Our top 4 marketing essentials for photographers

The top 4 things that every photographer should be doing with their marketing!

Love it or hate it, anyone running a commercial photography business needs to market it. Working as a sole trader or in a small business means that it is often a challenge to run your business and keep marketing it; so what are the essentials that are worth investing time in that really will bring you results?

This is our top four marketing essentials, based on our experience of creating marketing campaigns for commercial photographers, which we know – first hand – actually work.

Number one – email marketing

This is a no-brainer because it is so easy and costs nothing – except your time. Most photographers we work with tell us that every time they send a mailer out they get a couple of leads, so there is no question that it is time well spent.

There are a few rules though that you’ll need to follow to actually get it decent results:

  1. Have a big enough list. You need a decent sized list of good quality names. The minimum to aim for is 300, but there is no upper limit, its a numbers game after all – the more people you send it to the more leads you will get
  2. Be interesting. Lots of photographers are using email, so you need to spend time on your emails to make them interesting enough to stand out. This comes with practice, so persevere – try different ideas and subject lines and pay attention to the results you get and you’ll get a good feel for what is working best. A good email can get 30% – 45% opens, think about that! If you have a list of 300
  3. Be regular. We recommend that you aim to send something out every month. If it’s interesting or useful information, people don’t mind receiving emails. You’re trying to get people to remember you, because in business you can be forgotten very quickly, so don’t let that happen!
  4. Follow up. Don’t just wait for people to get in touch with you – get on the phone. Not everyone’s favourite job but a bit of preparation, like a script to help you with your opening line can make a big difference, and again, it works. So if you really do want more clients, you need to get into a routine of speaking to more on the phone.

Number two – Twitter

We confidently predict that more businesses will start commissioning professional photographers for their Twitter images, but they won’t use you if you are a social media dinosaur.

So now is the time to start using twitter seriously. Not only that, we know many photographers who are getting clients through twitter, but not by some happy accident; instead they are getting clients as a result of having a clear strategy for using it in their business.

So you need to plan how you are going to use twitter very carefully, and remember to pay attention to learning how to use it as an effective business tool, so here are a few things to think about:

  1. Your bio. Your potential followers will usually look at your bio before they decide whether to follow you or not, so you need to make sure that it is really working hard to sum you up. Check out the bios that other people write and start thinking about your own. Don’t forget, you can change it very easily.
  2. Followers – quality not quantity. Take time to follow and engage with the right people. Following other photographers and having them follow you back isn’t going to get you any commissions. You need to be seeking out businesses who could potentially commissioning you and engaging with them.
  3. What are you going to say? Give some thought about what you are saying, and remember, you need to be tweeting and posting images that are going to interest your target audience. There is so much trivial content on Twitter, which is easy to ignore, but people are always on the look out for good content so make sure your tweets don’t fall into the trivial category. If you post relevant, interesting and useful content, you will get the followers and the conversations that will grow your business.

Number three – Networking

Getting out of your house or studio and mixing with the business world gives you a whole new source of inspiration that you can use in the way you position and sell your photography business, and that’s in addition to the fact that you could well meet someone that gives you some work.

There are many different types of networking groups all over the UK, the trick is to make sure that you are networking in the right circles and at the right levels for the type of photography that you offer.

You’ll need to be quite open minded – we know people who have been scarred for life from some networking groups! So, do your research and be prepared to try a few different groups to get the hang of how they work, find out about the type of people that you’ll be meeting, and decide how well it fits in with your business.

Number four – Blogging

Commercial photographers are very concerned with the quality of their websites and a blog can be a very powerful element of your website which will build a much better picture of who you are to potential clients.

For most photographers, their clients and prospects are less creative than they are, and respond very well to written blogs. Blogs can give help and advice to potential clients, talk about your experience and explain case studies, sell new elements of your offer… The possibilities are endless.

You just need to remember that an effective blog is about words rather than pictures – your site will already have enough images on it.

Another reason to get writing a blog is that it links in brilliantly to your marketing. You can tweet links to your posts or use them in your email campaigns (which get you new clients, remember!).

A great blog is a fantastic way to appeal to a buyer that lands on your site, and give you a very definite edge over your competition.

Keep an eye on the prize!

Focussing on a small number of key marketing tasks makes it easier to manage day to day. Whilst it can seem hard work in the short term, it does get easier over time. So start thinking about how you can raise the game with your marketing by imagining the new clients you could have in a few months time!

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