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Avoid These 3 Mistakes To Double Your Photography Clients In 2018

Here are 3 common marketing mistakes photographers make and how you can avoid making them.

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Marketing has been in my passion long before it was my career.  For the past ten years, I’ve helped businesses (mainly photographers) get more clients from their websites.

Despite screaming it from the mountaintops, I still find myself having conversations with new (and even veteran) photographers about common marketing mistakes. In all of my experience, I keep seeing the same three mistakes popping up again and again.  Even from photographers with over 20 years of experience!

Have you been making any of these mistakes?

  • Thinking marketing is totally optional
  • Doing marketing by yourself
  • Looking at your competitors

If you said yes, don’t worry! I’ll explain exactly how to fix them below.

"But wait, Brendan. I get that marketing isn’t optional, but aren’t I supposed to be blogging and watching my competition?" Not exactly. Keep reading and I’ll explain precisely why those are mistakes and how to fix them.

 

1. Thinking Marketing Is Optional

Thinking Marketing is Optional

 

Look, we all know that marketing isn’t optional. At least, we understand that the concept of it isn’t something you can choose not to do, right? Then why do so many photographers think they can put it last on their list of priorities?

I get that you’re 'busy' and you’d rather be out shooting, but I’ve just seen too many good photographers fail in their photography business because they focus more on their cameras and gear than their marketing. The idea that, 'if you’re good enough, clients will find you,' couldn’t be more wrong. The highest paid photographers and most successful photographers work on their marketing for at least a few hours per week and have done it consistently for YEARS.

The way that you solve the problem of finding time is by scheduling for it, even if it’s only one hour per week to start. "Go into your calendar RIGHT NOW and block off an hour next Monday to work on it," recommends Michael Will.

Treat it like a client appointment that you can’t afford to miss.  Because, honestly, if you miss that appointment too many times, you will run out of clients.  And without clients, your business quickly turns into a very expensive hobby.

 

2. Still Doing Marketing By Yourself

 

Holding a camera and taking pictures does not make you a photographer, going into Canva or PicMonkey and making a logo doesn’t make you a designer and setting up a Zenfolio or Smugmug website doesn’t make you a web developer.

Look, when you’re starting out and have tons of time and zero income, do it all yourself. You should always know EXACTLY what goes into the work that you’ll hire for later on. But, too many photographers are making over $100k per year and still trying to do SEO, their website, social media, etc. all by themselves.

WHY?

If you want to be a professional, you need to stop trying to DIY your logo and the less you DIY, the more you signal to your potential clients that you’re a professional that’s worth what you charge. It shows you invest in yourself, so they should invest in you, too.

The team at Evermark Studios notes said: "Hiring somebody who could prove their value was one of the smartest decisions we ever made in marketing. Don’t just hire the first person who pitches you, but see what results they’ve gotten for other clients in the past (especially for online marketing)."

 

3. Copying Your Competition

 

The reason that I always tell photographers to ignore their competition is that we assume WE are the only ones who are bad at marketing. Thus, we assume whatever our competitors are doing must be working for them, right? Wrong! In all my years of marketing, I’ve seen people trying to mimic their competition and failing over and over.  

"They advertised in local magazines! We should do that, too!" But, what you never hear is that the ads cost $2,000 and your competitor didn’t book a single client from the effort. Magazines and anybody else who sells adverts use that as their main selling point: 'But your competition is doing it.'

Just because they’re doing it, doesn’t mean it’s working. Destination wedding photographer Vincent van den Berg elaborates: "One of my biggest mistakes early on was looking at what topics my competition was writing about and what ads they were running and trying to copy them.  It the mind of my client, I was just a bad version of my competition."

 

How to Double Your Clients This Year

By combining these 3 steps, you’re going to see a massive uptick in new clients this year:

  • Scheduling time to work on your marketing
  • Writing blog posts that convert readers to clients
  • Ignoring your competition’s marketing

I’ve seen photographer after photographer implement these 3 things and, within a few months, start seeing new clients come in.

What are mistakes you see other photographers making? Let me know in the comments below!

 

About Author: Brendan Hufford

Brendan Hufford is a marketing and business veteran who is absolutely in love with photography. In 2016, he founded Photo MBA, where he teaches photographers how to charge more, land better clients, eliminate business headaches, and bridge the gap between their current reality and photography business goals.

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