To make more impact with your marketing, you first need to get the basics right! So, in this article, I’m sharing with you five things I consider to be the fundamentals of successful photography marketing.
Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that you need to have clarity on:
- WHY you are marketing (i.e. to what purpose?),
- WHAT specific activities you’ll focus on
- and, WHEN you plan to do work on it.
Without considering these, you’ll likely waste a lot of time and effort on things that aren’t making that significant an impact on your business.
Follow these tips to ensure that you are being strategic and focused, and are working on the right things!
Five Fundamentals of successful photography marketing
As tempting as it might be to rush into trying out the latest social media platform, app or tool, try to resist the temptation to steam ahead into marketing without a strategy and a plan in place.
Strategising and planning may not feel like the most fun or glamorous parts of running a photography business. But, in my opinion, they should be way up there on your list of priorities! These are some of the fundamentals of successful photography marketing.
1. Define your ideal photography client
No matter how long you’ve been in business, defining your ideal photography client is an important exercise to do, and to re-do, regularly.
Even if you have done this exercise thoroughly in the past, it may be that you’ve tweaked your service offering or maybe you now offer additional services. So, it may be that you need to try and target and attract a different type of client to those you did previously.
Try to resist the temptation to skip over this step!
- Consider the demographics (age, gender, household income etc) as these do help you to picture the person in your mind and give you an indication of their lifestyle and current situation
- But, place MORE focus on the psychographics (what do they value, what do they struggle with, what do they want etc). This is the detail that will help you get to know them better and which becomes the basis of your marketing messaging
- In your marketing, you want to be speaking to their frustrations, their challenges, and their hopes (in relation to photography). Without completing this exercise, do you really know what these are?
- If you offer multiple services and have more than one ideal client within your photography business (for example, perhaps you offer photography services but also train and mentor other photographers), then complete this exercise for each.
Related reading: How to attract more of your ideal photography clients
2. Define how you help your ideal photography clients
Now that you’ve worked on defining who your ideal client is, the next thing you need to be super clear on your message. Basically, how do you help them?
Hint – the answer isn’t just that you create professional-quality photography!
What we’re trying to get to here is how you help your specific client solve their specific problem. We want to get complete clarity on your message so that you can communicate why and how you are the best person to do the job for them.
Define the unique value you offer your clients
Start by considering:
- How do your services benefit your customers?
- What are the specific struggles that you help them with?
- What is the change that you create for them?
- What does their life look like before working with you and how are they better off after working with you? How are they transformed?
- What sets you apart from other photographers who offer similar services?
- What is your unique approach or ‘secret sauce’ that they’ll only get from you?
Defining how you help is a fundamental step in your photography marketing strategy, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Without doing this groundwork though, you really are just stabbing in the dark with your messaging, hoping something will hit the target!
3. Define your main goal (or goals) for the month or 90 days ahead
Moving onto planning now…Whatever time of the year that you’re reading this, I highly recommend that you plan your marketing in advance.
Make a plan for the month ahead or, if the end of a quarter is approaching, why not plan for the next 90 days?
Related reading: Quarterly Reviews: Goal setting and planning tips for photographers
Whichever time frame you choose, you’ll want to get clear on your goals. What do you want to achieve in that time?
Knowing this will help you focus and make you more likely to spend the time you have available for marketing on tasks that will actually move the needle in your business.
Need some extra accountability? Join my free Facebook group for photographers, share your goals with us and we’ll cheer you on!
Choosing your marketing goals
Your marketing goals could be anything! They can be big or small.
They could be achievable in a day or a week. For example, they might be to…
- plan and schedule your social media content for the month ahead
- create and launch a free downloadable resource and finally start an email list
- send out a certain number of emails to your email marketing list to promote a particular photography service or product
- or, pitch a story to the media.
They may take about a month to achieve, such as:
- post consistently at least once per day on Instagram/Facebook or LinkedIn for the next 30 days
- blog consistently once per week over the next month
Or, they may be things that might take you three months to fully realise, such as:
- launch and promote a new photography service
- revamp or completely overhaul your website
If you find that you have lots of goals in mind, choose a maximum of three smaller goals per month to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed! Or just choose ONE main goal for the month or quarter.
Related reading: Why and how to set strategic goals for your photography business
4. Schedule time to focus on the actions you need to take to achieve those goals
There will always be too many things to do in your business, so it’s essential that you prioritise. Marketing is essential, remember. You must make time for it no matter how much you’d rather do other things!
If you don’t allocate sufficient time into your work schedule to fully focus on marketing then, it’s quite simple, you likely won’t achieve your goals!
So, one thing you must do is decide which days of the week, or what times in each day, you’ll work on your marketing.
You may prefer to dedicate a half or full day once per week to promotional activities or to spend the first hour of each day on marketing, for example. Do what works for you!
The first step would be to look at your schedule for the month or quarter ahead.
Consider what available time you have for marketing around your commitments to client work and personal bits and pieces. It may sound obvious but holidays, doctor’s appointments and any days you choose not to work are all times you do not have available to work on your marketing.
Then, knowing what days and times you do have available, block out time in your diary for marketing.
- Be sure to make this marketing time non-negotiable! There is no point in time-blocking if you’re not fully committed to working exclusively on your marketing at that time
- Always work towards achieving your goals. Don’t get distracted by social media or other shiny objects, telling yourself it’s marketing so it still counts!
- Make sure you’re realistic about how long things will take and remember that it’s easy for time to run away!
Related reading: The daily habit that will help you secure more photography clients
5. Make an action plan
If you aren’t planning where you’ll focus your efforts when marketing your photography business, you’ll likely be less focused, less organised and more prone to distractions.
To significantly increase the chances of you achieving your marketing goals and being successful with your photography marketing, you need to break that goal down into manageable chunks and take it one step at a time!
Create your marketing action plan by working backwards from your goal
Step 1 – Map out three milestones you need to hit in order to achieve your goal (ie. what are the three baby steps leading to your goal)
Step 2 – Then, for each of those three milestones, what are the specific actions you need to take in order to achieve those? You should end up with nine actions for each goal.
Step 3 – Mark your calendar when you’ll work on each of these nine actions. This is a non-negotiable time to work towards your goals.
Breaking down your goal into milestones and action steps will help it to seem less overwhelming and will help you to achieve it within the timeframe you’ve set yourself.
- Make sure the milestones and actions you decide on DO directly lead you to achieve the overall goal. Keep the goal in sharp focus when planning.
- With your goals, milestones and actions mapped now, then now is the time to be accountable to yourself.
- When it comes to implementing your plan, be sure to work on the actions on the days you’ve set, no matter what! Avoid emails/social media until you’ve completed the marketing tasks you’ve set yourself for that day.
An example of how to make a marketing action plan
If one of your marketing goals is to create and schedule all your social media posts for the month ahead, your milestones might be:
- Brainstorm content ideas
- Create the posts
- Create/collate the images
The actions for the first milestone, ‘Brainstorming content ideas’, could be:
- Consider what products or services you’re selling in the month ahead (as this should inform what you’re posting about)
- Research national awareness days (that could inspire content ideas)
- Consider what timely personal or topical stories you could share that might resonate with your audience
The actions for the second milestone, ‘Create the posts’, could be:
- Draft the copy (words) for the post
- Proof/grammar checks/edits
The actions for the third and final milestone, ‘Create the images’, could be:
- Create images for Facebook newsfeed and Instagram grid
- Create Facebook and Instagram Stories images
- Create images for Pinterest / LinkedIn (or other platforms you use)
Once you have completed all nine actions, you should have achieved your goal!
Don’t ignore these fundamentals of successful photography marketing
So, to round up, as I’ve suggested, you should aim to:
- have a deep understanding of who your photography products and services help,
- have clarity on your messaging,
- know what you’re trying to achieve in your business,
- commit time to work towards your goals.
- and, have an action plan to make your goals achievable.
I believe that these are five fundamentals of successful photography marketing. Getting these things clarified and planned out before you go head-first into marketing your photography would be a wise move.
I’d love to know whether you’ve got goals and a strategic plan in place for your marketing. Or, if not, what your struggles are around this. Let me know in the comments below!
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