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Marketing

Timing is Everything.

Too often I see photographers release a handful of blogs 6 months to a year after they shot the wedding. While that's better than nothing, they're missing out on the initial surge of traffic when a client shares the blog on their social media feeds, because it's the first place they can see their photos. 

Your best bet for sharing your shoots is when your client is not only willing, but WANTING to share your link. We put up blogs before we deliver most of the time, because when people see their photos, they will share them with all of their friends and family on their social media channels, if you wait too long, you miss out on that giant splash of traffic. 

While you still get most of the benefit with SEO even by posting late, you miss out on a lot of the benefits. 

The Marketing Funnel - Conversion

It's the third week talking about the Marketing Funnel and we're talking about the Conversion stage. 

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Finally! We can talk about converting potential customers into actual customers. The content that is most important for this part of the funnel is making sure that you have a really great Contact page that makes it easy for a customer to reach you. 

Your sales process needs to be streamlined and trustworthy. Fast responses to inquiries and having detailed product information that's easy to understand is crucial to converting many customers. 

The Marketing Funnel - Discovery

The Marketing funnel is a really simple concept that helps you visualize the path a potential client takes as they become more familiar with your business, your brand. From Introduction to conversion (and hopefully beyond). 

Marketing Funnel

This week, we're focusing on the first stage of the Marketing funnel, Discovery. 

In this stage of the funnel, people are strangers to your brand and are just starting to learn who you are. This is someone's first experience with your brand is. It usually comes thru content you're putting out on social media, or by having other clients share your work with them. 

This is the widest part of your funnel, you want content in this stage of the funnel to be aimed at the most people as possible. Areas that are primarily part of the Discovery stage include your Blog posts, social media posts, and any features or publications of your work. 

Since the people in this stage don't know the value of your work yet, you should focus on establishing yourself as trustworthy and an expert in your field. If you can, this is where you should be sharing free content with your audience. 

 

Every Brand is Different

Every Brand is Different

So often I see people teaching other photographers how to be successful like them in the photography industry, and it's just them rehashing how THEY became successful.

I don't like that.

Items that will be really successful for one brand won't work for another. Every brand is different, every business is unique, even when they seem incredibly similar. One of the things that I've learned over the years working with different photographers, is that you have to tailor each lesson for that specific brand. Everyone has different strengths and will find different techniques will be the ones that provide them the most value with their time. 

So that's why we're going to focus on marketing concepts and basic principles that will allow you to take this knowledge and adapt it to best fit your brand. 

If you're just going to follow someone's system of how they made it, you're only going to be an imitation of their brand at best. 

Each month, we're going to tackle a new concept or theme. We'll break it down into manageable chunks and discuss it over the following weeks. 

So follow along, learn what works best for you, and if you find something worth sharing, tell a friend.

Join my facebook group Grow Your Brand to join in on the discussion each week! 

Level up your Blogging Skills

Level up your Blogging Skills

Blogging is the single best way to keep your business relevant when done right and the biggest pain in the ass to a photographer when it's done wrong. One thing I like to keep in mind is that I want to make sure I'm posting great content that will get me traffic for a long period of time. 

Let me explain with this explanation of the Three Levels of Blogging.

Level 1

Level 1 is the basic housekeeping of blogging, it needs to be done often, it doesn't require a lot of  thought, it's blogging your sessions, your weddings, and your work. 90% of the traffic you'll get for most sessions will be in the first 24-48 hours as your client shares it, your social media feeds see it, and then it stops generating new clicks to your site. It's great for potential brides to see your work in this format, so it's incredibly useful, and it's good for SEO when you link to the vendors shown in your shoot. Every photographer should be doing some form of this.

Level 2

Level 2 is a little bit more complicated, but it's not too hard to come up with content, it just takes a little bit of creativity and setting aside time to do it. It's putting together compilations of similar subjects, or the most common, best of posts at the end of the year. If you share your favorite venues, best dresses, whatever you want to share a grouping of, it's a great way to have great blog content in the slower months. It's fantastic to link back to the full posts, and it's another way to get a previous client to share your work because you highlighted them in a compilation post. These can be as basic or as unique as you can think of. Be creative, because there's unlimited potential at this level. 

Level 3

Level 3 takes the most time to come up with and craft but it's also going to be the most helpful to your business in the long run. Evergreen content which is content that is relevant all year round no matter what. Evergreen content is a great way to educate a client or to maintain a list that clients will find useful. Consider it a resource. With other content with a quick shelf life, evergreen content will get stronger over time as you refine it. I wrote about Evergreen content a while back to get more in depth with it here

So mix up your blog and don't get stuck posting only low level content. Drive traffic to your site using a mixture of content and ideas. 

If you need help creating unique content for your business, send me a message. I'd be glad to work with you in building a marketing and content strategy for your business. 

Find your weirdness

Find your weirdness

Everyone sees the world a little differently than the next person, so why would you want your photos to look just like everyone else's? Find your weirdness, do things your way, explore your vision and be creative!

Feel free to be inspired by others, and you will find others with a similar style, but you will always be you, so let your photos show it. 

It doesn't have to be something you do for paid work, you can create your own niche and weirdness with a personal project, you'll find that the experience you gain and the things you learn while pushing your personal creativity, will bleed into all aspects of your work. 

Here's some of my weirdness, photos I took so I could try something different, either on a different medium, or just a different technique. 

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Can I have your Attention?

Can I have your Attention?

The most important commodity right now has shifted from information to attention. We now live in an attention economy. Building an audience is the most valuable item right now. With more content creators than ever, people are fighting for your attention. Being a photographer, you're fighting for people's attention. 

With so much competing for attention, it's the scarcest commodity. Attention behaves differently than any other commodity, there is a hard limit per capita. Still don't understand? Consider your own attention, it's focused on these words right now. Attention is a zero-sum game, when one person gets attention, someone else does not. 

As a photographer and creator, the best way to snag your slice of the attention is to have not just strong work, but strong context. Either reveal a part of yourself to bond yourself to your audience, or share a moment from the shoot that reveals even more. To keep and grow your audience in this new attention economy, creators will need to work on storytelling, weaving interesting details to captivating photos. 

Create Engaging Content. Hook people with amazing experiences and stories. As photographers, we are constantly creating content, find ways to share your experiences behind the photos and you'll find yourself growing your audience. 

In 2011, I was unemployed due to the real estate market crashing with a brand new MBA, I didn't know what I was going to do, no one was hiring and my resume was short on experience. I did have my camera and an idea. I wanted to take portraits of people in my city in a way that unified and highlighted each person. 

So I created This is Memphis, a stripped down raw photo of each person, over the course of 3 weeks I shot 134 unique portraits of people in Memphis, scheduled 100% via word of mouth and social media.  The project created a buzz about my work and I was able to get a job because of it, and I met so many people that did amazing things, it opened a lot of opportunities for me. 

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I got to meet amazing individuals, people that were active and involved in my community. Like Kerry Crawford who used to run the I Love Memphis blog. 

 

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Josh Horton of Creative Works came out to support a fellow creative, now he runs an entire conference to push creatives to do better work. 

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I got to photograph the amazing Grace Askew, years before she was on The Voice. 

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Memphis Mayor AC Wharton even came by for a few minutes to join the project. 

Create Content. Share Experiences. Capture Attention. Grow your brand. 

While everyone's fighting for more attention, focus your efforts on creating engaging content. Be true to your brand and your voice, and you'll notice positive growth. Find ways to connect with your audience and you'll have their attention. 

Like this post? Then you might be interested in my post about Evergreen Content

Why you need to create Evergreen Content

Why you need to create Evergreen Content

Most photographers I know don't keep their blogs updated. Heck, my photography blog hasn't been updated in months (regardless of when you read this, it's probably still true) it can be tough when Instagram and Facebook make sharing a photo easy, and on those networks you can see the amount of likes and comments you'll get, while on a photography blog... you won't see nearly the same amount of engagement.

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But for SEO, it's important to blog, it's important to try and draw an audience off of social media sites and have them regularly checking your site. It's important to have recent work posted so when a potential client looks at your site, they have something interesting to look at! 

But posting only your paid shoots, you're gonna realize that people aren't really staying on your site for very long, and that these posts aren't bringing in significant traffic after the first few days. 

That's where Evergreen content comes into play. Evergreen content is content that stays relevant all year round. 

Take a look at Grace and Jaden's great post on the best places to Elope on the Oregon coast

It does a great job of showcasing some of the most sought after Elopement places in their area, which can help a future bride make a selection on which location she may prefer, while at the same time it advertises Grace and Jaden's absolutely amazing work at these locations. If I was to elope on the Oregon coast, there would only be one photographer I'd even consider after checking out that single page. 

Another perfect example of Evergreen content is Cassie Cook's post on the benefits of doing a First Look. She found herself having the same conversations with brides about doing a first look, here in the South it's typically more preferred to have a traditional wedding, but from a photographer's point of view, there's so many positives to having a first look, that I believe it's shifting towards more first looks and less traditional as time goes on. This allows Cassie to lay out all of the Pro's and Con's, and being able to reference this for future brides who may be undecided. 

When you start to have the same conversation with multiple clients, it's probably a great topic to consider for Evergreen content. 

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Here are some things to consider when writing Evergreen content:

  • The same topic manages to come up with multiple clients.
  • You have an expertise on a process that others don't know much about.
  • Make it a Resource for your Industry
  • Evergreen Content can be updated as you gain more knowledge on a subject.

Creating Evergreen content is a great way to showcase your expertise, have content that is capable of providing results long after you've posted them, and help your search engine rankings skyrocket. 

Building a Custom Audience with Facebook

Building a Custom Audience with Facebook

Facebook allows for all sorts of targeting when creating ads. Did you know that relationship status is one of those demographics you can select? Let me show you how to build a custom audience that targets women that are newly engaged so you can advertise directly to the clientele you want.

Go into Facebook’s Ads Manager and create a new ad. Your first step is to define your marketing objective, for this one, let’s try and focus on getting women who are recently engaged clicking to your website, the ideal goal for any wedding photographer.

 

Next, you’re going to want to start building your audience, here I’ve selected a few of the major metropolitan areas that I service, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Little Rock are all within a few hours of me, choose a few areas that you service for you. Also, select women (let’s face it guys, women are more likely to be the ones finding and selecting their wedding photographer).

You can also limit the age range of the women you will be targeting, not a huge requirement since we’re about to limit it based on demographic data, but it’s something you can do to help find the people that will be a great fit with your company.

The results of my narrowed market. In those cities, there are about 37,000 people that match my specifications.

Now that you’ve built your audience, you can set your budget for the ad, and build an ad targeting the engaged women in your area.

If you liked this tip, sign up below for my free monthly marketing tips e-mail, it would be greatly appreciated. If you liked what I had to say, and want to hire me, send me an e-mail and let’s talk.

Top 5 Google Analytics KPI's for your Photography Business

Top 5 Google Analytics KPI's for your Photography Business

Are you signed up for a free Google Analytics account? If you have a website but you’re not tracking your results, how are you supposed to know anything? How do you know if your new product offering is effective? How do you know if people are leaving your site without looking around?

Every photographer who’s running their own website to host their portfolio, run their blog, and give clients a place to contact you should be familiar with the most basic of Analytics. You should know what works for your business and what doesn’t. If you’re not able to measure your efforts, how are you going to know if you’re growing your business or throwing your money into a hole in the ground?

There are more reports and statistics that Google can provide than you’ll ever know what to do with, so for the rookie’s at Web Analytics, let me provide for you the Top 5 Google Analytics KPI’s that you should know.

1. Audience – You should know a few key things about your audience. How many sessions is your website getting, how many unique users are on your site, and the how many are new visitors vs returning visitors? Run this report weekly and keep an eye on it. You should know if a new blog post about a specific shoot brought in a lot of new visitors or if it’s your returning audience. You should know how many times someone came to your site in a week. Following this, will let you know if your content is being seen. And if that’s something you already worry about, wouldn’t it be nice to know what the benchmark is, so you can see when you’ve done something that helps grow your web traffic?

2. Traffic Sources – How people find your website is extremely important. Visitors can come from different “sources” including: Organic Search (google, yahoo, bing) Paid Search (Google Adwords), Referral (Visitors that came from a direct link on another site), Social (Facebook, Twitter), and direct traffic! You should always know how people are coming to your site!

3. Page Tracking –  Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of single page visits. You want to make sure that site visitors are engaged and are looking at multiple pages if you want to convert them into clients! Average Session Duration is the average time users spend on your site. By knowing your bounce rate and average session duration, you can identify where customers are coming from, what they are looking for, and whether they found what they wanted from your site.

4. Conversion rate – As a photographer, your site is your store. The conversion rate tells you how effective is your store at closing deals. The basic calculation is (Number of Inquiries) / (Number of Visits) = Conversion Rate. If you’re getting a lot of visits but not many inquiries, you need to look at your site usability and design, pricing, copy or a multitude of other factors. This is a good metric to keep an eye on when you launch new products, to see if you can convert more people into clients, or at least inquiries.

5. Cost Per Acquisition – Cost per Acquisition is a critical marketing metric. If can tell you which campaigns can drive your sales and which will become a costly pile. CPA tells you how much you need to spend to get a paying customer. Why is it so important? Because it helps you determine the true return on investment. If a campaign brings you only clicks but no inquiries, it’s not successful.

If you want to learn more about Marketing your photography business or just want some help building your brand or providing SEO recommendations for your site, learn more about what I do.

Or just contact me, and we’ll talk about how I can help you grow your brand.

SEO Tip of the Week 4

SEO Tip of the Week 4

Having a fast responsive website is important for great search engine optimization! For photographers, that means you want to make sure your images load as quickly as possible. While most sites will resize images, the best thing you can do to optimize your page speed would be to export all of your images to the size required by your website and then run them thru JPEG Mini, to reduce the file size of your photos. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week

SEO Tip of the Week 3

SEO Tip of the Week 3

Search Engines love photos, but they have a hard time deciphering what content is in the photo, so make sure to use relevant keywords in your image titles and in the alt tags. This will give Search Engines something to index, and have your images start helping you with SEO. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week