The Top 5 Photographic Marketing Tweaks, Tips, and Hacks

This year has the potential to be an amazing year for photographers.

Despite there being so many “new” photographers popping up everywhere, there are a few specific things that can be done to insure that you rise above the rest of the photographers out there – things that will have a powerful effect with your marketing to bring in highly-qualified clients quickly.

In this article, I’d like to reveal 5 very specific, simple, and proven things you can do IMMEDIATELY to improve each and every marketing campaign you do.   You literally should be able to implement each of these things quite quickly, and with the next marketing you do, and see fast results!

First off, what do I consider a “marketing campaign?”

Well, it used to be, about 10 years or more ago, that a marketing campaign kind of had to be an expensive DIRECT MAIL piece.   That’s not the case anymore.   Now, there are a lot more options available to us – options that exist in the online world that weren’t there 10 years ago.   So, when I say “marketing campaign,” I mean ANYTHING you do to promote yourself as a photographer.  This can include blog posts, FB posts, pay-per-click campaigns, hidden webpages, email marketing, joint-ventures, exhibits / displays… anything.

Now, I’m NOT saying you should not do direct mail.

This is actually a fantastic time for photographers to use direct mail.   With so many photographers trying to do all their marketing solely online, it puts those of us who use direct mail smartly and efficiently way ahead of the game.    Plus, in the past, when we had to print thousands of marketing pieces at a time, through a professional and expensive printer, it could be really tough to rationalize the investment in direct mail.   Now, many things can be printed in very small quantities, on your own simple printer in house, or through a small inexpensive printer.   This opens up a lot of options too.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s jump right into these 5 simple MARKETING TWEAKS TIPS AND HACKS, keeping in mind they apply to any marketing you do:

1.  CRAFT COMPELLING OFFERS.   You’d probably be shocked by the number of photography marketing campaigns I see on a regular basis that, not only don’t have a compelling offer, but most don’t have offers AT ALL.

It’s not enough to just “put some marketing out there,” you have to make sure your offers are COMPELLING.   The goal of every marketing piece you do, in my opinion, is to get someone to take action RIGHT NOW.   For whatever reason, your marketing has gotten in front of this persons eyeballs right now, and the last thing we want to have happen is for them to walk away from our message and not take any step, even a small one, toward working with us.  That’s why your offers have to compel instant action.

Now, this action does not always have to be booking their session right now.   Most people, if they do not know who you are already, will need to take some baby steps toward working with you.   So, sometimes your compelling offer should just be a way for them to get more information – important information that is of direct and great interest to them – before asking for the sale.

For example:  “If you’re one of the first 17 people to call or email me, I’ll send you my free digital report:  ‘The 11 Things That Can Ruin Your Senior Portraits, and How To Avoid Them.”

They take the baby step of requesting this information, and now you can follow-up with them to get them to book a session with you.

2.  TALK ABOUT YOUR GUARANTEE EVERYWHERE.  First off, do you even have a 100% guarantee?  If you don’t, you MUST.  It’s that simple.   And if you do, are you mentioning it everywhere you can in your marketing?

Don’t make the mistake of having a guarantee, and not talking about it everywhere you can.   This is one of the single best ways to reduce or completely remove “sales resistance,” and you must mention it a lot.   It should be in all your marketing, and you should mention it on the phone, and in person – everywhere.   I’ve heard from more clients over the years who have told me the guarantee helped them to decide to hire us, more than any other thing in our marketing.

3.  USE HEADLINES IN ALL YOUR MARKETING.  ALL OF IT.   What is a headline?   It’s basically the large type at the top of your marketing that quickly gets attention, and compels the reader to read or look at the rest of your message.   Every newspaper and magazine article, online or offline, has one, and so should ALL of your marketing.

Without the use of strong, emotionally-driven headlines, you will simply lose clients.   The difference of a strong headline can boost the effectiveness of your marketing by 400% or more!  No joke.   We tested this in our own photographic business.   We changed ONE WORD in a headline, and it boosted response by 400% overnight.

Here’s an example of a strong, emotionally-driven headline for photography:   “Are you watching your family change every day, and wishing you could ‘freeze-time’ and remember these moments forever?  If so…”   This headline will get someone who is emotional, and cares about their family to read the rest of what you have to say, no question about it.  And those are the type of people we are after.

4.  ALWAYS TALK IN TERMS OF BENEFITS TO THE CLIENT, USING YOUR “UNIQUE FACTORS.”  Every word you use in your marketing, whether online or offline, must talk in terms of benefits to the potential client, and no one else.   Nobody out there cares what YOU want as a photographer, all they care about is how you are going to benefit them.   So, make sure everything you do plays up what it is that separates you from the other photographers in your area (your unique factors), and that you put it in terms of how the client will benefit from what you do.

5.  USE TESTIMONIALS – LOTS OF THEM – IN PRINT, AUDIO, AND VIDEO.   Next to your guarantee, there is nothing that will help you bring in more new clients than testimonials.    What others say about you is between 7 and 10 times more effective than anything you could ever say about yourself.   So, for every photographic session you do, ask that client for a testimonial.   In my opinion, you can’t overuse them.   You should have at least a dozen or more on your website.  Use them in social media.   Blog those testimonials.   Use them everywhere.

In fact, I would recommend you adopt the same philosophy I’ve used over the years:   never show a photograph without a testimonial.  Never, other than in exhibits.  That’s the only time I don’t include a testimonial from the client.  Other than that, include a testimonial every time you show a photograph online or offline in your marketing.

So, there are the 5 tips, tricks and hacks for your photographic marketing.   You should be able to implement every one of these very quickly in marketing you already are using, and make sure to make them an integral part of every marketing campaign you do moving forward.

Have a great year, and more tips to come soon!

Charles J. Lewis
M. Photog., Cr.

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