Are you tired of losing money because you don’t stand out in your market? Are you getting left behind by your competitors?
Getting the attention of clients can be quite difficult. Even more so when you face a lot of competition. But, you don’t have to be the one biting the dust they leave behind.
In a crowded room full of people offering the same services, do you want to be the first pick of the clients?
You hear it all the time: “There’s just so many photographers. There are so many people around taking photos. How am I going to stand out? How are they going to find me? How are they going to choose me over someone else?”
Well, when I was photographing with my studio in Melbourne, we had about 500 families per year, 200 of them were pregnancy and newborn.
It’s my job as the owner to make sure that our marketing is consistent and we get the bums on seats for myself, and the photographers to photograph the people we need.
This is to build the business we want to have, to make the money, and to sell the wall art.
So, it’s really important that you continuously market and you are continuously seen by your clients.
They say you need to be seen seven times. If you just do one promotion and wonder why you’re getting crickets, it’s because they don’t know you and trust you.
You need to build rapport, you need to build trust, you need to build desire. You need to excite, delight, entertain, and inspire your clients to come in and see you and be photographed by your company and your brand.
Here are 35 tips to stand out:
1. The Basic of Basics, Referrals
Go out there and get referrals. Ask for the referral when the client is at the peak of their excitement.
It’s when they collect their artwork, not four weeks later or two weeks later, and when they see it for the first time.
2. Thank You Cards
Anniversaries, first birthday cards…
There are some awesome companies, like SendOutCards, Cardly and a number of other companies, that have cards with templates.
You can drop it in and they will print it and post it for you and personalise the card at the same time, which is awesome.
3. Calendar Marketing
Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day… There are lots of calendar events throughout the year to market to your clients. Make sure that there are five marketing campaigns before you’ve even done anything else.
4. Facebook Strategies
Make sure that you’re being seen on Facebook. But with Facebook, when posting content, just be careful. Don’t just go, “Pretty picture! Here’s another one! And another pretty picture!” We know you take pretty pictures.
Excite, delight, and entertain your clients.
Show behind the scenes, show picking up artwork, show finished products, do a poll on whether you prefer colour or black and white…
Just find ways to entertain your clients and get them interested in you and your photography business and the brand.
80% is to excite, delight, and entertain, and 20% is the sales message for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas which is a buy now offer.
5. Third-Party Marketing or Alliance Kind of Marketing
You buy a car, you get a gift voucher. You build a house, you get a gift voucher. You build a kitchen, you get a gift voucher. You’ve been to that hairdresser so many times and you’re a VIP, so now you get a gift voucher.
Align yourself with brands with the same price and kind of value and quality that you offer.
6. Kinders, School, Fetes and Fairs as Auction Items
When you do an auction item, just make sure it’s not a raffle item. Raffles are a massive no-no. Your photography is worth a value.
Make sure that you have a minimum spend – if it’s a AUD$500 gift voucher on the silent auction or for the live auction item, it’s at least AUD$100 or something. People need to value photography from the very start.
7. Repeat Clients
Are you re-target marketing your clients to be repeat clients so they’ll come in and do it all over again when they have the next child?
Or when they’re growing up?
Or when their families are in town?
Or when it’s a generation shoot?
Make sure you’re continuously marketing to your previous clients because it’s easier to market to those who already know and love you, than continuously going out and finding new ones.
Is your website SEO-ed? Can you be found?
A really fantastic platform is Yoast SEO. It’s brilliant. Look it up, WordPress users especially.
9. Email Series
Do you have an email series that your clients can sign up for? Not for a newsletter because no one is going to subscribe to it.
More like an ebook and then they get put into your email sequence, where you’re constantly educating your clients on what you do.
10. Expos, Portraits, and Weddings
This is a great way to get a massive influx of clients into your business.
They’re expensive, so be careful. Do it properly.
11. VIP Facebook Groups
They’re good, but you have to really nurture them.
They’re fantastic for boudoir. Boudoir Photography, I’d highly recommend that.
Get out and meet people. Go and shake some hands. Give away some business cards. Get in the face of people, especially if you’re doing personal branding.
Join a BNI group, join these networking groups. There are heaps around town.
13. Wedding Anniversary Cards
Same as a thank you card, schedule a wedding anniversary card one year after the wedding day.
Why is that?
Because the one year anniversary is paper. So why not send them a piece of paper in a card to say happy anniversary?
14. Mini Sessions
Christmas is very common for mini sessions. Why not do a pop-up booth mini session for Halloween?
If you’ve got a home studio that opens up to your driveway and your front yard, do a spooky setup just for shits and giggles and fun. Do it as a community and connection thing, not to make money.
They come in all dressed up, you take the photos, you put the photos up on Facebook, and they like your page and take the photos and link themselves.
15. Social Media
Be careful. Make sure that your social media is rented space. Believe it or not, in October 2018, Instagram crashed for a day.
If you put all your eggs in someone else’s space that you’re not in control of, you can lose your business just like that.
16. Street of the Week
Street of the week is when you go to a street around your studio and give them a special offer on a flyer.
Then you do a headshot, is it about the headshot or getting business owners and directors into your studio space to then show them the family portraits that you take?
18. Fridge Magnet
When you’re booking a shoot, does it come with a nicely designed fridge magnet with your logo, your name, and your photos?
With a note talking about your experience at a particular time?
And that’s all on your fridge?
Whenever someone comes to your house, your fridge is a billboard for you.
19. Your Book Projects
Book projects are a fantastic way to do something over a long period of time – three months, six months…
But if you are doing a book project, commit to it and finish the book.
20. Educational Videos
Do videos because you can connect with your clients, chat, say good day, and they get to know you and your personality.
Talk about what to wear, what to bring, finished products, how to book in your shoot, different locations.
Get on camera, people.
21. Business-to-Business Relationships, Specifically for Photographers
There’s a photographer who’s literally 100 meters down the road from me, but they did outdoor portraits and not in the studio.
We did studio portraits, not outdoor. So, we used to refer each other all the time.
22. Email Signature.
Make sure it’s hyperlinked – that they can click on a phone number and Facebook and they can kind of contact you directly.
Not as a JPEG because that drives me nuts.
23. Text message marketing
We all know that when you send an email, you might get 50% people opening it, and that’d be a really good day.
But if you do text message marketing, you know that everyone will see your text message.
24. The Cake Smash.
The cake smash is always fun.
If you’re a newborn photographer and you’ve got 100 newborns photograph per year, imagine if they just came in for a cake smash and you get to photograph them all over again. It’s just a way to reconnect with your clients and it’s offering a service that your clients would love to have.
They’ve seen the cake smash photos in the studio when they came in for their newborn shoot.
25. Collaboration with Other Suppliers
If you’re going to do a special offer for, say, Mother’s Day, then speak to the beauticians, someone who gives a haircut, the tanning salon…
Offer a dinner for two, buy a bottle of wine…
Create the mother of all Mother’s Day gifts and do that as a special offer for Mother’s Day.
26. Selling Your Gift Vouchers
If you’re at a pet store and you do pet photography, put your gift voucher in the pet store.
For them, it’s a point of sale. It’s like a collar. It’s like a lead. It’s a doggy bed. It’s like a doggy toy. It’s just another product.
27. A Uniform
If you don’t have a uniform, I recommend that you have one. It doesn’t mean you wear it every day.
What you could do is have a jacket, coat, or something that you put on when you pick up the kids and drop them off at school, when you watch them play netball or soccer…
Your brand will be constantly seen by those people around you.
28. Same-Day Slideshows For Your Wedding Clients
A good way to stress yourself out, but there’s nothing better than showing your wedding photos to your wedding clients on the night at the reception of their wedding day. It just blows their mind that you can turn around so quickly and get such brilliant photography.
But then guess what we’re doing?
We’re marketing to the 200 other people in the room who have seen you run around all day, who know the couple that have been photographed, and who’ve seen you as the photographer.
The number of referrals I got from that was ridiculous.
I love same day slideshows. Stressed yourself out but it was good fun.
29. Soup Thursday
There’s a client of mine that lived in a really cold part of the world and their studio was in a district with lots of businesses around them.
They cooked up a pot of soup and every Thursday, between 12:00 and 12:30, they invited the businesses around them for soup. It was a great way to connect and build rapport with people.
30. Christmas in September
Put your Christmas tree up in September, because what will happen is people go, “Mate, you’re a bit keen on.”
I’m like, “Yeah, I know. Christmas is only three months away and if you don’t order your family portraits now you won’t get it in time.”
It’s also a great way in your design appointments throughout September, October, and November to say, “Have you thought about gifts for mom and dad for Christmas?”
They’re like, “Well no.”
I’m like, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have one less thing to think about?”
“How much is that little booklet or brochure or flyer or album?”
31. Photography Awards
There are so many brilliant companies out there doing photography awards. Get yourself to an awards-standard, because, from a marketing point of view, it helps you stand out from the crowd.
I am a double master with the AIPP, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and I’ve won over probably 80 photography awards.
That is in my marketing everywhere.
32. Create a Meme With Your Photos.
We all had babies who do funny things and funny faces.
Create a meme, have some fun with it, but make sure you ask the parents for permission first.
33. Get Certified
I’m in the AIPP. I believe in having an industry to back myself up.
So if you can, get certified with your governing kind of body. It just separates you from everybody else.
34. If You’re a Pet Photographer, Buy Nice Stainless Steel Dog Bowls
Get beautiful stickers and put your logo around the outside of the dog bowl. Take the dog bowls and give it the cafes in your area to put out with water for when clients come to them with their dogs.
All of the sudden people see your dog bowls everywhere and you’re branding when they walk down the street.
You can have some fun with this.
35. Talking About Having Fun, The Last Are Tattoos
No, not real tattoos. I’m talking children’s fake temporary tattoos.
Every expo, fete, carnival, or fair, just every time we were in the kids’ environment, we would have little camera tattoos with a little logo on the inside of the lens. We would put them on the kids, and they loved it because it’s a tattoo.
Now, if anyone’s got kids out there, you will know that those tattoos will not be washed off for at least a week.
So, you could say we were getting into kind of personal branding.
Get it, personal branding, tattoos.
The main part is to go be seen, make sure people can see you, make sure you’re visible as a brand.
Remember that time when you got your website for the first time and you put it up and you were like, “Oh my gosh! It has to be perfect because everyone’s going to see it!”
And you launch it, and the phone rings and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, the phone’s ringing! The website’s working!”
And then … “Hey, mom. Yeah, I’m glad you love the website, mom. Thank you. I’m glad you support it. Thank you. Bye-bye.”
You need to be constantly seen.
Those are 35 tips on how to be seen and how to stand out in an oversaturated market.
Go out there, go be seen, and go get some clients.