“I began my journey worrying about equipment, web page, blog, client documentation, accounts … and left one of the most important (and ongoing) aspects to last – marketing.”
The finding and keeping of clients is such an art and a science, and yet so many photographers ignore it.
If we’re honest, it’s because it’s hard. We want to do the easier things first and “play” business because getting people to pay you with their hard earned money is super intimidating.
But it doesn’t have to be because I’ve put together a list of the top six uncommon trends that are going to be huge for your photography business this year.
Uncommon Trend #1: Live Video
For the past few years, photographers have used social media to share their work (photos) and have seen a lot of success. While most people were just posting text, we found that photos got a lot more engagement and social media could be a huge asset to our business.
But, as engagement rates dropped and organic reach plummeted (especially on Facebook), social media lost a lot of its ability to drive business for photographers.
But that will turn around this year. If we look at how so many brands are leveraging live video to engage with their audience and get in front of new people, it’s no surprise that two-thirds of all internet traffic is streaming video.
Some studies suggest that 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video to reading a blog post with images.
And you can do it on almost every platform: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Periscope.
The best part is that those videos remain forever on the platform and can be repurposed in the future for blog posts, email autoresponders, social media posts, etc.
Uncommon Trend #2:Content Marketing
Video is just one type of content that you should be making for your ideal clients. If we agree to the idea that every photography business should be a media company, we need to start treating our content as an essential business aspect.
This means creating content that helps out ideal clients in every way including:
For example, here’s a great guide that Michael Will put together of the top wedding vendors in his city. It’s a great way for him to spread the word about all of his friends and colleagues and also build a solid relationship with his ideal client (brides and grooms).
Uncommon Trend #3:Getting Featured
I’ve been pretty strong in arguing that more photographers need to write. It’s simply the easiest thing that you can do as a photographer to get more traffic from Google and build a deeper relationship with your audience.
If photos are proof you know what you’re doing with a camera, the words are what get people to pay for your services.
Getting featured on other websites can be difficult when it’s completely one-sided (“Please feature me! PLEASE!”), but what you can offer in return is to create some amazing content, using the above content marketing ideas.
By using search terms like “write for us” and “submit post” in Google, you can find a lot of opportunities to connect with other websites that would love to feature you and get you in front of their audiences. This is especially valuable if you’re just starting your photography business, too.
Uncommon Trend #4:Hyper-local Search Results
More and more people are using their mobile devices as their primary means of searching online and when they search for your services, Google is serving them “hyperlocal” search results.
This means that not only are they getting unique results based on the country and city they’re located in, but now they’re customizing results down to a one-block radius.
As most photographers get traffic to their website based on local search results, you need to make sure (at minimum), that you’ve set up a physical business location in Google (guide).
This also means that while you may not rank for a big keyword like “Chicago wedding photographer,” you may see an increase in website traffic if you have a physical address in the city.
For photographers like Evermark Studios, being located in Pittsburgh is great, but having a prime location on the most important street in the city (Penn Ave) is going to become more and more valuable in 2018.
Uncommon Trend #5:Client Personas and Journey Mapping
Most of the photographers that I’ve known have never considered creating client personas or a client journey map as a formal technique, yet they’ve done it informally hundreds of times.
Basically, along the journey of a person discovering you to become a client, they’re better served with different communications and experiences. A person who clicks a Facebook ad is at a very different trust level with you than an email subscriber that’s opted in to receive a custom wedding quote, right?
Smart Insights put together this really smart life-cycle map of all the potential touch points across different types of media. Look at what you’re currently doing? Where are the gaps in your marketing?
Uncommon Trend #6:Live Chat (Anything But Chatbots)
From live video, to content marketing, to chat, the trend in 2018 is going to be for personalized engagement.
With the rest of the marketing community clamoring about chatbots, I would argue that even though they are helping businesses grow now, we’re seeing the return of the “voice menu” when you call a big company.
I’m sure they were novel and helpful at first, but the thought of going through 10 menus just to talk to a person makes me want to scream.
So let’s skip over that horrible trend and look at the bigger picture. People want real-time communication which means any time we’re at a computer, we should offer it to them.
Photographers like Playa del Carmen-based Pixan Photography have already implemented these concepts and are seeing big results.
But if you want to get ahead of the game, check out Facebook’s chat feature they’ll beta-testing and align your Facebook presence with your website:
If you really want to take advantage of one the big photography marketing trends this year, here’s what you need to keep an eye on:
Client Personas and Journey Mapping
Now that I’ve lifted back the curtain and showed you how to really grow your photography business in 2018, it’s time for you to pick one of these and test it out for yourself.
Let me know in the comments below what you’ll be working on this year (I read every one of them!)