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Marketing for photographers is a bit of a minefield. Done well, it can elevate your profile to a global audience. Done poorly and it can consign you to the dustbin of obscurity. The fact is, that it's easier to market your photography business badly than it is to do it well.
If you wade into your marketing strategy without a plan, without any research and without a good understanding of what works, it will be difficult. To avoid such scenarios let's look at 6 common marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.
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Your professional photography website is your face to the global marketplace. It is where you will attract the attention of the world. Here are some of the things you can get wrong.
- Excessive mentions about your passion for photography. That should be a given, you are in the photography game after all.
- Talking about gear. Most of your average Joes really do not care what gear you use, they are much more interested in the results you get from that gear.
- Not having a blog. Blogging about your photography, your techniques and your shoots is an important part of getting your website seen. Not having one restricts your site to just image updates and will have a negative effect on your search engine rankings.
- Talking of which, SEO. Search engine optimisation is a vital part of getting your site seen. On a basic level, it’s not difficult to do, however, to get your site elevated to a higher Google ranking it’s well worth paying out for some expert advice.
- Not updating images or showing too many images. Your website is your portfolio. It needs to be updated on a regular basis with new work. However, you also need to remove older, less relevant photography keeping a streamlined look to your site.
Social Media Mistakes.
Social media is an extraordinarily powerful way to market your photographic business. It is also a very easy thing to mess up. Social media should be used as a platform to showcase your abilities and your work. However, you need to take extreme care to make your posts factual and to avoid posts that boast about your capabilities.
Avoid posts talking about this “incredible” image that you took. Incredible is for your peers to decide, not you. Instead, talk about how pleased you were with the final result and open yourself up for comments.
Constant, excessive posting to Facebook groups or forums will tend to annoy the membership of said groups. Post regularly but not excessively, once per day being a maximum per group or forum. Be humble in those groups and accept criticism from your peers.
Trying To Be A Jack Of All Trades.
Never try to market yourself in fields you are not an expert in. If you are a portrait photographer, don’t try to attract business from, for example, the real estate business. If your website or other marketing is showing you as being able to undertake many different types of photography, you will lose potential business. Buyers want someone that’s expert to the field they are hiring you for.
Make sure your entire marketing strategy from website to social media to advertising concentrates on your core skills as a photographer. Tell the potential clients what you are an expert in and demonstrate that with images from professional shoots.
Slow Response To Clients.
Do you get annoyed at how long it takes for your bank to pick up the phone or answer an email? Of course you do, and it’s no different for the client of a professional photographer. Especially if that person is not a client yet.
The speed with which you respond to potential clients and existing clients is a mark of how professional you are. Your photography might be best in class but if you are tardy with your responses you will lose business.
This applies not only to telephone calls and emails but to direct messaging on your website, comments on your social media accounts and replies to your posts in forums. As a one-man band, you will not be able to answer queries 24 hours per day. However, you can make use of autoresponders and voicemail messages to let people know you will reply as soon as possible.
Avoiding The Use of Video.
Video is the largest segment of online media these days. Ignoring it is a major social media faux pas. Most successful photography brands are at least partially built on the back of video. For the most part, this is through a dedicated Youtube channel.
Video can help showcase your photography, the way you work through vlogging and helping others by creating tutorials. All are a valuable part of your marketing strategy, so it is worthwhile embracing video.
However, even if you do produce video content, there are some marketing pitfalls to avoid. Don’t go off-piste with your content. As a photographer, post only content related to your photographic business. If you are not great in front of the camera or as a narrator, try something different like slideshows to music of your latest work. Avoiding video content in the digital age is going to limit your marketing strategy.
In days past it may have been called pressing the flesh, these days it’s more likely to be pressing the mouse button. Either way, you need to talk to people, ask them to look at your work, offer your services.
If you are a more local type of photographer, weddings, events, those sorts of genres, then pressing the flesh is the best policy. Trade shows, chambers of commerce, and other local events are where you need to be.
Online you need to use professional social media such as LinkedIn and Behance to engage with creatives and potential clients from around the world. Networking is as relevant to marketing today as it was in the days before the Internet.
We live in a time where we have an incredible array of marketing tools. The problem with that, is you need to understand how each of these work, in order to utilise them well. The best marketing will be a well thought out mixture of several techniques both online and off.
Spend time creating a marketing strategy, learn the nuances and issues with each technique you intend to employ and you should find yourself avoiding the many pitfalls that marketing has to offer.