Sadly a lot of beginner photographers have come to rely on social media to bring in paying clients. This is not a blog post to discredit social media. We most definetly need to be using it, and need to be everywhere our clients are. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. When we find a business we love or are interested in checking out, we typically seek them out on social media to find out more about them. Their prices, products, and overall, their brand.
However, social media changes frequently. And with the recent repeal of Net Neutrality and the changes to Facebook, which has been dubbed "The Facebook Apocalypse" by small business owners, it is critical now more than ever, for photographers to learn how to focus our marketing efforts outside of social media.
In August of this year, the world wide web will only be 27 years old. That is when the internet was introduced. It didn't really start taking off until a few years later. It is crazy to think that I was only a freshman in high school at that time! To give you some perspective, Google didn't exist, dial up was the only option, and Yahoo was first introduced.
So how did businesses advertise before the internet? Well remember that term called connection? No not internet connection. A real connection with people. Actually talking to them face to face. We seem to have lost that touch these days. Imagine a business owner taking his lunch break at the diner down the street. He sits at the bar next to a stranger and orders his lunch. The two get to talking, telling stories of back in the day when they were kids. Conversing, and relating. The stranger then asks the man what he does for a living. He tells him he owns a store down the street from there. Tells him he should stop in next time he's in town. And the next time the stranger is in town, he stops by that mans business. The business owner built a connection with the stranger. In that one hour of being at the diner, he was able to get to know the business owner, like him, and trust him based on his ability to socialize. The 3 main values of any business, Know, Like, and Trust. So get out there and socialize!
Already have a few clients that maybe you haven't seen in awhile? Send them a post card. Design it with a past session photo or two, and send it to them. Tell them its been awhile since your last session and you would love to see them again. I absolutely love getting personal notes in the mail! Not just a happy birthday post on Facebook, but a physical card with a hand written note. It makes you light up a bit doesn't it? If you haven't been collecting home adresses, or birthday information from your client, grab my Client Information Spreadsheet and get to collecting!
Also, take that list of clients, and highlight who it is that you might see on occasion out and about. At your kids school functions? Do you run into them at the grocery store? Make a note of little personal tidbits you know about them, that you can ask them about. Did their son or Daughter just graduate from college? Ask them how they are doing. Did they just buy a house? Congratulate them and ask them how they like it in the new place.
Finding clients is one thing, keeping them is a whole different process. This business takes patience. Even the most sought after style of photography, needs to have more than just their talent.
Here are a few other ways you can market your business outside of the internet:
- Partner with local businesses in your niche'. Are you a family and children photographer? Talk to daycares in the area about possibly hanging your images there with a business card. Or ask if you can leave a special coupon for the parents that go there. "15% off for XX Daycare families".
- Participate in local fairs. Set up a photobooth with examples of your work and pass out business cards with a % off if they book you right then and there.
- Place business cards in local businesses that have community bulliten boards
And like I said, this post is not to discredit using social media. Just try not to rely on it so much. Still continue to post to your social media accounts daily. Even if it has been awhile since you have had a session, you can post throw back Thursday or flash back Friday posts. If its a clients birthday, post their image, tag them, and tell them happy birthday.
You also are not limited to posting just your images. Links from articles that are photography related are great! Just like this one that I posted about David Harbour from Stranger Things, posing in this girls senior photos!
- When people are searching for houses, they go to an open house and there are normally business cards in the kitchens. They are from the realtor, the house staging designer, and there might be some from the home inspection company. Talk to realtors and see if you can leave a coupon card for the new homeowner: "10% off a booked family session to celebrate your new home purchase."
- Weddings: Ask vendors to trade business cards with, florists, DJ's, cake decorators, bridal shops
- Email marketing. If you have thought about it, but not sure who to go with, you can read my review here about Mailchimp vs. Mailerlite,
While there are many different ways to market your business outside of the internet, one thing you may want to take into consideration is, you know you should be getting booked more than you are, what are you offering potential clients that is setting you apart from the rest? With this digital age, gone are the days when it was difficult to break into photography. At the sessions photographers had to get it right the first time in the camera. They couldn’t take a peek at the last shot and delete it because it was slightly blurry, and then refocus and shoot again. Not to mention the multiple processes it took to develop the image. The chemicals, the dodging and burning by hand. Only the skilled had the patience for all of it. Now, we can create art with this small device we carry in our back pockets, every single day.
Did you know that 80% of clients don't book with photographers because their business process is not communicated well enough to put the potential clients hesitations at ease.
In my mini ebook/workbook, Understanding Your Client, I walk you through how to recognize what their hesitations could be, and how to communicate your solutions. Because transparency sells. A clear understanding of what they are hesitating on, can put you ahead and become a fully booked photographer like you know you should be.
- Recognize client hesitations
- Put them at ease
- Stand out from the rest with your unique selling points
- Become a fully booked photographer
Discover your potential today, for your photographic success tomorrow.
Want to have my blog posts go straight to your inbox as soon as they are posted? Just subscribe below!
This blog post contains affiliate links. You may read my disclaimer here.