No matter the field, searching for new clients is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business. But with diligent planning and the best marketing strategies, attracting potential clients is not impossible.
This article shows how to get more photography clients without burning out. Its focus is on the photography industry.
Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all. Different photographers may take different paths to attract clients.
The aim of this article is not to promote one specific path. Rather, the aim is to help photographers build rapport with their potential clients.
Then they can determine which marketing strategies work best for them and their business.
Who Is the Target Audience?
Identifying target, or ideal, clients is the first step before starting a business. If a photographer isn’t drawing in as many clients as desired, they’re likely not marketing to the right audience.
Who exactly are the target clients? These are people who would benefit most from your service.
There are two very important pieces of information to determine about ideal clients. First is their age range and second is their level of income.
But this information alone is not enough to connect with customers.
Photography aims to evoke emotion and stimulate the senses. The same should be true of the marketing strategy.
To motivate potential clients to buy your service, it’s important to understand their values and beliefs. The key question is, “Why would they want to buy your product or service?”
From there, come up with a clear message that will attract them to the business. This ensures that the customer’s needs are the basis of the marketing strategy.
How to Attract Potential Clients To a Website
Why is having a business website so important to getting photography clients? Because billions of people use the internet.
It’s the most convenient way for potential customers to find you. A website also serves as the identity of your business.
That’s why the website needs to look attractive and be responsive. When a website is responsive, it works well on all screen sizes.
An attractive and functional website creates a positive first impression on new clients.
Once the design is complete, it’s time to draw attention to the business with a photography blog. But beautiful images are not enough to rank high in Google searches.
To reach as many people as possible, the website needs to stand out.
Below are different ways to make a website rank higher in Google searches. This will help to attract new photography clients.
- Keywords (words related to the business that people are likely to search for)
- H1, H2, and H3 tags to organize content
- Page titles (these can and should include keywords)
- Meta descriptions (summaries for each webpage)
- Google Analytics
For ideal photography clients:
- Brand statement (Who are you, and what is your mission?)
- List of previous clients
- A portfolio of your best work
- About page
- Contact information
The process of creating an attractive, functional, and high-ranking website takes time. But, the rewards will be worth the effort.
Find Photography Clients on Social Media
The vast majority of successful businesses connect with their clients through social media. With Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others, businesses can share news, showcase products and services, and communicate with customers.
For those who want to work with certain companies, it’s worth looking at their social media accounts.
There, visitors get to know their style, brand identity, and goals. It also shows how they deal with questions and comments from customers.
Social media provides an opportunity to interact with new clients. Photographers can also reach out to businesses that they might like to work with.
Having created a Facebook or Instagram account, what’s next?
One helpful idea is to take pictures of products that you enjoy using and tag the brand in the photo. Interact with these brands on their social media accounts.
So, when reaching out to them for a business opportunity in the future, they will already know who you are.
Another must-have tool is a Pinterest business account. This can also help attract potential clients to your website.
Pinterest is not a social media platform, but a visual search engine. It’s much like Google, only with images and videos.
How can photographers use Pinterest to drive ideal clients to their website?
First, be present and post regularly. The more you post, the more past and future clients will see you.
When they need a photography service, they will be more likely to choose the brand they see the most.
It’s important, though, not to reuse and recycle older posts. Keep the feed fresh with new and original content that is useful to clients.
Another important note about Pinterest is to set a posting schedule. This helps to keep one accountable.
Try to plan all content at least a week in advance to ensure that they all go together. There are many services that help users plan out and visualize their posts.
They will post them at the scheduled times. Do a quick Google search for “Pinterest scheduling software,” and find the one that works best for you.
New clients are not only interested in seeing your work, but also your knowledge of the latest photography trends and techniques.
One idea is to use hashtags on Pinterest posts. These should relate to the latest developments in photography.
How to Use Email Marketing
Many may feel that email is no match for the speed and efficiency of direct messaging. But, used in the right way, email marketing can be a powerful tool to connect with clients.
Many people receive newsletters that are several paragraphs long. A newsletter may even be so long that they don’t bother to read it to the end.
This can be offputting to clients. So don’t feel obligated to send long emails.
Focus, not on the length of the email, but on creating original content that clients can relate to.
The first step in email marketing is to build an email list. Here are three ways to obtain clients’ email addresses:
- Blog posts
- Popups that prompt clients to subscribe to your newsletter
Many email marketing services can create subscription forms and collect emails addresses. This allows photographers to focus on creating new content for clients.
Build a Strong Brand
Why is building a strong brand identity so important? Brand identity is what makes you unique from all other brands.
To start building a brand, it’s necessary to name your photography business. The name should be both unique and related to the field of photography that you’re in.
Here are a few other key areas to focus on when building a strong brand identity:
- Photographic style and product focus.
The direction that the business will go in starts with the photographic style. Only choose products that compliment your style.
Some photographers don’t currently have a studio. Even so, the work environment should reflect their photographic style and personality.
- Customer experience.
Customers will appreciate being treated well even more than good work. Customer service will determine how people view your business and brand.
So, it’s important to create a positive experience for all customers.
- Cohesive marketing identity.
Building a brand identity also involves the look and feel of the brand. Choose a color palette, font, and other style elements.
Use these on marketing copy, the website, social media platforms, and anything else related to your business. These will make the brand easy to identify.
To set your photography business up for success, focus on the above key points. Make changes to the pricing, marketing copy, and other business aspects as needed.
How to Use Cold Outreach
Photography is a highly competitive field. It’s not realistic to expect thousands of messages from potential clients seeking out your services.
Many won’t even realize that they need your services. So a photographer may have to go out and look for opportunities to fill a need.
For example, a restaurant or local magazine may need some fresh and updated photos. Why not reach out for a photoshoot and pitch your services to them?
Here are some other crucial areas to focus on when looking for work opportunities:
Connections can make or break a business. Do some research on different websites and social media platforms to find contacts for all things creative.
These contacts may be able to connect you with potential clients and find you more work.
- Understand the client’s needs.
Become familiar with the client’s brand. This will ensure that you’re in the best position to help them.
Look for clues to determine how much work they might need, their target audience, and their style.
- Educate clients in a tactful manner.
Potential clients might not even be aware that what they have is no longer working, and that they need an update. Without being critical, explain how the client would benefit from your services.
Keep in Touch With Former Clients
Without a doubt, working to keep former clients is much easier than searching for new clients.
An established relationship has great advantages. It means the photographer already knows the customers’ needs and preferences.
Some other advantages of working with returning clients are:
- Less effort than pitching to new clients
- Less searching for new clients
- Less time and preparation involved at the start of the project
To keep clients coming back, make it a priority to build a pleasant customer experience. Especially when starting, photography businesses rely on positive reviews to attract more customers.
If clients request extra work, try to be as accommodating as possible.
However, if their requests for extra services are unreasonable it may be best to offer them a discount. Or, be honest and tell them that it’s not possible to fulfill their requests.
Not every client is going to be satisfied with your work, and that’s okay. The reality is that it’s impossible to please everyone.
If a client is difficult to work with or doesn’t agree with the pricing, it may be best to move on.
End the business relationship with a polite email and thank them for working with you thus far. But explain that you will be looking for other opportunities going forward.
The worst thing to do in this situation would be to stop responding to a client’s attempts to contact you. A former client might still refer someone to you even if you’re out of their price range, but they won’t if you ignore them.
Also, be sure to request a testimonial from each client to include on your website. Reach out to former clients for this as well.
People are more likely to buy a product with many positive reviews than one with no reviews at all.
If others are happy with a product or service, people feel more confident to invest their money in it as well. For this reason, positive feedback from clients is very valuable.
Should I Rely on Word-of-Mouth?
Absolutely! Without a doubt, word-of-mouth is the best way to market a photography business.
Words of praise from clients are even more powerful than any advertisement. The best part of word-of-mouth marketing is that it costs nothing to get your name out; the clients will do it for you!
There is a problem with word-of-mouth marketing though. It can only reach a limited number of people, especially when starting with a small client base.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool to gain clients in the community. But it’s best to use a variety of marketing strategies rather than relying only on this method.
What is the best way to use word-of-mouth marketing? It all starts with networking.
Your connections may be able to set up an introductory email, a phone call, or video chat with people they know. People are much more likely to work with you if the referral comes from someone whom they trust.
It’s also good to ask for testimonials from clients both past and current. The more positive feedback there is, the more confident others will be to work with you.
How to Speak to Photography Clients
Remember that people want to work with people, not impersonal businesses. Put a face to the brand by sharing “behind-the-scenes” glimpses into your life and work.
Please keep it professional. There is no need to share your personal life or political opinions.
Present yourself and the photography business in a positive and welcoming way.
The most important goal is for clients to walk away feeling that they’ve been treated well. Use the “7 Cs of Communication” below as a guideline when communicating with clients.
When speaking with clients, be:
Also, be mindful of body language. Even on the bad days, try to put on a smile and be cheerful.
People can sense when someone is in a bad mood, and this may deter them from working with you.
Say No When Necessary
Many business owners believe that to keep customers they’re obligated to offer free items, special rates, or do special favors for everyone. But, this is simply not the case.
There’s no need to try to fill different roles for different people. Don’t become a jack-of-all-trades.
The best way to get known and create demand in the photography (or any) industry is to focus on a niche or two. Then, work to become an expert in those areas.
At times it is necessary to say “no” to get the ideal photography clients.
Some clients may force a photographer to work too hard to fulfill unreasonable requests. Yet, at the same time, they are trying to obtain a discount.
In other cases, the project simply isn’t inspiring.
Remember that the photographer, not the clients, is in charge of the business. This means that they can choose to accept or refuse a project.
How can a photographer get more ideal photography clients? Looking at past clients will help.
Which clients were enjoyable to work with? Which projects made you feel the most inspired and accomplished?
The following to-do list will also help to attract more ideal clients.
- Make changes to the experience for the ideal clients if necessary
- Set aside one morning to do mini photography sessions
- Contact past clients with a special offer
- Update your portfolio with only work from your niche area(s)
- Schedule social media posts to be in line with your niche(s)
- Write two or three blog posts for the website that will attract the ideal clients
- Research and contact a brand or vendor who may collaborate on a photo shoot. After that, they can share your work with their customer base.
Saying “no” when necessary is a sign of confidence in yourself and your work. It also indicates that there is a clear vision for the brand.
Saying “no” and sticking to your niche can garner much respect from others in the industry.
Ending thoughts on how to get more photography clients
A potential client may interact with a brand up to five or six times before contacting them. This may be interaction via a website, social media, or other forms of communication.
So it’s wise to use a variety of marketing strategies to connect with potential photography clients. This will help to achieve the greatest amount of success in a shorter period.
Showing personal interest in potential clients is important. But there’s no need to badger them with offers.
Take the time to build a social media presence. Interact with them before sending them a pitch email.
In the end, what will attract new clients is a foundation of familiarity, trust, and comfort. This will especially help if the goal is to work with other brands.
Wouldn’t you like to enjoy work more, have more time to spend with family, and stress less about making ends meet? Invest in yourself and your photography business now, and enjoy the incredible rewards.
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If you enjoyed reading this article on how to get more photography clients, you should also read this one about real estate photography marketing.
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