As a business coach and mentor for photographers, I get asked all of the time: What is the most effective way for me to market my photography business?
Before I continue, here are some things for you to think about. Are you marketing your business in a way that feels true to you? Or does your marketing strategy make you feel uncomfortable? Does the thought of marketing, in general, make you feel so uncomfortable that you avoid it at all costs? Or do you feel like you’re marketing haphazardly? (Yup, that was us for a while!)
I’ve been slowly working on creating a pricing course for wedding photographers. Once I finish the course, I’ll want to promote it in a way that lets other wedding photographers know it exists. That’s where marketing will come in, and I’m excited to do what I can so that it will reach my perfect customer.
In the past few weeks I’ve been “marketed to” by other businesses with strategies that are supposed to “connect with me”, but they end up doing the opposite. Their messages make me uncomfortable as a potential buyer, and so they wind up repelling me. Perhaps this is where I could suggest these businesses change their strategies into ones that actually work to get me to buy what they’re selling. BUT, the truth is:
The most effective way to market your photography business (and any business for that matter) is to market in a way that feels good AND natural to you! If it feels good and natural to you, it will feel good and natural to your perfect clients. When I didn’t feel good being marketed to, I knew I was not their perfect customer, and that’s okay. More importantly, when you’re marketing in a way that feels good to you, you may not be able to reach everyone, BUT you won’t leave people feeling uncomfortable or uneasy. You’re doing something that feels right to you rather than whatever marketing tactics you can pull from a guide.
One of the ways I find out if my marketing strategy feels good to me is to ask myself: “Am I marketing to others in a way that I would like to be marketed to?” If my answer is yes, then perfect! My strategy should work to attract people just like me. If my answer is no, I try to spend some time reflecting on other ways that could work to reach the right people!
The next question I get asked a lot in my coaching is:
“But what if marketing doesn’t feel good to me at all? It all feels sales and icky.”
My advice is simple:
- Outsource your marketing efforts to someone who loves to do it and who can help develop strategies for you
- Take a break from marketing until you come across a way that feels good to you or can create a healthier relationship with it.
- Lean into word-of-mouth marketing and let your clients do natural marketing for you.
- Ask yourself if your thoughts and beliefs about marketing are stopping you from doing it. Then you can ask yourself if these thoughts are true for you OR are they coming from fear of being seen or being rejected?
The worst thing you can do is keep trying to market and push your product to other people if it isn’t feeling good to you. Customers can sense this struggle, and it often turns them off from making a purchase! Don’t discount that sometimes marketing doesn’t feel good because the product you are offering doesn’t feel good to you, and it might be time to do some self-reflection on what you’re offering and if it resonates with your values. Your feelings are signs from your intuitive self for you to get curious and ask yourself if what you’re offering is a match for who you are and what you desire in your life.
When we ourselves are feeling burnt out from marketing—or burnt out in general—we hire someone to Copywrite our blog posts for us, upkeep our Pinterest account, curate our social media, pay for ads on Google for what we’re selling, and so on. We’ve also taken a complete break from marketing to clear our heads and let new ideas flow in. Most importantly, we are always striving to under-promise and over-deliver for our clients so that they can be sure to promote us by word of mouth, even when we aren’t actively marketing ourselves!
We’ve been using our feelings to guide the decisions we’ve made in our business and marketing since we started our journey. From our experience, we can definitely say your results will always be exciting when you listen to yourself.
When something feels right, we do it, and when it doesn’t, we say no.
Sometimes it takes doing something to realize that we went against our intuition. Then we learn and can tell ourselves, hey, we’re not going to do that again. It didn’t feel good and it didn’t bring us any results as a marketing strategy either. Sometimes it takes doing something that we THOUGHT was a good idea to leave us with a result that doesn’t feel like we thought it would. Then we adjust from there for our next round of marketing.
It’s also important to recognize that different seasons of your life will call for different marketing strategies. There was a time in our life when we ENJOYED hustling. We photographed every opportunity that came our way, self-promoted endlessly on social media, paid for advertising, and sold ourselves short to get more work. We enjoyed it until we didn’t anymore, and then we adjusted accordingly to a way that felt better. In this season in our lives, being parents of two and being more in tune with the things that bring peace in our lives, we rely on blogging and SEO, making connections in our community, and word-of-mouth marketing. It feels very right for us now, but we never take for granted that we are ever-shifting and evolving humans and that something could feel better to use in the next season of life.
I’ve spent many years trying, failing, learning, and growing, and as a result, I’ve got plenty to share with other self-employed photography business owners. If you’re a photographer and want some more personalized advice on how to share and market your value in a way that feels right and gets results, check out my coaching page to see what I can do for you.