The Importance of Marketing for Photographers
Some of the most talented photographers in the world are people you’ve never heard of. Now, in a percentage of these cases, it’s because they don’t work in a genre of photography that puts them into the public eye, or even the gamut of other photographers. But for many of those photographers, the reason that they aren’t well known is because they are utterly hopeless at marketing themselves.
If you’re a creative person it doesn’t necessarily follow suit that you’ll be great at marketing. The two genres are, of course, completely different.
But sadly, unless you’re lucky enough to have a trust fund to hire an outside marketing firm with, you will need to learn some marketing skills if you want to have a profitable business. I always say that being a successful photographer is around 50% talent and 50% business skills.
Social Networking & Advertising Requires Excellent Copy
You can be the best photographer in the world, but without any marketing your images are unlikely to be seen by anyone beyond your own family. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, us creatives are often not the best at blowing our own trumpets! The thing is though that marketing doesn’t need to be terrifying. A lot of it is far less ‘hands-on’ than you might think.
With the modern obsession with social media, you can take advantage of things such as Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your business without ever leaving your house.
Likewise, advertising on the internet is another simple way to gain new clients.
What things such as these do require, however, is good copy. You need snappy words to attract potential clients. This is one area where it’s worth getting some help in if you’re not a natural writer. When you only have a limited amount of space and need to grab people’s attention quickly, it’s vital that your words do the job.
Word of Mouth & Personal Recommendations
Another simple way to market your business is to use friends, family and previous clients as a ‘word of mouth’ service. People are far more likely to use a photographer who has been recommended to them by someone they trust.
I know that when I first started out as a photographer, I found it hard to ask people I knew to recommend me – I think that, in my case, a lot of this came down to my natural British reluctance to put anyone out! But the truth is that your family and friends want to help you out and they can be great contacts. They might work for a large company that could need headshots or they could be a stay at home parent with lots of friends who might want family portraits.
The point is that you never know who someone might be able to put you in touch with unless you ask.
Networking Groups & Local Businesses
You can also take this a step further by joining networking groups to help meet other local businesses.
I’ve tried various networking groups over the years and I’ve found that the ones that work best are those that only allow one person from each profession. That way you’re not competing against other photographers.
Know Your Ideal Client
For me though, the key tip with marketing is to make sure that you know who your ideal clients are and market your services towards them accordingly. Although I enjoy shooting a variety of different genres, my website and marketing is tailored towards just two things – family portraits and corporate shoots.
In today’s competitive market you need to make sure that your services are appealing to the clients you want to attract. Do your research and see what your competitors in the area are offering. What can you offer to set you apart?
Whatever marketing you choose to do, the key is to be engaging. In a competitive marketplace, we need to stand out in order to make a living. The sad truth is that if you don’t make the effort, there are a million and one other photographers waiting in line to take up the slack!
Digital technology and the internet make it far easier for people to share imagery and you need to make sure that your work is part of what’s being talked about. How you choose to achieve that goal is up to you.