Portrait photography is a hyper competitive field, isn’t it? It doesn’t take a long time in the field to realize no matter how talented you are, without a great marketing plan the deck is stacked against your business’ ultimate success.
You Can Do This!
With a little thought, creativity and a bit of hard work you can quickly develop and maintain a marketing strategy that keeps a steady stream of clients old and new alike calling. These five portrait photography marketing tips most businesses forget or don’t incorporate in their strategy. Embrace them and they will embrace you!
My Top 5 Portrait Photography Marketing Tips
Tip # 1 - Build a Email List
Email marketing is a potential gold mine that goes untapped by many (or most) portrait or most any photographers. Getting email addresses from your clients as well as offering a sign up form on your website are the two quickest ways to begin building a quality list.
Rather than bombarding your list with non-stop spam (please don’t do this) this will give you the opportunity to send out a weekly or once every two week interesting and relevant email to both keep your name in people’s minds and also to demonstrate your passion for your craft.
Be sure to target timely messages around things like graduation or the holidays and don’t be shy about offering small incentives and other offers to encourage business. Local news is a plus as well.
A huge plus of email marketing is it is unbelievably inexpensive offering a great potential return at next to no cost. Not sure where to start? There’s plenty of services out there, with Aweber and Constant Contact both getting consistent praise. I personally use Aweber and have loved it. I may do an upcoming blog post showing how to use this program, but they have many lessons on their website. I have no doubt you will need it as your business grows and you want to build a large list of leads and clients. It will pay you back over and over again.
Tip #2 – Master Google
Google rankings can really make or break a business in this age and portrait photography is certainly no exception. It’s beyond the scope of this article to really go over Google head to toe, but there’s a great element you can add to your marketing without having to bring in a SEO (search engine optimization) pro to help your efforts at a hefty price.
This element is Google Places. Head over to the Google Places site and Sign up and fill out all your information right away. If you haven’t done this, and many portrait photographers haven’t I’m sure, you are missing out on a huge marketing possibility. Huge may even be a understatement.
You see Google is striving to favor local content in their searches, so if you are set up on Google Places and someone searches “Portrait Photography” and your town you have a big shot at ranking well. This could will translate into much more local work coming your way. Make a friend of Google Places, the sooner the better. As a future project learning how else to “get listed” and rank high on Google is definitely not a bad idea either.
If you want to see how to find what people are searching for in your area for photographers…click here. I did a video series explaining how to find these gold nuggets and how to rank for them.
Bonus Tip: Think of Google Places as a mini website of your business in Google. You should also have a website or blog listed too. The more online real estate you have, the greater chance people searching will find you. If you need help building a website or blog, you should check out this blog post. I show you step by step how to create one and what you should include for your prospects and clients.
Tip #3 – Become a Avid User of Social Media
Do you notice a pattern here in our first three tips? You should, because to really succeed in marketing your portrait photography business today using technology and the latest trends in communication is a absolute must. None less than social media, a form of communication you need to become fluent in and fluent in fast.
Yes, Facebook and Twitter are both big parts of a great many people’s lives and both give you a daily opportunity to build and maintain a relationship with your clients and potential clients. They are also a great venue for showing off highlights of your portrait photography work.
Facebook in particular is ideal for this. In addition to your own personal page, why not a page for your business? Post often and encourage your clients and others to also share and comment. Convey warmth, passion and personality and it will pay you back a thousand times over. Focus on building relationships with people and your business will grow.
Experiment occasionally with a paid “promotional” post. It’s very inexpensive and tracking your response to a promoted post will give you a good idea if that’s a profitable road for you to continue to explore.
Tip #4 Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
Did I mention referrals? I cannot stress enough how having a great referral plan put together can help your business blossom. Not only will your high quality portraits be an inspiration for clients to tell friends, family and co-workers about your service, but you will also be giving them something to show your appreciation to really get them to spread the word. This is a real win / win in the truest sense of the term.
How you choose to structure how you handle referrals is really up to your own business’s circumstance, but I’d encourage you to be as generous as possible. Discounts, credits a free session are all the types of things you should be considering. There are of course, other more outside the box options as well.
No matter how you slice it…make a solid and powerful referral plan a pillar of your marketing strategy. You won’t regret it, trust me.
Tip #5 – Offer a Exchange to Local Businesses
A creative way to get the word out in your local community is to offer free portrait work to local businesses in exchange for allowing you to leave your business cards where the portrait will be displayed in the business.
Restaurants, day care centers, doctor’s offices and gyms are all good choices, but there are certainly many more limited only by your imagination. We did a session for a bakery owner a few years back. We offered to do a FREE session if they would display the portrait in their shop.
They agreed and we photographed their new baby sleeping next to a loaf of their home made bread. It came out Awesome! They loved it and people all talked about it when they came into their shop. We received so much business from that one FREE session and the business owner receives compliments everyday. It’s a Win Win!
This is just another example of how being creative about your marketing targets will be rewarded in both the long and short term. You are an artist after all and creativity is one of an artist’s greatest strengths!
I hope you enjoyed these 5 portrait photography marketing tips. Remember, with the right marketing strategy in place the door will be wide open for you to do what you do best, take fantastic photographs. Did I miss one of your own favorite portrait photography marketing methods?
Please share and let me know. I’d love to hear it!
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