Today, nothing can be done without the help of the Internet. That’s also true when it comes to developing your photography business. In the 21st century, chances are huge that new clients will find you through a Google search, a picture shared on Instagram, or a positive comment left by their friends on Facebook. Wait a second! Don’t be afraid by these very fancy, and somehow impressive, brands. The tools they offer are mostly free and very easy to use.
Very soon, you’ll be ready to play with them, experiment, and finally spread your wings and fly. Then, you’ll quickly see new visitors flowing onto your photography website. Now all you need are your first developed concepts. This is where we step in, with this comprehensive guide. Here are the best free tools to promote your photography business online.
Create your unique photography website
Make it your home. Your photography website, also known as your online portfolio, is the place where people can discover who you are and what you are doing at any moment. As it’s become the most convenient way, you put your URL (online address) everywhere, from your social accounts to your business cards that you proudly hand to your clients. It goes without saying, but this site needs to look impeccable. It will inspire your visitors and say a lot about your professional practice to potential new clients.
Don’t know where to start? You can confidently turn to Wix, a solution approved by hundreds of thousands of photographers worldwide. Easy to master yet, offering the most sophisticated features, it meets the demands of photographers to have a unique website – one that resembles like no other and is truly telling of their art. Create your account in one click, add the Wix Pro Gallery, put your name and practice in big on the homepage, and create a contact form to get your business rolling. Finally, make sure your photography website is really mobile-friendly, and you’re good to go!
Expert tip: want to know more? Here is our step-by-step guide on how to create a complete photography website.
Do your SEO
You’ve heard and read a lot about these words, SEO? These three simple letters (which stand for Search Engine Optimization) may be the most powerful tool for your photography business to succeed online. Basically, SEO means working on your website to make sure that Google, Bing and their friends will easily find it – and rank it in a high position whenever people are looking for your activity. Some areas are more competitive than others: let’s think of a “Boudoir photographer in Duluth” (229,000 results), far less crowded than a “Landscape photographer in Los Angeles” (6,180,000 results). But the principles remain the same.
Namely: make sure you find the right keywords, the ones that a client looking for a business like you is likely to type into their favorite search engine. Once you have them, make sure they appear clearly in your URL, your page titles and your SEO title. Lastly, because no photography website is complete without a full gallery of images, why not optimize these last ones as well? Add the alt-textto every single image to optimize your chances to be found not only on Google, but also on Google Images.
Start a blog
A blog is a fabulous way to interact with clients or people interested in photography and bring them to know your business better. It’s also the anteroom to your photography website, to which it leads through judicious clickable links – inserted in the header, the articles or the footer of your blog. As for the technicalities, Wix makes it super easy to create a killer blog that you’ll connect in just one click to your site. The only difficulty? Writting. Like most photographers, you’re probably more comfortable with a pair of lenses than you are with a keyboard – or God forbid, a pen!
Worry no more: producing written content is simpler than you think. Remember that a blog is meant to talk about yourself on a casual level. The text has to be less directly commercial than your site. You can also choose to set yourself as an expert in your field. For example, if you’re specialized in travel photography, you can write about “The Equipment You Should Always Carry with You”, “How to Travel on a Low-Budget and High Dreams” or “Light 101: The Guide for Shooting in Sunny Destinations”. For a greater impact, don’t forget to add stunning images to your text, and even short movies thanks to the new (and extremely powerful) Wix Video.
Expert tip: once you have a repertoire of articles, start contacting influential photo bloggers. Send them your texts, ask for their advice, and offer to co-write articles or guest-blog. Sooner or later, they’ll share links to your blog, contributing to promote your photography business and boost your SEO.
Send good old newsletters
The email, an artefact from the 20st century? Think again. Today more than ever, companies – big, middle and small – reach out to their clients using written messages. And there’s good reason for that: email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. A newsletter can be an excellent way to promote your photography business, or get more exposure for your creations. You have plenty of occasions to engage your community, from New Year wishes to your latest blog article, to a client’s birthday or a promotional offer for Valentine’s Day.
A few rules have to be kept in mind. First, a beautiful design is an absolute must, and will considerably increase the success of your emails. Simply go with Wix ShoutOut, a free and easy-to-use solution for your newsletters. You choose the template that fits your aesthetics the most, you upload your pictures and put your text, and it’s a done deal! Second, make sure your content is relevant for the subscribers you’re sending it to. Do you really want to send your latest wedding photography package to the happily married couples in your database? Segment this last one as much as you can, to raise the relevancy – and thus, the success – of your campaigns.
Expert tip: don’t forget to personalize your newsletters. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Doesn’t cost that much to say “Hello Debbie!” instead of “Hello there!”
Master the power of social media
In 2017, in order to effectively promote your photography business, being present and active on social networks is an absolute must. The platforms are built on the same principle (building a community you’ll share your content with), but puts the stress on different mediums. Since you’re a photographer, hopefully you have a collection of beautiful pictures to choose from, and that will work well on all kinds of social platforms. These can be divided in two categories. The first is made up of the general social media, used by everybody – such as Facebook (2 billions users!), Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. The second group is the photography-specialized platforms, such as, Instagram, 500px or FlickR.
Whichever social media channel you choose to invest in, there are some general rules you should know. First, post regularly (once or twice a day on Facebook, twice a day on Instagram, etc.) but never spam your community with massive posts. Secondly, whatever the platform, remember to add a caption (a short text) with your image, in order to boost the reach and the engagement. Finally, use the right hashtags to get more eyes on your posts.
Experiment PPC promotion
This tool is the only one that’s not for free. But the money is very little and the return on investment is just sensational. Advertising has always been a must for photographers just like any other business. But in 2017, we’re not talking about the Mad Men way (fancy advertisers, with fancy slogans and fancy suits) anymore. On the contrary: PPC (Pay-Per-Click) promotion is all about doing it yourself. Whether on Facebook or on Google, the idea is to put your content online, and to pay only for the actual clicks you received.
To run a successful PPC campaign, you first need to find the right target audience. It should be people that might be interested in your services (for examples, people in their 20s and 30s living in your area, if you’re a wedding photographer). Then, you need to create the content. It has to be straight to the point, with a very clear CTA (call to action), like “Discover my offer!”, “Book now!” or “Click to know more!”. Step number 3: decide the budget you want to allocate to your campaign. It’s good practice to start with a small amount of money, and raise the stakes when you see the first clients coming in. Finally, keep an eye on your metrics even after the campaign is done. It’s the best way to make the next campaign even better than the previous one.
Expert tip: to take it a step further, have a look at our complete guide for pay-per-click advertising, by our Wix expert Daniel!
Get featured on photo blogs
Many quality photography blogs open their pages to talented photographers, for them to showcase their pictures and reach a new audience. Of course, your pictures should be unique or engaging enough to catch the eyes of the blogs’ editors. If you’re in fact selected, it’s a free promotion for your photography that you don’t want to miss.
Talking about quality blogs, the Wix Photography Blog (at your service) is glad to collect and display the work of our amazing Wix photographers. Think no more and share! Be it as a post on our Facebook page, a tweet or a full interview on our blog, we’ll be happy to showcase your work to our community. All you have to do is leave a comment, under this article.
Register on online directories
Directories and listing websites such as Bing Places, the The Yellow Pages or Yelp are go-to places that people frequently turn to in order to find a business in their geographical area. If you shoot events, weddings, newborns, portraits or boudoirs, they should be one of the first places to promote your photography business.Here you will find a comprehensive list of the best free online directories.
Let’s say you have a physical studio, don’t forget to add its address and details into Google My Business. This way, when people will find you on their Google results, they won’t only see your website, but also a map with your location, your work hours and contact on the right strip of the page. It looks like a small change, but it actually can dramatically boost your conversions!
Enter photo contests
It’s a great and, most of the time, a free solution to put your name and photography in the spotlight. Hundreds of great contests are running all through the year on Internet, for every possible genre or level of photography. Of course, only a few make it to the top. But on the way to it, you’ll get many opportunities to get showcased by blogs or magazines. Plus, the adrenaline caused by competitions that pumps through your veins can only benefit your creativity. Curious? Here is a list of the best photo contests of 2017.
Personalize your emails’ signature
Your signature is the quickest and most discreet way to spread your name. Most of today’s inboxes offer you the possibility to personalize the signature that will appear automatically at the bottom of all your electronic messages. Make sure you add your brand, specialties and contact, as well as a link to your social networks and your photography website. Who said that online promotion was hard?