Photography Marketing: What You Need to Know
The majority of aspiring professional photographers want to set up businesses in order to take photographs.
Indeed, this is perfectly reasonable; the idea that you could spend your professional life doing what you love is the ideal for most people.
Running a business involves a series of other vitally important tasks, many of which are not considered by those thinking about setting up a business. However, these tasks are fundamental to the continued success (and indeed, survival) of your photography business, and you must therefore be well versed in them. Marketing is one of these tasks.
What is Marketing?In the first instance it is important to understand what ‘marketing’ means. Marketing is an overarching term referring to all of the tools used by companies to sell a product. As such, advertising, PR and, to some extent, the sales process, all come beneath the banner of marketing. Indeed, this is a mistake that many small businesses make; they presume that advertising, PR and marketing are all separate activities with little or no overlap. A successful marketing effort will be coordinated, and will make use of every discipline.
A successful marketing effort will also be well-planned, well-monitored, and sustained. Planning is vital in any marketing activity. The planning phase allows you to identify exactly what you are trying to achieve. This is likely to be a higher conversion rate, or higher value sales, but it could be virtually anything – higher take-up of a specific product, better consumer awareness of your brand, and so on.
You should be as specific as possible in your aims, and they must also be measurable – in order to ascertain the success of any campaign you must be able to determine its results. As such, you should set quantifiable goals; for example, a 15% increase in conversions within a 6 week period.
Multi-channel MarketingYou should also consider the channels that your marketing efforts will utilise. For example, depending on the nature of your business you may wish to concentrate on newspapers or magazines, online advertising, direct mail and so on. A significant limiting factor here will be cost; you may wish to read the article elsewhere on this site about free and low-cost advertising methods if you are on a budget.
Your medium should be chosen after consideration of your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? If you are a portrait photographer specialising in local wedding clients, for example, it makes little sense to blow your budget on ads in a national paper. Target your marketing to your audience and your results will increase exponentially.
Finally, you should remember that large companies spend vast sums monitoring the success of campaigns, and are constantly adjusting them to account for their findings. You should be doing a similar thing, albeit on a smaller scale. Do not presume that your first marketing exercises will be hugely successful; consider it an ongoing process that must be perpetually refined. After all, marketing represents the sum of all your efforts to sell your goods or services – it is imperative that you get it right.