Do you ever find yourself wondering why other photographers get more clients than you do?
Lead Generation starts with nailing down the basics:
Step 1 : Establish your online brand
Create Great Photography Content
It may seem obvious, but in order to stand out in an incredibly saturated business, you will have to shoot often and hone your skills as a photographer. One easy way to improve all-around is to engage with a community of other photographers that are doing what you aspire to do. Joining a photog network will allow you to share ideas, get helpful feedback, and accelerate your growth. Bloom has a solid Facebook Community to share your ideas and your work.
Up to 75% of all photos are now taken on a phone, skyrocketing from 40 percent in 2010. Now is the opportune time to master using your DSLR so you can stand out among the iPhone selfie-takers. High quality images are the name of the pro photography game. Need help picking out the best camera equipment? Wedding Photographer Dawn Charles shared what’s in her camera bag.
One of the best ways to jumpstart your photo business is to shoot for free. This may make you cringe, but every photographer has to start somewhere. You might be saying “but I’m too good for pro-bono work,” but the fact of the matter is that hundreds of professional photographers still participate in “passion shoots” to keep things fresh, long into their careers. Even if you’ve shot 1,000+ photoshoots over the past 10 years, there is always room for growth when it comes to camera knowledge, editing & post production, and working with new people.
Showcase Your Portfolio in a Unique Way
When prospects are trying to get in touch with you, they will need an easy and accessible way to reach you and to see what you are all about. Though many photographers use social media as their main hub, when you start to branch out and shoot larger and more profitable gigs, having a simple online portfolio will help secure your validity as a professional. Part of developing a consistent stream of leads starts with having a breadth of options for new clients to contact you and evaluate your work.
The great news is that you don’t necessarily need an extensive, expensive website to run a great photography business. Bloom has a simple, yet customizable online portfolio that allows potential customers to view past work. You can set up a free trial and start uploading your work in Bloom’s easy-to-use portal.
Develop Consistency in Your Brand
People are attracted to consistency and gravitate towards cohesive content. Having reliable photography work will build brand awareness and develop a trust between you and your potential clients. This reliability will help your new lead have faith that you’ll produce the same great work when they hire you.
Here is an example of exceptional Instagram feed, showcasing a cohesive brand and beautiful body of work: check out @BenjaminHoltrop.
Step 2 : Leverage social media
Establish Yourself of Social Media
Whether or not you spend your nights scrolling on Instagram or not, when it comes to being a successful photographer, the name of the game is social media. Without an online presence, your business growth will be limited and often stay within your small network of people. Having a stand-out online brand will help deepen and widen your client base by creating easy search access to your work and contact info.
When it comes to social, you’ll need the big three: Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can start mastering these essentials by listening to the following podcasts:
+ Facebook: How To Use Facebook Live To Get More Clients With Camberley Woods
+ Pinterest: Listen to the Six Figure Photography Podcast: The Art Of Pinning Featuring Carolina Guzik
Create Effective Social Media Posts
Typically posts with great hashtags, longer form copy, and a call-to-action perform best.
To help create and automate the best possible posts, you can:
+ Automate Pinterest and Instagram on Tailwind. The app allows you to automatically post hashtags into the first comment (and preview your feed).
+ Plan your feed on-the-go with the phone app Preview to see what your feed will look like before you post.
+ Use a CRM like Bloom to provide a link within your posts (or instagram swipe-up options), to create an easy call-to-action for potential customers.
Gain a Loyal Following
You don’t need a million followers to be a successful photographer, however, having a community of engaging people who adore your work will elevate your brand and also give your business credibility.
Want a guaranteed way to get more loyal followers?
Follow these simple steps:
- Go to another photographer’s instagram page that has high engagement
- Find a post (one that looks like your type of work)
- Go to the comments section
- Go to each comment and click into each individual’s instagram page
- Like 3-5 of their posts and comment on one or two
These new connections may not always be your ideal customer, but it will help you build a tribe of people who support you and engage with you. Increasing engagement on your social media will foster a community who will end up referring and recommending you when they know of a potential gig in the future.
Participate in Styled Shoots
One way to cross-pollinate followers on social media is to collaborate with other photographers and vendors. Although the market is saturated, there’s also plenty of eager potential customers to go around. If you aren’t comfortable working with other photographers, you can always work with other vendors in your space. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you can coordinate a giveaway with a florist, wedding planner, and wedding venue and then share the leads that enter the drawing, giving you dozens of new leads.
Create a special offer, giveaway, or deal
People respond well to giveaways and discounts. You may be thinking “but I don’t want to work for free” or “I don’t have time for giveaways,” but the fact of the matter is that it is not what you do with your winner that makes the difference, it is what you do with the losers. By generating interest and engagement, you gain access to several potential prospects that you can reach out to and start a relationship with.
When you put together a deal, you’ll need a great way to capture the leads and add them into your contact management system. Bloom has the capability to generate meaningful, beautiful forms to embed on your website, link within a post, or even send in a DM or text. Creating an effective lead form can be easy and give you access to useful information on your prospects so that you can weed out riffraff and attain the best customers for you
Focus on One Thing
As tempting as it is to try to be all things to all people, as media guru Gary Vaynerchuk always says, “the riches are in the niches.” If someone is coming to you for newborn photos, they want to know that you are an expert in such, and not see high school seniors and weddings cluttering your page. Narrowing your focus online will help you establish yourself as an artist and a brand. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still shoot other things, but the generally accepted notion within photography is “post only what you want to shoot more of,” to get the right kind of prospects knocking at your door.
Sign up for websites that present you leads
Freelancer and Upwork are two crowd favorites that can help direct you towards photography and editing job postings.
Still stuck? Read 5 Small Business Marketing Ideas to Increase Your Client Base.
Step 3 : Utilize a CRM to optimize your workflow
Automate Your Sales Funnel
As a freelancer, your photography workflow consists of capturing leads, sending estimates, booking sessions, editing the project, and delivering the image. Using a great CRM can help you simplify the way you make money. Check out The Best CRMs for Photographers where we compare affordable contact relationship management platforms.
Streamline Your Lead Capture
Now that you have a good idea of how to get the leads to find you and your site, you’ll need a great way of managing them. Bloom allows you to embed a lead form on your website, create a chat bubble for potential customers to interact with you, and also generates a unique URL for other distribution methods. You can start a free trial and watch tutorials within Bloom to see how easily it’s done. Once you’ve started your trial, you can even book a 1:1 Zoom call with a live member of the Bloom team to walk your through your onboarding step-by-step.
Kissmetrics found that live chat can generate 4-8x more leads for your business. Additionally, visitors who chat with businesses are 82% more likely to convert. Need more detail? Here are some great ways to instantly get more bookings.
Create Beautiful Forms for Lead Capture & Client Booking
Many website hosts have outdated and overly simplified contact forms that do not connect to a CRM. Make sure that your business management system has a way to create dynamic lead forms that can organize your new customer information.
You’ve learned how to prepare your business to excel, set yourself up for success of social media, and the importance of using a CRM to streamline your workflow; now it’s time to commit. You’ve got your work cut out for you, but we are here to help. Bloom offers a 14-day trial and will walk you through the platform with a step-by-step process. Becoming a full time photographer is achievable. Here are some other helpful resources to help your succeed as a freelancer: