As business owners we all have challenges. And a big one is marketing. Marketing effectively. I’m here to give you the cold, hard truth (in a nice way) about how to market your photography business…
When I accidentally fell into entrepreneurship over two decades ago, I wish that I had had somebody to show me the way to creating a profitable business.
Instead, I had years of tweaking, buying lots of products (many of them total crap – but I’d fallen hard for the sales pitch,) and chasing bright shiny objects. Urgh, I know.
If someone had been mentoring me, I know I would have had a profitable business a lot faster. But I didn’t even know what a mentor was.
It was about a decade into running my business when I started networking. It took me ten years because I had no clue that that’s what small business owners did.
There are so many photographers in the marketplace now. The saturation is due to people “practicing” more over the last few years with their smartphones – and a plethora of filters; and folks with a passion for photography getting new DSLRs and suddenly proclaiming they’re photographers.
There is a ton of talent out there, and it’s great that cameras are at a price point somebody with a passion for photography can create their own business, but with that comes a lot of really bad business owners.
And it’s not their fault.
Just like me, way back when, they need some guidance.
Unfortunately, unlike when I was starting down the exhilarating and challenging journey of entrepreneurship, we are now living with so much noise on the Internet – too much information – that you can get a migraine just trying to sift through what’s relevant to just work out the basic steps.
You need to navigate through the noise – so let’s go!
When it comes to two of the building blocks of business – marketing and sales, I see people confusing the two. As a marketer of 20 plus years now, it intrigues me why people don’t like marketing. I know that it’s because the understanding just isn’t there – and a confused mind is ineffective.
Marketing is what you do to get people in buying mode, and sales is where you close them and get the deal. If the marketing is done right, the sales are almost effortless. So as a marketer and also a photographer I want to help you create the marketing that leads to effortless selling.
What are the first three steps in getting effortless sales?
Knowing how to market your photography business properly. That is…
Knowing your audience. Hanging out where they hang out. Providing them with solutions to their problems in a non-salesy way – so you’re creating value in the marketplace.
Then rinsing and repeating – creating your value so that sales happen as if by magic.
Knowing Your Audience
This is where a lot of business newbies mess up. They don’t know who their ideal audience is so they don’t know what to say to them.
Who do you want to work with? Maybe it’s babies, seniors or people getting married. I shoot cars, landscapes and architecture to sell as wall art. I don’t want to shoot anything but inanimate objects but my clients are the people looking for unique art for their home or business.
So, who do you want to work with? Who lights you up?
Hang Out Where your Audience Hangs Out
It’s pointless spitting into the wind unless you want to wear some of that spit. Crude, but I hope that gives you a good visual.
You need to be present and promoting where your audience is.
This is so simple that it’s laughable. But it’s one of the biggest issues photographers have. And I’m not just railing on Togs here because this is a problem for a lot of small businesses. Period.
When it comes to online, you can easily search for the demographics of social media users on all the major platforms. Determine the platform that has the most of your demographic using it and you’ve got your ground zero.
Providing Solutions for Your Audience’s Problems
People buy based on emotions and will then use rationality to explain why they made a purchase.
Think about why a sixty year old man buys a red sports car…
He wants to feel young (an attractive) again. He’s tired of the aches, pains, fat, wrinkles, gray hair, to list a few things. He wants to re-live his more reckless years as a youth. So he goes 0-35 real fast about town. Sorry, I had to add that because it makes me laugh when I see fast cars that torque it up on city streets only to reach a top speed of about 35 mph.
So sell to your buyer’s emotions. Images evoke a lot of emotions – they are able to revive memories so powerful that they can make someone’s day.
And also give them the story that they can use to rationally explain to friends and family (especially their spouse or partner) why they made the purchase.
Time out! Take a moment to stop and think about how to market your photography business using emotions while also giving ready-made rational reasons for your buyers to use. When done right this really shrinks buyer’s remorse because they feel good and they can easily explain the reason behind their purchase to others.
Now comes the rinse and repeat.
In closing, being in business takes work. Promoting your business so you can get work takes work. There’s a whole lotta work that needs to get done.
Every day you need to be:
Building – going to where your ideal clients are
Engaging – getting to know them and what they need
Serving – by providing solutions to their (emotional) problems so that in time they will get to know you, like you and trust you.
And buy from you.