We know. Not everyone enjoys marketing. But a potential client needs to come in contact with your work an average of seven times before they’ll remember you or take notice. Think of marketing as a way to draw their attention to your work.
Here are ten marketing strategies that can help you get more photography clients.
10. Create Printed Promotions for Commercial Clients
Potential clients love the tangible experience of holding your work in their hands. The original medium of photography brings it to life like no computer can.
Most photographers rely on sending email promos (or none at all). A printed promotion will make you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
You can create a magazine of your work with a company like Blurb for a relatively affordable price and send them to a select number of clients you’d like to work with.
Don’t just do this once and expect something to happen. You could get lucky, but most likely you’ll need to send out a new campaign every four months before you score a coveted gig.
Printed promotions should be a part of a long-term marketing strategy. Consistency will get you results. It’s where the majority of your marketing dollars should go.
9. Update Your Website to Stay Relevant
In my work as a mentor to photographers, I’m always surprised at the state of so many photographers’ websites. It’s either a mess, with no rhyme or reason to the way they’ve put images together. Or they have put a ton of effort curating their galleries only to forget about them and let months or even years go by without an update.
You should update your images often with new work. Not only will you seem busy, but your work will also appear fresh and relevant to potential clients.
It will also give you the added benefit of improved SEO. Google and other search engines love fresh content and will reward you accordingly with a boost to your search engine ranking.
The problem with curating your own images is that it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. You may be too emotionally attached to your images and have trouble seeing the as a photo buyer might see them.
In this case, it’s recommended that you get a photo consultant to help you. Or at least get a second opinion from someone who is qualified to give you feedback on your work.
8. Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to Your Site
This may seem like an odd tip because when photographers think of the best social media platform to market their photography they think of Instagram.
This is actually the problem: Pinterest is not social media. It’s a search engine and a very powerful one at that.
A whopping 87% of users report having purchased a product because of Pinterest. It offers a more direct path to purchase than social media sites do.
When you post pictures on Instagram or Facebook, they get lost in the feed. Pins have staying power and gain traction the longer they are on Pinterest, and the more often they get pinned around.
If you want to drive traffic to your site and get your work seen by a wider audience, create a Pinterest “Business” account. Take some time to study some strategies that can help you promote your photography business on Pinterest.
7. Use Social Media the Right Way
The wrong way to use social media is to get fixated on “likes” or the number of followers you have. Or the aesthetic of your grid. Or who is following who.
When using Instagram, your focus should be on engagement and following the brands that you want to work with and making thoughtful comments on their post.
So many photographers spend a lot of time and energy interacting with other photographers. This is a great way of creating a community, which is the goal of using social media, right?
But if you’re spending more time supporting your peers instead of going after potential clients in a strategic way, you’ll waste a lot of time that could be used more wisely. Finding a balance is key.
6. Create a Quarterly e-Mail Campaign
If you choose to do printed promos, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also send out email campaigns.
When you send out a printed promotion, you should carefully consider you’re targeting. The expense will prohibit you from sending it to all but the most coveted clients. With an email campaign, you can cast a wider net.
It doesn’t cost you any more to send it to 100 people than it does to 20 people, so it should be an important part of your strategy to get new clients.
The important thing is that you research who you want to work with and regularly make contact with them. Keep track of these contacts, so you can stay consistent with your efforts.
Hire a designer that can create a template for you. This will allow you to swap out pictures every time you do a new campaign that includes new work. Include your logo on the front and a short bio inside, along with your contact information.
Your email promo should look as professional as possible. The e-mailers should go out to your target clients every quarter to keep you top of mind when they’re looking for a photographer.
5. Write a WordPress Blog
As a photographer, you may not have thought of writing a blog.
After all, you’re a visual person. You may have not thought of yourself as a writer. That’s ok. You should still write a blog.
If you have a WordPress blog connected to your site, you can get a massive boost to your SEO. Because you’ll be updating the blog regularly, you’ll rank higher engine in search results.
Writing a blog will also help you connect with your audience and build trust. Your clients will feel like they have come to know you.
You don’t need to write a lot. In fact, as a photographer, your posts should be image-heavy. You can share about a family or personal branding session. Or your clients’ wedding images, with some thoughts on the ceremony.
What you choose to write about will depend on what niche you’re in, but you don’t have to write a lot. A few words about what it was like to work with a certain model on a fashion shoot or some tips on styling food photos are a couple of ideas.
The key is to keep it positive and provide value to those reading it.
4. Give Incentives to People Who Refer You
One of the best ways to get new clients is to give people some sort of incentive to advertise your services. Word-of-mouth can be such a powerful marketing tool.
An incentive can be offering your current portrait clients a free mini-shoot for a successful referral. Or it can mean giving them a gift card or taking them out for dinner.
It can even mean giving them a discount. You should be wary of doing so if you want your services to be perceived to be premium.
Discounts can be a cue that cheapens your brand, so tread carefully. It’s better to provide an incentive that is aligned with your niche and how you want to be perceived.
A gift certificate for a spa treatment can cost less than giving a client a discount on your session. But it will elevate your brand and inspire clients to refer you whenever they get a chance.
3. Create a Regular Newsletter Campaign
Do you have a list for your website? If you don’t have a blog, this is something that you may not have thought of, but having an email list is crucial for a photography business.
Nothing converts like email. An engaged list is far more important than any form of social media.
Changing algorithms and the whims of companies like Instagram and Facebook can crush your business, right out of left field.
Boudoir photographers are regularly “shadow-banned” for images that show “too much skin”. This means that only their current followers can see their work and they can’t grow their following. But this can also apply to sports photography. Instagram can’t tell the difference between a woman in lingerie and a man in shorts!
By sending out a regular newsletter to your past clients and other relevant business contacts, you appear busy, fresh, and relevant. The same is true when you update your website and send out promos.
It’s all part of a wider strategy of keeping you in the minds of your clients. It also allows them to feel connected to you, which keeps the business relationship alive.
2. Learn the Nuts and Bolts of SEO
Search Engine Optimization is crucial if you have a website. When people search on Google and other search engines, they tend to refine their search terms rather than go onto the second page.
When you rank high for specific keywords, you ranch higher in search engine results. This will drive more traffic to your site and bring you potential clients.
SEO can get complicated, but learning the basics is worth your while. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources where you can learn it for free. You can watch SEO gurus on YouTube or listen to their podcasts.
You can learn some new best practices that can make a big difference in your site ranking.
One tip is to make sure that your website is optimized to be viewed across multiple platforms. These days, more people are viewing websites on their smartphones than on any other platform.
Make sure you take this into account when you’re choosing a website builder.
1. Create a Cohesive Brand That Represents Who You Are
Branding isn’t just your logo and the font you choose on your marketing materials. It’s everything that you do, from what you wear and how you speak, and how quickly you respond to inquiries.
Your website and portfolio have a big impact on how you’re perceived by your audience. But there are countless subtle cues that they’ll pick up on. These will also create an impression of who you are as a creator and business person.
When approaching your branding, think about how you want to be perceived by your target audience. Do you offer a luxury product with high-touch service?
The way you dress and groom yourself should reflect that. Price point is a big cue for customers. As is the quality of your imagery, the location of your studio, and even the spelling and grammar in your emails.
So many photographers quote prices typed into the body of an email. Sending a professional estimate with their logo on it looks way more professional. This can be done quickly and for free with an app like Wave.
Getting new clients takes time, effort, and a toolbox of various strategies.
Depending on your genre of photography, some of these strategies will work better than other. No single strategy will work best. You need a multi-pronged, layered approach to get the best results.
Consistent effort will pay off in the long run and will allow you to succeed where so many others fail.