by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and while I might be posting late in the day, I'm not letting go of the concept of more ideas to help you stay focused on things you need to do to make 2022 one of your best years in business as a photographer.
Today's post is really Part II of this series. Last week I hit on the importance of knowing your target audience. Sadly, too many of you think you do, but you really haven't focused on seeing the world through their eyes. Demographics is the first component to targeting your audience, but then everything expands into other aspect of reach and fine-tuning your business.
Your Social Media Presence
Think through your demographics as they relate to your specialty regardless of where they live. If for example you’re a children’s photographer, then you’re looking for family oriented readers. Your target reader is “Mom”!
That means your website and blog need to have a certain look and feel to match the demographics. Your content needs to be interesting for Mom to take the time to read and hopefully follow you. You need to be helpful in the information you’re providing. Great content is KING - Mom will follow you but you've got to keep her interested.
From a design viewpoint, your site needs to be less masculine (I've seen both male and female artists guilty of this) and high-tech looking. It needs to be warm, friendly and be an experience for your audience to visit. Your blog needs to be the same way. In fact, since your blog is about what’s in your heart, it becomes even more important to match your demographics.
Be careful where and what you share on social media, especially forums that are open to the public. You need to be there, if that's where your demographics are, but stay away from engaging trolls. Over and again, I've seen photographers battle it out because they didn't like a critique of a post they shared or an image. Remember, there are no erasers on the Internet - and in most forums, like Facebook for example, you never know who's seeing what you're sharing.
Demographics and Rip-Tide Marketing
Many of you didn’t think through your content versus your readership’s needs have locked yourself into what I call “Rip-Tide Marketing.” Here’s how it started:
For lack of anything better to share on your blog, you started featuring images from every engagement shoot, family portrait sitting, etc. Your clients love being featured and tell their friends. Because this is a word of mouth business, they might also become your clients. If you don’t show images from every client’s shoot, they’re going to be hurt. After all, you shared their friends’ images. This happens with engagements, weddings, family portraiture, children’s sessions and the list goes on and on. Eventually you’re stuck with only showing images from shoots without any worthy substance in your content.
Time to break the trend! Stop showing all the images from a shoot, just show one and use it as an educational feature to demonstrate posing technique, lighting technique, wardrobe changes, etc. Make yourself into the community expert on photograph and get yourself out of rip-tide content. Give your readers something to help them take better pictures.
Every time you click the shutter you're doing things you take for granted. Now it's time to share that expertise and make your readership better artists. From lighting, to composition, to exposure and posing, you've easily got a dozen blog posts bouncing around in your head that deserve to be shared.
But...You’ve got to pay attention to the demographics of your readership and here’s one more example of what NOT to do.
Years ago Agfa US ran an ad for APS film in the professional photographic magazines. Most of you probably don’t remember APS, but it was purely a consumer product, and it only lasted a few years. The problem was Agfa not paying attention to the readership of the magazine. Agfa running a consumer product add was the equivalent of Revlon running an ad in Guns & Ammo.
With everything you post think about who’s going to read it. You need to give Mom topics of interest in how she can get better pictures of her family; gift ideas using photographs; family oriented events in the community; locations for great family images and tips on being a storyteller. And, one more great topic – use Throwback Thursday to remind your readers of the value of older images and the importance of capturing memories.
Father's Day is coming up. It's the perfect time to remind Mom that it's time for a new family portrait. Or, how about an updated portrait for the kids to give Dad. This is about taking full advantage of the renewed sense of family in this country. And don't forget grandparents and the importance of a Legacy program in your mix of offerings.
Your blog and activity in social media reinforce the products and services on your website. Be soft sell and informative. You don’t need to be hard-sell when you’re sharing from the heart experiences.
This brings us full circle into your target demographics from the first part of this blog post last week. But just like taking a trip without a road map or GPS – you can’t get to your target if you don’t figure out who they are first.
You’ve got to think through where you want your business to go before you get behind the camera!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.