Social media and blogging have made photography marketing fun. There is nothing more impressive than a stunning photo on Instagram or your blog. Combine it with great marketing, and you will gain (and sustain) customers.
You first need to start with knowing your customers, having consistent branding, identifying your goals, formulating your message, finding your platform, and letting your customers know how you can solve their problems. Your website is an integral piece of your marketing.
Design it so it is SEO-friendly, user-friendly, and optimized for mobile.
FINDING YOUR MARKET IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING
The most critical parts of photography marketing are the basic steps: knowing your market, crafting the message, and deciding what medium you will use to communicate the message.
First, conduct industry and market research to determine your market demographics and market size. Determine how much of the market you want to capture.
When you research your market, you must get to know their pain points, your competitors, and your competitive advantage. One mistake new business owners make is marketing to a general demographic, for example, people from 24 to 54 with some college and an average household income of $75,000 per year.
Demographics, like averages, are not concrete. It is a general description. Create personas (also called avatars) to represent one of your customer types. A persona is a fictional character that embodies specific characteristics of a customer type.
HOW TO DEVELOP A PERSONA FOR PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING
The best place to build a persona is from your current clientele. You have the information needed to market to them and the benefit of surveys and their comments. If you do not have customers yet, use secondary data that you can find on the Internet or get insight from another photographer.
Here are some data elements you need to build a persona correctly.
- Job title
- Job description
- Family description
Develop a persona for each marketing segment. Each marketing segment should have its own persona, and each message should apply to one persona.
BENEFITS OF CREATING PERSONAS IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING
Why create personas? You will develop a level of intimacy that does not exist when looking at the generalized population. You will:
- Have a better understanding of your customer’s needs
- Understand what’s important to your customer
- Allow you to get better leads
- Build a better product solution that fits your customer needs
- Gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work
DISCOVERING YOUR MESSAGE IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING
Once you have fully developed your marketing persona, you know their needs, pain points, and what problem you can solve for them. The next step is crafting a solution to their problem. Some may wonder if this is overkill. “All I want to do is take pictures,” you may think.
Photography marketing is about gaining customers for your photography business, and not your love for photography. It is essential, but not for turning your passion into a business. It’s all about your customers.
Craft a message that resonates with your target customer. Create it from your customer’s point of view using a tone and language they understand. Use the following checklist to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your message:
- It clearly states a solution
- It is written in a tone and language the customer understands
- It feels natural
- It is original
- It makes the customer happy
- It needs no further explanation
WHAT’S THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING CHANNEL FOR YOU?
Whether you are blogging or posting a social media post, you are only targeting one persona per message. You want to educate, engage, and empower your audience.
Educate them with tips and facts they can use on a shoot and in their everyday life. You can write a blog about capturing the best picture with their smartphone, or you can tell them how to avoid common photography pitfalls like the “raccoon eyes” effect.
Next, you want to engage them—not only through entertainment but also by relating to their struggles. You can feature a story where a mom came in flustered because she was late and had a fussy baby, but then she and the baby left with smiles.
Capturing a cute shot of your silly pet will engage your audience as well.
Find ways to empower your market. Clients will trust you more if you share some “trade secrets.” Informational blogs about what to wear, the best poses to hide imperfections, or how to look taller (or shorter) would help gain trust.
Why? These are useful even if they do not use your service. It shows your passion for what you do and that you care.
YOUR BLOG IS YOUR CORE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING CHANNEL
Make your website an interactive brochure for your business. It should engage customers, help guide them through your site, and invite them to interact more with your site.
Showcase work on a blog you regularly update. Educate, engage, and empower your audience with information. Of course, each blog targets ONE persona. It ensures that everything you are doing goes toward your overarching goal to gain (and keep) clients.
Did you know that internet users prefer to click on an organic link than a paid link? Search engine optimization in photography marketing is improving your website’s chances of ranking high in organic page results by following best practices.
OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE
Think SEO from your website’s conception to its implementation. Find a website platform that is SEO friendly, like WordPress. Here are a few reasons Google loves WordPress:
- It’s a content hub, and Google loves content
- WordPress content is usually optimized
- WordPress is optimized for mobile
Use unique keywords on each webpage and each blog post. Not only do you need to pay attention to your keyword, but you also need to use keyword phrases. Google is now interested in more from content than just keywords. Put your focus on a particular topic.
WRITE CONTENT WITH OVER 1000 WORDS
Your content length matters. As a photographer, you rely on your pictures to tell the story. Google loves 2000-word blogs. It loves it because people like to read long blogs. Don’t fill it with fluff.
If users seem to like your content and spend more time on your site, Google will reward that. Ultimately, Google’s goal is to answer the user’s query.
GIVE ALL WEB PAGES TITLE NAMES
Verify your blog post’s title name is unique, descriptive, and an easy-to-understand page title. Create a page title of 70 characters or fewer.
The Google police will not penalize you if you have over 70 characters; however, you risk the title truncating in the search results.
OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES
Add alt tags to your photos. Search engine spiders like them, and they enhance your website accessibility. Anyone that is visually impaired can have the picture description read to them.
Luckily, images added to your posts enhance it for the search engine. Include the keyword in your alt tag. Here are a few more tips about optimizing your image:
- Your image should align with your post content
- Verify your image file name aligns with the image and post
- Add OpenGraph and Twitter Cards for your shared images
Your page load speed is a factor with Google. As you know, images can be quite large. Compress the images on your site.
You can also reduce the load time for images by pre-sizing them to their display dimensions. If you don’t, the system has to resize them before they load on your website.
OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
Google prefers sites that are optimized for mobile. When you design your site, use a fluid layout. Fluid layouts adapt to the device used to view your website. You also want to make navigation seamless.
If your buttons or menu items are close together, the user may hit the wrong key. It is very annoying not to have enough room to select a menu option.
Think about functionality when designing for mobile devices. Think of the actions you want your users to take.
One example of a functional design is displaying a photo with navigation controls, and the ability to contact someone by phone and book an appointment from a smartphone.
Do not skimp on your mobile site. Your mobile site should be just as content-rich as the desktop. Take the time to lay out your content so that your mobile users enjoy the same benefits as your desktop users.
MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SKIMMABLE
Most users skim instead of reading a site. Structure your content so that it is “skim-friendly.”
Create titles and headlines that overview the story. If appropriate, add captions to your images. While this may not directly affect your search engine optimization, the time your audience spends on your site does.
If readers cannot quickly overview your content, they go to the next website.
Photographers have a natural marketing edge because they are creative and love to tell stories. Use that to your advantage. Don’t forget you are running a business, and you need to know your market.
Marketing your business appropriately will give your business the best chance for success.