These days every 3rd person calls themselves a photographer but there is more to this business than mastering your camera settings and Photoshop. To become a successful photographer you need to be a marketer, advertiser, graphic designer, customer service representative and yes- a photographer.
When I saw a couple of my photog friends looking tired and finding excuses to not go to all sorts of social events just because “it is the season and I have to catch up on editing before the deadline.” That is when I understood that there must be more to it.
There must be a way to do the work that you love to do without being over-worked, yet still being able to pay your bills, travel and have time to be with your family. I know that there are so many photographers who have managed to do this – so it must be possible and I have to learned how.
For the last 2 years I have talked to hundreds of professional and amateur photographers and I have found some key elements that set these two apart. Are you tired of agreeing to every type of photoshoot and staying up all night to do your editing? If so, you might want to stick around and read these 4 essential marketing tricks that can help you improve your photography business. Isn’t it time to go from over-scheduled to organized? This is not something you learn by reading only one blog article, but it can for sure help you get started. So here are the key things I have learned.
1. Target your perfect customer.
You cannot sell your product (photography service) if you don’t know whom you are selling it to. If you are selling to everyone you either get no or just a few customers. And if you lower your prices again and again you will become over-scheduled. You shoot a wedding one day, you shoot a kids’ birthday the next, a senior’s get-together the next day… and you feel you have no other choice, because you have bills to pay. Then you end up having no time because there are pictures to edit. It is like a never-ending loop you cannot escape from.
Don’t be that photographer who is agreeing to each and every event. Find your niche and what you enjoying shooting the most, remember what got you passionate about photography in the first place and stick with that.
Who is your perfect customer? Just imagine if you could choose the type of customer that contacts you- who would it be? A women who is expecting her first child? A couple getting married? A wise senior? What does your perfect customer like? Traveling? Knitting? Sports? Whatever it is – you can simply write down a list of things that describes your perfect customer.
Only after you have got that down, you know HOW to advertise. If your perfect customer is a couple getting married, you have immediately made your life and photography business goals easier. You know which pictures you should include in your portfolio (weddings, engagements and photos of couples), you know what the style should look like (light, happy, emotional for example) and you can even master your Facebook ads- instead of advertising to everyone. With the help of Facebook Business account you can make a very specific ad and target your perfect customer. In addition, you would want to make yourself a Pinterest account (81% percent of Pinterest users are actually female).
2. Do co-marketing.
When you have your ideal customer figured out and you have learned how to advertise to them, you can start to think about co-marketing. This is yet again all about knowing your perfect customer. So let’s say that your perfect customer is a parent that wants to have some pictures taken of her/his little boy and girl. Think of where do parents spend their time? Kid clothing shop, indoor playgrounds? So why not to try partner with those other businesses? Maybe you can make a deal with the shop and offer them a free photoshoot in exchange for displaying your business cards and work in their shop? Or maybe for every purchase made in the shop, your perfect customer – a parent – get’s a 10% off coupon for a photoshoot with you. The opportunities are endless, really.
If you are serious about photography, here is an eBook that might help you:
3. Have your photography style figured out.
This one is crucial. Think about it this way- when you visit a website hoping to buy a t-shirt, but entering it you are surprised by everything being in 10 different colours and you see that the site offers you to buy a lawnmower, books on heart surgeries and kitchen tools, you just get confused and upset because you cannot find the t-shirt that was the reason for you to actually visit the site. So it is better to be specific. Have a consistent and cohesive style. You should choose if you are more into strong whites or more into desaturated pictures (for example) or if you really cannot decide, at least make different sections in your website for different kinds of pictures.
An extra thing to keep in mind is to have the same profile picture in all your social media sites. You don’t want your potential customer to get confused by thinking they have found a different profile when they want to get in touch with YOU.
4. Ensure a satisfied customer. Under promise and over deliver.
This is probably the most important thing of all. As graphic designer, critic and educator Michael Bierut once said:
“If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for bad clients.”
So do your best at each and every photoshoot. Make your customer feel special. When you communicate online, pay attention to details, make them feel like they are important to you and never ever mix up the names, online or in real life. If they are a high-end wedding customers, surprise them with a photo book with their best photos. Or maybe you can give them a checklist of: “Photography: Things you need to know before your wedding”
Make sure you under-promise and over-deliver. Throw in those 10 extra pics, or deliver complete work faster. Whatever it is, make your customer feel special and let them know that you went that extra mile just so that their day would be that much more perfect. Don’t be just another photographer – be THE photographer and they WILL remember you the next time they need a photographer. Keep in mind that word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools to get your business rolling. Be the best version of a photographer you can possibly be.
Get your business going and I wish you a productive day.
P.S. I hope you found this information helpful. Something extra to help you kick start your business- some helpful FREE Photography Marketing Cheat-Sheets (in case you missed them at the start of this article). Take a look!
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