For a little over two years, I’ve worked to bring you photography marketing tips and tricks to help boost your skills in not only dealing with your current clients, but how to capture new ones along the way. I’ve visited such topics as website content and design, social media, networking and more.
With 101 columns behind me, and a few others written by some Photofocus colleagues, I thought it would be a great time to look back at some of what I think are the most helpful tips.
The new yellow pages — having marketing success with Google
For my very first column, I looked at how to set up and take advantage of a Google listing. While Google has made several iterations to this for business owners — at the time of publication, it was tied to Google Plus — the idea remains the same. It’s important to get listed, and to make sure you receive engagement through things like reviews.
Now setup through the Google My Business app, the platform allows you to post text and image updates that are visible on the world’s largest search engine, in addition to things like setting your address and hours, responding to reviews and more.
Networking with community leaders
While Google is certainly an important tool, there’s a more traditional approach that involves networking with local organizations. Regularly, I sit down with community leaders. I talk to them about their work, and of course ask if there’s a way I can help them. I’ll also ask if they know of anyone who needs photography help.
I also make sure that I’m listed in any community directories. This has been key for me, especially with corporate events, because if there’s a convention coming in from out of town that needs a photographer, usually these directories are the first place they look.
Take your website to the people
This column discussed getting website critiques. This is still something I do to this day, whenever I either update my website with new content, or change the design around a bit (which is something I did this spring). But while getting critiques from friends and colleagues is great, getting critiques from clients is even more helpful.
After all, if you can please your client with your website, it’s more likely to have a similar effect on potential clients, too.
Uploading finished images to Instagram
As someone who browses Instagram multiple times a day, I know the importance of having high-quality images at your fingertips to upload to the world’s most popular photo sharing platform. In this column, I discuss using tools like Later, Buffer and HootSuite, as well as LR/Instagram, to help make your professionally-taken photos visible on Instagram.
What’s your story?
It’s important for any businessperson to be able to describe what they do quickly and memorably. For photographers, it’s important to have a good story that has some visual aspects present. Have a pitch that’s unique, but still relatable. Something that will get potential clients excited, but at the same time not be so out in left field that you have them wondering who you are.
How can you develop this? Take a look back at your past reviews and testimonials. See what your clients say about you, and use some of that. Then put it all together and ask for feedback.
What to do after losing a client
This technique is something I’ve used again and again, and recently had some major successes with it. I had recently lost a big client, and really wanted to get them back. I found out that it wasn’t due to anything I did, which meant the door was still open for me to be involved.
I kept in touch regularly with a few people at the company, and I ran into a couple of them at another event I was photographing. They expressed interest — not me — in having me come back. About a month later, I got a call from them to come in for a meeting and we setup several events for me to put on my calendar to photograph.
By keeping in touch and making sure you’re still in good standing, there’s a great chance that a past client will begin showing interest to the possibility of getting you back onboard.
Keep it simple pricing strategies
I get this question from new photographers a lot — how do you price your photography? It’s really quite simple, but you need to start by knowing and understanding your value. From there, you can set a standard price, and either lower or boost it for clients when necessary.
Even more important is the need to keep your pricing simple for clients. Don’t have a ton of add-ons that will just make them confused and get their head spinning. When I started out, I had fees for on-site photography, post-processing, travel and more. Now, I lump almost everything into one dollar amount. It’s much easier to quote from my end, and gives the potential client a really simple way to understand your quote.
Are leave-behinds effective?
In developing things like posters, postcards and brochures, it’s important to make sure your client is at the forefront. Cater it toward the audience you want to attract, and make it specific, but clear. Most importantly — ask for an action.
The last thing you want is to just scatter around some business cards at a coffee shop. Are you wanting to book some upcoming mini sessions? Make a poster specifically advertising that. Give details about where and when, and make it clear what the clients receive. Tell them how to sign up. Simple, yet specific for the audience you’re going after.
It’s OK to say “No”
As business owners we regularly want to say yes and get the sale. But sometimes, a client isn’t right for us. And while it still pains me to say “No,” it’s often the best solution for both parties. If the job simply isn’t a good fit, it’s time to refer them to someone else, or just close the book right there and then.
If you don’t want to say “No,” think about any alternatives. Can you send an intern or junior photographer? Can you work with them to make sure the photoshoot satisfied not only the client, but you personally?
What to do in a saturated market
This one really struck a chord with me. I’m constantly told that “My market is so saturated with photographers.” And while you might know a ton of photographers in your area, none of them are YOU. Think about ways to set yourself apart from other photographers, whether it be your pricing, results, experience and more. Think of unique ways to reach out to the general public, through things like headshot days, photowalks and personal projects.
There could be a photographer on every corner of your city, but you will still be able to find consistent, reliable work!
For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.