With all you have to do running and building your photography business, it’s easy to get caught in a rut and forget about that feeling of excitement you had when you first started. Like a brand new love affair, the elation can wear off and turn to monotony if you’re not careful. But there is always hope that you can regain that excitement, and often that comes with thinking about taking your business to the next level. Below are 6 tips for kicking your photography business to the next level!
1. Start blogging
Even if you’re not a great writer, you really ought to blog. Not only is blogging a great way to connect with your customers, but it can be therapeutic too. Start writing about your business and what you’re passionate about, and you just might start to again feel excited about building your business!
Having fresh content on your site is one of the best ways to let Google know that your is site active (which gives you better rankings) and shows your customers that you are busy. When we visit a site that hasn’t been updated in a few months, we often wonder if they are still in business. If you don’t have many shoots, spread out your posts (do a few images one at a time instead of all in one big post) or show some personal work.
It’s also extremely valuable to blog about things that your clients want to know. For example, wedding photographers may want to put out a series on their blog with tips for brides for having better wedding photography (such as hiring a professional lighting company or not getting ready in a church kitchen) whereas portrait photographers may post about what to wear to a session. Providing information to your clients helps them to value you and see you as an authority about the subject.
2. Use social media
If you’re not already using social media to market your business, now is the time to start. It’s another fantastic way to connect with your customers, and building those relationships can be fun at the same time. Also, you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment and pride when you hear first hand how your business has filled a need or solved a problem. And if you’re wondering if now is the time to take your business to the next level, the answer is almost guaranteed to be out there on the social networks.
The prevalence of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way people interact online and how brands can communicate with their customers. Get active on any and all social media networks and start talking to photography enthusiasts directly. You’ll learn their interests, gain an understanding of their tastes, build valuable relationships and make a name for yourself in the photography space.
Pinterest is the new kid on the block when it comes to social media, and it’s already becoming a major player. It’s basically a way for users to collect and share images of things they like or convey a certain theme or concept they want to express. It’s another great way to connect with your clients and prospective clients about creative ideas for their sessions or to express your own creative vision. Wedding professionals are having a lot of fun with Pinterest as a way to connect with brides over wedding planning ideas, but it’s a diverse platform that works for photographers in all fields and is a tremendous source of inspiration.
3. Own your niche
It’s time to recognize yourself for the expert you really are. Whatever you do, you know more about it than the majority of people in need of your services, and that makes you an expert, whether you see yourself that way or not. So get out there and start acting like an expert. Participate in forums and discussions on blogs and on social media. You’ll be surprised how much your expertise is needed if you look in the right places, and positioning yourself as the expert will help you own your niche.
The types of photographers are numerous, such as wedding, commercial and family, to name a few. It can be difficult to be all things to all people, so finding a niche can help you position yourself as an expert in your field. Examples of niches could include wedding photography for small weddings or a real estate photographer for real estate websites.
4. Show appreciation
In all the whirlwind of activity that can be an entrepreneur’s day, we can sometimes forget to show our customers how much we appreciate them. One of the best things you can do for long term growth is to make it clear how much you appreciate the business your customers have brought you. And when people feel appreciated, they’ll return the favor and spread the word, so it’s truly a win-win!
5. Get a great looking website
This is an area where many professional photographers fail. There is much more to creating your own website than making it look fancy… much, much more. If you are not website or Internet savvy, you may want to consult with a website design agency. In short, you need to develop a website that looks great and impresses potential clients, and one that can be found in the search engines when people are looking for a photographer in your niche and/or area. Many believe, as we do, that this is the “Holy Grail” to getting more photography clients (i.e. getting top search engine placement). It takes a lot of work, but once you’re on top, it won’t be necessary to network as much or rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Clients will find you.
6. Start making a difference
Whatever reason you had for getting into photography business in the first place, if you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, the thought of making the world a better place in some respect probably came to mind at some point. Unfortunately, many of us get so caught up in the day to day tasks of running our businesses it’s easy to forget about that piece of the puzzle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re in a rut, a great way to change that feeling is to do something positive for society. There are more than enough causes in need of people willing to help, so pick something that means the most to you, and do something – through your business – to make a real impact. The feeling will override a whole lot of “stuck-in-the-mud-ness,” and it might just give you the kick you need to look at your work in a new way.
Have you overcome daily monotony to make your photography business thrive? What other tips do you have for avoiding the rut and kicking your photography business into high gear? Share your thoughts in the comments!