Many people ask me, “what should I do to promote my photography business?” My answer is consistent: Take great pictures. And if you want people to pay attention and buy, be consistent in your photography marketing strategy.
Not all photographers understand marketing, and not all can afford a marketing budget.
If you’re just starting, you’re probably not going to have the resources to hire professionals or buy marketing tools.
Luckily, you can implement tons of free and low-cost marketing ideas to market your photography business.
Here are 15 low-cost photographic marketing strategies you can use to promote your business.
Let’s get started!
15 Best Photography Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business
1. Create a Photography Website
When it comes to marketing your photography business, your website is the cornerstone of your efforts.
It’s a central place where prospects and clients can see your work, find out contact information, and learn more about your services.
A photography website gives you control over the information you want to share with others. For example, you can create blog posts on topics that interest people in your niche or place testimonials from happy clients right on the homepage.
Furthermore, it makes you look like a professional photographer, enhancing your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential clients.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Register a domain name
A domain name is the website’s unique address on the internet. People type it into their web browsers to access a site. For example, “SimplyBook.me“.
To build a photography website, you first need to buy a domain name. A domain name usually costs $8-$30 per year.
But the problem is there are hundreds of domain extensions (.com, .net, .org, etc.) available, and it’s hard to choose that would be suitable for your business.
However, if you are new to purchasing a domain name, here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
- Always go with the .com domain extension
- Make it unique and brandable
- Keep your domain name simple and short
- Make it easy to type and memorable
- Don’t add hyphens or numbers
- Use photography-related keywords if possible
- Get Whois guard privacy protection to hide your info
- Come up with new domain name ideas if your name is already taken
- You can register a domain of your name
Some of the great domain registrars are NameCheap, Cloudflare, Dynadot, etc.
2. Choose a website builder
After registering a domain name, you need to purchase web hosting to build your website.
Several content management systems (CMS) are available, and amongst them, WordPress is the most popular and widely used platform. Millions of websites, including big brands Net York Times, CNN, etc., use WordPress.
But don’t join the crowd unless you know where you want to go.
It would be great to look at both advantages and disadvantages when selecting a platform. If you don’t, your website may not grow as you expected.
Here are the disadvantages of using WordPress.
- WordPress is free to use, but hosting isn’t, which may cost $10-$100 per month.
- It’s an open-source platform, meaning you have to maintain your website, including software updates, security, etc.
- WordPress plugins and themes are free to use. But they come with very limitations. To access premium features, you need to purchase their premium plans.
- If you don’t know designing websites, you may need to hire designers.
So, the solution could be choosing a simple platform to use and maintain, offering all types of essential features for a photography website and not costing you much money.
In that case, SimplyBook.me would be the best choice for you.
SimplyBook.me is a booking platform that allows you to create a photography website in just minutes and provides all types of marketing tools, booking systems, app integrations, and more.
3. Add a booking system
Once your website is ready and live, you need to add a booking system on your website so that your clients can easily book you on a specific date and time.
However, if you are using SimplyBook, you can add a booking system to your website with just a few clicks.
Login to your SimplyBook dashboard. Then go to Custom Features > Booking related and enable the features you want on your website.
You can also enable Facebook & Instagram Bookings to allow visitors on the spot.
4. Add a payment gateway
Similarly, to add a payment gateway on your website, go to Custom Features > Business enhancements and enable the Accept payments option.
Additionally, you can choose company currency, select invoice templates, and over 20+ payment systems.
2. Get Your Business Listed on (GMB) Google My Business
There are a lot of benefits to having your photography business listed on Google My Business.
Not only it’s free and easy to use, but it will also give you better visibility in local search results, helping you get more photography project requests in your area.
For example, if someone searches for a “wedding photographer in [your city],” your listing will appear in the search results’ right sidebar. This can help you get more clients by increasing your visibility and driving traffic to your website.
The more complete your profile is — including images, reviews, and other relevant data — the more likely you will rank higher in Google searches.
To get started, all you have to do is fill out the Google My Business form with your contact information, business hours, address, and more.
This information will be used to create your free Google My Business listing, which puts your business on the map whenever someone searches for keywords related to your business.
However, if you are using SimplyBook, getting your business listed on Google is much easier as they provide a dedicated option.
Here’s how to use it.
Login to your SimplyBook admin panel and go to Custom Features > Other, and enable the Google business feature.
Once enabled, it will take you through creating your Google My Business Page.
3. Start Building an Email List Right Away
You can have the nicest photography website on the internet, but you’re leaving money on the table without an email list. Marketing through email can help you reach your target audience and sell your services.
That’s why it’s crucial to start building your list as soon as possible. An email service provider like HubSpot CRM or Constant Contact can help you manage your mailing list.
You can use opt-in forms, business cards, vCards, and other marketing materials on your website to collect email addresses.
Additionally, you can use pop-up forms that encourage site visitors to sign up for your newsletter, helping you build your list quickly.
And, if you’re starting, you can offer freebies such as discounts or free sessions to encourage people to sign up for your list.
Once they sign up on your list, you can send monthly newsletters that update subscribers on promotions, contests, and other news about your business.
4. Use Social Media Platforms to Grow Your Audience
There are 2.5 billion people on social media worldwide, which is expected to increase.
As a photographer, you can use this opportunity to market your photography business and grow your audience using these social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Here are some ways you can use social media platforms to increase your audience:
1. Create profiles on each social media platform
Creating an account on each platform is the first step to growing your social media audience.
Before you sign up, though, please do some research. Determine where your target market and ideal customers spend their time on social media. We recommend joining some of the most popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
It’s also essential that you sign up for accounts using the same username (if possible). Also, fill out the bios with relevant information to help potential followers find you.
2. Include a visual with every post
According to research from Buffer, tweets with images receive 150 per cent more retweets than those without images. And Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images.
Images provide a quick visual snapshot of your content and help people consume information quickly — especially if they’re scrolling through their feeds on mobile devices.
3. Be proactive in listening to and responding to your online community
Social media is a great way to communicate and reach out to customers and prospects. So, make sure you’re answering questions they leave on your page.
Thank them when they recommend your business or share your content and respond to issues quickly.
4. Encourage tagging
When users tag you in a post, it shows up on your page — which means their followers can see that their friend is engaging with you. As a result, their friends may be more likely to follow you.
To encourage tagging, consider holding a contest that requires users to tag you to enter.
5. Use popular hashtags strategically
Hashtags help your posts stand out and make it easier for people to find your social media content. They also allow you to connect with other users who share similar interests.
For example, if you run a business that sells kitchenware, you can include popular hashtags like #kitchen, #kitchendesign, etc.
5. Create a Referral Program
A referral program can boost sales and customer loyalty by rewarding existing clients for sending new customers to the business.
An effective referral program can be as simple as giving a $50 credit or cash to anyone who sends a friend that purchases one of your services or products. Or, if you’re selling photography, you could offer a free shoot.
But how do you create a referral program for your business?
Well, It’s a straightforward process using SimplyBook. Using SimplyBook, you can create deals to offer your clients and award them to bring new clients to your business.
They also offer hundreds of premade templates, widgets, drag and drop page builders, etc., to help you create a better photography website in no time.
6. Run a Giveaway to Engage Your Audience
Many businesses use giveaways to connect with their existing audience and increase brand awareness. Giveaways can also help companies to gain more social media followers.
There are many different ways you can run a giveaway on social media and encourage people to follow you or share your content.
When the contest launches, you can tell your followers to like and share the post or tag their friends in the comments. The more steps they take, the better their chances of winning.
To qualify, ask entrants to follow you on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook so they will be notified if they win.
It would be best to keep the prize appealing enough to make your giveaway more engaging. Alternatively, you can consider offering photography prints as a prize.
7. Collect and Share Clients’ Testimonials to Build Trust
Telling potential clients what you do is helpful. But hearing from your old customers about how they felt working with you is much more effective.
The reason? Because social proof is a powerful marketing force.
Your business gains credibility by including your customers’ own words and images in your testimonials. And that can lead to higher sales conversions.
To get started, reach out to past clients and ask them if they’d be willing to write a short review of their experience working with you.
Alternatively, you could add a form to your website that allows customers to submit a review. And then, use these testimonials on your website and social media platforms to boost your photography marketing efforts.
8. Run Paid Advertisement
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve got to spend money to make money?” This is true in the world of paid advertising. Although it’s not free, it’s an investment that can bring you quick results.
Through paid ads, you can reach your target audience quickly and easily. And there are a ton of options for running paid ads these days. You can run them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or even Google.
9. Participate in Photo Contests
Photography contests are a great way to improve your photography, raise your profile and increase your business revenue.
Additionally, they can help boost your reputation, build your email list, and provide a reason for people to follow you on social media.
To run a contest successfully, you need to think about the type of game or competition you want to run. For example, National Geographic has a photo contest every year to find the best travel photos.
This is an excellent way for amateur and professional photographers to show off their skills, promoting National Geographic.
Here are some other ideas for photo contests:
1. Photographer of the year contest
Call for entries from people worldwide or just in your city. Choose a theme (travel, art, lifestyle) that reflects your style as a photographer.
2. Instagram contest
Ask people to share photos on Instagram with a branded hashtag of your choice. You can choose the winner based on likes or use an online random draw generator to pick the winner.
3. User-generated content
Ask customers to share their photos featuring your brand — either at an event or wearing your clothing or using your product — with a branded hashtag on Instagram.
10. Use YouTube as a Marketing Tool
YouTube can be a valuable platform for promoting your photography business. The video-sharing platform is the second largest search engine globally, and its users watch over 1 billion hours of video every day.
You can also create tutorials that give viewers a step-by-step guide to editing photographs, such as “shooting in low light”.
These are both excellent ways to attract new clients while also demonstrating your expertise and professionalism at the same time.
Here’s an example from a YouTube channel, named “Thomas Heaton“. He is a professional landscape photographer who shares some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. You can find other photography-related tips and tricks too.
However, if you go to any of his video descriptions, you can see he mentioned his website, social media handles, the gears he uses, etc.
11. Try Out a New Type of Photography
If you’ve been in business for several years, you may have noticed that your target clients are similar. While it’s great to have a niche, it can also be limiting.
Looking to expand your client list and boost sales? Try out a new type of photography.
Are you a portrait photographer? Try out wedding photography.
Do you specialize in business shoots? Try doing portraits. The more types of photography you offer, the more opportunities you’ll have to attract new clients.
12. Develop Relationships with Other Photographers
The relationships with other photographers are significant. You can build them through photography associations, online groups, or by attending conferences and exhibitions.
You will have an excellent opportunity to see what other photographers do, learn new techniques and styles, and meet new people who can share their experiences with you.
Once you’ve done this, ask them if they would be willing to give you feedback on your work. Most photographers are happy to help other shooters develop their skills – it’s good for everyone.
13. Print Collateral Like Business Cards and Flyers
As a photographer, you likely spend a lot of time marketing your services on social media and email. But did you know that print collateral can be a valuable part of your photography marketing strategy as well?
Print collateral like business cards, flyers, and brochures can help you appeal to potential customers in ways that digital marketing simply can’t.
By handing out cards and flyers to your potential customers, you show them that you are a serious business owner. That helps you establish a more personal connection with them, which can help lead to a sale later on.
Business cards are simple and inexpensive to print. You can give them out anywhere, so keep some in your pocket or bag for whenever you need them. Ensure all your contact information (website, phone number, email, etc.) so people have multiple ways of reaching you.
Similarly, flyers are a great way to spread the word about your business. Put them up around town or hand them out at local events. A simple flyer that includes your picture, name, location of your business, and some contact information can be all you need.
14. Create an Up-Selling Strategy
Up-selling can be a great way to boost your profits and make your customers happy by offering them the perfect product for their needs. But if you’re not careful, up-selling can appear pushy and intrusive.
It’s important to create a strategy that ensures customers don’t feel pressured into buying something they don’t want or need.
The best way to up-sell is to take advantage of the customer’s needs and wants. For example, if a customer talks about how he wants his photos printed on canvas for his office walls, you might suggest a package with prints in various sizes.
The key here is to offer more products or services that fit the customer’s needs while boosting your bottom line.
Here are some up-sells you could offer:
1. Offer paid courses:
You can offer paid photography courses to your clients to become professional photographers like you.
2. Photo prints or albums:
Once the shots are done, you can ask your clients if they want their photos printed on cups, t-shirts, mobile back covers, wood, watch, etc. This will bring you additional revenue for your business.
3. Provide discounts on subsequent bookings:
After finishing shots, don’t just cut the contact with your clients. Instead, you can offer an additional discount, such as 15% off the next booking. This will make your clients book from you again, resulting in more money.
15. Submit Your Photos to Stock Photography Sites
You can easily generate traffic to your photography website and increase the exposure of your work by submitting it to free stock photo sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, etc.
If someone downloads one of your images, you don’t get paid. However, you get a link to your website in the image credits if someone uses your photo. So you get exposure from people who are interested in your photos.
Additionally, submitting your photography to stock websites doesn’t always entail the transfer of the copyright of your image to the website. You will still hold ownership of the photo.
Marketing takes effort and a plan. But when executed correctly, it’s worth every penny you put into it.
You’re not going to see results overnight, but the payoff can be huge if you stick with them. Therefore, photographers should consider these ideas and put them into action. Doing so will surely help the business grow and get more clients over time.
We hope our list of the best photography marketing ideas has been helpful to you. If so, do share it with your friends.
Now, we want to hear from you. What are the photography marketing tactics you have utilized far? Did they work for you? Let us know.
Guest Author Bio: Jyoti Ray
Jyoti Ray is the founder of WPMyWeb.com, which specializes in social media, marketing, and SEO. He writes and has been featured on JeffBullas, SurveyAnyplace, SearchEngineWatch, and more. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.