You’re already an amazing photographer – but now it’s time to learn how to grow your photography business. We know that getting the word out about your stellar photography skills can seem too time-consuming, too confusing, and (let’s face it) too impossible. Until now! These simple tips will help you scale your photography business to new heights without sacrificing time you could be spending behind the lens (or on vacay! Girl’s gotta weekend).
Let’s Get Down to (growing your) Business
Customer Experience for Photographers
As a photographer, you get to be part of some of your clients’ most important moments. You work hard to capture their personalities and to create images that they will love for a lifetime. That level of dedication takes time and precision (blood, sweat, and maybe some tears) – but your ability to grow your photography business doesn’t have to. The one easiest way to grow your business is something you are probably already doing: focussing on your customer experience.
Over the lifetime of your relationship, your customers have a lot of different interactions with your brand – each of those interactions influences how your customers view your business. Customer experience includes everything from face-to-face interactions and the ease of use of your website, to the confirmation and tracking emails you send after someone makes a purchase. Every single touchpoint is part of your customers’ experience.
Client Gifts for Photographers
Creating a customer experience your clients will never forget is easier than it looks. Client gifts are a great way for your business to stay connected with your clients to make sure they remember you when their friends ask, “do you know of any good photographers?”. You know better than anyone that no one client is the same, so how can you decide on the right gift for each client?
First, do your homework ahead of time. When dealing with a client be sure to listen to their likes and dislikes, when they are going on their honeymoon, when they will be back and all other notable topics. Write them down somewhere you can refer back to when the time comes for you to send your perfect gift.
Including a thoughtful note with your gift, no matter who your client is, goes a long way. Life events take place all the time and you want to make sure your clients remember their favorite photographer when the time comes to capture another moment. This way you can make sure your photography business is at the top of their list. Delight your customers and you will win their loyalty for life and turn them into advocates for your brand. There’s really nothing more powerful than that!
Getting More Photography Referrals and Reviews
So, it’s probably obvious to you that happy customers bring new customers in the door. When you focus on creating amazing experiences, people will refer you to their network (without being asked!). But how can you leverage the things you already do to get more referrals and online reviews?
Word of mouth is such a powerful marketing strategy, and if you as a business owner can learn how to harness that power, it can set your photography business on a new trajectory.
In fact, word of mouth marketing is so effective that a Nielsen study revealed that over 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. An even earlier study showed that 93% of people trust recommendations from another person including strangers. And keep in mind that your clients are much more likely to leave you a review if they have an unforgettable customer experience.
Creating incentives for online reviews can really help set your photography business up for success. This can just be in the form of a simple ask after a service, or giving away a redeemable coupon for a free headshot in exchange for a review online or a recommendation to a friend. By generating new clients and utilizing this powerful strategy you are not only growing your photography businesses profitability, but also your network.
Best Photography CRMs
Another great way to keep your photography business top of mind with your clients is to use a CRM system. What is a CRM system you ask? CRM first and foremost stands for customer relationship management and it helps you do just that.
A good CRM system can help streamline business processes and functions to save you the time you could be spending on your photography business. Some functions include automated emails, phone calls, client tracking, website analytics, contact forms, social media and creating a personalized client experience.
A little responsiveness goes a long way when you are trying to run a business, and this is especially true for a photography business. Any kind of personalization can set your business apart from all the other photographers posting on Instagram, and technology can help you accomplish just that with a little time and effort. Look for a CRM that allows you to stay in touch with your clients in the ways that feel most natural to you.
Don’t want to invest the time or budget into setting up a CRM? That’s okay! There are a lot of small business owners who use Google Sheets to manage their client relationships by setting up some quick and easy automations with a tool like Zapier. You can also use Greetabl to remind you of important dates for your clients! Import your contacts using our contacts upload tool, then set up reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, or other important events and we’ll email you as they come up.
Be Clear in Your Communication
A large part of your work as a photographer includes communicating with clients on the phone or through email, but there are also a lot of other places that clients get information from you about your business.
Your website and social media pages are generally the first form of communication most clients will have with your business. Creating clarity at these earliest touchpoints can help set you up for success before you’ve even spoken to them! Make sure that when they enter your website your services, fees, and other details are clearly explained, organized and easily understood.
It is important to ensure that no one leaves your website wondering what exactly you do. Including short and descriptions in addition to a synopsis of your photography business as a whole in the “About” section of your website is a great place to include that information.
Another way you are communicating with your potential consumers before actually speaking with them is through your brand identity represented on both your website and social media pages. Make sure your brand is saying exactly what you want it to!
Building a Strong Photography Brand
Building a strong brand isn’t going to transform your business performance overnight, but over the longterm, it is one of the single best investments you can make in your business growth. You want to build an empire, right? Well, that starts with your brand.
So, before you go hashtag happy on your pictures, remember that people want to see beautiful photography, but they also want to see a strong cohesive brand. While you may not have lavish corner office just yet, a strong brand and knowing how to communicate it to your potential clients can help you and your photography business get there.
As a photographer, it is likely that you have already decided on your stylistic choices when it comes to the photos you take and the editing that takes place afterward. However, just as important is your photography businesses branding both online and offline. Keep everything consistent and organized. Pick your aesthetic such as brand colors and fonts and stick with it to develop a clear visual direction. Don’t forget the small things, like having multiple sizes of your logo to match the brand identity you have chosen for your photography business.
But do not – I repeat – DO NOT logo everything! Some things are better presented without a logo, and having a strong brand identity will ensure your colors, aesthetics, and fonts still shout YOUR BRAND when a logo just isn’t appropriate. Coco Chanel always said to remove one thing before you leave the house because less is often more. Remind yourself of this mantra in mind the next time you are wondering whether a logo is appropriate.
Keep your brand identity in mind throughout all your business efforts to help you represent your photography as a professional and cohesive business. This includes your website and social media, but also client gifts. Greetabl offers custom prints for Insider Pro subscribers so that your client gifts can be a physical extension of your photography brand.
The customization that Greetabl offers allows your photography business to be represented in a creative way that represents you. Let your creativity shine through and don’t shy away from using gifts to create another layer to the experience you provide your clients with. Best of all, using Greetabl’s services is incredibly easy. By combining your brilliant work, strong brand, and client gifts that speak for themselves, your photography business is sure to be unforgettable (just like the moments you capture).
Grow Your Photography Business with Social Media
Where do you go from here? You’ve got your brand identity figured out, you know where to go for easy, custom client gifts, and how to manage customer relations, but how can you make sure your business network grows? Social media will be your photography’s best friend.
Most photographers have at least some social media presence. What can really supercharge your business growth, though, is being strategic about which platforms you use and how you use them. The good news is that once you figure social media out, it will give a lift to everything else that you do.
Tell Your Story Brand Story
Remember that branding we talked about earlier? This is where you can continue to apply it. Placing your logo in the appropriate place (such as your profile picture and on your highlights) will create a balanced and cohesive aesthetic. When clients can see a harmonious image, your brand starts to tell its own story.
Storytelling is one of the most compelling ways marketers are engaging their audiences in every industry. While your photography business thrives on the art you create behind the lens, your growth will thrive on the stories you tell with them online.
Give your clients a window into your creative process and watch the investment in your photography grow. By creating a narrative behind your brand, your photography and what inspires you, clients can feel more connected to your business and want to be a part of it by taking up your services.
Photography and Social Media: Participation = Engagement
Instagram stories are a great tool to engage with your audience. Allowing your followers and clients to participate in polls, hashtag campaigns and have their own stories shared on your page will create a strong connection between your brand, photography and your audience. For example, ask your followers what they would like to see on your page. Let them be a part of your creative process.
Hashtags are a wonderfully simple tool that can help your photography business broaden its reach. These versatile features will allow your audience to share their content with you as well as share your content with others. Each time your photography is shared by one client or fan, remember that at least 300 or more people are now exposed to your incredible business! Use this to your advantage. Create incentives for your clients to share your content online and tag you to spread the word about your killer photography skills.
Social Listening for Photographers
Similar to how no one photographer is the same, no one audience is the same. Do what works for your brand. The best way to determine what works is to track your engagement. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different polls, hashtags, photos, captions and more. As yourself questions like whether long captions or short captions work best for your audience?
While tracking trends on your social media is extremely important to help you adjust your strategy and grow your business, it can be time-consuming and tedious. For that reason, we recommend using a social media planning tool such as Hootesuite. Not only will this track your trends for you, but a tool like this can help you plan and schedule automated posts ahead of time so that you can relax on your days off while making sure your audience is engaged!
How Often Should You Post on Social Media?
With a social media planning tool, posting often doesn’t have to be hard. But keep in mind that posting photos isn’t enough to keep your business buzzing online. Stories, polls, and other kinds of engagement have taken over Instagram and Snapchat. Give your followers and potential clients insight into your business by sharing sweet moments from a photoshoot, posting a poll about mini session options, or sharing good news about your business growth.
Just remember that the more you engage with your audience, the more they will engage with you! And that’s one of the easiest ways to make sure your photography rises to the top of everyone’s explore page.
The Key to Social Media for Photography: Authenticity
Not everything has to be so serious! Share things about your day including the good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone has days that just don’t agree with them. Posting content that your audience can relate to will create a connection between you and those who stumble across your page and make them go “Yeah, we’ve all been there!”
Your photography skills can speak for themselves, but social media gives you an avenue to let your potential clients get a glimpse into who you are as a person. Nothing is worse than a model or wedding party not seeing eye-to-eye with the photographer, so give your potential clients an idea of what it would be like to work with you through social media. Let them get a sense of your personality – that’s the best way to attract the clients who really want to work with someone just like you!
What Social Media Channels Should Photographers Use?
The short answer is to use the social media channels your ideal clients use. You don’t have to be on every social media platform, but you should be on the key platforms that your clients use on a daily basis. If you aren’t sure which platforms would make the most sense, try asking your clients directly!
We mentioned that your brand should be cohesive on all your platforms. This includes your website but also all the social media pages you use. Remember that you can use similar content on different mediums. Emphasis on similar. Do not post the same thing to every social media page your business has, but utilize them when appropriate. The content you post should match each social media site’s functions. To break it down, follow these simple rules for what to post where:
- Main page: Photos & Short Videos of important content like your photography (Save important FAQ’s and other examples as highlights)
- Stories: Fun Polls, live feeds, Q&A, daily short videos, daily photography
- Live feed
- Long videos
- Business-driven polls
- Storytelling (lengthy posts underneath photos)
- Share quick and fun anecdotes online you can relate to (does not always have to be original content)
- Relatable tweets throughout the day
- Participate in campaigns online (such as #nationaldogday)
- Promoting Hashtags
- Short video content
- Camera roll content for photography
- Filter fun photos!
- Beautiful photography worthy of pinning
- Links to your blog
Growing a Social Media Community
Think of social media as a large community you want to be well acquainted with. Similar to how you would do your research to improve your photography, do your research on what is trending online and which pages are gettings the most engagement. Not every page is seeking to run their own business. Some are looking for great content to post to keep people coming back. Take ideas from these pages and adapt them to your brand and business model.
By using hashtags to connect yourself to those larger pages, you can find a way onto their page and see results in your photography business with this new kind of exposure. Participate in national holiday posts by using hashtags so your photography gets the most on it as possible! Once your work is exposed online, your talent will take care of the rest.
Networking for Photographers
Part of growing a photography business is expanding your network of potential clientele, but also other photographers and local businesses. Participate in insightful photography seminars and networking events. Making valuable connections throughout the photography industry can help get your business the exposure it needs.
Partnering with fellow local photographers can help you host collective photography exhibitions that would be much more difficult to pull off on your own and benefits everyone in the process.
In addition to partnering with others in the photography business, partner with local organizations. Volunteer to photograph community events and contribute to your community and network’s growth all at once.
Growing a photography business can be difficult and time-consuming. And if you’re like most photographers we know, you have approximately one million daily tasks, and marketing efforts often fall to the bottom of the list. Use this guide to tackle the overwhelm and take your business to the next level (without giving up a ton of your time).
By following these steps your photography will stand out from all the rest and your business will grow to its full potential. Now go out there and build your empire, you beautiful tropical fish!