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Building your client base as a photographer is a job that continues whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for 30 years. You should constantly be seeking out new projects, work, and clients to fill out your portfolios give you a well-rounded client base. We thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips on the best ways to build your client base – that you can use as a new photographer or as a seasoned pro.
Utilize Social Media
Social media (when used correctly) will be your best friend when building up a client base. Figure out where your target client base spends their time and then get on those platforms. Are you a wedding or family portrait photographer? Get on Facebook and Instagram. Are you a lifestyle or commercial photographer? Make sure you blog about relevant topics to show your expertise and professionalism and then post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to drive people back to your blog.
Don’t be afraid to follow or “like” plenty of other photographers in your industry so that you can get ideas, see their work, engage with their projects, and ultimately network and prove yourself a reputable person for them to refer clients to.
Also – make sure to always tag your clients in the things you post on social media. It keeps engagement high and allows their network to also see your work and become familiar with your name and business.
Set Your Pricing – But Run Specials or Promotions
Yo-yo pricing is never a good idea, especially if you want to build credibility in the industry. Know your worth as a photographer, set your pricing, and stick to it. If you’re a new photographer and want to book more clients, run specials or promotions to get people in the door – but make sure once you have a solid client base to make your pricing consistent with what your time and talent is worth. New clients will be attracted to your confidence in yourself and your work – and that will benefit you greatly in the long run.
Having some sort of referral program in place is a wonderful way to not only allow your clients to help market for you, but to reward them for doing so. Depending on how much you want to increase your client base, you can decide the type of program you want to offer. If you’re just starting out and really want to gain new clients, being more aggressive in the type of “rewards” you offer (such as a free session, 50% price discount) might be appropriate. If you’re a seasoned pro and are just looking to expand your current base a little bit, you can be more choosy in the type of program that you offer (maybe an electronic Starbucks gift card).
Much like setting your pricing and sticking to it – always make sure to crunch the numbers before you begin any sort of referral program so that you can make sure you won’t be losing money.
Network With Local Businesses
Networking with local businesses is a fantastic way to get your name out there in the community, and depending on the type of photography that you do can be extremely helpful in finding new clients. Bartering your services can be mutually beneficial because it allows you to build your portfolio, gives local businesses an opportunity to have professional-quality photos for marketing purposes, and will serve as a good way for them to refer you to clients or even let you advertise your services in their place of business.
Make sure you choose businesses that are relevant to the type of photography you do or would like to do. If you’re a wedding photographer, consider networking with a local hair salon or makeup studio that typically gets a lot of bridal clients. If you’re a lifestyle or sports photographer try making connections at your local sporting goods or running shop.
Focus on Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) should always, always, ALWAYS be a focus no matter where you’re at in your photography career. However, when you’re trying to build or expand your client base, putting more time, effort, and resources into SEO will be well worth it. Who is your target client base? Make sure that your website, blog, and any other content on the web mentions those keywords in an appropriate manner.
Caption all of your photos with descriptions and keywords, and make sure your website is optimized for search engines to crawl. The new liveBooks8 platform offers SEO Everything tools to ensure that your website performs the best that it can on search engines and walks you through where and how to input all of the important aspects of SEO.
Do you have any other tips we should know about?