If you want to build a thriving and sustainable business, marketing is a key aspect. Here are effective photography marketing ideas to grow your business.
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019. It’s been freshened up with new pictures and commentary on December 12, 2019.
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Why is marketing important?
Marketing is one of the most important things for a business. It builds trust, brand awareness, increased exposure, and sales.
In photography, marketing is how you’ll receive more inquiries and bookings.
When you first start your business, not many people will know you or how great of a photographer you are. You may have a network of people that can tell others about you but to go beyond that, you need a marketing strategy.
However, to gain more clients, you may need to have a budget for marketing and advertising. There are free and paid options for marketing.
Photography marketing ideas
There are many forms of marketing, we’ll go over the common forms for photographers below.
1. Word of mouth
This is where you or someone share with another person your business and what you do.
Word of mouth marketing is very effective because many times, you build trust during a conversation which makes the person more likely to remember you as a photographer.
So, the next time they need one, they’ll think of you.
Traditionally, word of mouth advertising was in person or over the phone. Now, we have social media which is huge and can reach more people than ever before.
You can be tagged in an image or caption, someone could share your profile with others and you can grow a following on social media which offers social proof.
2. Email marketing
This is a great form of photography marketing because if you’ve been able to capture an email from someone, it means they’re already interested in your services.
To start building an email list, you’ll have to start with an email service provider such as ConvertKit or Mailchimp.
Once you have an email service provider, create a form to be able to start gathering email addresses. After that’s complete, you can send out weekly or monthly newsletters to stay on top of your potential client’s mind.
Email is also a great way to stay in touch with clients who you’ve already shot and when they need a photographer again, they’ll reach out to you.
3. Referral program
Offer an incentive for past and current clients to refer new clients to you. There are many ways to do so. You can gift the referrer a discount on their next session, a gift card, etc.
Although it may seem like a small loss, it isn’t. By giving a small gift for bringing in new business, you will be able to profit from this program.
4. Google business page
Create a Google Business Page for your business. This improves your chances of being seen when people search for a photographer in your area.
Creating this listing is great because it’s a free and easy way for people to get in touch with you.
5. Paid ads
Paying for ads is a normal marketing technique that is extremely effective.
Although, there are many ways to do this. With social media, Facebook and Instagram are great ways to advertise your services.
The awesome part is that you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on these ads.
According to Statista, there are 2.38 BILLION people on Facebook as of the 1st quarter in 2019. Of course, all of these people aren’t in your area but if you target your location, you can get a ton of leads.
This form of photography marketing will cost money, but you can set up a budget that you are comfortable with.
6. Attend networking events
In your city or town, there has to be some sort of networking event. Utilize these events to spread the word about your business and the services you offer.
This is a great way to meet prospective clients and gain more word of mouth advertising.
7. Carry your camera around
Bringing your camera with you to different places is surprisingly a very effective way to share with others that you’re a photographer.
People will ask “what kind of photography do you do?” and this will lead to you sharing with them.
Out of everyone that asks you that question, you’re bound to find people who’ll be interested in booking a session with you or at least getting more information about your sessions.
8. Automate social media posts
Social media is a great way to promote your business and one of the best ways to grow your reach is to post regularly.
Consistently posting on social media can be time-consuming. Therefore, the best way to make it easier is to automate posts.
You can utilize Tailwind, which is a great resource for automating Pinterest and Instagram posts. Planoly, Later, and UNUM are great for Instagram as well.
These tools allow you to prepare photos and captions ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about it every day. When you do this, it’s important to reply to comments and engage with your audience at least once a day.
Having fresh content on your site is a great way to let Google know that you’re active. When you’re blogging, focus on SEO (search engine optimization) because that’ll help you rank for keywords.
For example, if you’re a portrait photographer who lives in Austin, Texas, your goal should be to rank for “Austin portrait photographer”.
You can do this by building your online presence with your website, building credibility, and blogging on a regular basis.
If you’re wondering what to blog about, talking about photoshoot locations with example photos is a great place to start.
Photography marketing doesn’t have to be tough. Use these techniques and ideas to build an effective marketing strategy that grows your business.
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- How to start a portrait photography business
- Pinterest for photographers
Featured photo by Unsplash.