The Key To Get You New Business
As a budding professional photographer, you might be good with your camera, but that is of no use unless you have clients to take pictures of. To find these clients you must get your name out there by marketing yourself. Here are a couple of tips, tricks, and pointers that will help set you apart from your competition.
Your Photography Website
A photographer’s website is their front line for marketing. It should be included on your business cards, all of your promotional information, in your email signature—it should be everywhere. Your domain name should be easy to remember and easy to spell, and it should have a .com extension (not a .net, .co, or anything else).
Take care in designing your website. It should not load slowly, and it should be well designed. Above all, it should include large, beautiful pictures of your photographs. Remember, that is what you are selling. Display your photos prominently. You website should also include information that potential clients want to see—your contact information, pricing information, and maybe a biography. Any additional information is up to you, but just make sure that it only takes no more than one or two clicks to find the vital information on your site.
Your Business Blog
It is becoming increasingly popular for photographers to integrate their main website and blog as one. This means you will make updating your website easy and it will also ensure that your web design is entirely consistent. More than anything, it will keep things simple—something that is good for both you and your potential clients.
On your blog you can immediately share pictures from photo sessions and keep your followers up to date on your latest photography whereabouts. While your main website is static and more difficult to update, your blog is dynamic and is constantly changing. Because of this, your blog will and should get more hits from your current and previous customers. In contrast, your main static page should get most of its hits from prospective clients.
It is generally good practice to promote both your blog and your main website on business cards and email signatures. This, however, could get somewhat confusing for clients and thus becomes another reason to make a “blogsite” where your blog and main website are combined into one singular web presence.
Create a Facebook Photography Page
Today, just about everyone has a personal Facebook page, and it is time for you as a budding photographer to tap into this market. Facebook allows users to create a business website to promote yourself and your product. This business page operates very similarly to a personal Facebook page—you can update your status, share links, and add online photo galleries.
By soliciting your friends and family to “like” your business, they will be updated every time you do something on your page. As you expand your network on Facebook, the posts on your business page will reach farther than just about any other medium. If one of your fans likes a post of yours, it will then be shared with their entire network, thus further increasing your reach.
You may even want to think about offering Facebook only coupons and contests that drive more traffic and business to you and your website. Very simply, any photographer who wants to better ensure their success should have a Facebook business page.
The Word of Mouth – Unleash Its Power
It is no secret that most of your business, at least initially, will come because someone heard about you from a friend, family, or coworker. When you work with a client, do not be afraid to ask them to spread the word about you. Perhaps give them a few additional business cards to give to their friends. Maybe you include something in your email signature politely asking for their referrals. Or, perhaps the best way to get referrals is to give clients a financial incentive. Tell your old clients that if they refer you a new client they will receive a discounted or free portrait session. Put the power in their hands.
A certain amount of your referrals will happen naturally. If you photograph a wedding, chances are many people will see your final product. Among those people, there might be someone who wants their portrait taken. If you have a good products and services, you just might have yourself a new client.
Marketing At Weddings
Do not be afraid to soft sell yourself when you are photographing a wedding. One way to do this is to distribute business cards to all the guests. Instead of just including your contact information on the cards, state that guests can view wedding pictures in a few days (or weeks depending on how quickly you work) on your blog. This will create almost immediate traffic to your website. Once they get on your website, you just need to sell them on your quality of service so make sure that website wows.
It is also a very good idea to network with other vendors at weddings, especially the DJ. Throughout the night, you as the photographer should collaborate with the DJ to figure out the times of the bouquet toss or garter throw. If you are personable and create a good working relationship with this DJ, you could have possibly just added someone to your personal wedding network. Exchange business cards and tell them you will send referrals their way. Most vendors will gladly return the favor.
Second Shooting Weddings
Photography may be a dog-eat-dog business, but most photographers are actually very nice people. When you second shoot at a wedding, you are actually expanding your wedding referral network. Often, photographers will get phone calls requesting to shoot on a certain date. If this photographer is booked, there is a good chance that they will refer this bride or groom to you. And this goes both ways. Once you begin getting requests for your services, you should refer to these photographers if you are booked. It might be a difficult business to crack, but people still generally look out for each other. You should return the favor whenever possible.