If you want to book more photo sessions, then you will need to market your photography business.
You can have the prettiest portfolio around, but if you aren’t putting yourself out into the world in the way of marketing your photography business, then you might end up discovering that your awesome portfolio won’t get you that far.
That’s not to say that you can’t make it in the industry, you will just need to make a better effort to stand out from the crowd and become a fully booked photographer.
Building a strong photography business takes time and effort, but utilizing several streams of marketing in your business will fast-track your success.
Why do you need to market your business?
Marketing is the act of making your business visible to others with the ultimate goal in mind: to become profitable.
Every business should be marketing for that very goal – to book more and earn more.
It might seem foreign to you as a photographer, but learning how to market your business can put your business ahead of your competition in a few ways.
First, most photographers don’t spend the time to market their business.
I have been in the industry long enough to know. Photographers will spend night and day researching the best camera, lens, backdrops, and locations. They will spend hours and hours learning their craft and becoming master at what they do. But the one thing they don’t do and it’s a mere afterthought (only to be thought about when they realize they aren’t making any money) is marketing their services.
Some of the most talented photographers are the most unsuccessful at business because they simply overlooked HOW to build a business.
And that’s by marketing.
That’s why you will have the upper hand when you implement a strategic marketing plan. The others in your area will be scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong while you will be working diligently to book new clients.
How much should you be marketing?
You might think having a strong social media presence and passing out your business cards at local shops is enough to build a business, but you’d be wrong.
Social media can be used in conjunction with your other marketing efforts, but it should not be relied on solely for a fully booked calendar.
There’s been a common whisper in the industry that you should have 7 streams of marketing going AT ONCE to build a strong, thriving business. I can’t tell you if that is true or not, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
When I rebranded my business and needed to start booking new clients that would pay for my higher prices, I will say that I had amazing success with roughly 9 marketing streams going on and off throughout the year. Some of them I was utilizing year-long, while others I only focused on a few months at a time.
How much you need to market will boil down to these things:
- How much you want to be booking. If you only want to book a few sessions a month, then you won’t need to be so aggressive with your marketing. On the flip-side, if you want to have a full-time business, then you really need to have many streams going at once – and consider investing in a proven marketing system to get you the fastest and best results.
- How many clients you NEED to make an income. Same as above, how many to you need to sustain your business and turn a profit?
- How competitive your market is. Everywhere is saturated at this point in time, however, if you are offering a similar product at a similar price, then you need to stand out from the crowd. Not sure how to do that? Download this FREE guide and I will show you the 5 best ways to stand out in a saturated market.
Once you know how many photo sessions you want to be booking, now comes the fun part – choosing your marketing methods! I have personally used ALL of the methods in this list below and they all have their perks.
Since I know that these work, you can choose something that best fits your style and your business.
Here are the 15 best ways that you can market your photography business (and knock your competition out of the water!)
1. HOST A GIVEAWAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Nothing sparks engagement quite like a giveaway, because, who doesn’t like free stuff?! Think about who you want to target and what you want to giveaway, and you’ll be on your way to a simple way to market your business!
2. PLAN A COLLABORATION SESSION
There’s nothing quite like planning the PERFECT photo session to add to your portfolio, and a collaboration is the icing on the cake since you’ll get to meet local vendors.
Once you rub elbows with other professionals in your area, they will have direct experience with working alongside you which could be a really awesome thing for your business.
Having a few local business buddies is never a bad thing!
3. ATTEND A NETWORKING EVENT
Speaking of local business buddies, this my friend, is the easiest way to meet new people.
Finding and attending a local networking event (or joining a networking club) will be a simple way to meet more professionals in your area that could lead to instant referrals.
Don’t be shy to try this insanely simple & effective marketing tactic.
4. HOST A SESSION EVENT FOR CHARITY
What better way of giving back to your community than hosting an event for charity????
Bonus of doing this is that the charity will be eager to help you market this event since you’ll be helping them raise money for their organization.
Do you have a local charity that you LOVE? Contact them today and get started!
5. SEND OUT A PRESS RELEASE
After you’ve hosted your successful charity event, what better way to keep the light burning than a feature in your local newspaper?!
Write up a press release to cover the details of your event to get in front of more local leads and put a favorable spotlight on your business.
6. Put out A MODEL CALL
Does your portfolio need a little sprucing??? Nothing beats a highly targeted model call!
Create buzz & get your business in front a slew of new potential leads with a model call. You’ll not only rev up your portfolio, but if you manage it correctly, you might even make a few bucks off this gig too!
Make sure you follow this model call system to tun the best, most profitable model sessions that fill your calendar.
7. START A REFERRAL/REP PROGRAM
Get your trusty clients working for you by providing them with incentives when they send a new client your way.
Need help starting a referral program? Check out this post for a few helpful tips.
8. SEND OUT CARDS TO CLIENTS
Who doesn’t love getting snail mail these days????
Send out holiday & birthday cards to your previous clients to keep your name in the front of their mind & make a great impression.
It’s little things like this that go unnoticed and keep your clients coming back to you for more sessions.
9. START A PHOTO PROJECT
Starting a project that you feel passionately about & can include your community will help you gain the respect of your peers and potential clients.
Think of a topic that really speaks to your heart and aligns with your brand to capitalize on an outstanding & successful project.
I personally have wild success promoting a tween photo project in my business. It not only bring passion and purpose to my business, but it also helps me bring in profits during my slower times. of the year.
10.WRITE AN UNCONVENTIONAL BLOG POST
Nothing will grab the attention of your audience more than an unexpected article laying out your innermost passion.
I would advise to stay away from hurtful or political beliefs, but taking a stand on your soapbox for a moment might earn you a little more respect and head nods from your ideal clients.
11. START A NEWSLETTER
Now that you have the attention of your most ideal crowd from your unconventional blog post, don’t let them get away!
Having a desirable opt-in at the footer of your blog can help you keep track of your new leads. Once they have subscribed to your email list, pop into their inbox a few times a month to keep yourself fresh on their mind.
12. ATTEND A TRADE SHOW/EXPO
This one might cost a little more than the others, but what’s a better gig of getting yourself in front of thousands of new people (and vendors) than stationing yourself at an expo?!
This is a great place to meet new people, let your business shine, collect new leads (hello rapidly growing email list!), and rub elbows with vendors who you can collaborate with.
If you haven’t attended an expo yet, what’s holding you back?
13. VOLUNTEER AT A LOCAL EVENT FOR CHARITY.
Are you a family photographer? Donating your time and free pictures during a Santa event can put your business in a favorable light. Pet photographer? How about taking photos of local shelter and rescue animals to boost their chances of getting adopted.
Donating your time doesn’t need to be a daily, weekly, or even monthly thing, but if you take the time to serve your community, I can guarantee you’ll meet people who notice your talent and it will create an amazing snowball effect.
14. SPONSOR A SPORTS TEAM
This is especially helpful if you photograph children, families, or even better if you’re a sports photographer.
Having your logo plastered on a team’s jersey all season and perhaps a banner/ad will get your business name out into the world.
Plus, you’ll be helping a team with their funding, which is never a bad thing.
15. LEAVE YOUR BUSINESS CARD IN PUBLIC PLACES
While this is a simple thing to do, never underestimate the power of leaving your business information anywhere that you can.
You never know who will pick up your card or notice it for the second, third, or fourth time to finally pique their interest enough to give you a call.
Ready to become a fully booked photographer?
If you’re ready to book more photo sessions and fill your calendar with new clients – the simple way – then check out my complete marketing and booking system for photographers, Fully Booked.
Fully booked is an action-oriented marketing system and booking strategy for portrait photographers ready to become fully booked.