Category Archives: Running a Photography Business

Running a Photography Business, 28 Ways To Get Photography Clients

28 Ways To Generate Leads For Your Photography Business

1. Submit your stock images to one of the many online stock agencies such as IStockPhoto. These companies allow you to have a bio page, and list links to other sites. Use this to selectively promote yourself to people that enjoy your work.

2. Send out letters to your past clients with a new promotion. Your best client is a past client. Make them a great offer that they just can’t refuse.

3. Send a press release to your local paper submitting a story idea. Newspapers, television, and radio shows are always on the lookout for a good storyline. Provide them with a story that’s relevant to the season, and makes for good news.

4. Visit a local chamber of commerce and sign up for the next networking group. Your Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of groups to network with, that could lead to new clients. Choose a few groups and visit them to make a handful of new connections.

5. Visit a local networking group and offer to photograph the group for the website. Many networking groups now use websites to promote their services. Adding photographs provide a personal touch, and will allow you to capture attention as a photographer.

6. Post a comment on an online message board. Make sure you provide a link back to your website, yet don’t blatantly sell your services. Provide good quality content, and show you know your industry well.

7. Call three prospects and promote your business. Think back over the past couple of weeks to the connections you’ve made. Choose the three that have the best possibility of becoming a client, and connect with them over the phone.

8. Write an article for one of your association newsletters. Most trade publications have a shortage of quality material. Offer an article to use, and use it to educate your association members.

9. Participate in an online forum or chatroom. Thousands of forums exist on any subject you can imagine. Find a place where potential clients visit regularly, and chat away.

10. Find a complementary business willing to hang samples in their offices. Provide them several samples at no cost. Make sure these images are your best work and are presented in the best possible way.

11. Get some flyers designed and printed and post them out to local addresses or hand them out. Make your flyer eye catching and straight to the point. Include a special offer, and a call to action, getting them to visit your website for more information.

12. Get you business involved with social media. Facebook and Twitter, gives you a greater reach and the ability to connect with people otherwise out of your reach.

13. Add more content to your website. Website are more interesting if they are constantly updated and fresh. Update your website on a weekly basis.

14. Take out a classified ad in a trade publication. The least expensive method of advertising in a print publication is in the classifieds. Try out a new promotion, or use it to gain leads.

15. Get signage for your car / vehicle, displaying your business branding and contact details. You are advertising your business as you go from A to B.

16. Call in to a radio talk show. Dozens of radio stations exist both locally and online that reach your potential customer base. Create a message, and start talking.

17. Have a photo party, and get several clients together in one location to try something new. Instead of having one portrait sitting per day, this would guarantee you several. And getting friends together would help your sales increase because of the excitement.

18. Put your branding on your clothing. On shirts or jackets for yourself and employees. Show your brand off proudly.

19. Set up a special, limited edition weekend. Use a local landmark as your background: snow days in the park, sand castles on the beach, and holiday magic in the city are just a few examples. Be creative.

20. Get involved in local good causes and fund raisers. It’s fun to get involved and puts you in front of other business owners and local people. As well as giving you the opportunity to give back you will get some good PR from your involvement.

21. Teach a class at your local library. Whether alone or with a complementary business, your local library can provide you with a room, resources to advertise the class, and a whole new potential customer base.

22. Partner a local business and do some kind of joint promotion.

23. Set up an exhibition stand at your local store, fair or expo. Make sure the demographics of those attending match your target market.

24. Create a portrait special at a local toy store. Kids love toys. What better place to capture quality portraits with a natural expression.

25. Offer to teach a photography class at a local school or recreation center. Many people have the desire to take better photographs. Create a class that shows the basics in a fun way.

26. Lead generation companies. There are lots of companies who provide lead generation services, selling photo experiences online, via retail outlets, selling leads onto photographers gathered from online and offline marketing activities. Many of these companies have an upfront cost, but a mixture of them can bring clients to your business.

27. Online directories. Some of these will advertise your business for a fee, but often these are saturated with other photographers all competing with you for the same clients. Found a lead generator that only offers a space for one photographer in each area and is free to advertise

28. Run a contest. Whether you set up a cutest baby contest, or offer a toys for tots promotion, get your customers involved in your business.

Adwords Help for Photographers

Google gets searched more than 1 billion times every day–creating an unbelievable opportunity to get your business in front of thousands every minute…If you know what you’re doing, and if you don’t then get someone who does know to do it for you..

Google Adwords logo

If you’re just starting off as a photographer, or just looking to get more traffic onto your photography website. than we are using our experience to help you. Five years into using Adwords to promote our website we are hoping to help others. Google Adwords is a minefield if you don’t know what your doing. We all want to attract new custom using the internet, and as well as SEO, PPC is a perfectly good lead generator. Showing your ads to those people looking for providers of those services is perfect targeting, but getting it wrong can eat up your money faster than you would believe. We can provide you with a Adwords Management service that will bring quality traffic to your website..fast!! Drop us an email at info@miketurnerphotos.co.uk, alternatively if you fancy trying it yourself I have some valuable tips and information below to help you.

In a recent study on the effectiveness of social media as a sales generator compared to PPC and SEO it concluded, “As far as driving online sales goes, social media is an astoundingly ineffective channel. If you want to grow your online sales, the evidence is clear: SEO and PPC are where you need to invest”  from www.barryadams.co.uk.

Market Research using Adwords

Adwords is a great market research tool. It allows you to test ideas in a live market. It’s ok asking people if they would buy your product during a field test, but the real acid test is when they see your offer and actually purchase it.

Think of an offer you wish to promote, set up a landing page specifically for that promotion, which is not accessible via your website navigation (can only be found via your PPC ad link). Set up your Google Analytics for that page so you can track the traffic that arrives there, and have a call to action (buy it now button or email capture form). Set up your Adwords ads to accurately reflect the offer, as you don’t want people clicking on your PPC ad (which costs you money) only to arrive on your landing page which is offering something entirely different (all they will do is leave, and you will learn nothing). Set the ad to run live and within 10 minutes your ad will be running.

If you find a lot of people clicking on your Adwords ad and then following your call to action, you know the offer is popular. if not then you can go back to the drawing board. Obviously my description is only outlining the main process you need to follow, there is a little more you can do to split test different PPC ads, and landing pages and layouts. To both improve CTR and conversions, but hopefully you get an idea about how Adwords can help your market research.

Use Keyword Research to find the buyers

The most important aspect to getting your Adwords campaign off to a good start is knowing what people search for when they are looking for your services. Understanding their motives and where they are in the buying cycle can help prevent you wasting money on searchers that are just looking for information with no intention of buying your services.

For example you might presume “Portrait Photography” to be a good search term, surely people using that particular search term are looking to have portraits done, right?, wrong. A keen amateur photographer could be looking for ideas, or someone in the initial phase of the buying cycle could be doing some research, with no intention to purchase at this time.

Identifying people who have done there initial research and who are ready to put their hand in their pocket would provide you with a much more cost effective target for your PPC advertising. Their search terms can be a good indicator of their intentions. For instance, when you are thinking about purchasing a TV (we’ll choose something none photography related to remove any bias to the thought process), you might have an evolution of searches like this

‘TVs under £500’, putting this search phrase into Google search engine  I come up with the following search results

graphic showing initial search for tv's
organic search results

notice how these are mainly review sites, Google is doing a good job at identifying the fact that I have a general search query and thinks that I would be best served with these results. Good job Google. Notice below the PPC ads that show up right at the top of the page.

graphic showing initial search for tv's PPC ads
PPC ad results in Google

You can see a couple of manufacturers are there and Argos, who are using their well known brand name and huge marketing budget to get in front of prospects early in the buying cycle. While this is a legitimate marketing tactic, you will need to have deep pockets for it to be worth your while.

Having clicked through a couple of the review site links I have identified a particular TV I like the look of the Samsung UE32F6800, so I go back to Google and now search ‘Samsung UE32F6800 best buy’

serps search for tvs search results
organic search results left, PPC ads right of screen

As you can see from the organic results on the left and PPC on the right more of the big retailers are showing up now in the form of Amazon and Curry’s, strangely enough Argos are not showing for this search, but maybe that is down to the fact that they are not stocking this particular make of TV.

serps search for tvs PPC ads
PPC ad results

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without labouring on the point too much look how I have refined my search from the initial search to the second search

search one = TVs under £500
search two = Samsung UE32F6800 best buy

From a marketing point of view the second search shows I have a clearer definition of what I want, I have obviously done my initial research. I have indicated that I am closer to the buying phase of the buying cycle, than I was on my first search, where I have searched much more broadly.
Looking at my keyword planning tool results (available in Adwords control panel) you can see that clicks for the most popular search term variations can cost between 67p and £1.41 per click if I was to do a PPC Adwords campaign around these keywords. There is however a lot of search traffic for them from 1000 to 33,100 per month.

adwords planner results for initial search term

When I enter the second more specific search, I get the following results
notice how the make of TV is not showing, you can see the buy now is showing along with LED in the results, the Cost per click is lower than the first search because search volumes are lower, CPC ranges from 20-40p and volume 90-1600 searches per month.

adwords planner results second term term

If you are on a limited budget it would be more cost effective to target the second search terms, which as well as indicating more buying intent, offer cheaper CPC. You do however need to make sure that the search volumes are adequate enough to make it worth your efforts.

 

Running a Photography Business, How important is cash flow?

Cash flow is the blood supply for your business, without it the whole body (business) stops working. If you don’t have money to pay suppliers or utilities you don’t have a business that can continue to trade, regardless or not if your business is trading at a profit. Yes that’s right you can run out of cash even if your business is making a profit.

How can this be you may ask, well assume you start month one with £1000 in the bank, and all your monthly bills added together amount to £2000 and all fall due during the month, Lets assume you have secured a contract to work all most full time for a large multi-national company photographing products for their website, which amounts to £5000 income per month. But the multi-national company has payment terms of 60 days, which means you won’t get a dime for two months. Now although you have revenue of £5000 a month and your total outgoings are just £2000 per month meaning you are making a profit of £3000 a month, because you are not getting the first months payment for 2 months you have incurred £4000 of costs before you have received any money back. and as you only started with £1000 cash in hand you are £3000 short of paying your bills. Now unless you have access to an overdraft or other funds, you are not able to meet your debt obligations as they fall due, which means you cannot pay your bills and are out of business. The way around this would be to;
• Have additional funds to plug the two month gap before getting your first payment or
• Insist that your customer, in this case the multi-national pays you straight away or use a factoring company as an intermediary
• Arrange to pay your suppliers on 60 days credit terms, so that these bills are only due once you have been paid by your customer.

All of which are easier said than done, but these either done in isolation or together are the only way around your cash flow problem.

Although this simple example has happened at the start of you trading, cash flow problems can hit you at any time. If your company is experiencing rapid growth, cash flow can become a major problem. Suddenly you are paying more for inventory or in wages and bigger contracts / customers are expecting to receive better payment terms from you.
Always keep your eye on your cash cycle. Generally speaking the cash cycle decribes the;

time that elapses between the delivery of inventory and its conversion into sales (1 week)

PLUS time that elapses between the sale of goods and services to customers and receipt of monies due from these accounts receivable (nil – payment terms are cash on delivery)

LESS time that elapses between the receipt of goods and services from suppliers and subsequent payment to these accounts payable (4 weeks)

Cash cycle = 1 week + 0 weeks – 4 weeks = -3 weeks

Your aim as a business owner is to get better terms from suppliers (increase creditor days) and reduce customer payment terms (reduce debtor days)

Running a Photography Business, The Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial snapshot of a businesses worth. It shows all it’s assets and liabilities at a particular moment in time (usually once a year). A balance sheet will often be out of date almost as soon as it is assembled.

balance sheet model

Running a Photography Business, The basic building blocks

Understanding of business can often seem very complex, but all businesses can be simplified into its key elements. The basic building blocks that all business need to be founded on. All businesses exist to provide their stakeholders with a return. The ultimate goal is to provide a reasonable return on equity. If a business is unable to provide this then there is little point in that business existing. There are 3 key elements that tell us how to acheive the 4th.

Profit making process

1.  Raising funds to finance assets (cash management)

  • Funds raised by shareholders
  • Money borrowed

 

To enhance gearing

  • Increase proportion of funds that are borrowed – Be careful not to fall short of sales otherwise could negatively impact ROE

 

2. Turning assets into sales (cash management)

To enhance asset turnover

  • Increase sales from existing assets
  • Maintain current sales with fewer assets

 

3. Turning sales into profit (profit management)

To enhance profit margin

  • Reduce costs as percentage of sales
  • Cut costs – may adversely impact sales and margins.

 

4. Return on equity is the overall objective (1, 2 and 3 key elements and tell us how to achieve 4 which is key.

To enhance ROE

  • Increase gearing
  • Increase asset turnover
  • Increase profit margin
  • Keep monitoring to see if any given strategy is working