Are you trying to get your photography business to take off, but there are numerous competitors in the area? The small businesses that think outside the box and come up with unique angles are the ones with thriving revenue year after year. You may have to work a bit harder than someone with little competition, but determination will help you find success.
According to IBISWorld, there are approximately 234,222 photography businesses in the United States. The number increased around 4.9% from the previous year. The increase may be due to people choosing to start their own businesses while laid off during the height of the pandemic or the greater focus on family, leading to more people wanting professional quality photographs.
Depending on where you live, you may have more competitors than ever before. How do you stand out in a saturated photography market? Cover photo by Benjamin Child.
1. Study the Market
Each location will have different needs. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of retail businesses, you may want to focus on commercial photography. On the other hand, if you live in the wedding capital of the world, it’s probably a good idea to consider wedding photography.
Figure out how many people already specialize in the niche you’re most interested in. Are there any gaps in service? Perhaps you plan to specialize in family photography, but there is a lack of indoor studios in the area.
Other options include specializing in an age, such as newborns or developing your skills in a particular area you might not have considered at first.
2. Advertise Outdoors
Outdoor advertising is one of the most effective methods to reach new customers. Whether you run a small studio or take snapshots in people’s homes, don’t overlook local advertising on billboards, vehicle wraps and on signs in front of your business location.
Team up with a local bridal boutique or florist and share one another’s advertising to further spread the word. If you run a special, you can utilize bright signage to draw attention to your sale.
3. Know Your Customers
Once you’ve established a strong list of clients, take the time to dig into what types of photos they’ve ordered in the past. Pay attention both to the composition of what they seem to like most as well as the material, such as large canvases or print photos.
The better you know your customers, the easier it will be to offer a variety of packages to meet their needs. You can also seek the highest quality and lowest cost solutions for things such as prints.
4. Start a Blog
A blog gives you a chance to show off your authority in the field. Whatever your niche is, think about the pain points your customers face. For example, if your specialty is sports photography, a pain point might be parents who have to figure out the best way to style a uniform for a photo.
Offer articles giving advice about keeping the appearance neat, encouraging your child before the session, ways to wear the hair and so on. If you take family portraits, share tips for color coordinating outfits or the cutest poses.
Photo: Negative Space
Use every opportunity to include photographs (with the subject’s permission) to highlight your skills. You can give the blog a local flavor by sharing things such as locations where you’ve taken your pictures and a bit of history.
5. Ask for Referrals
Ask your current customers to tell others about your brand. They’ll be more likely to share if you reward them for their efforts. However, you should also offer the new customer a benefit. According to the latest State of Referral Marketing report, over 90% of referral programs are double-sided, meaning they offer a reward to both the referrer and referee.
People have a tendency to trust someone they know more than a brand they’ve never heard of. If one of their friends says you do great work, they’re much more likely to consider your services. Adding a perk, such as a free print or a free sitting ups the benefits even more.
6. Market Online
You won’t find new customers if you don’t market to them. You can do the typical local advertising, but people are still likely to use the same photographer their friend used. You want to reach those who don’t currently have a preference.
Online marketing is an excellent way to find new customers. You can narrow down the parameters to find those in your target audience. Further dig down by looking at specific behaviors and even targeting groups or searches.
7. Develop a Style
Is your style unique? Can someone look at one of your images and know it was taken by you and not another photographer? You may need to think outside the box and get creative to develop a unique style.
Perhaps you always find a wild flower to add to your outdoor photos, or you take photos at sunset. Think about how you want to define yourself as an artist and consistently add those elements to your photography sessions.
Stretch Your Marketing Efforts
You’ll find numerous opportunities to advertise your photography business online and offline. Take advantage of opportunities as they come your way, analyze the return on investment for your current efforts. As you take on new clients, ask your current ones to help promote and try different strategies, you’ll gain an instinct for what grows your business.