CHAPTER 11-: This is the eleventh chapter of “The Complete Guide to “Starting a Photography Business.” – If this was the year 2005 or 2006, then perhaps a marketing plan for your photography business would have been limited to the ideas that pertain to the subjects of conventional outbound marketing.
Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting a photography business. We also took it further by providing an in-depth sample photography business plan template. In this article, we will be analyzing and drafting a sample photography marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for photography businesses. So put on your marketing hat and let’s proceed.
If you are not familiar with the concept of outbound marketing, then it basically refers to the traditional practices in marketing where you rely on chance to make your presence known to the targeted audience. Instead of actively drawing the customers towards you, you wait for the customers to come find you through a variety of mechanisms such as paid and natural search engine marketing efforts.
Traditional Outbound Marketing Strategies
It would be quite untrue to say that you are not familiar with outbound marketing since it is something that you have grown up seeing all around you. If you take a look at the businesses that are operating in and around your neighbourhood right now, you are sure to stumble across a number of different outbound marketing practices which adhere to the traditionalist school of thought of marketing.
For instance, radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, billboards, direct-mail and even sponsorships are all forms of outbound marketing. Outbound marketing strategies do not have to always deal with real world activities. They can be primarily digital too. Email blasting is a form of digital outbound marketing. Whichever the case is, outbound marketing continues to be the first priority for entrepreneurs around the world when trying to come up with a marketing plan.
If you sit down and try to think of marketing tactics today, you are more than likely to incline towards outbound marketing philosophies. This is completely natural, since you have had greater exposure to outbound marketing and it is understandable for you to rely on outbound marketing to yield your photography business some much needed success.
Inbound Marketing Strategies Replacing Outbound Marketing Strategies
There is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating some basic outbound marketing strategies in the marketing plan for your photography business. As a matter of fact, outbound marketing is still quite important to the survival of any business in the industry, although it must be noted that the significance of outbound marketing is slowly on the decline. This is what a lot of budding entrepreneurs and old school entrepreneurs fail to realize.
Regardless of the monumental success that businesses, especially photography businesses, have achieved with the proper utilization of outbound marketing strategies in the past, the time has come for marketers and business owners alike to realize that outbound marketing is no longer as effective as it once was. Your entire marketing plan cannot be inclined towards outbound marketing theories it needs to be a little more diverse and dynamic in order for photography business to keep pace with the current industrial landscape.
The reason why the importance of outbound marketing is slowly fading away is because another opposing marketing force is slowly on the rise to relevance and prominence. Dubbed as inbound marketing and perceived to be the ultimate successor of outbound marketing, this particular marketing practice or philosophy is taking the world by storm and changing the outlook of marketing strategies and plans all around the world.
How Can Inbound Marketing Benefit Your Photography Business?
At this point in time, your mind should be busy trying to figure out the answers to two particular questions. The first question that you need to answer is, “what does inbound marketing really mean?” In very simple words, inbound marketing is a method of promoting a business through blog posts, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing and various other forms of marketing that can are based on original and unique content which is used to attract clients towards a particular business.
Now that you have a decent enough idea about inbound marketing, the next question you should be asking is, “how can inbound marketing benefit your photography business more than outbound marketing?” The answer to that question is quite simple and is based on the fundamental nature of inbound marketing. If you do your homework on inbound marketing and meet business owners who are adhering to inbound marketing practices, you will soon realize that inbound marketing and small businesses, such as the photography business which are you trying to form, have a very harmonious relationship.
In other words, inbound marketing is mainly catered to benefit small businesses and give them a platform from where they can be more competitive and more expressive of their calibre, skills and capabilities. Long story, short, when it comes to photography businesses, inbound marketing is something that you must focus on under in order to keep your business relevant in the modern photography scene.
Understanding Social Media Marketing
If you are good with your observations, then a little bit of curiosity may have sparked in your mind when you read about social media being an example of inbound marketing. Social media per se is not inbound marketing. The primary purpose of the social media is to keep people connected in a virtual real through virtual relationships or virtual expressions of real relationships.
Although marketing and social media were not meant to be intertwined, but with the development and growing popularity of social media, it became very clear to innovative marketers around the world that there is much scope to blend social media with inbound marketing. Hence, the word social media marketing has been coined, and since its inception, it has been used as a very powerful tool by both small businesses and major corporations around the world to enhance their reputation and to drive their sales upwards.
Social Media Is Abundant with Your Target Audience
If you were not aware of the term social media marketing before or if you have not noticed how businesses have used social media to boost their revenue generation and audience engagement, then you are perhaps feeling quite strange about putting the words social media and marketing in the same sentence. In all honesty, it does not really take a rocket scientist to figure out why social media has become such a lucrative platform for marketers around the world.
The current generation of people are obsessed with social media. People literally eat, sleep and breathe social media. Social media has become an essential part of their personal and professional lives. In other words, people and social media are simply inseparable entities. The basic concept of marketing is to look for people to promote your business too. This is the reason why marketers resort to television channels, radio programs and newspapers because they are well aware of the fact that these elements attract people and capture their attention.
In the light of the social media revolution, it is quite safe to assume that television, radio and newspapers are becoming quite redundant and old fashioned since social media serves people with a wide variety of entertainment and information that has taken their heart away from aforementioned sources of amusement and knowledge. Therefore, if you are looking for a place where you can find enough people to inform about your photography business, then look no further than social media. It is practically a virtual world where you will find virtual entities of people who have plenty of time in their hands to listen to what you have to say about your photography business and the subject of photography in general.
Is Social Media Marketing Right for Your Photography Business?
Before you can become all hyped up about social media and jump to new plans about social media marketing, you need to conduct a thorough research on the social media landscape of the current time. There are a lot of questions that you need to address before you can start moulding marketing plans around social media. As mentioned before, social media is most ideal for small businesses, such as a wedding photography service, to enhance their reputation in the society, establish their identity and grow their portfolio of clients.
It is also worth noting that social media impacts different businesses in different ways. The use that a major corporation has for a social media may not be the same that your business has for it. You need to figure out exactly why your business is making the transition from outbound practices to social media marketing and how different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are likely to help you grow your photography business into a much bigger company in the not so distant future.
Why Social Media Is a Gold Mine for Your Photography Business
If you are having second doubts about social media marketing, then take a look at the list of benefits below. These will surely eliminate your reservations about the social media and set your photography business on course to being the next exemplary small business that has achieved unimaginable success courtesy of its expertise in social media engagement.
As the owner of a small photography business, you are not expected to have the finances or the funds to beat your own drums for the entire industry to hear. In other words, you cannot possibly afford large scale marketing campaigns that allow you to grow your reach exponentially. As a result, you must rely on alternative promotion techniques to ensure that the name of your business is not lost among the sea of new enterprises.
One of the ways in which you can go about spreading the name of your business is through network marketing. Network marketing allows you to create an opening for high quality leads to stream into your business. If you want your networking marketing campaign to be productive and highly effective, then you need to sharpen your interaction skills. In other words, you have to be very good with communicating with people in order to engage in networking and subsequently enlightening people about your photographic products and services. Networking is the core notion of social media marketing.
As a matter of fact, incorporating social media in your network marketing plans is similar to using a cheat code when trying to fulfill objectives in a video game. This is because social media allows you to reach more people through social media platforms than the number you could have reached through your own outbound marketing endeavours.
For example, before the invention of social media marketing, photography business owners would probably have to attend a series of networking events for photographers and other small start-ups in order to create contacts that could be converted into leads or contacts that could introduce them to new leads. This was a hectic and strenuous activity that required a huge amount of physical effort and time.
With the arrival of the social media, you no longer have to take a break from your business activities and head out to networking events. All you have to do is sit in your office or your home and instruct your photographers to open up social media pages that are actively engaging with the targeted audience.
In a matter of a few days, you can multiply your exposure by ten folds and even more, provided that you are adhering to the right social media marketing tactics. Not to mention, the best thing about receiving exposure from the social media is that it lets you interact with leads coming in from a diversified geographic market. When people are contacting your from all over the country, your business will find new opportunities to expand its operations beyond the locality where you are based.
2) Negligible Costs
One of the reasons why a lot of amateur photography business owners tend to shy away from marketing is because of all the hefty costs that are involved with a promotional activities. Marketing campaigns usually do not come cheap, which is why a considerable portion of your budget has to be reserved for marketing efforts.
However, when it comes to social media marketing, the costs are surprisingly nil or negligible. It may sound a little too good to be true, but the fact of the matter is the amount of investment that you have to make in order to create a presence for your photography business in the social media is a very paltry sum of money when you compare it to the investments that you are required to make in order to drive other marketing campaigns, especially the outbound marketing campaigns.
When you are starting your business out, all you have to do is hire a few social media experts who can create high quality content for your photography page. For example, if you own a pet photography venture, then you can simply hire people who are going to post pictures of your previous works from time to time with catchy captions that go perfectly with the adorable images of the pets that your photographers have photographed. Your only expenditure will be on reimbursing the social media experts and boosting your social media posts on Facebook with a small amount of money.
3) Increasing Web Presence
Being popular on the internet is quite essential for a photography business to survive in the industry. Nowadays, photography businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on clients that are sourced from the internet and those which are willing to place their orders on websites or on social media pages. In other words, a strong web presence is the key to ensuring that your business stays in touch with the targeted audience. Although websites serve the purpose of strengthening your web presence to a great extent, it cannot be denied that social media platforms are fast becoming the preferred weapon of choice when it comes to battling for positions in the upper tier of the internet community.
In addition to that, you also need to take into consideration the fact that increased engagement on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will allow your business to attain greater relevance in the eyes of search engines such as Google and Bing. The more you interact with your audience on social media platforms, the higher are your chances of being found on relevant web searches.
4) Direct Interaction
The motto of modern day entrepreneurs is to make people a central part of their business. If you want your business to catch the attention of people, then you need to make them believe that you are getting them involved in your operations and giving them a certain degree of creative control over your services and products through your interactions with them.
Since social media is the most beloved platform for interaction nowadays, the onus is on you to figure out ways in which you can trigger direct communication with your targeted audience. Interacting with your customers actively on Facebook and Twitter is a very easy way of adding a personal touch to your photography services. For example, if any client has queries regarding the kinds of portraiture services you have on offer, then your social media manager should immediately respond to that query to the best of his or her ability. People appreciate prompt and sincere responses from businesses. When people begin to ask you questions and respond to your posts, you can be sure that you have won over their hearts and have inspired consumer confidence to a great extent.
5) Viral Content
One the of the reasons why social media marketing is fast becoming the most preferred form of marketing in the world is because of the unlimited opportunities that it presents to businesses for the creation of viral content. If you have ever used social media, you should not be too alien to the concept of viral posts or viral content. Basically, anything that starts spreading like a contagious disease on the internet is referred to as viral content. These can be in the form of memes, one line catchphrases, photographs, videos or audio clips.
As a photography business, your aim should be to come up with compelling and highly entertaining photographs, preferably memes given their innate viral nature, that people will find great amusement in and ones that will be willing to share around with their friends, families and acquaintances without you requesting them to. Asking your social media followers to share your content will hardly yield positive results.
You need to come up with intriguing content that compels people press the share button an infinite number of times. Since there is no limit to how viral a social media post can become, businesses see this as an opportunity to create widespread marketing campaigns without investing any considerable amount of money. If your photographs are spectacular and unique enough and exude a strong sense of humour, then they are sure to become viral.
Social media marketing is booming and it is here to stay. In fact, businesses that will fail to capitalize on the advantages of social marketing will losing out on huge chunks of market shares. If you want your photography business make a mark in the industry, then get busy with your social media accounts right now.