· Are you a photographer stuck in a marketing rut? Are you looking for ideas on how you can market yourself, your photography, and your business? .
· “Thank yous and gifts” – ways to tell your customers how important they are and how much you appreciate them.
· These go a long way and are so easy to do. The word of mouth marketing generated from past customers often is enough to have a successful business. “Get out there” will give you some ideas on how to get exposure in your community.
· From Facebook to blogging, and from placements at local businesses to referral cards, these ideas will get more people knowing who you are and why they should hire you.
· The only way that you can ensure that your art is credited to your name is to have a dedicated website devoted to your craft.
· Pro Tip: Want to keep photos on your site for your client’s eyes only? Create individual folders for each of your clients’ pics by creating password protected pages for clients.
· Number 1 on Organic search “need good child photographer staten island “ Great slide show and music on this site.
- Google Local Video
- When you search on Google and include a location in your keyword, such as “Madison Wedding Photographer,” Google is now putting their Google Local listings BEFORE the organic listings in their rankings. These listings are free, so go and get one now!
- Google+ Local, which used to be known as Google Places, is a free online platform that Google provides. It has two purposes – to help business owners increase their online visibility and to help people find, engage with, and review businesses in their local area.
· Read this article on how to get started with Google Local. Make sure to upload some photos as well, as they sometimes show up there in the search results. It’s a great way to improve your chances of being found on Google when peo
- Thank you cards – send one after each session.
- Give customers a set of wallets with their order to use as referral cards. Pick your favorite photo from the session, put your studio/contact information on the back.
- Reward past clients with discounts and referral incentives. Give them more reasons to remember you when talking to friends and family.
- Keep your customers happy!
- Include bonus, surprise prints with the customer’s order. Write a handwritten note explaining how much you loved working with them and value their support.
- Consider giving a few low res watermarked images to seniors for sharing on Facebook. They will see this as a thank you – and yet you get the word of mouth benefit when their friends see.
- Give a magnet to each customer with your favorite image(s) from a session. Include contact info (website and number).
- Offer a unique gift before the session, during or after – it could be a small gift certificate, fresh baked goods, or any other small token of appreciation.
- Show up at local events, and with permission from the organizers, shoot photos. Get your website address out there by handing cards and posting the images online.
- Give free artwork and photographs to doctors offices, hair salons, baby boutiques, etc. Include a small sign and/or stack of business cards. Stop by occasionally to leave more cards for sharing.
- Blogging – blog each session that you do. Those photographed will spread the word so friends and family can see the images.
- Use referral cards – hand these out with every order so your past customers can spread the word easily for you.
- For children’s portraiture, join a “Mom’s group” and get to know the other women, who may end up your customers and/or refer people to you.
- Take your camera everywhere. It is an easy way to start a conversation. And always have your business cards ready!
- Add a small label on the back of baby and senior announcement cards with your photo studio’s name and web address. Nothing tacky. Just simple and small.
- SEO – if you come up on specific photography searches for your area, potential customers will find you.
- Donate a free session for a fundraiser auction – include a sample of your work and stacks of cards.
- Don’t be shy. Hand out cards to people when you are out – for example if a mom is at a park with their kids, give them a card and tell them about you.
- Network with a group of local small businesses – and help each other market.
- Get your name, website and email listed on all the free photographer databases online.
· Get visual
- Use images on your business cards
- Have a website with best examples of your work, and keep it updated periodically.
- Have different business cards for your different specialties. If you do more than one type of photography, have cards for each type, so you hand out cards specific to the interests of the person asking.
- Show your best images on your business cards.
- Show it to sell it! Have samples of wall portraits to show clients. When they think an 8×10 will do it, “wow” them with a 16×24 standout mount or 20×30 gallery wrap, and show it on the wall so they can see its value as an art piece.
- Have samples of any products you wish to sell, whether it be gallery wrap canvases to albums, to photo jewelry. People need to touch and feel in order to buy.
- Create branding that is unique to you. Make it memorable.
- Control the process – and even if you offer DVDs of the session, also give them lists of places to get images printed with a high quality that represents you well.
- Volume discounts for large orders
- Packages and bundled pricing
- Give coupons to your friends to pass out to their friends.
- Consider a friends and family discount (that is if you want to take pictures of friends and family – sometimes this can cause issues of its own).
- Offer mini shoots, themed holiday shoots and portrait parties as a lower cost, higher volume option
- Work for free – not often – but donating time to a charity can go a long way.
- Offer occasional deals – such as book in X month, get a free 8×10.
- Don’t list prices on your web site. If you do, you’ll just be another photographer in the list for them to choose from and they’ll likely go with the best deal. You want the potential customer to call and connect with you. Have them select you because they want “you” to be the one to take their pictures. (I know some will disagree – but it is something to consider)
- KNOW your target market. Know their ages, their income levels, their interests and hobbies, and what makes them tick. You as a photographer do not have to be in your target market. Know your target customer’s habits. Where can you best reach them? Is it Facebook (seniors), mom’s clubs, wedding shows, displays in the mall?
- There’s no right answer – it varies depending on who your ideal client is
- Traditional advertising, such as an ad in a magazine or newspaper, is mostly worthless. Don’t waste your money..
- Word of mouth seems to be the best option for small businesses. Without premises, finding places you can do it and have the clients right there would probably work for you.
- I highly suggest creating a “Page” instead of using your profile, as that’s how Facebook prefers you promote your business, and change your settings (in Edit Page -> Apps -> Photos -> Go to App) to allow fans to tag themselves in your photos. This is a great way to get exposure from wedding guests and their friends as well.
- I also post links to my blog on my page and send out behind-the-scenes announcements to the people who have liked my page from time to time.
- Blog as often as you can
Having fresh content on your site is one of the best ways to let Google know that your is site active (which gives you better rankings) and shows your customers that you are busy. When I visit a site that hasn’t been updated in a few months, I often wonder if they are still in business. If you don’t have many shoots, spread out your posts (do a few images one at a time instead of all in one big post) or show some personal work.
- It’s also extremely valuable to blog about things that your clients want to know. For example, wedding photographers may want to put out a series on their blog with tips for brides for having better wedding photography (such as hiring a professional lighting company or not getting ready in a church kitchen) whereas portrait photographers may post about what to wear to a session. Providing information to your clients helps them to value you and see you as an authority about the subject.
You’ll also want to make sure that your blog is optimized for search engines so that you can attract search engine traffic.
- Start building an email list right away
The more I learn about email marketing, the more I realize that I should have started an email list right away from the very beginning. I’m not talking about buying some random list that people are trying to sell you. I’m talking about people who are interested in your work and opt-in to receive emails from you.
- The beauty of the email list is that these clients already like your work enough to give you their email address. They want to hear about your business and about the products you are offering. They may even love your work enough that they want to receive an email every time you update your blog with new photos. These people are priceless.
- Want to do a day of mini-sessions? Tell your email list and give them the opportunity to sign up a day before you open it to the public. Have a new product you are offering? Tell your list about it and entice them to buy it. The opportunities that are out there with an email list are so vast that I’m planning on talking about this more in-depth in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
- Network with other professionals
Get involved with other professionals in your local area. It’s amazing how loyal business owners can be towards each other when you really hit if off. Make sure you’re promoting their businesses to your clients, and they’ll be sure to reciprocate.
- Have clients recruit their friends
Offering a free gift or a small discount to people who find two or three friends to all schedule photo sessions on the same day can be a huge motivator for people to find others to hire you as well. Again, we’re harnessing the power of word of mouth advertising, but it’s so powerful that it can’t be ignored.
- Get featured on photo blogs
There’s a ton of wedding blogs out there that feature photography, and there are some portrait blogs that feature portrait photographers as well. Get featured if you can, then promote it where your clients can see it. There’s nothing wrong with reminding them how awesome you are. It’s simply good business.