Marketing for Photographers, Recommended Strategies

How to Market your Photography Business in 2022

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For many artists like Photographers, Marketing does not come easily. There are cases of photographers who wound up disenchanted and disappointed not because they lacked the talent to make a success of their craft but because they failed to market themselves and their art the right way.

Photography Business Marketing is the best way to take your art in front of your target, appreciative, and enthusiastic audience. It helps you get and retain clients. At the same time, it enables you to carve your very own niche and build your distinctive brand.

Ultimate Hacks You Need to Boost Your Business, With Free Options

In the cutthroat and breakneck arena that is commercial photography, you owe it to yourself to master the intricacies of photography marketing. It won’t take a day, and the rewards may not be instantly apparent. But your photography business will be better off for it in the long run.

Are you looking for easily applicable, effective, and practical photography marketing hacks to give your business a real boost? Here are the ultimate hacks you need to breathe new life into your photography business.

Are there Differences Between Marketing, Advertising, and Branding?

When we talk about Marketing for Photographers, what do we mean? Let’s clear up the blur between these three concepts.

What is Marketing?

The term “Marketing” confuses many because it is so broadly used these days. Think of it as “How you are taking your photography business to market.”

  • For this to be effective, you’ll need to do lots of homework, such as; Understanding which photography services your target market is looking for the most and where. 
  • What prices can you charge and the type of customer support you need to offer or are expected by them. 
  • Your website looks and feels, brochure design and content, social media management, SEO, blogging, PR, and outreach, are all closely connected to the umbrella term of marketing. 
  • You can also place Advertising and Branding under this term, so it usually leads to some confusion.

Marketing is effective when you understand your ideal photography client.

What is Advertising?

Advertising can be seen as a category of marketing. Its main aim is to acquire customers and drive sales. Modern digital advertising relates to paid campaigns PPC (Paid Per Click), Google, Bing, and Facebook Advertising as just three examples. Other options such as Banner Ads on online blogs, newspapers, magazines are other places for digital advertising.

What is Branding?

Branding is how others see you and what your photography business offers.

Questions that help understand this concept are;

  • Who are we?
  • Who do we serve?
  • How are we different?
  • What problem do we solve for our customers?

These are the fundamental questions of Branding. It’s not how you see yourself but rather how others see you.

Now that we’ve cleared up the three concepts of Marketing let’s get into the top 10 tips for photographers.

10 Best Photography Marketing Ideas to Get You Started

These are the most effective and productive photography marketing ideas available. Pay attention to these simple hacks, double down on the ones that you’ve been practicing and integrate the rest into your marketing strategy, and watch your business flourish right before your eyes.

  1. Focus on Your Target Market
  2. Offline Photography Marketing Still Works
  3. Harness the Power of Word of Mouth By Offering Referral Discounts
  4. Build Your Own Website (or have an expert making)
  5. Build an Email List for Email Marketing
  6. Leverage Social Media
  7. Start a Blog, On Your Own Website Preferably
  8. Network With Other Professionals
  9. Look For Opportunities at Being Featured on Authoritative Websites
  10. Open a Google My Business (Google Business Profile) Account

Option 1 – Focus on Your Target Market

One advice we’ll probably never get tired of giving photographers here – and it is pretty sound advice- is niche down.

It’s impractical and more than a little overwhelming to be a jack of all trades. The first thing we encourage you to do is find a particular area of interest and channel all your efforts, including your search for clients, toward that direction.

By identifying your ideal client and tailoring your marketing strategies to their requirements, you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress and heartbreak than when you try to appeal to everyone at once.

We’re saying that it’s better to take the shotgun approach than the scattergun approach when choosing a marketing strategy. It pays more to be intensive rather than extensive. You’re more likely to get a strike on your line fishing in a pond than in a river.

After you’ve settled on your niche and defined your ideal audience, the next step is to go directly in search of them where they’re most likely to be found and form alliances with groups and institutions that’ll get you even closer to them. If you’re a wedding photographer, you know it’s probably not a bright idea to place ads in food and cooking magazines, for example.

Option 2 – Offline Photography Marketing Still Works

These days, digital marketing is all the craze, and for a good reason. Yet, it would be a smart move to not just focus all your attention on an online marketing campaign to the detriment of your offline one. Because offline marketing strategies still work and will most likely continue to.

As a commercial photographer, your physical photography marketing materials (flyers, business cards, brochures, greeting cards, etc.) are just as important as your strongest online marketing tools.

Just like your online portfolios, websites, and social media accounts, your physical photography marketing materials are part of your brand, so it’s best not to discount them entirely.

If you’re starting out, it’s best to employ the skills of a talented professional graphic designer to create and design these materials for you. They’ll be associated with your brand, so it’s best to start on the right foot.

And if you don’t have the budget for this, downloading a suitable template from the internet will work just as well. All you’d need to do is swap out the vital elements with your own details.

Option 3 – Harness the Power of Word of Mouth By Offering Referral Discounts

In the age of Social Media and Digital Marketing, word-of-mouth recommendation remains an effective and powerful marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth referrals can often be the last push that convinces clients or customers to choose your product or service, and as such, can give your photography business a real boost in a very short time.

A referral program encourages your customers to recommend your service to their industry peers, friends, acquaintances, and family members in exchange for a small gift. Of course, those customers must first be entirely satisfied with your service if they refer others to you, so the first step is to offer total value.

Satisfied customers will quite likely spread the word about your business even when you don’t actively urge them to. However, you can leverage this angle even further by offering a small discount or gift each time a customer sends you new customers. And it’s a great way to say thank you.

Option 4 – Build Your Own Website (or have an expert create it)

These days, owning a website or/and an online portfolio is an essential requirement of photography marketing. Your website introduces and presents your brand to potential clients, showcasing your wins and helping you carve out your own space in the crowded commercial photography niche.

You don’t even have to spend tons of money on building your photography website; there are easy tools for creating visually stunning websites these days, even when your technical skills are limited. Most of these tools offer easy templates, and you can use these templates to map out your website easily. You’ll need to create a section for your photos, an “about” section, a section for customer reviews, and another for your contact information.

Including a few details about yourself on your photography website can help build trust and authenticity with potential clients, so aim to include those too. You can write about your style and motivation, professional background and achievements, and hobbies. These things make you more personable and genuine in the minds of potential clients.

You’ll want your website to leave a big impression in people’s minds the first time they look at it, so try to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Including a blog can also help attract and keep clients and rank your website higher on search engine result pages. However, ensure to keep it fresh by posting regular, relevant content.

Option 5 – Build an Email List for Email Marketing

An email list helps you keep in touch with past clients, keeping you in their minds and sending them updates about your products and services. It can also help make a difference with potential clients, giving them a gentle push towards your service direction.

Customers on your email list can receive regular updates about your business, referral programs, discounts or free gifts, or congratulatory messages on important occasions. An email list is an effective photography marketing strategy, so you should always encourage people to subscribe.

You can do this by advertising your email list separately through social media (with a few incentives, of course), through your landing page, or with pop-ups on your website. Remember to make your pitch more enticing by offering freebie resources wherever possible.

Be sure to keep your readers engaged by sending regular, relevant mailouts. Having said that, try not to overdo it. Your customers will unsubscribe from your email list en masse if they feel that your messages are spammy. Balance and relevance are essential.

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Option 6 – Leverage Social Media

As a commercial photographer, social media is one of your most powerful tools and learning how to leverage its strengths while avoiding its pitfalls can give you a steady, regular stream of clients. It’ll also help provide organic, free publicity for your creative work.

Instagram is a very effective online portfolio for many photographers, and it can be an essential lead generator for you. Start by identifying your target audience and build up your account and profile from there. If you want to reach a larger audience, launching paid ad campaigns can get your service in front of more eyeballs.

It pays to be active and engaging when using any social media platform as a marketing tool. The drawback to this is that it can be very, very time-consuming. You can get around this problem by using a social media post scheduling tool or hiring a social media manager if your budget can accommodate it.

But remember, when it comes to social media marketing, you don’t own or control what happens behind the scenes. Social media platforms have a habit of removing or modifying features that may not be in your best interest. They are there, after all, to collect data and serve ads first and foremost.

Option 7 – Start A Blog, preferably on your own website

Blogging holds several immense benefits for your photography business. First and foremost, maintaining a regular blog can do wonders for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), helping your brand become more easily accessible to people. Secondly, it helps position you as an expert and authority in your field, building trust in potential clients and encouraging them to take that final step and engage you.

Another advantage of maintaining a blog is that you can monetize it and turn it into another income stream. Putting display ads on high-traffic pages, creating partnerships with suppliers, and getting a commission from sales are just two examples.

That said, building a blog up to that point is anything but easy. It requires consistent effort, and you’d need to focus on creating and adding value. The quality of your content is paramount, and you’d need to produce content at regular intervals, cadence matters. If writing is not your strong suit, use lots of pictures with a few words sprinkled in between each.

If you do it right, blogging can raise the profile of your photography business to stratospheric levels. Going from 10 page views to 10 000 page views a month can make a massive difference to your photography business marketing results.

Option 8 – Network With Other Professionals

Want to build up your clientele list organically much faster? Don’t forget to cross-sell and upsell with other professionals in a field related to yours. If you’re a wedding photographer, for instance, this means referring your clients to decorators, bakers, and other people that will help ensure the success of that special day for them.

By doing this, you encourage effective partnerships and collaborations that bode well for your business. However, it would help if you also took the time to ensure that they are not directly competing with you.

You can also contact local businesses and offer suggestions on how you may work together. First, centre your approach on how you can provide value for them.

Option 9 – Look For Opportunities at Being Featured on Authoritative Websites

Sometimes, it pays to let editors of magazines and blogs discover your work and contact you for features. Other times, it’s better to be proactive and grab the bull by its horns. This means taking the first step and contacting them for feature opportunities.

However, before sending out that pitch, you need to ensure that it’s going to the right platform for it. Magazines and blogs have their target audience, and material must be targeted to their specific needs. So, if you’re a landscape photographer, a Technology magazine is probably not the best place to send your material.

Check first if the publication is open to unsolicited submissions and apply if they do. If they don’t, it won’t hurt to get in touch with the editor and make a new contact.

Option 10 – Open a Google My Business (Google Business Profile) Account

Google My Business helps your business pop up when a localised search is made for the product or service you offer. For instance, if someone searches “wedding photographers in Melbourne” on Google, the search engine brings up a list of wedding photography businesses domiciled in Melbourne alone.

For your photography business to turn up in these types of searches, you’ll need to have a Google My Business account. You’ll also need to have a physical office or studio location that Google can point searchers to.

Your Google My Business profile displays such information as your brand’s name, your services, contact information, and customer reviews. Google also provides such information as the number of people who have interacted with your profile.

As you can see, a Google My Business account is a great way to improve the profile of your photography business and help customers who need your services reach you easier.

Advertise Your Photography Business

When you have actioned most of the above ten steps in marketing your business or made a good start, now is a great time to start advertising your photography business.

For clarity, most of the above are Branding and Marketing, Advertising is different, and it certainly pays to have actioned many of the recommendations on this page.

Start With These 6 Steps;

STEP 1 Conduct market research
STEP 2 Profile your target markets
STEP 3 Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)
STEP 4 Develop your business brand
STEP 5 Choose your marketing avenues
STEP 6 Set your goals and budget

Identify advertising options for your small business Website

  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Brochures and flyers
  • Networking events
  • Print advertising
  • Word of mouth
  • Cold calling
  • Letter drops

Conclusion

Marketing does not always come easily to many photographers. Several photography businesses have been hamstrung by their owners’ reluctance to open themselves up to the inevitable workloads that come with marketing.

However, a thoroughly saturated marketplace means that your photography business will barely get by without photography marketing. The same is also true about any business.

By applying the strategies identified in this article, you can revitalize your commercial photography business and ensure that it is professionally and financially fulfilling.

And remember, no action equals no results, so take action so you can establish or grow your photography business.

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2021-11-23T09:49:31+11:00