“How to Market your Photography” is a wonderful resource which was written by the marketing specialists at Photoshelter.com and MadMimi.com. I found this guide to be very user-friendly, with just the right amount of information you’ll need to get going, weather you are just starting out in the industry, or a more established photographer, who is looking to update the approach you’ve been utilizing to generate business. I will quote some excerpts from Part 1 of this guide, which contains the most fundamental advice to those of us who find words like “strategy” and “marketing” as intimidating and stressful.
As photographers, when we are busy with clients, we are most likely not spending time marketing our business. And so this results in a “feast or famine” lifestyle, as the guide genuinely points out: "It doesn’t take an advanced MBA to recognize that this is not a sustainable way to run a business."
I will admit, that I am guilty of having the mentality of thinking that having a nice looking website is all I need for promoting my business, not realizing that in order to improve SEO performance on search engines, I need to generate traffic onto my website. So basically, the more traffic I generate, the more visible I am on searches, and vice versa.
We like thinking of ourselves, as artists, not businesspeople. Yet it is quite apparent that the most successful photographers in this industry possess more than just talent, they are good marketers, or are able to get someone else to do it for them. This guide is particularly useful if you are not willing or able to invest in the services of a marketing professional and would like to tackle the task on your own.
Most of the advice provided in the guide is based on common sense, and asks you to first answer some very basic questions:
Who is your audience?
“Defining and understanding your audience is crucial to shaping your business, your products (yes, your photography is a “product”), your brand, and your marketing efforts as whole. Without clearly defining who you’re targeting, you can’t clearly define why you’re reaching out to certain folks over others. As a result, your marketing will lack focus (at best) and look sloppy and out of sync (at worst).”
What is your unique selling point?
“Differentiating your brand and your services from your competitors can be the ultimate key to effective marketing and getting new business through the door.
Next, if you sell products, analyze what has sold for you in the past year. Can you pinpoint why they sold well? What about those products was attractive to buyers? (If you’re not sure, it’s okay to ask!) Also, think about the clients or projects that have been particularly successful. What about these projects made them so?”
Is your website as great as you are?
“When it comes to marketing your photography, your website is your headquarters. It’s your greatest tool, your virtual business card, a reflection of your professionalism, and (should be) a way to easily connect with you or transact with clients who want to license your work or buy your prints and products. So as a first step, if you don’t consider your website as central to marketing your business, then it’s time to start. think about your own experience online.
Here are a few items your site should have:
Clear contact information and “about” page
Well organized portfolio sections or galleries
E-commerce capabilities (if you sell prints or stock)
File delivery (so you can send files to clients with your brand
Blog that is updated regularly (we recommend at least once a week)
The guide moves on to some more advanced methods you can employ to further your online presence. It goes over some key marketing concepts and plans. Tackling social Media, and the importance of having fresh content on your website, a blog and email newsletters. It even provides some examples of photographers who are doing it right, for you to check out.
After reading this guide, I feel empowered to go out and put all of those additional techniques available to me to work in order to boost sales, make my target audience aware of my services, and increase my general online footprint and identity.
Most importantly, the guide points out that there is no one correct way to go about marketing your business. You need to find the right online marketing mix that works best for your business.
Read the full guide at:
Other guides also available:
11 Secrets to a Great Photo Website
The Photographer’s guide to Copyright
Email Marketing for Photographers
and many others.