Running a photography business requires you to do all kinds of things. You have to be the photographer, of course, but also the retoucher, the receptionist, the event planner, the finance department, the office manager, and, amongst many others, the marketer. If you don’t have experience in marketing from your employment history, it can be tough to get started on marketing your own business. Where do you even begin? How do you know which ideas will work the best? What kind of strategy will work for you?
These tips will help you to get off on the right foot – and to continue marketing your business effectively for years to come!
- Always reward loyal customers
The problem with marketing is that it normally focuses outwards, to the people who have not tried your business yet. This neglects those who have already used your services and might end up becoming loyal customers further down the line.
Even if you normally only work with clients once – which might be the case for a wedding photographer, for example – you can still turn them into loyal fans. You can do this through rewards systems and through marketing which is aimed towards selling them extras.
Remember their one-year anniversary by sending them a special offer for framed images or offering an item that might help them commemorate the date. If you’re a baby photographer, make sure you target your maternity shoot mothers-to-be around their due date for that newborn shoot, and around the first birthday for the cake smash, and so on.
You can also offer loyalty rewards, such as a voucher after your third shoot, or free prints when you refer a paying customer. These rewards will keep your clients coming back time and again, and will put your name in the top of their mind when they need a photographer.
- Automate everything
As much as you can, set your marketing campaigns up to be automated. This will take a lot of pressure off you and allow you to do everything much more effectively.
A good example of an automated campaign is an email shoot which triggers more emails down the line. For example, you could ask clients to sign up for your mailing list in exchange for a three-part series on getting ready for a photoshoot.
When they sign up, they receive the first email. If they read and open the first one, another is automatically sent a day or a week later. If they don’t, a reminder is sent in the same timeframe to get them reading. When they finish reading the third email, you can capitalise on the opportunity by sending them an offer for a photoshoot if they book within the next day or week.
You can also automate your social media. Although you do have to queue everything up yourself, you can add comments, posts, photos, reblogs, videos, and anything else you might want to share, across every social network. Resources like Buffer, Edgar, and Hootsuite allow you to set up posts in advance. Get it all done in twenty minutes, and leave it to run itself for the week.
- Be targeted
Whenever you decide to pay for social media adverts, make sure that you target them as much as possible. You only want people who are in your area, within the right paygrade, and likely to need a photographer to see the ad. Anyone else who sees it will likely be a waste of your advertising budget.
Target very carefully, and you will see much better results. It’s far better that ten people see your advert and engage with it enough to book you as a photographer down the line, than ten thousand people see it and five book you.
You can also target your audience through the way that your ad looks and sounds. If your clients are high-end and looking to pay large sums for your services, then you want to make your advert as luxurious and expensive-looking as possible. It’s worth getting a graphic designer and copy editor to work on it in this case.
You can also target people in the real world. If you know your family portrait clients like to attend the town hall meetings, or that your brides to be will be at the bridal fair, or so on, you can go ahead and network with them in person. Introducing yourself, handing over a business card, and talking with passion about your services can work wonders.
- Be inclusive
When marketing your business, think always about how you can include others. The more inclusive you are, the more others will include you too. When posting an image, be sure to tag the model, makeup artist, stylist, and anyone else who worked with you. Tag the location, even if it is your own studio or a random street.
Ask questions with your posts, and engage with your followers who give answers. Talk positively about your clients when presenting their images – tell a story about how great the shoot was.
Even when sharing adverts, you can talk about the vendors you use or at least tag them so they know that you are using their services. You may be surprised about how many tags, mentions, and comments you get back – and all of those help to boost your signal out to many other potential customers who haven’t come across your business yet.
- Keep experimenting
Finally, don’t stick to the same thing all the time. Try new methods and techniques. Test out different versions of the same post and see which gets the most responses. Use social media in all ways – live videos, stories, videos, text, images, polls, and so on. Change your email subject line and AB test it to see what works best. Most importantly, avoid well-known marketing mistakes that photographers tend to make.
The more you try, the more you will know what works for you – and the market is always changing, so that won’t be the same now as it will in a year’s time.
Marketing is hard, but with these essential tips, we think you’ll be able to crack it. What are your top tips for marketing a photography business? Share them with us in the comments!