Marketing your business is like doing the laundry… Just when you feel like you finished the job, all the clothes are dirty and you have to start over again. But the thing about marketing is that we have to stop treating it like dirty laundry. You know what I mean… you start the washer and forget to move the clothes to the dryer, then have to wash them all over again the next day. Or you wash and dry the clothes, but don’t make time to put them away, so they end up in a pile on the floor. We do that all the time with our marketing too… when we plan big campaigns and then never follow through.
The truth is, marketing can actually be a lot of fun… and it can help you remember why you love shooting so much in the first place! The key is to find some fresh and exciting ways to market your business… and then commit to implementing them start to finish. And the good news is that we have some great ideas to get you started!
Offer something new.
Specializing in one or two types of photography is really good for your brand. So if you only shoot kids and families, we’re not recommending that you suddenly start booking weddings as a way to attract new customers. What we are suggesting is that you brainstorm some fresh ideas that would fit well into your niche. If you shoot weddings, think about adding elopements or anniversary portrait sessions. If you shoot family portraits in your studio, consider offering something fresh and unique like bedtime story sessions at your client’s house or mama & me sessions at your favorite location. When you offer something new, especially when it’s a twist on something you already offer, you give everyone - past clients and new clients - something to get excited about.
Cultivate great vendor relationships.
This is so important if you shoot weddings, but it’s honestly a great idea no matter what you shoot. Wedding vendors really want good images of their work… the cakes they bake, the flowers they arrange, the rooms they painstakingly decorate. These bakers and florists and wedding coordinators spend hours trying to track down photographers and beg for images. The best way to cultivate a great relationship is to send them images from the wedding before they ask. If those three words ‘before they ask’ just blew your mind, think how your fellow vendors will feel! (Hint: they’re gonna love you!) Sending images can be as simple as giving them a download link to get digital files. Of course, we recommend going above and beyond, especially for your favorite vendors. In times like this, we turn to ProDPI’s press albums. They’re quick to design, inexpensive to print and they look incredible, much more luxe than a press printed book! For more tips and tools for cultivating strong and long lasting vendor relationships, our Vendor Marketing Kit has everything you need!
They always say never mix your personal life with business. But that’s not always the best advice. Because the truth is, people want to hire people they like. And those same people can’t decide if they like you if you never talk about yourself. So share away! Post a photo of you cheering on your favorite team, your lunch at a local cafe or your adorable dog napping in the sun. You never know, you may just bond with a future client over your shared adoration of basset hounds. Just don’t lose focus and forget that you’re marketing your business too.
Tip: Make sure you give your personal photos and posts the same attention to detail as your business posts. That means only sharing high quality, well-edited images and content. Exclamation points and emojis are okay if they are consistent with your brand, but stay away from blurry iPhone photos, poor composition and too many filters. You want your clients to know that your eye is truly special even when you are not on the job.
Surprise your clients.
Everybody loves surprises. Especially when they come from an unexpected place. One of the best things about being a small business owner is having the freedom to not just take care of your clients, but to do it well. Delighted clients will use your services again and again… and they’ll tell their friends! And it’s easier than you think to delight and surprise your clients. You can send a handwritten note with flowers after they book you for their wedding, a gift card to your favorite chocolate shop or a framed desk print from their session. P.S. There’s an entire section in our Photographer’s Marketing & PR Guide & Calendar all about giving unexpected gifts… and we think you’ll love it!
Pay attention to details.
Details are everything when you’re a small business owner. Everything needs to reflect your brand well and your messaging should be consistent across all platforms. That includes your website, blog, social media, packaging and even emails you send clients and potential clients. If your contracts still have your old logo on them or you haven’t updated your ‘About Me’ photo in four years or you’re sending emails that read like tweens texting (thx for a fab sesh!), you’re not doing yourself any favors. It’s time to update everything. Attention to detail shows you are a professional and that you care.
The best thing about the marketing ideas we’ve just shared with you is that you can get a head start! Most people will put off starting new practices until the first of the year, but you don’t have to. You have our permission to get a fresh start today. The only thing left to do is decide where to start!