Creating a successful photography business means more than having artistic skills. Successful photographers are also marketers.
Capturing leads and converting them into sales is an essential business practice. The key to a thriving photography business is a steady stream of customers.
No doubt all photographers have asked at one time how to get more photography clients. Acquiring more clients is difficult, competitive, and takes a lot of trial and error.
However, building a successful photography business is possible and within reach. This article will analyze key but simple methods of how to get more photography clients.
It is possible to gain more clients fast by following these marketing tips. The following tips will be discussed in this article:
- Focus on a niche
- Identify ideal clients
- Build a portfolio
- Develop a brand
- Identify key relationships
- Create a database
- Use social media accounts
- Advertise with Google Ads
- Create content
- Gain good reviews
- Encourage Referrals
- In-person marketing and partnerships
- Offer a promotion
Focus On A Niche
Most people believe that they have to cast a wide net to gain more customers. However, it is more practical to establish a specific niche.
It is not wrong for those starting out with photography to take all kinds of photography jobs. Exploring different types of photography helps photographers discover what they enjoy the most.
In time, though, focusing on a specific niche will help a business to grow and acquire a steady stream of clients.
Those who focus on a niche can stand out from the crowd and gain a competitive advantage. The more specific the niche, the more established they become as an expert.
For example, they may be a portrait photographer. But is their niche taking pictures of newborns, CEOs, graduates, or something else?
Deciding on a niche affects who the target client is and the marketing strategy.
Having a specific photography niche is beneficial for three reasons:
- It can attract more potential clients
- Your skills will improve in the chosen field of photography
- It helps a photographer to stand out from others
Establishing a niche does not mean that you cannot shoot other things. But it does mean directing marketing efforts in one direction.
Highlight the type of jobs you want instead of being the “everything photographer”.
Identify The Ideal Client
As a photographer becomes more skilled, they also learn who their ideal clientele is. Identifying ideal clients is the most important step in gaining more customers.
If they don’t, they can spend a lot of energy trying to appeal to everyone and end up attracting no one.
So it’s important to think about who the ideal clients are. Then focus any marketing efforts on that group.
Marketing strategies differ from one type of client to another even in the same field. For example, marketing efforts differ for taking pictures of newborn babies versus taking headshots for CEOs.
Identifying ideal clients means more than thinking of a broad demographic. To make the best marketing impact, photographers need to understand their clients well.
Think about their lives, walk in their shoes, and then analyze the best way to reach out to them.
Ask questions such as:
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What do they do for a living?
- What are their hobbies?
- Where do they shop?
- What websites do they visit?
But do not stop there. The more you understand about the ideal client, the easier it is to communicate with them and attract them to the business.
Build A Portfolio
A great way to attract new clients is to build a portfolio. Deciding on a niche and who the potential clients are, helps to build a portfolio that will appeal to them.
Instead of only presenting photos on social media, consider using a website portfolio. A simple website portfolio will validate you as a professional photographer.
Here are some tips when building a website portfolio:
Keep it simple
Feature your best work. Some photographers showcase their vast experience with endless photo galleries.
Potential clients do not have the time to go through a large number of photos. Display a few best shots that will impress potential clients and convince them to hire you.
Design the website to appeal to visitors
Two vital aspects of a website are accessible navigation and visible information. Visitors need to be able to navigate the site with ease and find all the information they need.
For example, a best practice is to include a pricing page on the website. Most clients looking for a photographer will not take the time to contact them to ask about pricing.
If that information is not accessible they will move on to find someone else.
Learn about SEO tools
Using SEO tools will help to ensure that more people see the website. It helps the website to get more traffic which means more potential sales.
Some website platforms have SEO tools built-in. Look for these platforms when creating an online portfolio.
Develop A Brand
Image source: SPG MARKS
A brand is what distinguishes a company, makes it recognizable, and differentiates it from the competition. The world’s top companies have solid branding.
Developing a brand is more than deciding on a logo or a motto. It encompasses the entire feel of the company.
Solid branding means cohesion from the website to social media pages to emails and more.
Developing a brand might seem overwhelming but take it one step at a time. First, think about the overall brand “flavor”.
Ask questions like:
- What is my photography style? Is it whimsical, realistic, earthy?
- What is the goal of taking pictures?
- What is the brand mission?
- How am I different from other photographers?
After thinking about the overall design, it’s possible to decide on specific elements.
Is a logo needed? What color scheme and fonts will the website use?
Make sure everything ties together.
Identify Key Relationships
Marketing involves building relationships with others in the same industry. It is vital to build these relationships instead of developing them organically.
The next step of how to get more photography clients is to think in advance about networking. The more connections you make with people in the industry the easier it will be to get work.
Make a list of people to develop a deeper relationship with. Think of at least 50 people to get to know better in the next year.
Who should be on this list?
It is a list of people with whom to start and have an ongoing conversation about your business. They should be people who can help you achieve success.
It can include other photographers, editors, bloggers, etc.
To begin, look ahead five years and think of who your peers and contacts will be. It may include people to collaborate with, refer clients to, bounce ideas off of.
These are the people who go on the list and who to network with now.
Create A Database
Another important step in acquiring more photography clients is to create an organized database. A database will help to monitor prospects and projects.
The database can contain the following categories:
- Leads or potential clients
- Past customers
- Potential marketing partners
- Vendors and partners
When business is slow, go back to this list and see who to send follow-ups, ads, promotions or proposals to. Keep track of these leads, make regular contact with them, and stay consistent.
Use Social Media Accounts
Social media accounts are free marketing tools. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are all excellent platforms for marketing to new clients.
Here are some ways to use these platforms to boost exposure and clientele:
For the most successful marketing impact on Instagram, post at least three times a week and add Instagram stories. Use relevant hashtags and tags to reach more people.
If posting on a regular basis is difficult, use post scheduling software. Make sure the posts, hashtags, and captions match the branding.
Pinterest is where consumers go to get ideas. Photographers can make boards of venues, receptions, corporate event ideas, etc.
Set up a Facebook business page for the most effective marketing strategy. It looks professional and users can receive customer reviews and create Facebook Ads.
Advertise with Google Ads
Advertising is an age-old method of acquiring new clients. Nowadays advertising takes on a new form.
One popular method of advertising is through Google Ads.
Although more expensive than Facebook Ads, Google Ads has many advantages. For instance, Google Ads reach clients who are looking for photography services.
Since they already want to hire a photographer, Google Ads result in more conversions. Other advantages of Google Ads include:
- They offer faster results than SEO. Instead of having to build up content, Google Ads increase brand awareness fast
- Google Ads can increase the search engine rating of the website
- Users can turn Google Ads off and on and adjust them to better attract new clients
- Google Ads evaluates ad performance so users can adapt them for better marketing
Creating content is still the number one way to market and grow a business online. So to acquire more photography clients, consider starting a blog.
A blog is useful in four ways:
- Content gets a better search engine rating and attracts more traffic to the website
- A blog provides an opportunity to show off recent photo sessions
- Blog posts are a great way to highlight and strengthen vendor relationships
- Writing helpful topics about photography will increase the value of the services. Potential clients will see that you know what you are doing and it will encourage them to make a booking.
A high volume of content results in better search engine ratings. Try to publish a blog post after every photo shoot.
Learn about SEO to help blog posts attract the most attention possible. If writing a blog seems daunting, consider hiring a writer as SEO content writing can take your SEO success to the next level and develop your traffic.
Gain Good Reviews
No one makes a purchase without hearing a good review about it. Reviewing products is now even a way to make a living.
Most clients research photographers online before booking a session. It is important to have good reviews and to display them for potential clients to see.
Here are four ways to get reviews:
- Encourage clients to leave reviews. Sometimes the simplest way to get a review is to ask for it.
After a photoshoot, ask clients for ways to improve or what they enjoyed about the experience. If they are happy with the service they received, they will be more than happy to leave a good review
- Provide a straightforward way for clients to leave reviews like a link on the website
- Offer incentives for clients to leave reviews. This is the best way to gain reviews fast when building an online presence.
Incentives such as free prints or mini sessions are enough to convince someone to write a review
- Set up a survey that asks for feedback and send it in an email to customers after a completed job
Show clients that their opinion matters. Doing so helps to build lasting relationships and gain good reviews.
One of the most effective ways to gain more photography clients is through referrals. Word of mouth marketing is not only free but also generates great results.
If a recommendation is from a trusted acquaintance, people are more likely to respond.
Organic referrals occur when clients are very satisfied with a service. But there is also a way to motivate current clients to market your photography business.
It is by creating a referral program. Referral programs encourage clients to introduce the business to their friends and family.
A referral program can offer a free product or a discount when a customer introduces a new client. The offer will depend on the goal.
To increase the client base, an aggressive referral program may be necessary.
No matter the referral program, calculate the numbers ahead of time to avoid losing money. Keep in mind that two clients are better than one and more customers means more referrals.
So working at a discounted price to develop a large client base will be worth it in the long run.
In-Person Marketing and Partnerships
Another marketing tool is to make business cards and talk to people about your services. Go to where the target client is and tell them what you offer.
To make this method more effective, partner with local businesses. They can distribute business cards or flyers to their clients.
Your photography niche will determine which businesses to partner with.
For example, event photographers can team up with local salons to offer wedding or graduation packages. Car photographers can partner with car dealerships.
Ways to partner with businesses include:
- Take photos for the business or provide a discount in exchange for them promoting your services
- Gifting a business prints to display in their offices
- Promoting a business on your website and asking them to return the favor
Another great marketing partnership method is to volunteer to photograph an event. Try photographing local, charity, or public events.
Pass out business cards while at the event or sell the photos after the event. This is a way to give back to the community, promote your photography business, and find more clients.
Offer A Promotion
Last but not least, another excellent marketing tool is to offer a promotion, a special deal, or a giveaway. This proven marketing strategy gets more exposure, more jobs, and more photography clients.
A marketing trend today is to have a giveaway contest on Instagram. To enter the contest, users need to follow your page, tag, and repost in their story.
This is an effective way to generate exposure and interest in potential customers. Some possible promotions are:
- A free or discounted photography session after so many photoshoots with the same client
- A larger order of prints for a referral
- A discount photo session if they refer two new customers
- A framed photograph as a giveaway
Make sure to capture all the leads generated from the promotion and add them to the database.
Ending thoughts on how to get more photography clients
Growing a photography business takes time, effort, and a combination of various strategies. It all starts with a talent for photography and finding an enjoyable niche.
Then, building a portfolio online with a website and social media accounts.
An important aspect of marketing is to provide excellent customer service. Great customer service moves customers to write good reviews and make referrals.
Other marketing tools include advertising and offering promotions to grow the business.
All the tips listed in this article require consistency and hard work. By following these suggestions, photographers will get more photography clients.
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