaign. These can help you easily create professional brochures, add landing pages to your site, give you shareable content, and more. Once you have your marketing plan, these tools will help you get the jump start you need.
There are plenty of tools to help you be more marketable. You can do this! Login to your account today to get started: PPA.com.
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.