Introduction: the importance of a digital marketing plan
In today’s day and age, every business needs a digital marketing plan to help their business thrive. People spend most of their time online, whether it’s for school, work or entertainment, users are constantly surfing the web. Being a photographer or videographer can be hard at times because potential customers may not always know where to find you. If you’re a creative artist hoping to reach a larger audience then look no further! We have some suggestions that will help you out.
Strategic goals for your digital marketing plan:
Show your portfolio and gain recognition, increase awareness, gain active followers and eventually turn them into clients
Short term goals:
- Pick the right social media platforms and create 5 posts every week
- Write 2 articles on your personal blog every month (i.e. about photography/videography and experiences)
Long term goals:
- In 6 months-1 year gain 700 followers and subscribers to the newsletter
- Gain 1000 likes on 2 posts every week
- Improve your ranking on the search engine by the end of the year
How you can achieve these goals with a digital marketing plan:
Identify your target audience/niche
There are many steps in the process of creating a digital marketing plan however, the first aspect to focus on is your target audience. It is important to figure out what your niche is; if you’re a photographer, you can already point out what type of photography you do. You may know that you are an event photographer and not a food photographer. However, in order to understand your exact target market, you can be more specific by picking a few different events to specialize in. As an event photographer, you may choose to take professional photos for weddings. Therefore, you can build relationships with other businesses that cater to brides, which will help with marketing your brand. A great tip that can be used to reach your target market is using the right hashtags. Using hashtags such as #weddingphotography or #eventphotography will help increase traffic to your website and allow people that are in need of a photographer to come across your posts or social media platforms.
Research competitors in the market
Doing research to understand who your competitors are is important, by analysing what they are offering to their customers, you can understand what you can do to set your business apart.
Did you know that you have 3 types of competitors?
Direct competition: These are the businesses that provide the same products/services to the customers in the exact market as your business, (i.e. other wedding photographers).
Indirect competition: Businesses that provide products/services that are a little different than yours or target different customers within the same market, (i.e. a photo booth rental for a wedding)
Substitute competition: Businesses that sell different products/services to the same customers in the same market, (i.e. a wedding planner).
As a creative artist you can make your prices more competitive and learn how to market your services in an effective way. Nowadays, people frequently purchase products and services online therefore, you are not only competing with the companies around you, you are also competing with businesses all over the world. You can take a look at other photographers/videographers’ portfolios/blogs and see what kinds of content they are producing in order to see if you are on the right track. Try to analyse what your competitors strengths and weaknesses are, are their prices lower than yours? Are they lacking something that customers would want? Do they provide high quality products and services? In addition to this, it is important to do research about your competitors’ customers. What products/services are they purchasing? Are there customers loyal? What complaints do customers have about your competitors’ business?
Build your social media presence
Most successful businesses have a strong online presence, if you’re a creative artist you need to ensure that you are building your online presence. Social media platforms such as Instagram are a great way to share examples of your work. Making sure you post consistently will allow future customers to come across your posts and can also motivate you to create new content even if you do not have clients at a given time. Don’t worry! You don’t need to create posts every single day, just a few posts a week will strengthen your online presence. Another thing to consider is posting behind-the-scenes footage of what goes on during shoots/events. Use your Instagram stories and reels or create a TikTok account to share this footage, this will show users and followers what goes on throughout your day and they can get to know you better. People will get an idea of what it is like to work with you and they could become potential customers.
Consider using some relevant hashtags under your posts to increase traffic to your account. We have all seen those posts that have 50 hashtags under them… this is too much, you don’t want to do that. Take a look at larger companies in your field and see what hashtags they use, you can use those hashtags on your posts to help your business get noticed. For example, if a company like Elle Magazine was using specific hashtags to find photographers, you could use that hashtag, they would come across your post and you would potentially have the chance to work with the magazine.
Last but not least make sure to connect with other creative artists in your community! You can join Facebook groups and Linkedin to network with other photographers/videographers, start new projects with others or gain new clients.
Create a strong portfolio, Write a blog and ensure the quality of your content
Although it is important to stay active on social media platforms, it is also important to create a portfolio that can showcase your work. The greatest portfolios are the ones that are made for both desktop and mobile phones and give a clean and fresh look. You want your work to be the centre of attention, so try to keep the website layout simple.
You may already have a portfolio, if that’s the case, there is always room for improvement! Go through your website and analyse if your portfolio would really be able to make an impact on someone. Firstly, ensure that you do not have too many images and videos all over the website, this might be overwhelming for users because they won’t know what to look at. Secondly, make sure your portfolio is up-to-date, which shows all your recent work. Last but not least, make sure your best work is easy to find or displayed as the main attraction because this will allow more individuals to see what you are capable of. You can find great websites that will show you how to make photography/videography portfolios, which will allow you to gauge a better idea of how to present your work online.
In addition to this, a great way to increase your online presence is through the use of blogs. You can create a blog where you can write about your experiences and share your knowledge about photography/videography. You could post informational videos, guides on how to use professional cameras and blog posts about how to capture the perfect shot. Try to provide people with information that they might not find elsewhere, small guides on how to do certain things or gain specific skills could drive more traffic to your site and help you gain new clients. If you already have a blog and are looking for ways to attract customers to your website, you should focus on SEO. Do keyword research and find the keywords that are most relevant to your content, use Google Analytics to see how well you’re doing and where traffic is coming from. There are many guides online that show you what you can do to gain a higher ranking on Google.
Another thing to keep in mind is the quality of the content you are producing. As a photographer/videographer you are competing with the latest phones, high definition TV’s and printers. Nowadays, most people have high quality printers and cameras therefore, they are able to get what they want at home at a lower cost. However, most people do not know what a super high quality picture or print can look like; you have the chance to show them how great it can be. Therefore, try to improve your skills by taking classes and doing research that can help you produce quality products/services.
Engage with the audience
As we have seen social media play an important role in increasing your visibility and gaining recognition for your work. They give you the opportunity to display your photos in front of your target audience, connect with peer photographers and other professionals in the industry.
They are an essential resource to increase awareness and grow your business, but they are first and foremost used by users to connect and interact with each other. Therefore, once you have settled up your social media channels you will want to engage and interact with your audience to expand your follower base.
Photographers’ success is built upon their audience. It is fundamental to reply to their comments, messages and feedback. Show that you are interested in what they have to say by asking to share their opinions and thoughts under your photos. You can even ask them to share their photos and like them back, or you can share in your stories the behind the scenes of your shootings to make your customers relate better with your work. In this way you will be able to build strong and personal relationships with your followers, who, in return, will be more willing to share your work with others.
Another way to encourage engagement is to organize a contest or a giveaway. It will help to boost a dialog around your photography business and find new potential customers.
Moreover, as we have already mentioned, it is important to be active in the photographers’ community, by participating and commenting on relevant posts. It will not only help to increment your followers, but it will also enhance your reputation within the industry.
Use Google my business
If your photography business has a physical location and you want to attract customers in the area, you may think about using google my business. In this way your profile will be available to customers on google search and maps.
With your google my business profile you will be able to share info about your brand such as: address, opening hours, website, telephone number, products and services offered, etc.
Moreover, you will be able to share photos of your business and interact with customers by answering their reviews and messages.
You may also encourage your customers to leave a review of their experience with your business on Google. It will help you perform better in the consideration stage of your customers’ journey.
A google my business profile can be a very useful instrument to increase your overall online presence, making your business easily findable. The best part, it is for free!
Attract visitors to your website and get them to subscribe to your newsletter
We have seen the importance of building your online presence and how social media can be very helpful in this contest.
However, as we have mentioned, they are not the only channel you should focus on. It is important to have owned media, which are owned and controlled directly by you.
The main owned media that you should have are your website, blog and email list.
Attracting visitors to your own website is one of the main goals of every business. Increasing the amount of traffic and ensuring the presence on your website of a good number of regular users truly interested in what you have to say and show, will be one of the first steps to transform those users into potential customers and eventually lead to conversions.
Remember, in order to attract visitors to your website it is important to:
- Optimize your website. Make it fast by improving the loading speed and its responsiveness; design it in an user friendly kind of way by making it suitable to every device and easy to navigate with clear and readable contents.
- Produce quality, informative and unique contents, able to address customers ‘needs and interests; contents which they can benefit from and are able to solve their problems.
- Make sure your website is easily findable on search engines by using SEO techniques such as meta tags, keywords and good backlinks, to increase your ranking and visibility. If you have a local business, you may also want to use local SEO and optimize your website visibility in local research like “photographer near me”. The use of local SEO and the already mentioned creation of a profile on google my business will make it easy for people in your area to find your business.
- Leverage your social media. Share contents on your website on social media by linking them directly to your website. In this way, you will gain more visibility and benefit from the network nature of these channels.
Once you have attracted visitors to your website it is important to convert them into leads by making them subscribe to your newsletter.
Building your own email list is important to keep in touch with those users who are deeply interested in your photography and want to receive updates and offers. Your email list will allow you to segment your audience and send personalized emails and newsletters able to target the interests and needs of your audience in a better way, improving the relevance and efficacy of your contents.
For this reason, it is important to add a subscribe button, with a clear call to action to lead the users to leave their emails.
One way to get more subscribers is to use lead magnets. If you give a good reason to visitors to subscribe, they will be more willing to do so. Leads magnets are just that, something valuable for you users that you offer in exchange for their contact information. They can be additional contents, e-book, webinars, discounts, etc. Lead magnets will help you attract the right target audience that you can nurture and turn into potential customers.
Analyse your performance
Analysing your data and measuring your results is fundamental to develop and improve your digital marketing plan. In fact, keeping track of your main KPI is essential to understand if you are moving in the right direction or if you have to review your strategy.
You can use Google Analytics to collect data from your website. By analysing those data, you will be able to get an insight on your visitors and their behaviour. You will be able to discover where they are coming from, which page they have visited, for how long etc. You will also be able to compare this information over time and see which kind of marketing activities work better on your audience. Google Analytics is a powerful instrument that can really help you in setting up the right goals for your business and pursue them.
Examples of outstanding portfolio and well design social media account
We would like to leave you some examples of creative artists who have been able to make the best out of their online portfolio and social media accounts. They can give you some inspiration to improve your own digital plan.
- Devotion Media: professional team of photographers, videographers and graphic designers, specialized in weddings. Here you can find their online portfolio https://www.devotionmediaweddings.com/galleries/wedding-photography-miami-wedding-video-wedding-films and facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Devotionmediaweddings/?ref=page_internal.
- Larissa Ong Shu Wen: travel and lifestyle photographer and documentary filmmaker based in Singapore. Here you can find her portfolio https://www.larissaong.com/photography and instagram account https://www.instagram.com/larissapoppy/.
- Nate Luebbe: wildlife photographer. Here you can find his online portfolio https://www.nateluebbe.com/gallery and Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/nateinthewild/.
Gaining recognition for your artistic work and reaching a wide audience can be hard. Creating a marketing plan and obtaining the desired results may take time, but if you are willing to go the extra mile you will not go unnoticed.
Just remember: set achievable goals, build a solid online presence for your business and be active on social media. If you follow these tips, and create quality content and a strong portfolio, potential customers will find you.
Alina Khan – Digital Marketing Analyst at International Institute of Digital Marketing™
Ilaria Serra – Content Marketing Analyst at International Institute of Digital Marketing™