Great, you’ve landing on our little blog discussing the specifics of marketing and advertising a photography business.
So you might be a seasoned photographer specialising in wedding photography, and achieve most of your business form referrals / recommendations, and you’re now looking to get new organic enquiries via your website or from Google. Alternatively, you may have just started your photography business and are now looking to get your site noticed on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, and want to take advantage of free advertising.
Well the good news is that the Internet is the number ONE place that people use to find a photographer, i.e. the majority of people will look on Google and other directory sites to find portfolios before calling the business up for an informal discussion.
Can I Compete Against The Established Photographers?
In the past photography has been considered a traditional business and only the most elite, established, and portfolio rich photographers were super-successful, however, today, and for the first time in the history of photography, it is now possible for new photographers to break into this world quickly by exploiting the possibilities of the Internet.
If you’re starting or have recently started a new business then this advice is for you. Basically there are 3 key elements of the business you need to consider in order to become successful:
- Actual photography skills, i.e. taking good / exceptional images
- Post production, i.e. Photoshop and presentation materials
- Marketing and Promotion
Most people start by concentrating on number 1 or 2, i.e. the actual doing part. Of course this is essential as you need to be able to take good quality photos, and action post-production in line with your customer’s requirements. However, competition within the photography sector is fierce – a quick Google search will show you what you’re up against. If you dedicate most of your effort to these areas then you’ll soon find time will run away with you, and you’ll be a capable photographer but with no entries in your booking diary!
Even though you may shy away from number 3, you MUST tackle it head on and start planning and implementing a strategy from day one. That way you will be somewhere down the marketing line when you’re ready to actually take and manage your bookings.
So How Should I Split My Time?
Well as a guide, daily activities should be split 50% / 20% / 30% in respect to 1,2 and 3 above. First form a strategy plan, i.e. a high level document outlining what you want to achieve e.g. define pricing structure, target market, business admin and finance, product offerings etc.. etc.. Keep this ratio in your head whilst forming your plan, and copy the ratio to your daily task list, i.e. write a ‘To Do’ list every day, and make sure that you keep to this split most of the time.
So Specifically How Can The Internet Help My Photography Business?
As I said earlier, the Internet is the main place for you to start your efforts and spend your precious budget on. With time and dedicated focus you will see positive results and start to get ahead of even the most established photographers within 6-12 months – Google doesn’t know how good your competitors are, or in fact how good you are, what it does know is how popular your site is, and it intelligently ranks your site based on many factors (top 200 indicators) and orders it in their search results.
Initially please forget all about producing glossy flyers, ‘A’ boards, magazine / newspaper advertising, POS marketing in country houses etc – all this can wait until later. There is so much competition in this sector that this investment will not pay any worthwhile returns in the short-term.
Quite simply you need to focus and split your Internet activities into 3 simple parts:
- Website: launch a glossy website with all your best images on
- SEO: optimise your site and understand all you can about ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’ SEO, and choose your keywords (see our other blogs for further help)
- AdWords: again understand all you can and set up some trial campaigns
AdWords is Google’s advertising service that enables you to advertise on page 1 immediately by paying for clicks to your website (PPC – Pay Per Click). This will be your initial strategy to get potential clients to your site whist your organic positioning (where you appear in Google’s organic and free search results), develops over time. Ideally you’ll be looking to reduce your AdWords spend as your organic positioning increases.
What Free Advertising Opportunities Are There For My Photography Business ?
LOTS – photographers by nature are creative people and there are plenty of free advertising opportunities to be exploited. For example, why not get really creative and produce a video biography about you and your services. If you have already done some photography work then try to get a video recommendation from the clients, and publish these on YouTube and quality directories like Wampit® that let you host video for free against your profile.
Join a forum or two and get to meet people in the same position as you. They are great places to meet like-minded people and exchange views and help. We recommend My Local Forums as a good place to start and make some friends.
Write up your experiences and start blogging them – this will help other photographers whilst also giving your business creditability to potential customers.
Don’t forget to list your business on the trusted and quality free advertising services too. For example Google Places, Wampit®, My Local Services and Qype are a ‘must do’. But spend time by creating a unique business profile for each one – Golden Rule: never duplicate your content on the Internet.
The free advertising possibilities are endless for the creative mind, and although this industry is highly competitive, but with dedication, commitment and sticking to a plan it is possible to break into this sector and start to grow a sustainable business. For further help on some of the specific topics raised in this blog then please check out our other articles on this site.