Online Marketing for PhotographersJuly 3, 2016
We’re sure you’ll agree that the photography industry is saturated with talented and passionate photographers all vying for attention. After all, the aim of the online game is to have potential clients see your work, fall in love with it, and hire you on the spot – right?
When it comes to taking your photography to more successful heights, the trick is how well you market your business online. It might sound broad, vague and even a little bit terrifying, but today we’re going to break down the vital elements of a successful online marketing plan for photographers. It’s time to grab a pen and some paper before we get started below!
Firstly, we’ll start with a wonderful piece of advice by Los Angeles based wedding and portrait photographer Kristen Simental: “Never forget, this is a service industry and the best form of advertising is the kind you don’t pay cash for.” (source)
The online world has opened so many doors for multiple professions, with photographers being just one of them. Thankfully, you are now able to market your business online to a worldwide audience all with ease and affordability. This brings us to our first important element of a photographer’s online marketing plan…
Your Website or Online Portfolio:
Having a website or online portfolio showcasing your photography business is one of the most important things you can do and it certainly should take priority when it comes to your online marketing plan. Not only is it relatively easy and affordable to set up (whether you purchase your own domain name or create a portfolio on a website such as 500px or SmugMug for example), but it also becomes your own little space on the internet where you can advertise your work, services, testimonials, and contact information.
When a potential client is interested in finding out more information about you, you can almost be certain that they will visit your website or online portfolio before visiting your Flickr, Tumblr, or Twitter accounts. Therefore, it’s important that your website or online portfolio only showcases your best and most impressive work to give your viewer a clear indication of the kind of photography that you excel at.
A website or online portfolio that has a clear and concise layout, along with easy navigation, will go a really long way in ensuring that your viewer hangs around for as long as possible. Browsers make their minds up within 3 seconds as to whether they’re going to continue looking at a website or not, so first impressions are everything. Leave out the clutter and confusion and they’ll come back time and time again, proving that your website has become a successful online marketing tool for your business.
Other elements you’ll want to include on your website or online portfolio are: a brief but engaging bio, a friendly portrait of yourself, easy-to-access contact information including your phone number, email address, contact form, and social media links, as well as client testimonials, and your location information.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
While we don’t blame you for cringing at the sight of the word ‘SEO’, we must stress just how important it is for your photography business to master the art of Search Engine Optimization. Search engines such as Google have become synonymous with online marketing because when a potential client searches for “wedding photographer waco texas” (and let’s assume your business is based in Waco, Texas and you specialize in wedding photography), you’ll certainly want to be at the top of search engine results to increase your chances of being hired for the job.
So how exactly does one master the art of Search Engine Optimization, you ask? There are countless, in-depth guides to this form of online marketing everywhere from books in the library to websites online, but today we’ll summarize three important elements that you need to concentrate on in order to successfully market your business.
- Set up Google Analytics on your website (free): This will not only help you to track what pages of your website are most popular, as well as things such as where the majority of your viewers are based in the world, but it also helps you to keep track of which keywords your viewers are typing into Google in order to be directed to your site. For more information, check out number 6 of this checklist.
- Encourage viewers to share your content via social media sharing buttons: There is now a direct correlation between websites ranking at the top of Google search engine results and their social activity. ForgroundWeb.com states that Google is also using social media signals to rank websites, so this is now another important aspect of mastering SEO. For more information, check out this link.
- Optimize your page titles and page meta descriptions: An oldie but a goodie, website users have been concentrating on these elements for years in order to boost their Google ranking or maintain healthy SEO. For more information you can visit here and here.
Copywriting also serves an important role in marketing your photography business online, but if writing simply isn’t your thing, be assured that you can outsource this task to a copywriter or freelance writer to save time.
For those of you interested in learning how copywriting plays a big part in your online marketing, however, keep reading!
When we mention copywriting, we are primarily talking about how you portray your business through large chunks of text, whether it be on your About page or even through your blog posts. There are numerous advantages to copywriting for your business, including the fact that it allows you to develop a distinct voice and personality, which helps your potential clients to warm to you. This is particularly beneficial when clients are considering hiring you to photograph some of the most important occasions of their life (whether it be an engagement, wedding, christening etc.) as they will be looking for a photographer whom they connect with instantly on a personal level.
Here’s some quick copywriting tips to help you achieve ultimate online marketing success:
- Use the ‘active voice’.
- Discussing the ‘who, what, when, where, and why’ makes you seem more trustworthy.
- Write enticing headlines for higher click-through rates.
- Use headings and sub-headings where possible.
- Break-up large chunks of text with images, videos, or other media.
- Use a conversational tone and ‘everyday’ words – avoid pompous language!
- Create a sense of urgency when discussing special offers or discounts on your services.
- Build your credibility and authority through powerful and honest story-telling.
- Back-up any claims with statistics, research data, case studies, testimonials, or other credible sources.
Link Building Strategies (Specifically for Photographers):
Did you know that around 60% of the ranking factors for search engines involve links from other sites to your site (a.k.a ‘backlinks)? This is why the link building strategies we’re about to tell you should become important tasks in your online marketing plan.
William Bay from TheModernTog.com perfectly explains how link building assists with your online presence by stating: “The more people that link to your site, the more weight Google will give it… This isn’t necessarily a popularity contest. Think of it more in terms of having something unique that people are compelled to share with others, and in return you are rewarded with greater authority in the eyes of Google.”
So how do I get people to link back to my site, you ask? We’ve got some simple and actionable tips for you below!
- Leave genuine comments on your peers’ blog posts with a link back to your own website. Compliment them on the beautiful imagery they’ve produced and perhaps engage with them by asking a question about their project. Not only are you fueling your own creativity by looking at the photography of others, but you’re also building relationships with your peers and getting that all-important backlink to your own portfolio.
- Get backlinks in editorials or blog posts on other websites. While a backlink in the comments section is good, Google actually places higher importance on backlinks when they’re included in the body of a blog post. A great way to achieve this is to submit your work to photography blogs or online magazines, especially if they regularly post about your specific genre of photography. This is also a fantastic way to get their audience clicking-through to your work – another vital element in obtaining potential clients!
- Link to your website in the profile page of all of your social media platforms. As we mentioned earlier, Google also uses social media to help a site rank higher in its search engine results, therefore driving more traffic to that site. In order to achieve this, you’ll want to log-in to your social media platforms and edit your profile / about section to include a prominent link to your website or portfolio. It’s that easy!
Facebook Marketing for Photographers:
Firstly, anyone with a Facebook page for their photography business (or any business for that matter) will have noticed just how difficult it is to expose your content to your entire fan count on the platform. You’ll find that Facebook may only allow a small number of your audience to view your status at first, gradually opening this up to more as the comments or likes roll in. This is Facebook’s way of pressuring Page owners into paying for advertising or even paying just to ‘boost’ their post. Because this is quite wrong (especially when you earned each of your followers through hard work and determination), we’re going to concentrate on Facebook marketing tips that are free to implement.
- It may seem obvious, but use the platform as a showcase of your most impressive photographs. Set up various albums on your page to keep your work organized and as easily accessible as possible. This is also a great way to see which specific photographs or projects are most popular amongst your audience, as the number of likes, comments and shares will be a great indication of this.
- Use your page to also list your most important information, including your website / portfolio link, contact information, location, and services. You want these to also be readily available to those who are interested in potentially hiring you for your services.
- Encourage clients to write testimonials on your Facebook page so that these will also be accessible to potential clients. Testimonials that contain your client’s name and headshot make you seem professional, trustworthy, and boosts a potential client’s confidence in hiring you.
- Don’t be afraid to upload a behind-the-scenes video of your photoshoots or studio every now and then, as this also allows your audience to engage with you on a deeper level.
Promoting your Work on Instagram:
Instagram is a wonderful social media platform for photographers because it is primarily visual and continues to attract more users each and every second! While some of the usual tips apply (include important information in your bio and a link to your portfolio, plus only showcase your best work), we’ve included Instagram-specific advice for marketing your photography business below.
- Use relevant hashtags to your work: include everything from the location of the photograph, to your business location, your specific genre of photography, popular elements found in the image, what equipment you used, and the name of your business. This will help to increase your exposure to your target audience.
- Tag your clients: When you work with a model, brand, hair stylist, makeup artist etc. be sure to ask them what their Instagram account name is so that you can tag them in your images. This also prompts them to share your image with their own audience, giving you extra exposure in return.
- Post consistently: While you don’t want to spam your audience, it’s important to pick a number of times that you’ll share new content each day or week and to try and stick to it. No less than three times a week and no more than 3 times a day is recommended for successfully marketing your business.
- Watermark your images: If you’re a little worried about other Instagram users sharing your photos and not giving you credit, then a great way to combat this is to include your photography business name and website (or Instagram account name) in a watermark on all of the images you upload.
- Share your special discounts or sales: At the end of the day, you’re still using Instagram to promote and market your photography business, so it’s important to share special offers with your audience and create hype around these.
There you have it! Through concentrating on your website / online portfolio, SEO, copywriting, link building strategies, Facebook, and Instagram you can easily and affordably create a successful online marketing plan for your photography business. Best of luck!