A common struggle among nearly all creative professionals, finding photography customers can often make the difference between photography being a side hustle and being your career. Whether your photography business is just starting out or whether you’re well established within your own niche, those finding potential clients, legitimate photography customers will always be an important part of the job.
Luckily, the best way to use marketing strategies to promote your photography services to past clients and potential clients isn’t as hard as you might first think. So lets dive in and learn how to maximise your photography marketing to create as many paying photography customers as possible.
How To Find Photography Customers For Your Photography Business
Create Your Online Website or Portfolio
The first step to generating photography customers is giving them something to see. Now, while man photographers take their online portfolio for granted, it is in fact a very helpful marketing tool that should be your first priority when trying to gain new clients. After all, it doesn’t matter how many clients you manage to bring to your website – if they cant see anything of value there, then you’re only gathering visitors, not clients.
As a photographer, your online website or portfolio is your virtual storefront where clients form their first impression and decide whether they’ll hire you or someone else. You need to be intentional about how your website is structured so that it turns more visitors into inquiries.
If you only blog client sessions, show your portfolio, and have a contact page on your site, you’re losing inquiries you could be getting otherwise. Luckily, many website builders available today are affordable and easy to use, and they include multiple features that will allow you to build a formidable online presence. With a strong website, you can almost guarantee that any visitors to your site will lead to more photography customers.
Identify Your Target Audience
An important part of business’ development towards success is their identification of their target market. When you start your photography business, you will get mixed clients with most of your work coming from photographing family, friends and anyone who chooses you, which is acceptable as everyone needs to start somewhere. However, as you move forward and become more successful, you will want to focus your marketing efforts on a specific target group.
To identify that target group in the first place can be difficult however, so you could employ a common marketing tactic, such as creating personas. Creating personas is a great way to drill down into the specific segments that make up your target audience. This is especially helpful if you have a product that appeals to a wide swath of consumers. Personas allow you to determine the general demographics, personalities and needs of your target consumers. It is recommended that marketers develop between three and five personas.
Once you have a thorough understanding of who exactly you’re trying to draw in, then the next step is to tailor your work towards them.
For this, you need to make sure that you have a strong and consistent photography brand. This is the best way to communicate who you are as a photography business and attract those who fit your brand. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you should focus on brides, grooms, wedding planners or other people from the wedding industry.
Research Your Target Audience’s Media Consumption
Once you have your target clients and have specialised your content towards them, the next step is to begin to draw them in through specialised marketing. The best way to attract clients of any kind is to find out where they consumer their media. While having a website and being present on social media platforms are essential for a photography business, you don’t actually need to be present on every social media platform if your target audience is not present on them either.
As such, you should do thorough research about the media consumption habits of your target audience. Does your target audience use Facebook and Instagram? Do they prefer email updates? Are they interested in reading a blog written by you? The more you know about your target’s media behaviour, the easier it will be to focus your marketing efforts. If this seems like too much information to gather all on your own, you could also outsource this to a marketing research agency or use available statistics.
Once you know who your target market is, you can start using platforms that are relevant to them.
For example, people who are getting married often use Pinterest to find inspiration for planning so having an up-to-date Pinterest profile and focusing your effort there, would be a great plan for wedding photographers. Or if you are specialising in food photography, you could focus more on Instagram as this is the platform where lots of foodie content appears and where your target audience might be the most active.
In general, Facebook and Instagram are safe bets when it comes to having an active social media presence, but they aren’t sure-fire ways of gaining photography customers. Another just as effective method could be to join freelancing websites so you can take inspiration from what other photographers in your niche are doing. Regardless of the method, the key is to get to know your audience so you can make sure you are using the best possible channels. You shouldn’t stretch your budget and time to be active on every single platform. Focus on those that are most relevant for your target audience.
Give Potential Customers A Reason To Become A Present Client
“The final step is to give your clients something to bite onto, so you can reel them in, hook, line and sinker.”
Once you have identified your target audience, tailored your portfolio to appeal to them, and have focused your marketing efforts on the platform they most frequent, the final step is to give your clients something to bite onto, so you can reel them in, hook line and sinker.
One of the best ways to get new clients is to give people some sort of incentive to try out your services and see what you can do for them. An incentive can be simple, maybe an offer for your current portrait clients to get a free mini-shoot for a successful referral, or even a discount for new clients who want to try out your services.
Sometimes the reason photographers struggle to get clients is not because of the marketing tools they use. It’s because their offer becomes too monotone. You need to spice things up every now and then! Create special promotions to get more clients. Offer mini-sessions that are less expensive and are more likely to attract new photography customers. Plus, they take less of your time and you can offer more of them.
Give a discount to clients who choose you again and again.
Loyalty programs are a great way to keep existing clients. They also seem attractive for new photography customers as they see that you value your existing clients.
However, no matter what you decide to offer, it is important to keep in mind that discounts or deals that seem ‘too good to be true’ can be a cue that cheapens your brand, so tread with care. It’s better to provide an incentive that is aligned with your niche and how you want to be perceived, as whether you’re offering photo editing jobs or full shoot sessions, you want your services to be perceived to be premium. Chanel never goes on sale, right?
Invest in Your Business
“No matter what stage of the model photography process you’re in, a top priority for you should be to always keep your work protected.”
Once you see an increase in clients brought on through your successful marketing efforts, then you will need to take your photography career and business to the next level, by investing more money, time, and effort in it to help with its success. The first thing to develop once your business grows is security.
No matter what stage of the model photography process you’re in, a top priority for you should be to always keep your work protected from anyone who could be looking to steal, or misappropriate your work. This is where water marking comes in. Watermarking helps protect the copyright of your work and ensures that it cannot be reused or altered without your permission, making it one of the most sure-fire methods for a photographer to protect their work.
WaterMarquee is a free online tool, that allows you to add custom watermarks with your text and logo. You can also make multi-part watermarks and adjust the opacity and transparency of your watermarks, all in the one place. So if you want to protect your photos, do it with WaterMarquee today!