It’s no secret that there is a giant sea of photographers out in the world today. It’s getting harder and harder to stand out, but I am passionate about educating you on how you can stand out and be the go-to photographer for your specialty.
Are you a photographer looking to build a five or six figure business that has both time and financial freedom? Maybe you’re struggling to get clients on your books that don’t know what to do to bring in your next lead. Are you frustrated with social media, because you see it working for other photographers, but you aren’t seeing any results? Maybe you’re an established photographer with a solid client base, but you’re looking to go to the next level.
The truth is that taking pretty pictures just isn’t enough anymore. In order to build that dream career, it’s going to take a toolkit of business skills, marketing strategies and accountability.
Today I’m sharing the four marketing trends that you need along with some key pieces that you must have in place to be a standout photographer, or risk sinking in the great big ocean. Let’s dive in!
The first marketing trend that you need to be aware of are reviews. Reviews are becoming an essential piece of the purchase process. It’s probably not what you expected as a marketing trends, but it is truly important to people when they’re making a decision on who they want to work with.
When my family took a trip to Alabama last summer, we had never been there before, so we planned our trip based on places that our friends recommended and reviews. We used reviews to help us decide what beach house to stay at, to find a photographer to use and to figure out where we were going to eat while we were there.
I want you guys to hear me out when I say reviews are essential. You need to be asking your clients for reviews and educating them on where you want them to leave reviews. Reviews the matter to people, because it shows them what strangers on the internet are saying about a particular place, person or business. If 2000 people have left a review for a particular restaurant, they want to know if they are also going to have an exceptional experience at that restaurant.
Take a moment to think about your buying decisions when you buy things online. Do you look at reviews for something before you purchase it? You’re probably nodding your head yes right now, because it’s important to you, especially when you buy things off of Amazon. For those of us that buy client pieces, props and wardrobe, we are typically going to that review section before we just throwing our money at whatever it is we’re trying to buy. So remember, reviews are going to mean more this year than they ever have in the past.
Wondering how to even start asking for reviews, or if you think you are in a bad position, because you can’t get clients to leave you reviews, then I have a freebie for you. It’s called How to Ask For a Review where I am giving you the questions to ask to start getting those reviews rolling in.
One more thing about reviews… It does matter where your clients are leaving you reviews. If you have not signed up for Google My Business, you need to get your butt there ASAP. People are searching on Google all the time and if your business is not registered under Google My Business, then you will not pop up. Everybody except you will pop up. This is one of the major places that you need to be asking your clients to leave you reviews this year.
Facebook and social media reviews are great, but you also need to have your clients leave reviews on a place that isn’t going to be shut down overnight. The best place for that would be Google. So, in review, the number one marketing trend that you have got to get into your business workflow is asking for our reviews from your clients.
Marketing trend number two is video marketing. Video is where it’s at! I remember five years ago, seeing a stat that said by 2020 80% of marketing is going to be through video and they weren’t lying. You can see that video is everywhere. It truly is dominating the market right now and it’s only going to continue to rise. People want to be entertained, and they want to consume their content via video more than ever.
One of the best ways to hop on this train is to start doing Instagram reels or even hopping on TikTok. Now, I will be completely real with you. I do not have TikTok. I had an account for maybe four weeks, and it was just a time sucker for me, but I am on Instagram reels and have had a lot of fun with it. It’s easy, quick content that is going to stand out. There are so many things you can cover in a reel to help educate your clients and potential clients to get them to consume your content and want to follow you.
Another way that you can hop on video marketing is to have a YouTube channel or to go live in your Facebook group on a weekly basis. The more you show your face, the better your business will be, because that is how relationships work. You would not sit there and watch someone’s business never seeing their face and call someone like your best friend or that you’re super close to them, because you don’t really know them.
Once you’re able to see someone’s face and watch them over and over and over again, which is the power of Instagram stories, you start to feel like you know that person and understand their facial expressions and gestures. You start to really feel like you’ve known the person forever.
Video marketing is not going anywhere. I’m so sorry for those of you that hate to show your face, but it’s here to stay. Start by jotting down some topic ideas of things that you can talk about with your audience. Then, your best bet is just to hop on the train and get it going.
The third marketing trend that you have got to have in your business is a website. Websites are no longer optional. In fact, the absence of a website or having a website you don’t love might be the very thing that is causing you to lose potential clients. Having a social media presence all by itself is not enough anymore, you need to have a website too. Websites are an investment, but you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to have one that works for you, but clients do care that you have one. In fact, the majority of people that make it to your website are ready to make a buying decision. So if they’re on your website, they are in the mood to buy and are already weighing their decision.
If they come to your website, and it doesn’t live up to the standard that they thought you were going to have because you were killing it on social media, then you will lose that client to somebody else. Bottom line, you need a website.
So what do you need to do right now, if you don’t have a website at all? You need to start searching for a platform where you can host your website. It’s time to research and decide what you can do now. if you’re in the market to hire somebody to help you build one, then that’s something else that you can be doing. For those of you that already have a website, stay tuned, because in another post I’m going to dive into all the pieces your website needs to have.
The fourth and final marketing trend that you have got to get on board with is authenticity. I know it is an overused word and, if you’re like me, you keep hearing it over and over and over again. It basically has no meaning to us anymore….but I am telling you that authenticity is one of the things that you are going to need now more than ever before.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but social media has made a major shift. We’re going away from perfectly curated anything. People want the real, raw and relatable. They want to see your face and feel like you are someone they can connect with. They want to build a relationship with you instead of a brand, logo or business that feels miles away from them.
People always see perfectly curated things, so being real and imperfect, which is what we all are anyway, is the trend that is in. Simply start showing your face on your feed. It doesn’t have to be a professional image. I know as photographers, we are cringing.
If you want it to be more professional, then you can obviously take your own self portraits or go get branding photos done, but I’m telling you, the more authentic you can be, the better.
If you feel really uncomfortable, kind of like me, it’s not that I want to be perfect. It’s that I’m just really OCD, like I want things to be very visually appealing to me, I want things to make sense. And so the thought of me taking a selfie on my phone and posting that to my feed, there’s completely rubs me the wrong way. But it might happen, we’ll see. So for me, I’m going to take this being real and imperfect trend, and really show up hardcore in my video content on my podcast on my social media channels, as far as like in my stories and those types of places. Okay, my feed might still stay somewhat curated, because, for me, I know that the best way to deliver that content is the way that my brain works.
So this isn’t me saying to just give up on a beautiful, curated feed. I’m just saying you can relax and breathe a little bit. You need to show up as you, so if you have not yet jumped on Instagram stories that’s your first step. In fact, don’t wait. Do it today! Hop on your stories and literally talk to us about anything. Talk to us about listening to this podcast and how you were inspired. Now it’s time to show the face behind the camera. That’s what I want to see you do.
Now that I’ve shared those 4 trends, I want to leave you with the two keys that are going to make or break your business this year.
You can no longer be the photographer that offers everything under the sun. You just cannot do that! An exceptional business or the business you’re dreaming of won’t come to fruition if you continue to photograph everything under the sun. If you want this to be your best year yet, you have to realize that you are not good at everything you photograph. In fact, nobody is great at every single genre of photography, which is why you should choose a specialty.
You need to narrow down your specialty by asking yourself a few questions. What makes you special? What is your expertise? There are things you’re better at whether you’re on day one or day 5000 of photography. There’s things you know that light you up and that you’re passionate about. What do people tell you that you are great at? Answer those questions and those will point you to your specialty.
There are also things that drain you and don’t leave you excited or that make you nervous, because you know, that it is not your area of expertise.
This is the year those who specialize will rise. They own what they’re great at and market it. They are going to have their best year yet. If you are too scared to choose a specialty or you give an excuse, you’re gonna get left behind. I do not want that for you! I don’t want you to be left behind. End of story. You are here for a reason. You came into this industry with a passion and it’s time that we make your light shine bright.
If I asked you right now, what is it that you are known for? A lot of you are going to say great pictures. Taking pretty pictures is seriously not enough anymore. We all want to be known as a great photographer, but there are things that make us unique in the way that we run our businesses, interact with our clients and take photographs.
So, what are you known for? What is your specialty? Maybe you are a wedding photographer who is known for doing the best bridal portraits and wedding exits. People know you by your images, social media pages and website. That’s an example of an expertise. You’ve got to get specific.
You’re a family photographer whose specialty is families who adopt, so you can photograph adoptions. Maybe you are a photographer whose specialty is beach portraits. Remember, you don’t have to shoot one thing for the rest of your career. It’s not a life-long commitment.
Choosing a speciality no longer means you just have to choose just one genre of photography. That’s not really what I’m saying. For some it is, for some, your specialty is what you photograph. Maybe you photograph babies and nothing else. Awesome! For some, your specialty is your location and what you shoot. Amazing! That could be underwater photography, beach photography, or the mountains. Perfect! Another specialty could be working with certain people that fall in a certain category like families who adopt and foster. I hope that gets your brain going, thinking about what you want to be known for.
What makes you special? While we are all photographers, we’re all passionate about taking good and pretty pictures. I’m telling you, that’s not gonna cut it this year. The way that you’re going to grow your market is by finding a specialty and owning it.
The other key that is going to make or break your business this year is your client experience. Are you a photographer who prides yourself on getting people to book with you, having an awesome session, and then delivering their galleries? That’s good, but it’ no longer enough. You’ve got to have a client experience that is top notch. The goal is to leave your clients raving about you. They will leave you those amazing reviews when you go above and beyond for them.
Besides having a specialty, what are some other things that you sincerely want to be known for? What’s something that sets you apart? What makes you the obvious choice? For your client experience, maybe you offer top notch styling for your clients. You could be a photographer that has a client closet. It could also include hosting try-on sessions and spending 70% of prep time with your clients talking about styling. You’re focused on making them feel beautiful and getting them into professional hair and makeup. Maybe that’s your ‘thing’ that makes your client experience unique.
Some photographers might be known for the amazing editing techniques they are able to do with their photos. They’re amazing at showing off skies and nature. It looks like you could reach out and touch it in a photograph.
Think about what you’re good at. Maybe you are amazing at communication, styling, or editing. What is going to make people say O m g, you’ve got a book with her because blank, blank, blank. Once you’ve narrowed down your strong point focus your client experience around that point.
These two keys are going to be the foundation for all of your marketing. You can’t market successfully if you don’t know who you’re talking to, what you’re offering, what your specialty is and what sets you apart. If you don’t have the foundation set, you are going to fail at marketing every single time. I don’t want that for you!
Not in the From Broke to Booked Blueprint program yet? Make sure that you are on that waitlist, so you can sign up. Stay tuned, because I’m going to be opening the doors super soon. In the program, I am going to be diving deep into marketing techniques, so we can connect our efforts in a way that has never been done before. It’s going to go so far past basic marketing.
I cannot wait for all the things that are to come this year! I truly am wishing you the best year yet in your business.
Don’t forget to join our community of photographers over at Social Selling for Photographers. If you’ve chosen your specialty, I’d love for you to share your it in the group!
Oh, and before you go, make sure you’re following me on Instagram!