Are you struggling to get the word out about your photography business? Sometimes the excitement of starting a business doesn’t translate into clients. We’re here to help jump start your photography marketing!
Congratulations on taking the big step to start your own business! It takes so much courage to go into business for yourself, and you stepped up! There are a thousand negative thoughts that can pop into your mind as a business owner, but never let those thoughts stop you. One worry experienced by all photographers is “How will I get clients?”.
Even experienced photographers have slow periods where they have to work harder to bring in new business. One of Cole’s Classroom mentors has had to restart her business twice when her family moved countries. She has managed to spring back and thrive each time! Another one of Cole’s Classroom members-turned-mentor quit her job without a backup plan and successfully earned $18000 in the first 3 months of starting her photography business. She soaked up as much Cole’s Classroom knowledge as she could to get started. It is possible for you to be successful like this too, as long as you put your mind to it! If fear is still holding you back, Cole’s classroom has an entire course available to members to help you overcome fear in your business. It is an amazing motivator!
Free ways to market photography
When you’re starting a photography business, your cash flow situation probably isn’t ideal. Understandably, you’re going to use as many free photography marketing techniques that you can get your hands on. Free photography marketing falls into 3 categories
Email falls somewhere in between traditional marketing techniques like radio, newspaper, and television advertising, and the contemporary social media marketing techniques. If you have a lot of friend’s and family’s email addresses, this could be a great way to get the word out! Take the time to put together a short email explaining your motivation to start a new photography business, and possibly show an image or two that you’re very proud of. If you’re brand new and don’t have a portfolio, ask a few family members or friends to model for you. If you have a portfolio, offering your friends and family a special discount rate to book with you could be all the motivation they need to become some of your first paying clients. When offering a discount it is important to clearly state your regular rate, and make the discount enticing enough.
Social Media Sharing
Facebook business pages are free to start and are an effective tool to share your work. The key with using social media as a photography marketing tool is to be consistent with your posts. You don’t want to flood your page with two dozen posts in one day. Too many posts in a short period of time will lead to people tuning out the things you share, or unfollowing your page. Also try to diversify what you share with your audience. For example, don’t only share sneak peaks of your work. Try posting something about yourself, something you love, or something that made you laugh that your audience will enjoy too. Remember the aforementioned photographer who made $18 000 in the first 90 days of launching her business? She developed a course for Cole’s Classroom members that states how she organically grew her business through Facebook and word of mouth!
Word of Mouth
Believe it or not, this marketing tool is as old as the first business. Before the internet, tv, newspapers, and even books, the best way to learn information was through other people. One would have to rely on other people to learn whether or not a business or product was good. There are so many competing companies selling almost the same product these days that it would be costly and time consuming to find the best product. So we still rely on other people’s opinions on whether a product or service is any good to help us decide if we want to use them. Use this to your advantage!
Start a referral program so that anyone who has used your services gets a gift or a discount for sharing your work with their network. Don’t force them to share anything, and don’t make their gift or discount dependent on whether they successfully send a new paying client your way. If you structure your program like that, it will feel salesy and icky, and people don’t respond to that. Be genuine in asking other people to help spread the word about your business. When you find the right client that you love and click with instantly, they will be shouting from the rooftops about how amazing you are – before you even ask them to!
How can I grow my photography business?
Growing your photography business can be a daunting task. You may have tried a few tactics that didn’t work, or maybe you haven’t tried anything and simply don’t know where to start. Fear not, we are here to try to make this task as simple as possible for you. In order to grow your business you should:
- Set up a website and at least one social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc)
- Curate your work, show only the best images
- If you don’t have work to show, exchange some free photos with friends for being your models
- Consistency is key, make sure all your images have the same look and feel
- Price yourself for success, don’t allow your business to collapse because you are charging too little
- Share your work across all your platforms
- Offer discounts from time to time to catch those dedicated followers who ordinarily can’t afford you
- Always show and tell your clients how much you appreciate them!
- Pair with businesses your clients may also be interested in, agree to advertise for each other
Where can I advertise my photography?
Paying for advertising as a photography marketing tool is not an evil thing. When done intelligently, it doesn’t need to cost you an arm or a leg either. You can “pay” for advertising by giving away a little bit of your time and a few of your photos to another business in exchange for them advertising for you. You can pay to print flyers or brochures advertising your business. Hang these brochures in free community spots like churches, libraries, and community centers. You can pay social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to advertise your work too. We have a special course designed for members to walk them through Facebook advertising. One quick tip when it comes to FB advertising: avoid putting words across your images. Too many words and Facebook’s algorithms will prevent your image from being shown to others. Allow a great image to catch a client’s eye, and let your words to the talking in the rest of your post!
Go more in depth
These techniques are not rocket science, they can be done by anyone and everyone. However we do understand that you might still feel a little overwhelmed with all this information. One of the best things about Cole’s Classroom is that we’ve got multiple marketing courses to cover all these topics. In these courses, one of our mentors talks you through these steps in more detail and explains why that method worked for them. The most important thing to remember when it comes to photography marketing is that it is an ever changing system. You’ll continuously need to tweak your wording to appeal to different people. So don’t get discouraged if one attempt at marketing didn’t pan out. You’ll get there, and when it works you’ll be jumping with joy at the extra business!