Marketing is probably one of the things that confuses us photographers most when it comes to the business side of our careers. Of course, we all know Instagram is great for marketing, but what else?
I'm going to dive in to 5 ways that you can better market yourself to the world of your dream clients!
1. Social Media
Like duh, we all know this one. But really - it's free! So if you're not utilizing it you should be!
This one is a no-brainer, but it's such a great tool to utilize! Not only are you reaching an audience that is looking for someone like you, but your literally posting your work on a photo-centered social media app - which is basically what your job is! Taking pretty photos!
Here are a couple of ways you can utilize Instagram to give you more clients:
This may sound silly, but feature accounts can actually really help you! Tagging them in those photos that you are just super stoked on may get you some more followers. And while those followers may not be potential brides, what's happening is you're still getting a lot of traction on your good photos, which gives you a better chance at showing up in someone's "explore" feed. I've had quite a few brides find me through "explore", so I'm definitely a believer in that! The more organic and awesome engagement you get on Instagram, the more likely a potential bride will see it.
Okay, so I've heard it both ways, but I personally recommend keeping your personal account the same as your business account. Why? Because now my friends who follow me are seeing what work I'm producing, and now that they are all at that age where they are getting married, they are going to think of me when it comes to finding a photographer for their wedding. Badda boom, badda bing, you've got more clients.
Posting new and refreshing content will get you more engagement. Guaranteed. If you keep posting the same photos from the same session over and over again right next to each other, people will get over it. It's the sad and depressing truth!
By posting new content, you show people that you are actually pretty busy and the real deal. People always want new stuff, so by continuously posting photos from new sessions, you'll be begging for more engagement. Of course, make sure you post the stuff that you are super stoked on! Post those amazing new photos that you just took!
How's your 9 grid looking? Does it look cohesive or a little messy? Well, there's an app for that!
I use Planoly - a great app to help you plan out future posts so you can see what your grid will look like!
The other sad and depressing fact is... it's true. Your 9 grid really does matter. Because it's your first impression. A potential follower that comes to your feed and takes one look may not want to follow you if they don't like the way your grid looks. It's the sad truth!
SO by using planning apps, you can make sure you are using a variety of different shots with similar and cohesive editing styles. This will in turn help your follow game.
Tag, Tag, and Tag!!
I'm talking Geotagging your location, hashtagging strategically, and tagging vendors in your photos! The more people and opportunities you bring to your work for people to find you or follow you, the more it will benefit you in the end.
By tagging those vendors from that wedding you shot, they are getting a glimpse of your work, and they might just share one of your photos as well and tag YOU for their whole follow base! That's great marketing!
By hashtagging strategically, you're using tags like #oregonweddingphotographer for that shot you took in the mountains, even though you live in California! If you want to shoot somewhere specific in the future, start hashtagging it! You might get a potential bride who's on the hunt to find you!
Facebook isn't that dead, people. You should still be using it!
Some people still rely on Facebook to find stuff - including business pages. Sometimes it's just for the fact to validate that you are a real business. The more you're utilizing the platforms you have, the more audience your reaching, and the more likely you are going to book more clients. That's just the way it is.
Post blog posts to your business page, and share different content than what's on Instagram or other platforms! By sharing different content, you're encouraging other followers to head to your other platform and give it support, which can only help you more.
As far as paid ads go, I've never found them working for me in this specific industry, so I haven't touched them. Organic engagement is the best way to get more clients... and save money!
2. Website / seo (or, Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is a bit of a beast, so I'm going to try and simplify as best as I can to make sure you benefit from this! Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is basically the algorithm Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines use to bring up the best results for each user search. So how does that algorithm work?
Well, Google and other engines have these "spiders"... not kidding, that's what they're actually called, that crawl the pages of your site. They look for specific keywords that they can pull and use for user generated searches. Keywords, page quality, and page ranking all have a part in where your pages will appear on Google. And if you're on that second page... you might as well not even be on Google at all.
Here are some ways you can help your SEO:
When you're blogging, make SURE you have at least over 500 words. Any less than that, and Google might not have enough to grab from your page for searches. In your 500 words, make sure you have your keywords listed so that Google can pick them up. BUT BEWARE - do not overuse your keywords! Ex: "I shot this Oregon wedding in Oregon on a gloomy Oregon day. The couple has lived in Oregon and met in Portland, Oregon, and now they are getting married in Oregon later this month." This, my friends, is called Keyword Stuffing, and it can actually penalize you for future Google searches!!
BUT, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use Keywords. You definitely should - just limited to a normal amount. You should also use your keywords in the Titles of your pages. Ex: "Whimsical Oregon Engagement at Crater Lake". There, I just gave the location, what the shoot was, and an adjective to describe the shoot. Using adjectives like this will help your click game and hopefully drive more traffic to your website.
Lastly, be sure to SHARE your blog posts! Inbound links are your friend here. Did you know if you share your post to a platform like Facebook, that link that drives people to your site can help with SEO because it's an inbound link? Yeah, pretty cool, right? The more inbound/outbound links, the better quality your page will have for Google's spiders! Make sure you're linking out to those vendors that helped on the wedding day!
Lots of Info
Make sure you are being personal and friendly - you want people to stay on your page as long as possible! This helps with your page's quality, and will give you priority for Google. The shorter amount of time people spend on your site, the more likely Google will flag that page as bad quality.
Have call to actions - drive them to other blogs or to fill out contact forms! Want better SEO? Drive them to more pages on your site. That will definitely boost your other pages and their quality rank!
Lastly, make sure your site is user friendly and easy to navigate. Have a clear navigation bar, make sure people can easily find your work and your portfolio... otherwise they'll just leave. And that's no bueno.
3. In-Person Referrals
We've kind of talked about this previously in my last blog, How to Book More Clients for Your Wedding Photography, but basically, when you show up to weddings, head in there read to book the engaged cousin. Be ready to wow the people and book another bride with each wedding you attend!
Another great way to get referrals is having an in with wedding vendors. And what better way to do that than to be friendly and meet the vendors you are working with? Tag them in your work, make a point to get to know them, and then I guarantee because they liked working with you so much, they'll refer you to any brides that are asking for referrals. There you go - easy way to get clients!
4. Wedding Coordinators
Looking to shoot in a specific area that you're dreaming of? Well I have a trick for you.
Find local wedding coordinators in the area, get to know them, reach out to them through email professionally, share your work with them, and ask to be on their referral list. More likely than not, I'm sure they'll like you and of course want to work with you, which in turn, will help you book more clients in the area you are choosing to shoot in. For example, I want to shoot more in the Pacific Northwest. So, I found some coordinators on Instagram located in those areas and shared my work with them through email, asking to be a part of their referral list. Both responded back, and now I have a styled shoot planned in June later this year with an awesome coordinator up in Washington. What dreams are made of, folks!
5. Getting Published
Prepare yourself. This is a tough one to continue doing because there is a lot of rejection here. BUT, it's so so worth it when it works out for you.
Submit, submit, submit!
The more you submit, the more those coordinators will keep seeing your work, getting to know you, and eventually, think of you for a specific post they have in mind... which could be later than expected! Even if the session or wedding you are so super stoked on doesn't get accepted, keep submitting everything you've got. They might just pick up that one that you didn't think would get published - and you would've never known if you hadn't submitted it!
Once that post does get picked up, boy are you in for a ride. Get ready for the inquiries! Do you know how many brides are on Junebug, Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, and more? That's like the HUB of potential brides! So get there and keep submitting. Just keep submitting.
I hope this has been helpful for you and that you learned a thing or two reading or watching this video! If you're interested in learning more on how you can best market yourself, let's set up a Mentor meeting! I love working with AWESOME new photographers! :)
Want to Be Mentored by Dani?
We'll chat about your specific situation and how you can grow from where you are now!