Marketing your photography business successfully begins with knowing your audience. To do that, you need a nuanced understanding of your ideal client’s expectations and desires when hiring a professional photographer… and that’s where buyer personas come in handy. While you might already have some idea of the client you're marketing toward, creating a buyer persona—or even multiple ones—puts you right in the consumer’s shoes and helps you hone your marketing efforts to the specific type of client that you want to attract.
Simply put, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional portrayal of your ideal client created from consumer research data. The first step in creating this type of profile is to research your existing consumers who are the most like your ideal client. What have you learned from working with them? Next, build the persona by giving them a name and imagining their background. You’ll want to include demographic details such as occupation, annual income, age, and marital status.
Instead of working with a vague, open-ended demographic, you can now focus on the wants and needs of the potential person walking through your studio door, reading your content, or asking for recommendations. Once you really know this person, you can learn what will hook them and bring them directly to you.
If you don't currently have clients, you'll need to do some research. Find out who is looking for photographers in your area and why. Once you do, see if you can meet with them and ask them a few questions. Also, as we know, the internet is a vast wonderland of information. Do some social listening on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You can search key terms and hashtags to find out who's looking for photography.
If you do currently have clients, you've got a leg up. Assess the clients you currently have and see if there's a common thread. Are they the same gender, the same age? Do they have the same size family? As you look closely, you'll start to notice what your clients have in common.
More importantly, you can decipher the qualities that an ideal client has rather than a less-than-ideal client. Although it's not the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from that perfect client, it can be important to identify a negative buyer persona. You can make this up as you go, but generally, you want to avoid the client that is looking for a cheap fix. Look for a client that wants beautiful images that are produced by a professional.
You’ll also want to take some time to think about your buyer persona’s online behaviors. If they use social media, which platforms do they frequent? What sites do they rely on for their online shopping needs? Where do they get their news and entertainment from? All these details contribute to your understanding of who this imagined client is, what their day-to-day life might look like, and what issues are important to them. As a result, you can tailor your marketing efforts to a targeted audience similar to the persona you’ve created.
To help you get started crafting your own photography buyer personas, we’ve put together a comprehensive, easy-to-understand eBook. Download the Photography Buyer Personas eBook today to:
Now that you know who to market to, you can start using the sales and marketing tools that are free to you. As a PPA member, you have access to a variety of advertising templates. See The Difference is a consumer-focused campaign that can be used to help promote you and/or your studio. The resources provided to you are easily customizable and really drive home the idea that hiring a professional is the only way to go.