Marketing is one of the most important skills for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn. But while it comes naturally to some people, most of us need a bit of time to get up to speed and find our feet with marketing.
Below is some marketing advice specifically for photographers who have launched their own photography business.
Do Some Volunteer Work
Charities and other non-profit organizations are regularly in need of photography services. If you are willing to do some volunteer work for little to no pay, then you have an easy way of getting your work in front of a wider audience. Not only will you have an easy way of promoting yourself, but you can also challenge yourself to try new things and gain valuable experience. You don't want to set the premise that you will work for free, but if you restrict your free work to worthwhile causes and charities then you can take advantage of opportunities that come your way without compromising your stance on free work.
Volunteer work is a great way of showing off your talents and gaining exposure. In most cases, if you are offering to provide your photography services for free then you can expect to retain copyright over the final images, even if you license them for commercial use.
You should always be clear about the licensing arrangements before you start doing work for a client. It is important to know exactly who owns your photos and what kind of exclusivity your clients are expecting. Of course, it is down to the individuals that you work for whether you can use the images afterward in a commercial capacity,
Build A Proper Website And Work On Your SEO
Do not underestimate the value of having a professional-looking website when it comes to promoting your business. While the costs of a professional web developer are more than worth it, it is also possible to produce a sleek modern looking website yourself, thanks to the availability of intuitive web design tools that are aimed at people with no prior web development experience.
A website will give you a point of contact between you and prospective clients. Anyone searching for your name or your business name should instantly find themselves taken to a website that contains all the information they need in order to decide whether to use your business or not. Not only can your website provide customers with the information that they need, but it is also the most logical way of showcasing your work in a digital environment.
Format is a web design platform similar to WordPress but specifically for photographers. It makes creating a photography portfolio online a breeze. What's more, their editor that can be used to build an entire website around your portfolio, you don't need any previous experience in order to get to grips with Format's tools, and a two-week free trial gives you plenty of time to make sure that it's right for you.
You don't need us to tell you that there are quite a lot of websites on the internet now. As a result, simply publishing a website to the Internet isn't going to get you noticed; you need to take active steps to make your website more visible. Of course, you can promote your website in the traditional way, advertising it directly to people and telling them what URL they need to go to visit it. However, most internet traffic is driven by search engines and it is by searching for particular questions or phrases that we find most of the websites that we encounter online.
Search engine optimization refers to a range of techniques that web developers can use to make their websites more prominent in search engine results pages. SEO is a very involved subject and a profession unto itself. Learning advanced SEO techniques will take you a considerable amount of time. However, you can do some basic SEO for yourself, and it is strongly recommended that you do.
Many of the most basic search engine optimization techniques available are things that anyone can do. For example, giving your web pages a logical URL architecture and ensuring that all the images on your website are properly captioned and tagged will both make Google look more favorably upon you.
Promote Yourself On Social Media
Love them or loathe them, social media platforms of vital marketing tools for modern businesses. Social media enables both small businesses and individual traders to target their marketing at very specific audiences in a way that has not been possible before. This targeted marketing is why social media marketing is so important for modern businesses, big and small alike. If you want to achieve as much as possible with as little as possible when it comes to your marketing, social media platforms are going to be a vital prong of your attack.
However, good social media marketing isn't just about buying ad space on the platforms. In order to get the most out of social media marketing, you need to be actively engaging with your users. Social media enables you to establish a back-and-forth with your customers, responding to their queries and feedback in real-time. If you play your cards right, you will find that you are able to effectively promote yourself and raise your profile without having to spend a penny, through organic interactions with your clients and fans.
Some social media platforms are also fantastic for sharing your best work. Not every social media platform favors image sharing, although they are all technically capable of it to some degree. Think carefully about the images that you share on social media. If you can strike the right balance between maintaining your artistic integrity and pandering slightly to your audience, you could have a photo go viral over social media and generate a huge amount of free publicity in the process.
Foster Good Relationships With Your Key Customers
You can't buy a good customer experience; it is something that you have to be able to provide yourself. You cannot put a price on good long-term relationships with your most important clients. Anyone who is able to bring you reliable repeat business should be treated with the appropriate respect. In the cutthroat world of business, you cannot afford to alienate your most important clients.
Depending on the kind of photography work that you do, you might be mostly working with different clients, perhaps only having a few regulars. On the other hand, if you are working for corporate clients, you might have a pretty consistent roster. In either case, word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. If your satisfied customers are regularly telling their friends about you, word about your business will travel far and wide.
Any small business that wants to survive in the long-term needs to nail their marketing strategy. Marketing is essential for any business, but many small business owners find themselves thrown in at the deep end when it comes to marketing their first business. Stick to the advice outlined above and make sure that you are always considering the potential return on any investment that you make. You don't need to spend big money in order to make good returns on your marketing.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist