Benefits / Resources / Articles
July 20, 2021

Marketing 101 for Photographers: How to Reach More Potential Clients

As a photographer, your specialty is creating beautiful images. You focus your time and energy on your clients, and the final product is a result of your eye for detail, dedication, and talent. But even the best photographers need clients to serve if they want to make a profit. 

So, how do you connect with the people who are looking for a photographer? And how do you get them to choose you? The answer is simple: marketing. Here's a brief rundown of the basics to help you find your target audience, promote your services to them, and ultimately grow your photography business.

Target Audience 

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 things first: identify your target demographic. Who in your area wants to purchase the services you offer (and have the money to do so)? Once you've determined that, create a persona of your perfect client. A buyer persona represents your ideal client based on their presumed demographics, cultural identity, motivations, and behaviors. 

Here's an example of a simple buyer persona. Meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth just got engaged. She's likely between 21 and 28 years of age, she's just out of college and starting her career, and she is completely overwhelmed by planning a wedding. Think about what Elizabeth's pain points might be and anticipate solutions to the problems causing her stress. Once you've completed a buyer persona (or a few!), you'll have a better idea of who you're marketing to and what you can offer to make their life better. 

Marketing Strategy 

Before you jump on Facebook or start snatching up ads in your local paper, create a solid marketing plan. This will help you to prepare, establish goals, and measure your success. Tracking results is the key to finetuning and improving your marketing efforts to know what works and what doesn't.

Here are four steps to guide your creation of a marketing strategy for your photography business: 

  1. Define your goal. What do you hope to achieve by marketing your business? Do you want more clients? Are you looking to increase your average sale per client? Or will you be promoting a particular product or service? Decide what is most important to your business at this time, which will allow you to focus your message.
  2. Decide what outlets or social media networks your potential clients use the most. This will likely take some testing. For example, you may think it's Facebook, but maybe it's Instagram. Either way, make sure you put time into developing your profile on these platforms so that they look professional and approachable. Follow your instincts, then track the results to see how your ads or promotions are performing.
  3. Develop a content strategy. Once you've decided where you're going to market your photography services, 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. For example, you can create a social media calendar outlining when and what you'll post. This will guide your marketing efforts. 
  4. Set a marketing budget. Rather than blindly throwing money at the issue, you need to carefully plan how you'll invest every penny. Set a budget to keep your financial contributions within an affordable range. Be intentional, and always keep your end goal in mind. 
  5. Measure your success. By testing and analyzing, you can figure out what is giving you the best results. On social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can view the engagement rate, reach, and clicks that each post accumulates. Regularly compare these results to your original goal and see how close or far you are from success.

For more tips on leveraging the power of social media, read this article on how to boost your Facebook posts

SEO – Search Engine Optimization 

SEO refers to how visible your website or web page is in search engine results. Your goal here is 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. Simply put, better SEO equals more clients. 

Here are some tips to get you started: 

  1. Make sure your site is easy to use. Use H1 and H2 header tags to organize your pages, have a simple menu for navigation, and give your visitors a call-to-action on every page. 
  2. Double-check that your website design works well and looks great both on desktop computers and mobile devices.
  3. Regularly post content (image galleries, articles, etc.) to your website that is relatable and engaging.

Most photographers try optimizing for the highest Google results in general. Still, they forget that most potential clients do local searches. Optimizing your website for you're the area your business is in helps you stand out to a local clientele. With that in mind, be sure to name the area you serve in your website's text or your website's SEO keywords. 

Read this article from Professional Photographer magazine to get even more tips on improving your website's SEO. 

Content Creation

Whether it's writing, an image, or even video, you'll need to create original 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. 

Believe it or not, you already have a fantastic advantage over other small businesses because of your skills as a photographer. Your eye for detail and the work you create might work particularly well on an image-centric platform like Instagram or Pinterest

If you have a professional-level camera, you could create high-resolution videos to attract new followers. And even if you choose to produce a small iPhone-made video, you have a mastery of lighting that will surpass most videos on social media. And if it's not perfect, that's okay, too! Authenticity goes a long way in the social media world, so you can experiment with what works best for your brand.

Having regular content can encourage more site traffic and give your audience great nuggets of information. For social posts, depending on your choice of platform, you'll want to create a schedule. This will help you regularly produce content that will catch the eye of your buyer persona.

ROI - Website Analytics

Once you've started creating and sharing content, you'll want to see what's working and what's not so that you can maximize your ROI (return on investment). Put that money to good use! 

A great free tool is Google Analytics. This allows you to see where your traffic is coming from. It also helps you understand what demographics are 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. Doing this helps you focus your efforts on things that are working for your unique business and brand. Remember: experiment and try new approaches to see what gets the best results! 

Marketing is all about finding your potential clients and converting them to actual clients. No two marketing plans are the same, and the key is figuring out what gets the most engagement for your unique audience. 

Marketing 101 for Photographers eBook

PPA members have access to marketing eBooks, classes, videos, and other resources, all included in their membership. Want even more details on how to successfully market your photography business? Download the Marketing 101 for Photographers eBook and start reaching more potential clients today!