I’m about to enter my busy season — an entire month of shooting non-stop, sometimes with multiple events a day. Sometimes even multiple full days in a row! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While having photoshoots lined up is great, and that ultimately means cash in your pocket, there can be a few unintended consequences. Things not related to your current photoshoots can fall by the wayside rather easily. If you have a plan in place in advance of your busy season starting, you can avoid this from happening, and keep your promotion going even though you might not be there every day to post it or schedule it out.
Come up with a schedule
It’s important to know what regular marketing items you need to push. Things like posting on Facebook and Instagram, sending out your e-mail newsletter, and reminders to clients about their upcoming photoshoots. While these can take time to develop, the good news is you can automate all of these with several different tools.
First things first, though — you need to come up with an effective schedule. Think about when you need to send your next few e-mail newsletters and the most effective time of day to post to your social media platforms. In your reminders to clients, what do you typically send, and when works best to send that information to them?
For me, I schedule my e-mail newsletter at the beginning of each month, usually the first Tuesday. I do this because, on Mondays, people are just getting back into the office, and the newsletter will have a better chance of being ignored. For social media, I let a tool like Dlvr.it or Buffer handle the scheduling, as it can choose the most effective times for me.
Come up with the content
Now that I have your schedule in place, I gather or develop the content. For social media, I think about my upcoming shoots and when I’ll be able to post some of your work for those. I leave those slots open and schedule them as soon as the content is ready. zi also post some content I already have, so I don’t be caught scrambling at the last minute. I make short, effective posts with some of my photographs from the past few weeks that I can schedule now.
Dlvr.it is great for this. Its free plan lets you schedule to three different social media platforms, where you can tag other accounts, upload images and everything else you’d expect as if you were posting from your Facebook business page or Twitter profile.
For Instagram, I use Later.com, which also has a free plan. This lets me schedule 30 posts per month (on the free version) and it’ll then alert me when it’s time to post. From there I open the app, copy my content then paste it into Instagram. It couldn’t be easier. If you have an Instagram business account, you’ll be able to take advantage of having Later.com, Buffer and other tools automatically post for you — so you don’t have any work when it’s time to push your next photo.
For your e-mail newsletters, put it together now, and leave holes when necessary so you can fill with photos and other content once you have it.
You might be about to be really busy like I am going to be. It’s important to start thinking about what’s next after the busy-ness is finished. My busy season will end after October, so I am developing content that I can put on social media and my newsletter now to develop new clients for November and December. I also make promotions to include in both the newletter and social outlets.
Don’t forget about your blog
If you have a blog, be sure to stick to its schedule. Come up with posts in advance, and schedule them for the appropriate dates and times. With blogging, it’s important to start as you want to continue, so don’t feel the need to post 5-6 blog posts all at once. Instead, spread them out on a consistent schedule so your followers can know what to expect.
Automate your e-mails to clients
If you use a tool like Studio Ninja, you’re already all set in terms of automating your client e-mails. Three days before a photoshoot, Studio Ninja automatically sends an e-mail reminder to my client, asking them if they have any questions or need clarification on anything. This is super handy because it reminds them of the photoshoot in terms of the location and time, and also gets them thinking about what’s ahead so they can be prepared for the photography.
Setup an autoresponder
If you have a long day of shooting, be sure to set up an e-mail autoresponder so your other clients know you’re just busy and not ignoring their e-mails. This is important because it gives prospective as well as active clients an idea of what to expect in terms of when you’ll get back to them. This way, they won’t go hunting for a different photographer instead.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.
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