Photography marketing: the first 5 steps you need to do to win clients

Many times, the lack of results in self-promoting our photographs frustrates us. Have you ever published photo after photo without any real result? So, maybe it’s time to look into photography marketing for your business.

I have been a professional photographer for the past 10 years. And for many years I tried everything to “be seen“. The number of mistakes I made was incredible, yet this, of course, is how I learned! This short post will point out five golden rules in the photography marketing I use today to promote my images to the right audience.

1. Stop Caring About “Likes”

TL;DR – A thousand likes on Instagram do not mean reaching the right audience

Since ever, we have tried to weight the quality of our images with the amounts of likes we receive. The reality is that the number of likes does not define the quality of a photo. Yet, we obsessively open Instagram to see how many strangers double tapped our photos. Not even the number of followers matters.

We should stop evaluating our images for how much they resonate with people we don’t know. And, for the majority of photographers, life is not about global recognition. It should be about making a living out of our art and craft. This will come from implementing a successful photography marketing strategy.

One more like will indeed pamper our egos, but don’t mistake it for correct self-promotion. So stop counting likes. And invest that time in something deeper and more relevant to your business.

You may find useful > More social media likes won’t empower you photography career

2. Decide Who Should See Your Photos

TL;DR – Before starting your journey, make sure who you want to be relevant to for, who is going to pay you

Realising that not everyone is their customer, is a major milestone in any photographers path. As a boudoir photographer, I realised early on in my career that I was not everyone’s cup of tea. More importantly, I understood that having a lot of male followers would not have brought me work. This is because boudoir photographers sell to women.

A milestone in your self-promotion is to understand who is going to contact you to buy from you. If you are a wedding photographer, then you should focus on brides, not anyone else. It is useless to have ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.

When crafting your “ideal client” or “buyer persona“, you will need to step in their shoes. You should define their problems, and how they relate to your photography. And, you should analyse their pain points and start being there where they need you.

We built phlow with the intention of making it photo – not people – relevant. The idea is that you can begin to see if the people who saw and appreciated your images, are actually those you want. Wouldn’t it be great if you were discovered for photos that resonate with your ideal clients?

You may find useful > Buyer persona: meet your future customers for the first time

3. Use social media to solve their problems, not yours

TL;DR – Stop being a “photographer” and start publishing things your clients need to read

Now that you know who your “buyer persona” is, you should realise they are the most important people in the world. Seriously, if you reach them, you make money. If you fail to talk to them, you will still be chasing “likes” a few years from now. One important element of your ideal clients is actually not about them, but about you. And you should stop using social media to connect with your friends. You should start using it to connect with your buyer personas. Make sure your online presence is a professional one.

Start crafting your messages that provide solutions to their problems. You should know which ones they are by now. Be their best source of advice, and make sure you help them solve their problems and they will remember you. This is all the promotion you need.

phlow is not a social media platform. We are not interested in connecting strangers. We are about fulfilling our users need to see what they love. And if you publish great photos of what they want to see, it does not matter who you two are.

You may find useful > social media and marketing: what you need to do it right

4. Align your portfolio with your buyer’s persona

TL;DR – If you show flowers and you sell trees, you will fail

I like real-life examples. They make complex issues easier to understand. Now, I mentioned already that I’m a boudoir photographer. My speciality is photographing women in their forties. And, they are a challenging group of women. From a psychological perspective, they are more complex than girls in their twenties. One thing these kinds of women do is mistrust their ability to look beautiful. Publishing only photos of skinny models in their twenties won’t be right for them. So, I had to look into my photography marketing and align my portfolio with my “buyer persona“.

Depending on who you want to be relevant for, you need to show them what they expect. Showing photos of newborns to someone who expects headshots will undo all the work you did to get them to see you.

In phlow, we built the ability to group photographs together in magazines. You can create mood boards as well as your own portfolio, so curating your best work is a great way of getting it seen.

You may find useful > The template to write a memorable buyer persona

your buyer persona should drive your imagery and written content

5. Every time you write, talk to them

TL;DR – Learn to write and every time you do, imagine your client being in front of you, listening.

Your portfolio is not the only thing your ideal clients will see. So, to get them to see what you can do for them, you have to “talk” to them. Every time you write on social media or publish something in your blog post… and you should be writing with them in mind. Imagine them sitting in front of you, and talk to them. Don’t be a stranger, and crafting your messages will become easier and more in tune with who you are.

Right now, I am writing this post thinking about what are the five things you need. I am putting myself in your shoes, and I am considering what I would like someone like me to tell me. This is how you gain respect, but always remember that you should not try and be everyone’s cup of tea. Some of you will dismiss this post, that’s fine by me. I am not writing for them, but I am writing for you, who wants to go out there and build a business out of a passion!

Oh, and BTW: don’t say “I am a photographer, I don’t know how to write”. Learn, otherwise, you will struggle!

While you focus on crafting your words on social media, we have chosen to keep phlow extremely visual. So, you can publish your work, sit down and relax: our system wants your photos to get seen.

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You may find useful > The fundamentals guide on how to make a marketing strategy for your photos

BONUS. The world is of the “do-ers”. Be one of them!

TL;DR – If I were you, after closing this ebook I will start researching how to write a buyer persona. This ebook is ineffective if you “skim through it”.

99% of those who read this post will just browse it through. Yet, the world is of those who do. In the past few pages, you have everything you need to get going. Crafting your buyer persona is going to be challenging. So, understand how to position your messages a step outside your comfort zone. Yet, if you are part of the 1% who will follow the few pieces of advice in this post, you are going to reach the right people. And, you will stop getting frustrated, and stop running around like a headless chicken!

Remember, be laser-focused and be a doer…

…or, you can continue to whine and blame someone else! 🙂

You may find useful > Marketing Funnels Demystified: what you need to know to do it right

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    who is the buyer persona and why she is so important for your photography businesshow to be a good marketer for your photography business