Social media is not the only way to market your photography business. Promote your photography business effectively and successfully with ease with a few grassroots marketing strategies without social media.
In this article you will find:
- 3 reasons to look beyond social media to market your photography business
- 12 ways to promote your photography business without social media
Do you often feel like a slave to social media? From figuring out your next post, writing the perfect caption and tracking how many likes and comments, only to feel disappointed most of the time…social media is draining and time consuming.
In a digital age, it’s easy to forget that there are other ways to promote your business without relying on social media. Absurd you say? It’s true. Social Media is amazing in so many ways but this is a reminder that there are many other creative and effective ways to promote your business.
Why Should You Look Beyond Social Media?
By looking beyond social media to promote your photography business, you can:
- Expand your audience reach. This might be surprising but social media is not for everyone. How often do you hear of people taking a break or walking away altogether? Although it’s great to connect digitally, many find social media to be consuming. You need to be creative in finding ways to reach those that have walked away from social media or never joined it in the first place.
- Take back control. You work hard to build your list of followers, identify the peak times to reach your audience and assemble beautifully curated posts only to realize that Facebook or Instagram have changed their algorithms and all you hear is crickets. Algorithms are constantly changing and this isn’t going to change. You do not own your list of followers and sadly, the list could disappear without warning. Take back control by leveraging other ways to market your business.
- Connect with your audience in new ways. Social media can be one dimensional or limiting in how you display your work and connect with your audience. By exploring other ways to promote your business, you can get more creative and more in-depth.
However convincing that all sounds, I am NOT advocating dropping off of social media because let’s be truthful…social media is still powerful! It is still an effective way to promote your photography business quickly and at no cost.
Easy, Effective Ways to Promote Your Photography Business without Social Media
The following tips are intended to give you additional ways to promote your business to improve your reach and increase your photo session bookings outside of social media.
- Set up a referral program Your clients are your biggest supporters. They love your work, they love your style and they love you. With a little incentive and an intentional effort to remind them how much you appreciate referrals, a solid referral program will work for you.
- Cold Calling – Introduce yourself and your business to strangers. Ok, so this one is a bit bold, and frankly uncomfortable for most people. By strangers I do not mean anyone on the street. I do mean making a direct effort to engage and promote your business to qualified people. We are all self-centered in the sense that we think everyone knows what we do, but I hate to break this to you…most people are living in their own little bubble. If you want to get more work, you need to work for it and you need to get your name out there. You never know what a simple introduction could lead to.
An example…This tip isn’t completely “anti-social” but stick with me here. One of my favorite clients ever was the result of a cold call. I had connected with a mom over Instagram. We somehow managed to follow each other. I had enjoyed seeing her photos as she approached the due date for her first baby. When the baby was born I got a crazy idea to message her. I introduced myself, asked if she had a photographer and mentioned I’d love the opportunity to do a newborn film. I shared some examples and within 24 hours, I booked a full photo and film session. Was it awkward to message a stranger? Sure, it was. Was I glad I did it? Absolutely!
- Carry business cards with you everywhere. You never know when you will meet someone that is your ideal client or have the opportunity to mention your business. When you do, you want to leave something tangible, something that will prompt action at a later time.
- Send a regular newsletter. Creating a newsletter requires commitment but trust me on this – it is an incredibly valuable and effective way to connect with your audience and remain visible. Whether you have 10 people or 1,000 people on your list, communicating with them on a consistent basis will allow you to create good rapport while staying top of mind.
- Donate a session. Donating a session to your children’s school, church or local organizations is a great way to become involved, get your name out there and begin networking. Schools and similar organizations are always grateful for donations and typically have regular opportunities for donations as such.
- Blog often for the awesome SEO impact. Organically ranking higher on google will inherently make you more visible to potential clients. SEO in itself is an ever changing artform and well beyond the scope of this list. However, one of the best ways to increase your SEO and climb the ranks is by keeping your content active and updated. Blogging also gives you content to share with your audience and the more traffic you bring in to your site, the more Google will love you.
- Get social with networking. Let’s talk about being more social, but in the “old school” way. Networking is one of the best ways to promote your photography business. By connecting with others in a casual but professional way, you are making yourself known. If they are not your ideal client, they may know who is. Creating genuine connections and expanding your network reach will only benefit you. It will be impossible to book a new client if they don’t know you exist. The more you make yourself known, the larger your networking reach.
- Teach a Photography Class for Parents. You are a professional photographer and know what it takes to take beautiful photos. There are many parents out there that bought a fancy camera and don’t know how to use it. Although they may not aspire to be a professional photographer, many would love to know how to use their camera to take photos. Hosting a class for parents would be a great way to connect with potential clients and expand your reach in the community. It is a great way to get people talking about you!
- Collaborate with other business owners. Community over competition. There is beauty in collaboration. I encourage you to network with other photographers. Get to know them and familiarize yourself with their style of work. There will be times when someone comes to you for something you don’t specialize in or possibly can’t take the work. Referring the work to someone else that could serve them better would make you look good to both the client and the other photographer will appreciate your gesture and possibly repay the favor.
- Introduce yourself to Local Publications Familiarize yourself with some of the local publications, whether they are local newsletters, community magazines or local podcasts. Find the ones that are serving your ideal audience and introduce yourself. Ask them if they offer any opportunities for guest contributors. There is absolutely no harm in asking and you never know what could come from it.
An example from experience. I had introduced myself to a handful of local publications and although many of them declined, one woman was particularly interested in my work. Although she didn’t have any space for me in her publication, she referred me to one of the more popular social media influencers in our city. With a direct referral, I was able to connect with the influencer which resulted in a great opportunity to advertise my business with them.
I’ve also had success with guest speaking on a few local podcasts and collaborating with other local blogs.
- Get listed and/or get featured. This one is a little sneaky but invaluable. There are plenty of industry publications and lists that feature artists or curate lists for consumers. If you want to be on these lists, you need to make yourself known. Do a quick Google search for some of your primary keywords “Pittsburgh Family Photographer”, “Pittsburgh Newborn Photographer”, etc. Note any curated lists that rank on the first page and contact those organizations. Although many rank photographers without bias, you need to make sure that your business is known to them and being considered.
- Perfect your website. Besides yourself, your website is the most important sales tool you have. It has to be clear. It has to be easy to use. And it has to be up-to-date. There are far more in-depth discussion on converting your website into your most effective sales tool… but not for the scope of this discussion today. For this discussion however, a few quick tips.
The header of your website must tell who you are and what problem you solve for your potential clients. You must include a very clear call to action that is easy to access from anywhere on your site. This could be a “Book Today” or a “Request a Quote” button that prompts an action. And lastly, your website needs to show your absolute best work and work that represents the exact type of photography jobs you want to attract. If you are an outdoor, natural-light photographer and want to book more outdoor, natural-light sessions, do not include studio photos on your website (even if they are beautiful photos!)
As you can see there are numerous ways to expand your audience reach and promote your photography business outside of social media. Social media is great but it should not the primary way you connect with families. If you feel like you aren’t getting the amount of leads you desire or the quality of leads, it’s time to shake things up.
Pick 3 or 4 things to focus on incoporating into your photography business right away to help you market and promote your photography business more effectively.
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