No matter whether you’re a seasoned pro, or just starting out, something a lot of photographers want to know is how to get more photography clients.
It’s no secret that the success of your photography business hinges on your ability to consistently attract new clients.
Even if you already have a set of tried and tested tactics for attracting clients to your photography business, you’ll still want to explore other methods of gaining new enquiries so you’re not overly reliant on one source of leads.
Make time for marketing
The first and most important thing to do in order to get more clients for your photography business is to make sure that you’re dedicating time in your week to marketing.
You block out time for your sessions, viewings, meetings, and editing; why not your marketing? After all, marketing your business is just as important!
How to get photography clients fast
If you need to get more clients quickly, then running a competition like a register to win campaign is a good approach.
Register to win campaigns
Consider adding a register to win campaign into your marketing mix as a way to get more clients.
A register to win campaign is a form of lead generation marketing. All entrants need to do is share their contact details to be in with a chance of winning. It’s a handy way to generate numerous leads in a short space of time.
The key is to also asks qualifying question like “what would winning mean to you”. After you’ve randomly selected a winner, you can go through the other entries and make runner up offers to everyone who gave a good answer to that question.
You can integrate a register to win competition into your online marketing strategy, with an ad campaign promoting it and an eye-catching landing page on your website to further persuade entrants.
Or you can personally invite people to enter at events and shows.
For photographers, a popular prize to offer is a free portrait session. Limiting it to this means you’re not missing out on income from image and product orders afterwards. Or you could expand the prize to include a set number of digital files or credit towards photo purchases. Or mix it up with one winner getting the full package and runners-up receiving a free shoot.
Other ways of getting photography clients
Alliance marketing & local business partnerships
What’s the most common model of car your clients drive? Why should you care?
One effective tactic for getting more clients is to partner with local businesses that serve your ideal clients. That could be a boutique pet store, salon, spa, or even car dealership.
Provide those businesses with vouchers for free sessions that they can give to their customers. The partner business could use the vouchers as an incentive to their customer to make a qualifying purchase; for example a pet store might offer your free portrait session voucher to their customer when they spend a certain amount in store, or your local car dealership might give your family portrait session voucher to their customers who book their car for their annual service.
The partner business has something valuable (but free to them) to offer their customers to build loyalty and get them to spend more. And you get a steady stream of new clients.
Voucher sales: selling/giving to ideal past clients
Getting more clients for your photography business also means getting more of the RIGHT clients for your business.
If you have a list of clients that you’ve worked with before, and you believe were a good fit for your business, then you’ll be keen to work with more people like them.
By offering or selling vouchers/coupons to those ideal clients you’ve worked with before, they are likely to pass them on to their friends and family. Those friends and family will hold a lot of the same values as your existing ideal clients, so the likelihood that they are also a good fit for your business is high.
The client may choose to use the voucher themselves and come for another session; while you haven’t gained a new client, you’re still encouraging more business from an existing client. It’s a win-win.
Asking for referrals
Imposter syndrome is the enemy of a good referral!
We often think that we’ll earn or deserve more referrals when we deliver a better service, produce better images, or further exceed our client’s expectations.
In reality you are likely already doing enough!
More often than not, clients are more than happy to do something to help you, they just don’t know what or how. Don’t be afraid to ask them to refer you to others.
Make it easy by preparing some phrases that you can use when asking clients for a referral. You can use those phrases in person, or as part of your post-session messaging. Nicely worded email and text message templates will make asking effortless.
Community giveaways are a great way to build awareness and reputation within your local area, quickly.
Consider doing something that your local community will love. Make sure it’s something novel, time limited, and low cost.
Offering a single free portrait, with a specific theme on a set day works perfectly – make it an event and an occasion that you can build some hype around and get people excited for.
A few ideas for seasonal events could be:
- A woodland bluebell portrait
- A wildflower meadow portrait
- A poppy field portrait
Your community will remember you as their local photographer, and will have you front of mind when they need you.
Managing a newsletter mailing list
How does a newsletter helps you to get more clients? It’s a great way to show the knowledge and experience you have in your genre, put your personality and brand across, deliver helpful information to your audience, and the ideal place to launch special offers and promotions – just make sure that you’re not selling too hard in every newsletter or you’ll see the unsubscribe rates creep up!
A newsletter mailing list is something that you own and control, and isn’t constrained by the algorithms of social media platforms. Provide compelling reasons for people to give their email address, then deliver relevant & valuable content to that audience.
If you struggle to write content yourself, consider working with a talented ghost-writer.
Find a cadence that’s manageable and sustainable for you, and then keep publishing to that schedule.
Showing up regularly on the right social media channels
Keeping up with posting on social media can feel like a chore, and the list of channels you could post on continues to grow.
Don’t be afraid to recycle content you’ve posted before; look at posts that did well 3, 6, and 12 months ago, then consider posting some of them again. Not everyone in your audience will have seen the post the first time, so it’s worth giving it a new lease of life!
Social media posts don’t have to be unique to that channel, either. Think about repurposing content you’ve produced in other formats; newsletters, blog posts, help guides, and other social posts of your own can all be repurposed and changed to become new social media posts.
Focus your efforts on posting on the channels where your ideal clients show up the most. You don’t need to be posting all the time, but try to keep posting at an interval that’s comfortable and achievable for you. That way you continue to show up in the places where your clients spend their time, and you’ll be in their mind when they’re looking for your services.
Join a local networking group
Local business networking groups are a great way of meeting and interacting with a diverse set of people you might not otherwise engage with. But how do they help you to get more clients for your photography business?
Networking meetings are about helping your own network to connect with the networks of the other group members; and then indirectly the networking group will help you to find work yourself.
You typically don’t end up working directly with the people in the networking group, but rather working with THEIR network.
Create a referral network with similar photographers
It’s frustrating when the enquiries you’re getting are for work that you’re unable to do. How can you turn those un-bookable enquiries into new clients for your business?
By passing them on to a referral network of other photographers!
Referral networks are a reciprocal relationship and while you’re sending un-bookable enquiries to your network, some of your networks enquiries will be coming to you on dates that you can do.
Build a referral network of a small number of photographers with a similar style and price point, and then refer each enquiry that you can’t fulfil to just one of those photographers. Share a calendar of your availabilities so that you can confidently refer one of your network members to the client, knowing that they had availability.
That doesn’t have to take a great deal of time; a quick check of the shared diary and then selecting the right email template is all it would take.
Essentially you’re recycling your un-bookable enquiries and turning them in to new enquiries from your network.
Pick a few tactics that fit
Try implementing a few of the tactics suggested above and see which ones work most effectively for you; remember, you don’t need to do EVERYTHING.
Using a CRM for photographers, like Light Blue, you can measure which marketing efforts are most effective and also make the most of the leads that come in.