As a photographer, you're probably a creative first and a business person second...or don’t consider yourself a business person at all! That is why I’ve put together this blog post: to give you a short rundown on the essential marketing tips for getting your name out there online and finding your ideal customers.
If you want more information and one-on-one business consulting, we just launched our Business Accelerator Program that was created for photographers who are not seeing the results they want in their business. If that sounds like you, I highly recommend checking out this FREE program after reading this post. I’ll talk a bit more about it at the end of this post.
The first step to marketing is planning. You need to have a plan for your business so you can ensure every ounce of time you spend on it is worth it! But what exactly is a marketing plan? How do I plan it out? There are a few steps to creating a fleshed out marketing plan that will lead you to success:
You need to discover your ideal customer because you cannot market yourself if you don’t know who you are trying to reach. By understanding who you are trying to reach, you can then determine what channels to post on, what times and days to be active on them, and whatnot. To find your ideal customer, you need to ask yourself: who would be interested in my service? If you are a family photographer then families will be interested in hiring you. However, that is still not detailed enough. Here is an example of the information I include in my customer personas:
Those are just a few examples of what to include when discovering your customer, but once you have that down, you won’t have to waste time posting to social media channels where your ideal customers aren’t active, or interacting with customers that are not really looking for your services.
Going along with discovering your ideal customers, you need to choose the select channels that your customers are active on. For a lot of people, that is Facebook and Instagram. However, if you want to choose just one, and found out through researching for and about your ideal customer that they are more active on Facebook, then stick to Facebook! For Facebook, “active” typically means posting three to five times per week. If that sounds like a lot to you, then it might be a good idea to not take on any other channels apart from Facebook. At least at the start. Focus your energy where your customers are, and don’t worry about following what others are doing.
What are your short-term and long-term goals? Where do you want your business to be in a year? What about in five years? These are questions you need to answer about your business, and I highly recommend writing them down somewhere where you can easily access them in a few months, or a year, to reflect on. That way, you can make sure you are on the right track with your business.
When you do that monthly or yearly reflect, check on your social media channels and cold emailing process (cold emailing is reaching out to people who have no idea who you are and offering your services) and see if they contribute to your overall goals.
Setting a budget for your business is essential in the early stages. Whether that is how much you spend on equipment, traveling, or ads, you must have a budget. Your business won’t flop if you don’t run Google Ads, nor will it fail if you don’t have the most expensive camera on the block. Save up as much as you can and use it wisely. Always ask yourself, will this really benefit my business? Or can it wait?
It is essential to establish a presence online as a business owner because this is how you are going to get organic leads which will then turn into paying customers. It is especially important to establish a local presence because as a photographer, your customers are those who live in your area. But how can you do this? How will people stumble across your website or social media when there are so many other photographers to choose from?
Here are a few ideas:
Join your local community’s or town’s Facebook group because sometimes, people go there asking for photographer recommendations (among other recommendations). It is also common for people to promote their own businesses in these groups, so that is something to consider doing as well. Usually, you have to pay to have a promotional post in the group, but it might be worth trying! This is a great and simple way to connect with potential customers in your community.
It is important to post good content and be active on your social media channels. That is why I mentioned above that you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself; your social media is all part of how clients can find you and establish you as a credible photographer, so you want to make a good first impression. You want to build social media channels that work for you and positively reflect your business. This means posting photos you’re proud of, putting a little effort into your captions, engaging with other photographers and accounts, and using relevant hashtags. For some more social media tips, check out our blog post for 6 tips for boosting your social media HERE.
There are a number of ways to make it easier for clients to find you: you can build a website that is SEO-friendly (more on this below!), spend time building your social media presence, connect with local photographers, be active in Facebook groups, etc. Together, these all work hand-in-hand to make it a lot easier for clients to stumble across your website, social media accounts, or a local photographer who is too busy to take them on, so they refer them to you!
In the early stages of any business, you are the one finding customers to purchase your services. This can be tiring, which is why I am sharing a list of several different places/ways for you to find ideal customers as a photographer:
TIP: When reaching out to potential customers, be courteous and genuine. Don’t be too salesy or desperate, otherwise they probably won’t want to choose you as their photographer!
Marketing as a photographer is all about self-promotion. It can feel awkward cold emailing a potential and ideal client, and it can feel uncomfortable posting about your services in a local Facebook group, however, that is how people find you in the early stages of your business. While you don’t want to bother people, and shout, “I’m a photographer! Please hire me!” in their face, but if you don’t tell people that you are a photographer, how will they know to come to you? That is a big problem many small businesses face, especially new ones: they expect customers to come running to them. Sometimes, that does happen, but oftentimes it doesn’t.
It is time to step into your marketing shoes and give your business the boost it deserves!
Focal’s Business Accelerator Program is a great way to do just that. If you are feeling stuck in your business after investing a few years of your time and money, and don’t know how to get it to where you want it to be, this program is exactly for you! When you sign up, you will get three one-on-one sessions where we'll help you take a hard look at your business, your customers, and yourself. Then, we'll help you come up with a streamlined and repeatable way to reach your ideal clients, get more bookings, and accelerate your business.
Sound good? Click the button below to sign up today!