As photographers, we often have to wear a lot of hats. We have to run all aspects of our business, from accounting and marketing to being our own receptionists and studio managers, so it’s no wonder that we might make a few mistakes along the way. When it comes to marketing, though, those mistakes could be costing you a lot of money – and missing out on potential sales. Here are the most common mistakes we see, and what you can do to fix them.
Not updating their websites
All photographers understand that it’s essential to have a website to market our services, right? But what do you do with it once it’s all set up?
If the answer is nothing, then you’re making a big mistake. Even if your website was highly optimised by an SEO specialist and shot you right to the top of the list of search results in your area, it will fade over time and become less effective if you aren’t adding any updates. It’s sad to say, but it’s true – if you aren’t updating your website, you are wasting your most precious marketing resource.
So, what should you do? The answer is blog posts. These don’t have to be hugely in-depth: a lot of photographers like to share the story behind a recent shoot, with some of their best images. This allows you to take potential customers behind the scenes, showing them how great their own shoot could be, as well as updating your portfolio.
It doesn’t have to be every shoot, but once a week is a good ratio for updates. Once a month, if you really can’t push yourself to do any more.
Only updating their websites, and nothing else
Another common mistake photographers make is to update their website with blog posts, then sit back happily and think that they’ve done all that they need to. It’s just not the case!
A blog post won’t spread far beyond your own site if you don’t promote it, and that means that you can’t expect it to bring you much exposure. Sure, it will help you to show up in search results, but that’s all. Here’s what else you should be doing:
- Email a link to the blog post to any client featured in it, as well as vendors and other people who might want to share it with their networks
- Add a post to your Facebook page with a featured image and a link to the post, with a small excerpt from it to pique attention
- Add a link and image to Twitter with a brief teaser text about the blog post, and two-three relevant hashtags
- Add an image (or two, or three, or four) from the post to your Instagram feed, with relevant hashtags and a call to action to visit your website to read more
- Pin the images from the blog post to your Pinterest account, choosing a relevant board with a catchy title (‘Wedding Shoots 2020’ is not catchy; ‘Fall wedding aesthetic’, ‘Gorgeous wedding locations’ etc are)
- Add a post, similar to your Facebook teaser, to LinkedIn
You can also add your own steps if you can think of any more. The idea is to get that blog post in front of as many eyes as possible!
Not streamlining their social sharing
If you’re doing all of those posts above on an individual basis, you could be spending hours on your social media.
Instead, use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to streamline your social media posting. These tools allow you to create posts using the same link and images, then tweak them any way that you like, before sending them to a queue to be posted out on a set schedule. Using these methods you can queue up your shares weeks in advance, and in a matter of minutes. Imagine spending one hour getting the whole week set up, rather than one hour a day – leaving you more time to focus in other areas.
Not including a call to action
When we use any form of marketing, we are trying to get people to do something. The aim is not always just sales: we might be trying to get them to follow us on social media, or to join our mailing list for a future session announcement, or so on.
Make sure that you keep your aim in mind when putting together any piece of marketing, whether it’s a blog post, an advert, or a social media post. Include a call to action that enforces that goal. Some examples could include:
- Click here to see our packages and book your own magical shoot like this one
- Join our mailing list here and receive updates whenever we run a special event in the future
- Follow us for more updates like these
- Hit that like button if you love this dress!
- What’s your favourite season of the year? Comment below!
Whether you are driving engagement or sales, always know what you want your customer to do and what the outcome for your business will be.
Putting out ads without thought
If you just put out a Facebook promoted post every now and then based on what Facebook recommends, with their recommended budget and audience filters, then you are probably wasting money.
Just as with any marketing effort, advertising has to be done consciously, knowing exactly what results you want and how you will get them.
Pick out an image which will appeal most to your target audience (or make a video). You can see which of your images on Instagram got the most website clicks organically, for example, to see which are the most effective. Put together copy which will compel the viewer with a call to action which will encourage your desired results. Next, filter your audience by exactly who you want to target, and pick a budget that will fit your marketing needs.
You should then monitor results, and test out alternative text, images, and targeting to see what works best!
If you’re making any of these marketing mistakes, don’t worry. Now that you know how to fix them, you can make it right!