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One of the most important aspects of running a successful photography business is creating an impactful marketing strategy that will help you to thrive and grow. It can be a dizzying prospect to try to design an effective marketing strategy but if you hire outside professionals the costs can soon spiral and will, in many cases, be prohibitive from the start! That means you’ll have to take matters into your own hands and use all the free methods at your disposal.
Fortunately for photographers in business there are plenty of tired and tested free ways that you can promote your business that will really pay off in both the short and long term. The internet is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal but there are also other inventive methods that you can use to promote your business.
Once you start to put your marketing strategy into action you’ll soon be attracting new clients in greater numbers than ever before but it will take some work to get off the ground. Remember, that in the end, there’s no quick fix option so you’ll have to put in the work to take your business to the next level.
Free And Very Cheap Ways to Promote Your Photography Business – On and Offline.
Digital marketing is one of the lowest cost methods of promoting your photography business that can yield incredible results and massive increases in your business revenues. There’s many different ways that you can leverage the power and reach of the internet to get your business and the services you provide in front of potential clients; and so in the modern world you simply can’t avoid doing some form of digital marketing.
In some cases, it can work to focus your efforts on one method however usually you will want to combine several different marketing techniques to get consistent results. You’ll also need to be prepared to experiment with different methods and not lose hope if one doesn’t instantly deliver results.
Online Marketing Strategies To Promote Your Photography Business.
Create A Website For Your Photography Business.
It’s absolutely essential to create a website for your photography business which will act as a central hub for the rest of your digital marketing strategies. When your marketing works then potential clients can be directed back to your website where they can get in contact with you to discuss their exact requirements.
You should also use your website to display your portfolio. Choose only the very best photos in your collection and go for quality not quantity. When you’re putting your portfolio together make sure it looks professional and is directly relevant to the type of photography business that you are advertising. Your portfolio will be one of the most important things that defines your business’ brand and could be the difference between converting website traffic into clients or failing to do so.
It’s also vital that you keep your website up to date, ensure that it works smoothly on all types of devices, including phones, and is easy to navigate for your site’s visitors.
You can set up a website for free however if you want to upgrade it you will have to pay subscription fees; although for a basic website the costs are extremely low and should not be prohibitive at all with prices starting at only a few dollars a month.
Constant Blogging On Your Website.
Blogging is one of the most powerful ways to convert site traffic into customers. Your blog should give visitors to your site an insight into your business and the values that you stand for.
You can use your blog to answer frequently asked questions by potential customers, help them to solve issues that they might be facing or simply to create a platform for you to promote your past exhibitions, projects and photoshoots.
Having a regularly updated blog is an effective way to stay higher up in the search engine rankings which means that your website will be seen by more potential customers than if you don’t keep on top of it.
Study SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
SEO, or search engine optimization, is probably one of the top ways to attract new visitors to your website. SEO is a technique whereby you use carefully chosen words and phrases that are frequently searched for by people online who are looking for your services.
For instance, if you were running a wedding photography business, a good SEO phrase might be something like ‘wedding photographers in Philadelphia’ or ‘how to find a good wedding photographer?’. By using well tuned SEO phrases and words in the titles of your blog posts and within the text you will get more visitors to your website.
Learning how to use SEO is guaranteed to attract more visitors to your website because the content that you create will be easier to find on the search engines. You will need to do some serious research to make the most of the potential of SEO but there are several excellent subscription based software tools that you can use to help you select the best key words and phrases to use on your website.
Use Social Media To Promote Your Business.
Social media has become an increasingly important aspect of any digital marketing strategy and one you can’t afford to miss out on. Not only can you present your photography, blog posts and the services you offer to increase your reach but you can also target potential customers in your precise niche and location!
Create An Email List.
If you’re looking for ways to stay in contact with previous customers, send out updates about your services and any offers or discounts that are available with your business then having an up to date email list is a highly effective tool to use.
You can build an emailing list based on visitors to your website, past clients and by using social media to advertise your services. A great way to get people to sign up to your mailing list is to offer a free product, also known as a ‘lead magnet’, such as an eBook or ‘how to’ help sheets.
For example, if you are running a wedding photography business you could offer free products based on the best ways to get ready for a wedding, how to book a wedding photographer and what to look for in a good wedding photographer! Remember, that your free products should give potential clients genuine value; and given that they benefit from the free informational resources and you benefit from having potential new clients it’s a pure win-win situation!
Create a Referral Program with Your Old Clients.
If you’ve worked with a client before and they were impressed by your skills then you can set up a referral program with them. This is a great way to drum up future business while making your old clients feel valued.
There are many ways that you can set up your referral program which will depend on the services you provide and the types of clients you usually work with. For example, you might offer your former clients a financial or photographic gift for each client that they refer. Alternatively, you can offer your former clients a free 1 hour portrait photoshoot for every new client they refer. This will help your clients to remember you and will bring more business to you at the same time!
Offline Marketing Strategies To Promote Your Photography Business.
You should certainly be putting most of your efforts into promoting your business for free in the digital space, however there’s still plenty of ways that you can increase your brand awareness and find new clients offline as well.
Events are a major way to get your brand and services seen by more potential clients. There’s many different ways to use events to promote your business; some of which will be more suitable depending on your situation and location.
Volunteer Your Services.
Volunteering to shoot photos at a local event is a fantastic way to be seen by your community, make new contacts and advertise your services. The possibilities are limitless so you should try to choose something which is, in some way, at least vaguely related to your business niche.
For example, you could volunteer to take portrait photos, like a photo booth, at a farmers market, sporting event or nearby museum. After you’ve taken the photos you can email the copies of the photos to the people you’ve photographed and include a link to your website in the email.
If you are running a portrait photography business you could set up a small stall at the beach, in the park or in a beautiful spot in town and then take portraits for free which you can then send to your potential future clients!
Alternatively, you could take more panoramic and atmospheric photos which the event’s organizers can use on their social media and website provided they credit you with the photos and include a link back to your website.
Try to be creative when thinking about the ways that you can put your brand in front of the public while volunteering your services to boost your business profile.
Tradeshows and Conferences.
Although you will usually have to pay to set up a stall at a tradeshow you could offer to photograph the event itself in order to get more exposure and brand recognition. You can also offer your services to local conferences for free and if it goes well the organizers might consider taking you on as a photographer on a more permanent, fully paid, basis.
Put Advertisements on Notice Boards.
You can hand make, or print out promotional materials and put them on notice boards in your area. You can put up your adverts in libraries, town halls, community areas and in shop windows – where you might have to pay a few dollars at the most.
Low Cost Ways To Promote Your Photography Business.
While these methods are not completely free, they are still very cheap and surprisingly few photography businesses use these strategies.
Create And Distribute Flyers.
A super effective way to build up a larger client base in your area is to print up some flyers and then hand deliver them to letter boxes of people’s homes in your locality. Emails and other online adverts are much easier to forget about than a physical flyer in the hands of a potential client.
Send Promotional Materials by Post.
This may cost a little more than hand delivering flyers but you can create informational packages and post them to addresses in your area. It’s usually a good idea to offer some discounts for respondents to your postal marketing. You’ll also need to keep a careful eye on the costs to ensure that you are getting value for money in terms of converting sent advertisements into paying clients.
Be As Imaginative As Possible With Your Photography Business Promotional Strategy.
There are many different ways that you can promote your photography business and in most cases it’s going to be much more successful if you combine multiple techniques.
Throughout your promotional work you should always be keeping detailed notes on the success of different parts of your strategy. This will help to analyze what’s working and give you clear indications where you should put more of your time and resources to achieve the results you’re aiming for in terms of growing your business and client base.
When you are coming up with a free marketing strategy most of your best options are going to be online but you can still promote your brand in your local community by volunteering and getting yourself out there!
What strategy do you follow to promote your photography business?