Are you looking for a photography coach to help you shorten the learning curve and give you an exact marketing plan that you can implement in your photography business today? Super! I’m so glad you’re here. Today, I get to be your virtual business coach and I couldn’t be more stoked to be sharing this bit of gold with you. I’ve compiled all of my best ideas to help you grow your photography business, increase your income and expand your reach so you can watch your bookings skyrocket and fill your calendar with quality clients!
This is by far your biggest strength, which by the way, if you’re a decent and authentic human, will be the reason people will love you! Don’t be afraid to truly be yourself not worrying about what other photographers will think of you. Be boldly and unapologetically you!
I know there’s a lot of talk about being authentic so I want to talk about what that looks like in the context of marketing your brand and yourself as a photographer.
I have a question for you: early in your photography career, did you try to do things like others did them and shoot the way other photographers shot? Maybe you bought similar props and had similar posing techniques and prompts. Did you generally post about the same things? Well, if I’m being honest, this is what I did, too. It didn’t take long to realize, though, that I was losing ME in my work and I decided to stop and regroup. I began infusing my own personality in my photography work and that was the difference between success and failure.
What’s so cool is that over the years, I can see how I’ve grown and changed right along with my business. I’ve heard that the older you get, the less self conscious you are and how you’re not quite as concerned about what others think of you and you know what, I think “they” are right! I’m 37 years old and the closer I get to 40, the more I love being ME and doing things as I would do them. I don’t mom like everyone else. I don’t wife like everyone else, so why in the world would I want to be a photographer and be in business just like everyone else? I DON’T and I’ll bet you don’t either!! The world needs us to show up as us and to be fully present as who God made us to be!
By being ourselves, we can truly attract the clients who connect with us and these people are ones that will sing your praises and tell their friends and family about you. And you already know this but that is absolutely one of the best forms of marketing!
Partner With Local Businesses
At the time I write this, we are all quarantined because of the Covid-19 virus and we are all likely wondering how best to market our businesses now and later in preparation for when this time of forced rest lifts. So many businesses will want and need to be doing all they can to get the wheels turning again in their businesses. Consider approaching local business owners that align with your brand and where your target market would be shopping, dining or receiving a service. Who could benefit from your service who could also help get the word out about your business as well?
Who you approach to partner with would depend on your photography niche. If you’re a newborn photographer, reach out to your OBGYN and ask if you can donate canvases to display in their office or exam rooms and ask to have your business cards available for patients.
If you are a family photographer, maybe a baby, child and women’s clothing boutique would love to have professional photos taken of their clothing modeled. They can use your beautiful photos to advertise their clothing and tag you and give you a glowing shout out on social media.
If you’re an engagement and wedding photographer, you could ask to supply gifteries and boutiques with watermarked photos in the handmade picture frames they offer. Also, prom and wedding gown shops are always needing professional photos to advertise their new arrivals. This may also be a great opportunity to donate canvas art for their walls (with your logo, of course).
Wedding photographers, don’t forget the power of curating your best work and designing stunning albums to take to all the local venues. Their wedding coordinators and event planners will refer you first when brides ask for recommendations!
Join your local chamber of commerce and get involved. Consider going to local networking events and get to know people. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and let folks know WHY you love doing what you do. You could say, “Hi, I’m Tiffany and I’m a photographer” OR you could inject some excitement into the description of what you LOVE about what you do like, “Hey, I’m Tiffany and get to snuggle babies everyday” or maybe something funny like, “I shoot people for a living” before telling them that you’re a photographer. Be engaging and personable and people will remember you and think of you first when they are looking to hire a photographer.
Your ideal client is likely on social media and the more you post engaging content, the more you’ll stay top of mind when they are in the market to hire a photographer. Don’t be afraid to show your face and show behind the scenes with work and your life! When your potential clients see your face, watch your videos and read your captions, you will naturally build a virtual rapport and they will connect with you in ways that only posting your work cannot do. You want to be approachable and the best way to convey that you are the awesome person that you are is by giving your audience a glimpse into your life!
Posting often also shows that you’re consistent and reliable and still in business and still interested in growing your business which is an important attribute of owning a business and attracting more clients.
If you’ve not shot a session in a while, don’t be afraid to recycle sessions you’ve already posted. Try posting quotes or layflats. Social Squares is a great resource for unlimited images that you can use as fillers in between sessions when you need to keep the posts consistent but lack steady client business.
Everyone loves receiving nice comments on their posts! Whether it’s another photographer’s work or a client you follow who’s posted a cute pic of their children, take a second and leave a sweet comment. You know we ALL like a compliment so be the first to sling those out like beads on Mardi Gras!
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note! With so much technology that surrounds us, the practice of sending handwritten notes is not nearly as common as it once was. You know how it feels when you get a card in the mail and you do a little jig all the way home? Yeah, it’s a highlight of your afternoon, isn’t it? Don’t be stingy with fun mail! This is just another way you can keep your name front of mind with those that already know, like and trust you! Though you can and should send notes to your clients after their session is complete, I would suggest that if you’re looking to fill your calendar go ahead and send out several notes a day to past clients, letting them know that you’re thinking of them and that you’re looking forward to to the next time you have the opportunity to capture more milestones and memories for their family.
Having branded stationary and seal stickers is a bonus for sure but not necessary! Just crack those knuckles and get to writing!
So, you’ve just sent your client their order, they loved everything and left you a review and are just tickled pink with their experience with you. Make sure you have a referral program in place so that you encourage the folks that love you to tell their friends about you. Not only will they be happy to do this anyway, they will get some amazing gift from you for doing so.
Create an incentive that someone would actually care about. Offering one free 8×10 ain’t gonna cut the mustard as we say in the south. Remember also, to offer a product or service that adds value, not one that devalues your products or services. For instance, instead of slashing the price of a full session in half or offering discounted products, consider adding a bonus on top of a full session like a free 11×14 or 16×20 canvas or book a full session and add a complimentary seasonal mini session. I also like the idea of receiving a predeteremind print credit amount in exchange for a referral that results in a full session booking. Get creative and have fun with this one!
Research online publications in your niche and tag them on your social media posts when you have an image that you feel is feature worthy! Submit your work in contests and even reach out via email to online and print magazines to inquire about features! These feature badges displayed on your website send the message to potential clients that you’re a professional and also lends itself to a level of credibility in the eyes of your website guests that otherwise may be lacking.
It’s amazing to me how quickly trends and website features change and how fast websites and pages are antiquated. Your website is like the handshake between you and those people visiting your site, checking out your work and seeing if they feel comfortable connecting with you for their photos. Keeping your photos and information up to date is paramount! I suggest you revisit your site at least once every six months to switch featured photos around, update pricing and policy info as needed as well as frequently changing your own “About Me” photos.
If you use a studio management system like the one I use, 17Hats, then you can create templates to make it super easy to email your clients after their session has been completed. Ask for a review on Facebook and perhaps even a video or written testimonial of their experience with you! You can use these on your website, social media accounts and even in ads! People are attracted to people and potential clients are always looking to read reviews especially when it comes to their family and investing their dollars in photography.
Shout it from the rooftops – let your friends and relatives know what you do and how they can find you online and how best to refer you to those they know! Don’t be bashful. Promote yourself and business! The people who know would love to see you succeed!
Not only will you be serving your community but donating to a charitable cause but it’s tax deductible AND you have the opportunity to gain loyal clients and sell additional products and sessions. I donate several per year!
Again, you’re keeping your name in front of your best clients all throughout the year. Send a holiday card to your current year’s clients to thank theml for their support and for entrusting their family photos to you. Gratitude is attractive in every way so why not send a greeting of blessing and thanks?
If you’re a newborn or baby photographer, you can send you clients a Happy Birthday card when their baby is 10 months old with a special birthday message along with a special offer for booking their 1st birthday session with you! You can create a google doc spreadsheet to help keep it organized by month so you know exactly who to send one to and when.
Create a stellar client experience with unexpected pleasant surprises. Go the extra mile to make your client feel seen, heard and appreciated. If you’re too busy to go the extra mile, take on fewer clients so you can devote more time and attention to the clients you already have. If you do, you’ll never ever have to worry about filling up your calendar again. You’ll have so much repeat business!
I hope this was helpful to you and serves you during slow seasons and when you want to ramp up bookings and really uplevel your marketing plan. I’m cheering you on, fellow togmom!!
Hey busy photographer momma, before you go… If you want to up-level your photography business by working less yet earning more then I invite you to join my FREE Facebook Community!
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Photography business coach and award-winning newborn photographer, Destiny Tillery, provides step-by-step instruction to IPS photography as well as other essential photography business tools to help your business thrive.
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