How to gain new clients for your photography business
Even if you’ve just started your photography business, you probably already know the struggle of finding new clients.
Worry not! Gaining new clients is a challenging step but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. We’ve gathered some of the most helpful tips and tricks to help you start your photography business on the right foot:
Figure out your target
The key to gaining new clients is knowing who – and what – to look for. To help define your target, ask yourself the following questions:
Who would pay for my service?
Who has already bought from me?
What do my friends and peers think?
How will I sell my product or service?
What assumptions am I making about my target that may be wrong?
Once you have a clearer picture of who your target is, it should be easier to:
know what channels to use to reach them
establish branding that will appeal to them
construct the products and services you think they will appreciate
price your products and services accordingly
Build your book
Every professional photographer has had zero clients at one point. If this is you, your first step should be building your book. After all, it’s hard to gain new clients if you have no samples to offer them. The best way to do that is to tap into your friends and family network. Offer to do some free photo shoots and make sure you treat the whole experience as if it were a paying gig. This is also a fantastic opportunity to get feedback and learn from it.
It’s the 21st century: we don’t need to persuade you of the power of social media. If you don’t already have a photography website and a Facebook/Instagram page – create one! If you have a page, go through it and make sure it’s spotless. Get rid of everything that’s outdated, underwhelming or plain bad: as an artist, the aesthetic of your page speaks volumes about the quality of your work. Make sure your website is optimized for local and industry-specific keywords. SEO is not the most fun and can be quite time consuming, but done properly, it is a great way to drum up new business.
Focus on existing relationships
The good news for photography businesses, like yours, is that you don’t need a big marketing budget. To be successful you just need to deliver the best possible experience to your clients so that they will become your most valuable brand advocates. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies and when your clients are happy with the service you provided, they’re far more likely to spread the word to all their friends and family members!
Don’t forget to ask your customers to give you a written testimonial. Testimonials go a long way to building trust with future prospects. You can also offer referral discounts – say, $20 off their next photo session if they also refer a friend.
Stay in touch with your customers by emailing or better, sending them a handwritten note. Staying top-of-mind will definitely help them help you.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to vendors and venues. Send them some of your best photos of their work or space and tell them they can use it on their website or in their marketing. They will be super pleased with you and this positive relationship building will lead to more referrals.
Networking is a key skill in the photography world. Find yourself some photography buddies – they can be a great source of referrals. Sometimes they will be too busy to take on a job, or away on location and they may just hand you your dream project.
Make sure that your friends and family know you’re a photographer and actually looking for clients.
Post on local Facebook groups and make sure you leave pamphlets, flyers and business cards at places where your ideal clients are likely to visit.
Learn how to promote yourself
Social media is your best friend when it comes to building a client base. When it comes to the visual arts, Instagram is perhaps the most powerful tool. Make sure you profile yourself in the same way you profile your clients; if you only post photos of weddings, people are likely to believe you only offer wedding photography. Make sure to display your best images but also the ones that reflect your style best.
Another fantastic way to promote yourself and gain new clients is by blogging. A photographer is more than merely a service provider – your clients trust you to capture their most intimate moments and create shots that reflect their true personality. They want to know you and what better way to offer them a glimpse into who you are than by blogging about your skill and life? The added bonus is increased visibility and credibility: the winning strategy is making sure you showcase your work and skill and letting your clients get to know you.
Last but not least, get creative with your pricing. This doesn’t mean undercutting your fees but rather, running booking specials or offering discounts. Consider offering limited mini sessions (with fewer images included or without certain extras) and give your clients the option to buy more. You can also offer a free session in exchange for exposure. Make sure to ask your clients to spread the word and leave a review on your Facebook or Yelp page (preferably without saying that they got a free session out of it).