Being a photographer is a very fun and rewarding career. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to make a little money, there’s more to it than just pressing a shutter button.
Marketing your skillset does have unique challenges, but they can all be overcome with a little bit of work. It doesn’t really matter if you specialize in one type of photography, or if you do it all, these tips should help you no matter where you’re at in your career.
Here are 11 ideas that will help kick start your photography business.
1. Local SEO
Most photographers skip this very crucial step in marketing – and it’s arguably one of the most important. Local SEO isn’t just for brick-and-mortar studios. Freelancers and photographers that work out of their home will also want to take advantage of it.
- Claim your Google business page.
- Use local keywords. Especially the city. Use the city with your main keyword in your website title, h1 tags and your domain if you can.
- Get local reviews.
- Have a local link back strategy.
2. Promote Images on Social Media
Images are your bread and butter – might as well show off the product! Promoting yourself on social media is one of the easiest ways to share what you do.
It’s also a great way to spread the word. Great photos will get shared far and beyond your regular circle of friends. Using social media can increase your local reach.
- Instagram. This medium was made for you. People have built entire livelihoods off of sharing their craft on Instagram. Post regularly.
- Facebook. Facebook posts with a visual are shared more. 75% of all content shared on Facebook has a picture associated with it.
- Twitter. Here are some great tips to help photographers share on Twitter.
- Pinterest. This one really depends on your business. It’s a highly visual medium, but you’ll want to make sure your content is relevant.
3. Start a Blog
You’re a photographer, so don’t get too intimidated by having to write words. With practice you’ll get better at it. Most of the time your pictures will do the talking anyway. At Contrastly we’ve already mentioned how a blog can help you, but it’s a good reminder.
Having a place to showcase your work along with the story that goes with it can be a real powerful way to reach clients. It will also help position you as the expert. Blogs are an excellent way to assist you in your content marketing strategy. You’re in the business of creating content – showcase it!
4. Build an Email List
Building an email list will help you keep in touch with the people that actually want to hear from you. You can keep them informed of any promotions or contents you are doing, or just share with them a photo of the month to stay top of mind. Emails lists are used by many people and brands for a reason: They work. There’s no reason your photography business can’t put it to work for you.
5. Offer Referral Bonuses
Most people will be more than happy to talk about an experience they enjoyed. If they get a referral bonus from you, like a gift card or discounted service, they’ll be even more excited to tell people all about the great work you do. Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective ways to promote your business.
6. Run a Contest
If you want to get the attention of everyday people, run some type of contest. This can be for a giveaway of services, or a prize of your choosing. When you give away your actual service, you know the only people interested are going to be people that can actually use your service. So it’s a great way to get in front of the audience you’re targeting.
- Photo contests. Have users submit their photos, and showcase yours in the process.
- Caption contests. Show your photos and have users caption them for a chance to win.
- Spot the difference. Change a photo ever so slightly, and have people spot the difference.
- Retweet, like and share to win. Just keep it simple and expose yourself to as many people as possible.
7. Add Value – Don’t Discount
There’s no reason to give away money that you don’t have to. Rather than offering a discount, add a bonus. That way you’re not cutting your income on a sale. This may be as simple as doubling the prints, or including a frame, or offering a free engagement shoot with a wedding package.
8. Get Featured
Many websites, locally and around the web, will feature great photography. You take great photos, so show them off. The exposure could be really great not only in terms of getting name recognition, but also for the backlinks they provide. This can be part of your local SEO strategy.
9. Find Partners
Many local businesses will band together to recommend each other’s services. Wedding photographers do this all the time by partnering up with wedding planners, rental shops and musicians. The theory is that they’ll all send each other business. Who knows the professionals in the industry better than the professionals themselves?
You can also work with social media influencers. If you’re a trying to boost your child portrait business, partner with some popular parenting influencers. Here’s a social media cheat sheet to figure out where your audience is. Reach out and connect with influencers, and they can take you to the next level.
10. Help Your Community
Volunteering your time and service is a great way to get exposure. Charities don’t often have much money lying around to pay for your services, but donating them can lead to goodwill in the community. Charities also get a lot of exposure, and if it’s your work that’s getting exposed, you now have a wider reach. It’s almost like free advertising. It only costs you time.
11. Make Amazing Holiday Cards
You’re a photographer. Put those talents to use by creating the most epic holiday cards possible and send them to everyone you know. The more unforgettable the card is, the better your brand will stick when they actually need work done. Don’t forget to include your website and contact info!
Marketing yourself can feel like a full-time job at first. Stick with it long enough, and you’ll find it builds on itself after a while. It will take less work to get the same level of attention. Most importantly, keep taking great photos! That’s your calling card.