12 Marketing Mistakes Photographers Make

12 Marketing Mistakes Photographers Make and How to Avoid Them

Marketing your photography business successfully can take time. It's a messy rollercoaster of a journey, often with more downs than ups. However, there are so many photographers who've been on that journey before you so why not learn from their mistakes so you can get there quicker? In this video, I'm going to outline the 12 marketing mistakes photographers make and how to avoid them. 

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1. Relying on platforms you can't control

Yes, social media can be powerful, especially when you take advantage of paid ads inside Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

However, these platforms are also constantly changing and recent history has only proven just how fragile businesses can be if they put all their eggs into any of these baskets.

Of course make use of them but make sure you're building your own empire with your website. Put effort into making it a fabulous user experience and fill it with content that gets you found at the top of your ideal client's Google search results - that's longevity right there and it would be hard for anyone to take that away from you.

2. Unaware of important numbers

1. Twelve mistakes photographers make

Most photographers have no concept of just how many eyes they need on their work in order to get just one enquiry.

For example, the average photographer will need around 50 unique visitors to their website before one will get in touch

On social media, it's a whole lot more than that.

You need to get a grip of these three numbers. 

  1. The percentage of your website visitors who end up getting in touch 
  2. The percentage of enquiries you tend to convert into bookings 
  3. your average sale. 

When you have this information you know how many website visitors you need in order to make what you want each month

Marketing is a numbers game. When you know the numbers, booking yourself out becomes mathematical.

3. Not focusing on repeat custom & referrals

It costs 5 times as much to win a new client than to keep an existing client. 

Ok, if you only shoot weddings and you only want to shoot weddings, this isn't quite as applicable to you but we can apply very similar thinking to referrals. 

You should be putting a ton of effort into delighting your existing clients with an extraordinary client experience, collecting their beautiful stories and making sure it's a no-brainer to recommend you to others and work with you again. 

So make sure you're staying in regular contact with past clients in a genuine way and don't forget to send them VIP offers and vouchers and give them some for their friends too.

4. Refusing to consider special offers

This one drives me round the bend a little!

Let's say a photographer tells me they hardly have any enquiries coming in and they ask me for advice and help.

So, I say, 'Let's come up with an exciting marketing campaign and attach it to a special offer!'

Only for the photographer to reply with, 'Oh I don't do special offers! I don't want to devalue my business!'

You mean your business that has no leads at all coming in??? How much value does that have exactly?

A special offer does NOT have to be something that devalues your business. The very opposite in fact. 

Look, once you grow an engaged audience and you're well established as the 'go to' photographer for your ideal client with plenty of leads and bookings - you won't need any special offers. 

Until then, they'll give you a great boost and they can absolutely complement the business you're trying to build!

5. Doubting email marketing works

2. Twelve mistakes photographers make

Email remains the favourite and most lucrative marketing tool across the world and across industries because it works!

A tiny percentage of your social media followers will engage with your posts - less than 1% these days. Whilst 20-30% of your email list will open your emails! 

More if you get good at it.

Your audience need multiple touch points with you and your business before they'll get in touch with you. Relying on social media to give them those touch points means you'll have to settle in for a very long haul. 

When you understand how to land in the inbox of your ideal client with great emails that educate, entertain and, of course, sell, you'll grow your business faster than you can imagine. The return on investment inside that email marketing system of yours is huge. 

All you need to do in order to start is stop doubting it! 

6. Wanting to receive before they give

For example, if you want more engagement on social media, make sure you're engaging with others on social media. Give them your support by commenting meaningfully on their content and sharing it. 

The law of reciprocity is real. 

When someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted urge to do something nice in return.

If you'd love to collaborate with a thriving local business before you're thriving yourself, don't just approach them and ask if you can work together. Offer to do something for them first! 

7. Not playing the long game

Thinking only about next month's leads and bookings is totally normal when you're frantically trying to grow a photography business. 

Of course you need those short-term marketing campaigns in order to fill your diary.

However, if you're not thinking about next year's leads and bookings (and the year after that) at the same time, you're reducing the chances of still being in business when that time comes.

We all have a limited amount of hustle in us so make sure you're giving plenty of focus to the long-term strategies that create a forever business. 

Namely, building lasting and meaningful relationships with clients and other business owners and working towards a website full of content that tops google search results. 

Do those two things and you'll eventually find you can take your foot off the gas and enjoy plenty of organic leads and bookings on tap.

Play the long game.

8. Forgetting to collect and share stories

Your clients bring with them fresh stories you can use in your business. Human, everyday stories - the ones we love and relate to most.

Forget the generic overviews of shoots and weddings! Look for the story in all the little moments so you can share them on social media, via email and in your website content. 

Same goes for testimonials. Listen to your clients before, during and after working with them and you'll see very clearly what you should be asking them for a testimonial about. Get specific. 

These stories are the fuel for your business growth. Don't ignore them!

9. Not creating fresh, meaningful content

3. Twelve mistakes photographers make

Your potential clients have so many barriers in front of them preventing them from getting in touch with you even though they might want to

They have doubts, concerns and questions, not to mention lots of choice when it comes to photographers!

If you're not creating content that helps to break down those barriers and also helps them to get to know, like and trust you then you're going to lose that potential client to another photographer who has bothered to create it.

10. Avoiding anything remotely 'salesy'

Very few people enjoy the idea of self-promotion but when you say you don't want to be 'salesy', you're actually making it all about you!

It makes you feel uncomfortable because of your fear.

You can help your potential client beautifully with something they need or want. Not making it crystal clear how you can help and how they can work with you is very poor service on your part.

Make sure at least a quarter of your social posts and emails are explicitly letting your audience know how you can help them and how they can take action. 

11. Waiting for perfection

It's highly likely that:

  • Your first website will be a mess
  • Your first marketing emails will be ropey 
  • Your first few months on social media will be all over the place
  • Your first facebook ad will flop
  • Your first lead generator will be crap

Marketing is just like photography. Your early attempts are always an embarrassment so you may as well embrace it and get them out of the way quickly!

Done is better than perfect.

12. Not showing who they truly are

4. Twelve mistakes photographers make

Photography is not like most purchases. More often than not, it's a very personal service. 

Your clients are putting their fragile egos in your capable hands and they need to like and trust you. They also have a huge selection of other photographers to choose from!

Letting them see who you are is what can be the difference between them choosing you or one of your competitors (regardless of prices). 

Your personality, character and values are your only true differentiator. Let them shine through across your marketing and enjoy more enquiries and bookings from like-minded people you love working with. 

So those are the 12 photography marketing mistakes to avoid and one way to avoid them is to sign up to my latest FREE training. Learn how to absolutely ace your photography marketing campaigns and book yourself out. It's 60 minutes of pure gold and you can sign up below…

And did you know that a great business plan for your photography business can help you to grow 30% faster? In this article, you'll find a detailed walk-through of the nine steps you need to complete in order to create an actionable plan for your business.



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