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10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Photography Business

Here are 10 steps you can follow to better your photography business today.

|  General Photography
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Wedding portrait

© Andrew Hind

 

I'll start by saying that, to be honest, I don't really think that there are many easy ways to boost a photography business or any business for that matter. Creating, maintaining and earning a living from any business is hard work, takes time and dedication and very often there aren't any shortcuts or easy fixes. However, what I have tried to do here is to provide ten actions that will potentially yeald the most benefit for the amount of time invested and this hopefully is as close as I can get!

All of the ten ten points below will potentially boost your business if acted upon individually but, if they are put together as a cohesive whole as part of a whole marketing and development plan then they will significantly impact upon your business as a whole.

 

1. Practice 

It seems obvious but, to a certain extent, the better a photographer you are the more work you will get. You don't have to be an amazing photographer to earn a living as a professional but you do need to be incredibly consistent and capable of creating good images in almost any situation whatever your chosen specialism is. Rarely are the circumstances that you have to work in ideal and you need to have the ability and confidence to come up with the goods whatever. 

It's, therefore, important to look at your strengths and weaknesses. Be realistic and work on the areas that need improvement deliberately and methodically. You should constantly be striving to produce better images than you did the day before and have a regular practice schedule in place that addresses specific areas that need improvement.

 

2. Develop A Great Product & Outstanding Service

The photography market is saturated. All of your competitors are probably producing pictures as good or better than yours and your clients often can't tell the difference between you and them. You need to produce a product or service that is memorable, stands out and looks different from the rest. 

This might mean that your style of photography is different, you have a physical product range or way of delivering your pictures that are different or you might offer a level of service that goes above and beyond what everybody else is offering. 

This is incredibly hard to do which is why a lot of photographers all look the same. Often it comes down to looking inwards towards yourself and building your business upon your tastes, personality and beliefs. Working this way has an authenticity about it and your business can become a reflection of you, your personality and style rather than being just about the photographs. This is much more appealing and memorable to clients – people often make buying decisions based on personality and feel rather than hard facts.

 

Wedding portrait

© Andrew Hind

 

3. Create A Coherent & Branded Shop Front

Make sure that all of your sales material, website and brochure reflect the values and feel discussed above. Everything needs to be coherent, it all needs to have individuality, personality and style, something that is remarkable, memorable and different from the crowd. 

Your website will probably be your prime means of communicating with clients and it needs to be better in every single aspect than your competition. Get an objective view on it and only put your very very best work on it. Work on the language and message the website communicates, make it easy for clients to learn about you, find out about what makes you special and, most importantly, what the benefit is to them in working with you. Think about their problems and concerns and how can you overcome them better than your competitors?

 

4. Get More Traffic Through Your Website

There's no point in having a fantastic product and a fantastic website to promote it if no one is visiting it! 

There are many ways to gain visitors and often it's not the quantity but the quality of visitors that's important. This can take a long time to gain traction but there are two relatively quick and easy methods that work really well, are relatively inexpensive and can send highly targeted leads your way. 

The first one is using Facebook ads – this is a whole topic on its own and there is a huge amount of information online about using them but basically it's possible to get your ads in front of a very specific demographic very quickly who will click on the ad and visit your website. Blatant "buy now" ads don't work particularly well but ads leading to helpful information posts on your website have a benefit for the reader as well as leading them potentially to contact you to use your services. 

It's also possible to use a similar approach on Instagram, Twitter, Google + and more recently in the UK Pinterest. It's all about working out where your target market is online and using the appropriate channel and demographic. 

Secondly using paid advertising on Google i.e. Adwords can be very effective and it's possible to get your listing on the top of the first page of Google for your intended keywords very quickly. You will find however that Adwords can be very costly if you use generic rather than specific keywords and it's very important to research your market and keyword carefully to get as targeted and economic response as possible. 

Guest blogging can also be an excellent way of gaining awareness but you do need to pick your publication carefully. If you can get a guest post on a highly relevant blog to your type of photography where a large number of your potential clients hang out then it can be a very good way of getting extra traffic to your site. 

In the longer term, you will need to work on your organic search rankings and a knowledge of SEO, or the services of a reputable SEO company will be vital. You need to do your research in this area to make sure that you use the right approach but it is a long-term strategy that will pay off many times over when your site starts to gain larger numbers of quality organic traffic.

 

Wedding

© Andrew Hind

 

5. Create An Email Sign Up 

Ok, so you have traffic coming into your website – you now need to convert them into enquiries and customers! Bear in mind that your clients will probably go from site to site very quickly. Some may be ready to buy now some may just be doing preliminary research and some may not even be really looking for what you offer right now. 

So, how do you keep in touch with such a wide range of potential needs? Wherever possible you need to persuade your visitor to give them your email address so that you can stay in touch and they don't forget you the moment they leave your website. 

Again, there is a massive amount of information on list building and email marketing for you to explore online but, in a nutshell, the process leads your website visitor through the process of knowing you, liking you then trusting you enough to get in touch to enquire about actually buying something from you. 

You can build this by offering some incredibly helpful information in exchange for their email address and then regularly keeping in touch with extra help and information until they hopefully are ready to purchase. Facebook re-targeting is also a very powerful technique for keeping connected to people who visit your site and again can be explored online for further information.


6. Get Out Into The Market Place

 The virtual world is incredibly powerful but in many ways, there's nothing like getting out into the real world and meeting potential clients. Chatting and building rapport can do wonders for word of mouth marketing and becoming known. On a personal level, in your local marketplace can be very effective. 

This might be as simple as joining a local business group breakfast club if you are a commercial photographer or liaising with local wedding venues and suppliers if you are a wedding photographer for example. 

Trade shows and wedding shows can also be good places to meet potential clients and also to liaise with other similar suppliers who may well be able to use your services or recommend you to others.

 

Wedding portrait

© Andrew Hind

 

7. Follow Up And Get Organised 

Develop a system for recording and following up leads. It's well known that, if you follow up with enquiries, you increase your booking rate. 

This really does work and many photographers will reply to an enquiry and then never contact the lead again. People get busy, they forget and often will go with the easiest option and that may well be your competitor who just sent them a friendly email asking if they can be of any further help! It's vital to follow up and then follow up again. 

Create a mechanism to remind you by possibly using Google calendar or CRM system so that you follow up on all leads.

 

8. Get Recommended

One of the most powerful means of boosting business is through client recommendation. In a saturated and confusing marketplace, many people will ask for recommendations and feel safer relying on other people's experience. It potentially saves them a lot of time and also gives them the security of knowing that someone else had a good experience with you. 

To make this work you need to give people a reason to talk about you – you must exceed their expectations, make their experience with you so remarkable that they can't help but bring it up in conversation and mention you. Set client expectations and then consistently beat them – this might be in terms of turnaround time, number of products delivered or in terms of giving an extra level of service but people love to be treated well and any extra investment you make in this area will pay off in the long term. 

It's also important to actively ask your clients to recommend you – give them a short satisfaction survey and honestly say that your business depends upon support of people like them. If you have built up a positive rapport and sense of trust and provided an outstanding experience they will take about you and recommend you.

 

Wedding portrait

© Andrew Hind

 

9. Keep In Touch With Past Clients

We often forget that our best clients can often be the ones we have worked with already. They already know and trust us and asking for further business can be very easy. This can be as simple as just keeping in touch, maybe sending birthday or Christmas cards if appropriate or a newsletter and keeping them informed of any offers or further services that you can offer them. Even just being in touch on social media can help keep you in the memory and can lead to some form of future collaboration.

 

10. Plan, Record & Analyse

If you followed everything above and implemented each point as carefully as possible you would, over time inevitably grow your business. However, the problem is often knowing where to start, what order to do things in and making sure that you follow things through. 

The final way to boost your business is to make a plan and test and measure everything. Think through the points above, spend time on further and more detailed research as suggested and then set out your goals as to where you would like your business to be in a year's time. 

Now work out the steps that you need to go through to achieve each goal in detail. Break this down into a quarterly plan, then at the start of each month plan each month, similarly each week and each day. 

Only by planning in this much detail will you keep track of where you are going, why you are doing things and keep yourself focussed on the long term goal and wider picture. As you go through everything record your progress test and measure and change things as you need to.

 

About Author: Andrew Hind 

Andrew Hind is a documentary wedding photographer who has been photographing weddings in the Cambridge area and all over the UK since 2003. He is a keen musician, cyclist and has a great love of good beers, classic cars and of course his crazy family! Visit Andrew's website - www.photographyatlightworks.co.uk where you can pick up for tips and also view his portfolio. 

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