9 Ways Photographers Can Grow Their Business

Every picture clicked is a memory!

Photographs capture moments and events that make life beautiful. Behind the lens we have the ability to freeze moments in time and share them. And the choices are endless in showcasing your talent to the world. If you can’t select just one place to share, why not use them all? Here are top ways how photographers can grow their business:

Define Your Product and Services

Having a clear identity as a photographer – whether that be stylistically, location-based or subject matter focused – helps you define your niche, position yourself as a go to photographer in that area, and reach a very targeted group of customers. Said one art director from an advertising agency, “Photographers make mistakes when they don’t clearly position themselves. I need to know what type of photographer they are and their style. If it looks like they are all over the place. I can’t be confident that they can do my job well.

Determine Your Market

Who is your audience and what are their needs? Truly understanding your target market, including what they want and obstacles they encounter, can help you hone your marketing message and products to fit their specific demands. It will also help you better assist the benefits of doing business with you and deliver a smarter product or service.

Create a Marketing Plan

One-time marketing efforts rarely pay off. You often need to spread the news about your photography through many channels to get on people’s radars and convert them into paying customers. To get the word out, consider using social media, email newsletters, and participating in trade shows and networking events. Tip: Make a list of your marketing ideas and slot each into a calendar to stay on track.

Focus On Your Finances

Whether you’re full time, part time or a freelance photographer – or even if you make a few bucks on the sided from your photography – you are your own business. This means you need a separate bank account for your business, equipment and liability insurance and a cash flow plan. If this is new to you, we recommend sitting down with an accountant to help wrangle your budget, tax obligations and other financial needs.

Tune Up Your Website

Getting people to your website is hard work. If you site only showcases your photography, you lose the chance to capture a potential client’s information ultimately convert them into a paying customer. Instead, think of your website as a sales and marketing tool where people can easily sign up for your newsletter or purchase prints and products directly online. And don’t forget to include your contact information.

Build Your SEO

The goal of Search Engine Optimisation is to get found online – especially by people looking for your products and services without knowing who you are. Building you on-page content and list of “Backlinks” links from other sites to yours for example can help quickly improve your search engine rankings.

Get Social

A strong social media presence can translate into real exposure for your photography business. Why? Because your website is no longer a daily destination for your customers, whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook are.

Create an Advisory Group

When it comes to self-evaluation, photographers are often too subjective to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. So instead, try soliciting honest feedback from fellow photographers, friends, smart markets, financial advisors and designers about how you can improve your own prospects this year. People are normally glad to help.

Follow Up With Old Clients

Your old clients should be your easiest sale because you’ve already done business together. If you haven’t been in contact with them for a while, reach out and update them on your new projects, products and services. Don’t forget to remind them of how you worked together in the past and where you are located.

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Why Your Business Should Invest Into Direct Mail

Like any good entrepreneur, I’m always thinking of ways that I can develop and grow our businesses and brands. One of the best marketing strategies does not occur in the digital world. Each week, one of my companies sends out over 1,000 pieces of direct mail. We have an excellent response rate, even with a younger demographic target audience.

Think about it; people are deluged with emails, social media posts and instant messaging. In the digital world, it’s a novelty to receive a great piece of direct response material in the mail. However, there are a few differences in what we do in our direct mail than what was done in the old school days.

We experiment with all types of colorful pieces.
We rarely send any letter.
The pieces are always vibrant with images and very little copy.

There are a couple of reasons why your business should consider direct response to prospect and grow your business.

Response Rate: Last year, Compu-mail noted, “Direct mail household response rate is 5.1% (compared to.6% email,.6% paid search,.2 online display,.4% social media). This is the highest response rate the DMA has ever reported, since coming out with the Response Rate Report in 2003.
Personalization: When your prospects receive mail (not including bills), particularly those who are of Generation X or older, there is a familiar feeling. The older generations still like to receive something in the mail with their names on it. They can touch the piece, and there’s something novel about it in today’s world.
Generational Myth: Believe it or not, a sizable portion of Millennials also like direct response because it’s something they too can touch and hold. According to a Forbes article, 36 percent of people under the age of 30 like to check their mailboxes, and 95 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 have a favorable view of mail, such as personalized cards.
QR Codes and PURLs: Companies have been experimenting with testing QR and PURLs (personal URLs), which redirects a person who receives a piece of mail back into the digital age. Since most people now have a smartphone, these codes can be scanned by the target audience for more information.
Messaging: If you’re doing a particular project or sale, consider using direct mail to bolster the urgency. My team and I have gotten high response rates to direct mail pieces that have had a deadline to partner with our companies. One of the key reasons we have seen this work is because with all of the emails people receive, lots of times they are dismissing this form of communication quickly just to get through their email box.
Multi-channel Marketing: Direct response is an excellent way to support your digital marketing efforts. We know that people have to see your brand and logo multiple times for it to begin to “stick” in their minds. Direct mail helps reinforce your brand’s digital efforts. Prospects not only see you in the digital world but also in the “real world.”
Testing: Direct mail provides your business with an opportunity to test another method for reaching out to your prospects. We’ve tested direct response with high-level prospects in our target audience, and the new accounts we’ve obtained has paid for the mailing expenses
Easy Analytics: Direct mail results are straightforward to understand. You don’t need to have anyone on your team sign-into a digital platform to pull a report for you. Direct response provides you an easy way to see how much you spent against the amount of new business you achieved.
Credibility: Direct mail, because it’s familiar and tactile, gives the recipients an automatic sense of your credibility. We live in a world of “fake news” and raging social media debates about content in the digital space that is authentic and real. Direct response cuts through the noise and instantly gives credibility because of the investment and its familiarity.
Creativity: Direct response is an excellent way to experiment with color, size, shape and different packaging for your pieces. Sophisticated marketers are experimenting with many different types of mailings to stand out from a regular sized and traditional letter and envelope, which encourages people to look at the piece.

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) has reported that direct mail has declined. However, in a digital world where people are inundated with massive amounts of content, direct mail stands out as a creative way to cut through the noise. At the very least, direct mail is an excellent complement your digital efforts, and at best, it’s a great way to obtain new business.

The Truth About Menu Boards

Digital Menu Boards are utilized in less than 20% of restaurants in overall nation. The other 80% are needlessly missing out on some incredibly easy and effective ways to increase the bottom line.

What’s today’s special?

Over half of restaurant customers look to menu boards specifically to find out what’s on special. But incredibly, almost half the time the very information that these eager customers were looking for, literally with their money in their hands, was nowhere to be found! For the 80%, it’s easy to see why. Imagine how difficult it would be to change static chalkboard signage every time you change your special. For owners of digital display systems, what’s on your display can be changed at the touch of a button, with the changes automatically reflected in your POS system, too.

This disadvantage is especially crushing if your major target consumers are younger. The Millennials, perhaps the most important demographic for QSR establishments, are less set in their ways about everything, including the food that they eat. They are looking for new food experiences and your meal specials are prime candidates. Why would you want to miss this opportunity?

One picture is worth 1000 words:

QSR customers are in a hurry. They won’t take a time to read lengthy explanations. That’s why pictures are essential, especially if you’re promoting a new menu item. A tantalizing vision of your latest promotional special, in all its mouthwatering glory in living color, will have your customers reaching for their wallets far faster than any verbal description. While posting great pictures is as easy as a few taps on a keyboard for operators boasting digital display systems, it will present much more of a challenge for those still stuck with chalkboard or painted signage.

Greater control with digital signage:

For franchises or other types of multi-site operators, what customers see on menu boards can be centrally controlled. A new limited time offer and new pricing can be made to appear at all your locations, whether they are on the other side of town, or on the other side of the continent. And, if you’re spending millions on advertising that great new blockbuster offer on the web and on TV, you want to make sure that what your hungry, eager customers see on your menu signs is in sync with the expectations that you spent so much time, effort and money in creating.