The photography industry is one that is creative, innovative and part of a new age of small business booms. The problem, however, is that it has become saturated with amateur photographers who claim to be the best out there. For consumers, especially those who are inexperienced in the field, they end up choosing the first photographer that pops up on a Google search.
This is why it is essential for you to have a marketing and branding plan in place. Besides being talented, your business will not survive if you do not invest in marketing and branding. Doing so will set you apart from the competitors.
Marketing for the Photography Industry
There are quite a few unique marketing strategies that are effective for your photography business. Having good and sustainable strategies will ensure that your business will succeed. Here are a few that have worked well for successful photography businesses:
Buy a domain name – With the market being so saturated, it becomes difficult for photographers to gain a lot of traffic to their websites. When a customer goes into Google to search for “local wedding photographer,” they will most likely get hits from businesses that have their own domain names versus those who use free site hosting platforms.
Host a contest – If there is one thing that consumers love, it is to win free things. You are guaranteed to gain more traffic if you are offering free sessions. You may want to corroborate this contest using one of your social media channels. You can post a picture and ask followers to caption it with something relevant and clever. The winner gets a free photo session with you. This gains more traffic for your business because: they will be looking at your pictures, the winner gets a chance to see your work in action and they will help spread the word about your business by referrals.
Write for books and/or magazines – Credibility is important in the world of photography. You need to show people that you have the experience, professionalism and work ethic that is different from other photographers. Once you become a professional photographer, you can begin to write books or articles in magazines to provide readers with effective strategies that have worked for you. Being a published author will certainly gain you more credibility than other photographers in the industry.
There are also many free marketing ideas that you can try to gain more traffic. The top ones include:
Email marketing – Assuming you have already collected email addresses from clients over time, the best way to get information out to them is through a listserv. In a list of 1,000 emails, the chances of you receiving engagement are very high. Of course, be sure that clients are opting to receive email updates and promotions from you and be mindful about how many times you send them out. This would also be a good time to create and maintain a monthly newsletter. These newsletters could include helpful tips when clients are taking photos such as outfit recommendations, lighting, etc. Not all marketing has to do with bringing them into your studio.
Social media – Social media is free to use and an easy way to get information out to current and potential customers. Popular platforms for photography businesses include: Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. All of these channels offer ways for photographers to present their work in gallery-like platforms that make it easy for clients to scroll through.
One of the best ways to market your business is to show off your work and talent. You do this by promoting the photos you have taken. Presentation is just as important as the pictures themselves. Through the use of a strategic gallery, this would be a great tool you can use to showcase your work. When creating a website, be sure to use a platform that is conducive to displaying pictures in a presentable format. If using photo-driven social media sites like Instagram, display pictures that are of your best work and create a cohesiveness that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Logo Design for Photography Business
Just as having a brand for your photography business is important, so is having a logo. A logo that is associated with your business helps your clients distinguish you from the rest of the competition. You need to have a logo that is synonymous with your vision, concept and one that customers will remember. The Nike “swoosh” sign is so iconic that many people recognize it without needing the actual name attached to it.
You will most likely use one of your own photos as your logo. It makes sense to do this, as it is another way to promote your work. If you choose to use your own work, be sure to use one that incorporates aerial imaging. In other words, choose one that has great angles and is unique from the simple point and shoot cameras.
Branding on Social Media
It is definitely no secret that having a strong social media presence will create a positive brand behind your business. You should take advantage of all social media channels out there. Depending on your targeted audience, you might create content to send out to different channels that cater to different aged groups. Using third party apps like Hootsuite would be a great way for you to manage all of your channels in one place.
Through the use of social media, you can create a brand for your photography business. Your following is able to see what you are doing, every single time you send out a post. Whether it be a promotion of an event, photos you have taken at client’s sessions or just giving them a glimpse into your everyday practice, people will see you and your brand on a consistent basis.
As you continue to use social media to brand yourself, you may even discover that you have created an identity for yourself. Through analyzing the engagement you receive from your followers, you determine what they like and what they may not like. This will help you critique your own work and find what makes you a better photographer. Thus, you begin to discover your own identity through your photos.
When it comes to marketing, you must remember that this includes how you make appointments, customer service and turnaround times for developing photos. Depending on your customer feedback, your brand will follow and that is your reputation. Utilize the strategies and key points discussed in this article to help you succeed as a professional photographer.