It can be hard to get yourself established as a local photographer with sessions to fill. Even though you create the best packages you can with great prices, people don’t seem to be booking themselves in. Why is that? Well, it could be that your marketing isn’t doing the job it needs to do. Here’s how to kick it up a notch and market your sessions more successfully.
Create example images
How do your clients know how their photos will turn out? If your answer is that you’ve written a lovely description of what the session will entail, then you are on the wrong track. Most of your clients are not going to be photographically minded – even if they post daily to their Instagram account, they might not be able to envisage what you are offering. At least, not to enough of an extent that they will be blown away.
Let your talent do the talking by setting up an example shoot. You can do this using your friends or family members as models – you could even make it a gift to mark a special occasion, and do everything for free. This investment will be well worth it, because it will give you a set of images that you can use to market your sessions.
If you don’t know anyone that would be suitable – for example, if you are offering child portrait sessions and no one you know has young children – you could search for a model to hire. You could even offer a free session to one of your most valued customers, with the added benefit of being able to sell them extra prints later.
Put your advertising where your customers are
If you are just creating a page on your website and then waiting for people to discover it by themselves, then you are definitely on the wrong track. People need guidance to discover your business, and they need to find it somewhere they are already looking.
There’s no harm in having every social media channel out there hooked up, and then using an app like Buffer or Hootsuite to post your same marketing images and links across all of them at once, as it takes little effort to do this. But if you are putting out paid adverts – which you certainly should be – then you have to be more reasoned and careful about it.
Your ideal customers live in a certain place, they have a certain level of income, and they have certain tastes. You should already have your ideal customer mapped out, but if you don’t, this should be your next step before implementing any other marketing techniques. Once you know who your ideal customer is, you should also learn one more thing about them: where they spend their time online.
Are they stay-at-home mothers who use Facebook and post on motherhood messaging boards? Are they young millennials who are obsessed with Instagram? Do you want to get the attention of teens on TikTok so that they know what to ask their parents to give them as a senior year gift? Are you working on portraits of horses, whose owners all go on pony club websites or hang out at the local stables?
When you know where your clients are, you can get your message over to them. Remember that with some older demographics, you might be better off with physical advertising in the form of flyers or printed media adverts to get their attention. For younger demographics, you will only get their attention online.
Rinse and repeat
Once your ad campaign has finished, what next? Well, you might want to make a few tweaks and then run it again. You can compare your performance across the two campaigns to see which was more successful, and in this way keep making positive changes until you have a really well-optimised ad which might get even better results. It’s a good idea to run short, cheap campaigns until you have that magic mix which can take the rest of your budget.
Why should you bother running more than one campaign in the first place? Well, because attention spans are short and consumers have an awful lot of choice thanks to the internet. Studies have found that this means most people need to interact with a brand in some way seven times before they will make a purchasing decision, on average.
What is an interaction? It could be anything from viewing an advert, having one of your posts pop up on their social media feed, finding your website in search results, reading one of your blog posts, or so on. Are you getting the same people to view your photography studio in some way seven times? If it is happening less, then you will have a lower chance of getting any sales through at all.
Don’t bury the lead
Finally, think about your session and why it’s so great. Is it magical? Is it unique compared to what other photographers in your area are offering? Do you give the best value for money? Have you got added extras that will make it easier for the client, like including a makeover in the package?
You should always know what your USP (unique selling point) is, because this should be the cornerstone of your marketing. If you just put up an ad saying that you are offering sessions for Y type of people at X price, then why should they care?
Don’t bury the lead by leaving out the most important information. Tell them why they should care. And if you are looking for a high-investment kind of client who is going to buy an expensive package, then you should consider leaving a price off the advert completely. Those who care about price are budget clients, who might not be able to come back to you in the future or afford extra prints. The ones you want are those who see your images and want that for themselves – at any cost.
Put these tips into practice and you should see your bookings filling up within no time. Keep at it for great results!