As a photographer, you have one distinct advantage over other professionals when it comes to marketing. Your medium is visual. And, to paraphrase pop music icon Rod Stewart, every picture tells a story.
Getting your work in front of people will let them know what to expect from you. They will then seek you out if your style is appealing. It is not easy to make a successful commercial photographer business, but these tips for marketing will help you make that happen:
Identify Your Ideal Customer
What’s your specialty? Are you doing weddings? Are you shooting model portfolios? Is product photography your thing? Whatever it is, you have to figure out who needs you, why they need you, and position yourself as the solution for which they are looking.
You also want to learn where clients tend to seek out people who do what you do and how best to present yourself so your brand catches their attention. Gaining this understanding will help you focus your marketing efforts where they are likely to do the most good.
Personalize Your Website
This essential platform will serve primarily as your online portfolio. This gives potential clients the opportunity to gauge the nature of your work on their own terms. Naturally, you’ll want to feature your strongest images here. You’ll also want to take advantage of the opportunity to talk about yourself. That’s why following various website building tips is so important.
People love a story, so rather than droning on and on about your skill, experience, and expertise (after all your pictures will demonstrate that) tell people why you became a photographer in the first place. What prompted you to pick up a camera? Why did you choose to never put it down? What do you like most about working with people?
Give potential clients a chance to get to know you as a person; this will make your job a lot easier when you meet them in real life. And, of course, make sure the story you tell has resonance with the ideal customer you identified above.
With that said, it’s also a good place to highlight your credentials: where you trained, certificates you hold, your business license and, awards you’ve won, and any other attributes making you trustworthy. Keep this succinct and to the point on a landing page labeled something like “Credentials” in your site navigation. The goal here is to look professional enough to be considered with regard, but not so professional you seem cold and all about the business.
Social Media Was Made for You
You probably know from personal experience how arresting a strong image can be when it scrolls up in your social media feed. Posts with pictures get attention. However, the downside of social media is there are far too many outlets to maintain an effective presence on all of them.
Therefore, you’re going to have to choose.
Instagram is a natural for photography — plus its demographic is primarily individuals between 18 and 34 years old. This is your prime market if you’re a wedding photographer. It’s hard to go wrong with Facebook, too. If product photography is your thing, you’ll do better on LinkedIn, as well as other social sites catering to people in the industries you’re targeting.
The key is identifying the ideal customer for your business, learning where they can be most readily found on social media, and becoming a fixture there. Share your strongest images, but don’t focus on marketing per se. Offer tips for choosing a photographer, talk about what makes a great photograph, be helpful to people. Work will find you.
You’ll also want to take control of your Yelp! profile and your Google Business Page. Fill them out completely and upload your best images to each of them as well.
Institute a Referral Program
Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising of all. Peer-to-peer marketing is far more effective than any other form of promotion.
People are looking for authenticity. They know paid ads are an unreliable source of truth; instead they look to other people like themselves for solid referrals.
Actively solicit testimonials from satisfied clients. Offer gifts or a small discount on future services in exchange for sharing their stories. Ask permission to run those endorsements on your site and in your social media posts — along with work you produced for them.
These four tips for marketing your photography business will attract people to you as a person — and your work by extension. Identifying your ideal client, putting your images where people will find them, telling your personal story, and encouraging past customers to tell others about you will help you stay busy doing what you love — and earning a living at it too.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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