Taking the plunge and going out on your own as a photographer is one of the most exciting things you can hope to do. And, working for yourself, being in control of your own destiny and following your dreams is perhaps the best way to achieve job satisfaction.
However, all of that heady hope and optimism can soon fade if you are finding it hard to gain enough clients to keep you busy. That’s where marketing comes in.
Without marketing yourself, how are potential clients going to know who you are and what they are missing out on by not hiring you? Here are some essential marketing tips for photographers to put you on the map and allow your career to blossom.
Figuring out your target audience
The first thing about your photography business you need to figure out is who your target audience is, not just for creating a marketing strategy but for overall direction. For example, if you intend on becoming a wedding photographer, posting your images to wildlife-focused communities and websites is not going to yield much, if any, success. Knowing who to market to will increase your return on investment, help you to build better relationships and network accordingly.
Building a digital portfolio
Once you have defined who your clients are, you can start to curate a portfolio that matches their expectations. Whether you already have the images to show off, or you need to start creating them for your portfolio, collating photos into a cohesive body of work should be high on your marketing priority list.
Many photographers use a digital version of their portfolio to showcase their talents to as many people as possible without the expense of printing. When and where you share your digital portfolio also matters, and you can use it as a way to follow up on any enquiries you have through email or your website.
Printing and dropshipping
While a digital portfolio is important to have, the strongest tool for marketing a photographer has to be the photographs they take, so it’s essential to show them off at their best, through high-quality prints.
You may also wish to use a dropshipping printing method to market a speedy printing service. Dropshipping is an order fulfilment process model where you offer products online and when a customer makes a purchase you send their order to the dropshipper to complete.
This takes the physical process of handling orders out of your hands, automates the ordering service and removes the need to retain physical stock. The benefits of dropshipping are the speed of service, reduced overhead costs for you, and a reduced risk of printing photographs without selling them.
Using your website
Today, most companies have their own website, including small businesses. Research by Expert Market discovered that 98% of small businesses surveyed have a website, a figure that dwarfs the 71% from a previous study in 2021.
That research discovered there were four main reasons why small business owners felt the need to have a company website, they were:
- To broaden brand visibility
- To appear in search engines
- To be viewed as trustworthy and authentic
- To convert sales.
All of these reasons can apply to marketing your photography business and help to justify devoting the resources to building your site. With the common goals of marketing closely aligning with the above reasons why entrepreneurs feel the need to have their own website, it’s clear why you can use your site to better promote your photography business.
SEO techniques to improve your ranking
As we have discussed, one of the main reasons companies create websites is to appear in search engines. Google is a powerful tool that can help people find the goods and services they are looking for but it doesn’t see all websites as equal.
Various factors are taken into account when Google recommends a website to its users, from location and matching keywords used in the initial search to factors such as domain authority (a measure of a site’s backlink profile), site speed and the number of referring links.
While you can align yourself with an SEO specialist or digital marketing company, you can also enjoy some quick search ranking wins yourself using the following tips:
- Create a Google Business Profile – one of the top factors Google considers when ranking businesses in search listings. This is free and simply involves providing essential business information, from your address and opening times to what services or goods you offer.
- Use local directories – depending on your photography business, you may heavily rely on local people finding you. Listing your services in a local directory will help you become instantly more visible.
- Great geo-targeted pages – if you are offering local services, ensure that you create location-specific pages on your site so clients can find you. This enhances your local SEO ranking while improving the visibility of your business in that particular area.
The power of social media and professional networks
Social media is a great way to connect with clients. From posting jaw-dropping visual content on channels like Instagram to discovering local events you can attend through Facebook, there are plenty of opportunities on social media to enhance your marketing efforts.
You can also use professional networks to build up a portfolio of commercial clients and other creative individuals or companies you can work in partnership with. Becoming the first person these partners and companies turn to when they need photography services is a sign of networking done right.
Collaborating with other photographers or content creators is another great way to increase your reach to new audiences; further improving the brand identity of your photography business and increasing traffic to your site.
Blogging and vlogging
Using a blog on your website is a great way to increase the trust levels and perceived authority of your photography business. By highlighting your skills in a more long-form way than simply listing what you are good at, or by explaining the technical skills behind your photos, you are indicating to your clients that you know what you are doing.
There is an added bonus of creating content on your website and that is the increased likelihood that other people will link to your site if you are providing informative content. This can be coupled with the link-building aspect of digital marketing which helps to improve a website’s authority, which in turn boosts its search engine ranking, and leads to greater website traffic.