If you are planning to market your business, a website should be your first priority. There was a time when a photography website was the only way to present your work online. That time people weren’t as informed as today about the internet. Having an online portfolio was quite a big deal that it was only exclusive to professionals or extremely serious hobbyists. With time people became more knowledgeable about the internet and today we see pets uploading their pictures online.
Now there are too many social media to count and a photographer is expected to be active on every single one of them. These social media have so much impact on people that its savvy marketing can turn a no-name photographer into a social media star. Social media might give you popularity but it is not a sustainable photography marketing plan. While social media platforms are giving you fast, easy and instant gratification, this short term strategy is also hurting your business.
Most of the social media’s primary goal is to get you to pay for advertising. They don’t want to grow your photography business for free. If you only rely on social media, it will be the worst possible business strategy you could implement. Many people choose to give up on a professional site and instead focus on social media because a website takes a bit more effort to put together and you can’t track its success in followers and likes. But the number of reasons why you need a photography website is nearly infinite. Here are a few of the most important ones.
1. Bring all accounts together
You have possibly noticed that every social media allows you to add a link to an external site which is named “website” and not “other social accounts you want your visitors to see.” It is very rare for someone to looking at your Facebook page, for example will click on a link that takes them to your Instagram account. If they were to do so, they would, of course, be expecting exclusive content on every account. And if that was the case, how do you make sure they follow the link after visiting all your social media profiles?
By linking every one of these accounts to your photography website, you can ensure that those who are interested enough in your work get exactly the information you want them to. One of the main benefits of social media for photographers is that it drives traffic to your principal online portfolio. If an audience is interested enough in your content to visit a second site, you should make sure that it has everything they might be looking for. When clients looking for a professional photographer, they value accessibility to a website.
2. Let personal style shine through
Standing out in a platform where millions of other users are striving for the same thing with the precisely same tools can be challenging. To make people acknowledge your content and recognize your brand, you have to find a way to make them notice you in the crowd. No matter how much you change your pattern based posting chronology, your portfolio will be almost similar to any other on the platform anyway.
But in your own photography website, you will be able to ensure that people notice your work as you planned. The outcome of a website will reflect who you are. Websites will allow you to choose everything from the layout and color scheme to the fonts and content sections.
3. Offer your service and get booked
Social media might be a great tool to connect and engage with your audience but it is not a sustainable photography marketing plan. As a photographer, getting booked is probably pretty high on your list of priorities. Suppose you are a portrait photographer with a huge following on Instagram. You will be visiting Dhaka in a couple of weeks and offer your followers the opportunity to book a photoshoot during the visit. When you will break the news in your stories, you might get a lot of questions in DMs about the photoshoot from interested clients. People will wait for your replies and you know they might change their minds if you take too long to answer.
Now imagine the exact scenario with a photography website. You plan the trips and share the link to your services page. People will visit the link and get all the information they need about the photoshoot and might contact you with specific questions. They can even schedule an appointment right away with Bookings service, which will show them the available time slot on your calendar ensuring a smooth and headache-free process for everyone. Customers appreciate the flexibility and accessibility of online appointments and it can be a key advantage in your overall customer service.
4. Encourage people to reach out
When people look for a photographer, they are looking for someone who shares a style or aesthetic similar to their own, and that extends to beyond your photos. Especially in the case of portrait or event photography, people are likely to hire someone they know or feel connected to. Social media captions offer a great opportunity to let your personality shine but users forget about it as they continue their journey down their feeds.
An eye-catching website that looks and feels like your photos tends to attract more audience and influence them to give you a call. You can start by creating an insightful “About Me” page to share your story and goals. Your site’s technical features(e.g. do you have integrated appointments, can people pay online, etc.) can give people cues as to how adept you are with editing and other technical skills.
5. Present your best works
Your photography gallery should justify and reflect your talent to the world in the best possible manner. Social media displays the pictures in chronological order which makes your best work getting lost among a feed of pictures you are not so proud of. Your content is your treasure. When you have your own website it is up to you how you map out your content and how you want your visitor to journey through it.
Websites are evergreen. It is there forever for you to feature and link people to rather than being buried within minutes on someone’s crowded newsfeed. You need to customize your website to make sure that images are the first thing people see of your work, followed by a few other pictures taken months apart from each other. Make sure to look up the best resolution for website photos to display your work at their best!
6. Improve client satisfaction and exposure
There are no excuses for not collecting client feedback. The service you provide should be topnotch, from the first contact to long after you deliver the image. You always need to give the client exactly what they want and take a hit for goodwill as your brand always comes first. Your client’s lifetime value tells you how much business on average, a client will do during their lifetime. All the events that happen in their life will work as an opportunity for you to add value.
The vast majority of your clients will look forward to sharing the final results with their family and friends, or on their social media profiles. This will work as an advertisement for your brand.
7. Easy accessibility
If a client can’t reach you easily, there’s a higher chance of them moving to a different brand. A funny but suitable anecdote for this modern era goes like “If you are not online you don’t exist” You always have to be a search away to get the best of your business.
The people who look up your name already know you. The chances of a new potential client searching for your name without already knowing your work virtually nonexistent. Most common searches include the type of photographers they are looking for and their location.
8. Keep in touch with a blog!
Pictures can tell thousands of stories that words can’t describe. But your pictures won’t update your clients about everything they need to know about your brand. Since the beginning of Blogging, it is an excellent way to build your brand and establish a flow among interested clients as well as previous customers. A blog will grant you an opportunity to keep your people updated without any delay. You can also create a newsletter. Make sure your clients never miss any important events.
You can use a blog to showcase your recent photoshoot and share the behind the scene stories of your work. You can also write posts about recent trends and developing ideas to build your reputation as an industry leader.
9. Monetize your online presence
Everyone has their own ambitions when it comes to photography. While many people consider it a hobby, other people try their luck as full-time professionals. For artists, having their work displayed on someone’s wall is one of the biggest compliments possible. Even though the internet has made this easier but it usually requires a lot of time, effort, and as well as money to care for management and transaction fees.
You can own a photography website that offers an all in one solution that takes care of all technicalities for you. These services are fully personalized and work as a gallery. It will let you select the images you want to sell and the types of products you want to offer. You can also add titles and descriptions as well as watermarks.
10. Effective marketing strategy
A Photographer never meant to be a businessman. And they have no clue to the aim of becoming a marketing expert. But if you don’t focus on marketing, your business will not be able to survive for long. You will have to apply various promotional strategies. So that you can establish your photography business. You will have to make your potential clients aware of your brand through promotions.
You need a website to make the most out of any photography marketing ideas. Not only will your audience be able to see your best work right away but it’s also the place where they can learn more about you and book your services. Your clients won’t have to be active on any social media to reach you.
Photography is a business and clients want to know where they are putting their hard-earned money. Having a website is a professional way to build your brand and gives you full control of how you portray yourself and your work to your prospects and clients. In this competitive market, if you want to do business with your photos, a website is not an option for you anymore. A professional website will provide the most accurate representation of your content and services, fostering confidence among potential clients. Creating a website instantly boosts your credibility as a legitimate business. Your website can be your number one tool for standing out in the crowd.
// This article was written by Maliha Khanam. Featured Image made from Freepik & Post Images collected from Unsplash.