Whether you are operating a local photography studio or are a traveling photo journalist, the one tool you have at your disposal that could lead to massive growth literally overnight is the Internet. Yes, you know this, but are you aware of all the ways you can use the Internet to expand your business? Here are just six of those ways.
1. Start with a Professional Photography Website
If you are going to use the Internet to grow your business, the first step would be to either develop a website or have a professional website developed for you. However, the one thing to always keep in mind is that the quality of your website will speak of the quality of your work. Bear in mind that photography is a visual art, so when someone lands on your website, you want it to be as graphically perfect as your photography will be.
It doesn’t pay to set up a shoddy web presence if you are hoping to impress prospective clientele. You will also want a customizable template that allows you to highlight your portfolio. To do this, you need a theme built specifically for photography websites and also a template with the ability to customize your digital portfolio.
Not all photography themes or templates work as well for all photographers, so do choose something that emphasizes the type of photography you specialize in. Background and layout are of vital importance.
2. Optimize Social Media
When it comes to building your business as a photographer, the one thing you might want to remember is that your choice of social media makes a difference. Facebook is good and necessary in almost any industry simply because it is the leading global social site, but in photography, Instagram or Pinterest might be more effective. These sites are built intentionally to make use of images and as a photographer, that’s just what you want, isn’t it?
Don’t forget to optimize your social media presence by linking back and forth with your website. Not only will all those visits to your site help you gain rank with the search engines, your visitors will have the time to browse around to get a better look at your entire online portfolio. You can also build a loyal following if you keep up with your social sites but that takes work, so choose your social media carefully.
Choose only social sites best suited to photography and then stick with only those you can actively participate in. Unless you post and comment regularly, it’s a wasted effort. Social sites demand engagement so if you choose too many, you won’t have time to keep up with them alongside all the work you have to do!
3. Set up an Online Storefront
Even if you want to keep your photography business local, one of the most important ways in which to use the internet to build a massive Internet photography business is to set up an online storefront. Whether you want to sell all your photography online or simply take orders for custom photos and prints, the key is to add an ecommerce function so that visitors can order and pay online.
Today’s consumer simply doesn’t shop in the same way they once did. Considering the fact that a majority of the world spends more time in online pursuits than in any other activity, it really pays to have an Internet store – no pun intended.
However, if you have a local studio where you are set up to do portraits, you can always take a deposit online through your ecommerce function. Just remember to choose some of your best portraits for your portfolio so that online visitors can see the quality of your work. Also have some of your best stills for sale, some of which you might want to frame and others just as a ready-to-frame picture. (As an added tip here, you could also add a framing service to your photography business which could make up-selling much, much easier.)
4. Optimize Images for SEO
Unless you can get visitors to your site, you’ve accomplished nothing at all. You can have the loveliest photography website but sell little to nothing. This is one of the problems many photographers have because they don’t understand that the search engines won’t ‘pick up’ images unless they are optimized.
This is a whole field unto itself, but you can find tips on image optimization on a wide variety of marketing sites. The key thing to understand here is that the title of the photo and the tags will be what search engines like Google will look for. When uploading images to your website or inserting them in blogs or third-party sites, those tags are of vital importance because that’s how Google will find and rank your site.
5. Have You Considered Selling Stock Photos?
By this point you have seen just how far your reach can extend when using the Internet to promote your work. Why not take advantage of the very thing that is helping you grow your business by selling stock photos other businesses can purchase a license to use?
Just look at the millions of images people have paid a license fee to use for images found on sites like shutterstock.com or photofolio.co.uk. Yes, you could list your stock images on those sites, but you could also sell licenses for stock images on your own website as well! Why not help other businesses build their brand by using your amazing photos?
6. Explore Google’s Marketing Tools
If you will refer back to the abovementioned fact that most people now spend more time on the Internet than in any other activity, you will see that this is how those same people find new products or services. Don’t know where to find something? Ask Google!
From paid Google ads that will be displayed on the sidebars of other websites to listing your local photography studio with Google Local and Google Maps, you can be that photographer someone finds when searching for a wedding shoot or stock images for their website.
The long arm of Google’s free marketing tools can have your photography brand a household name and that is one of the very best ways to expand your business. Once your website is set up, Google has several amazing marketing tools to help you quickly grow an audience.
Full Circle Back to That All-Important Photography Website
This brings us full circle back to that all important photography website mentioned in the very beginning. If you are going to use the Internet to expand your photography business, you need a place to show your work! Before you can even consider any of the other ways in which to get your work out there in cyberspace, you need to have a place for visitors to land! That would be your website.
It can’t be emphasized enough that photography websites are in a class of their own. Photography is a visual art so not any template will work. You couldn’t, for example, use a newspaper type layout or a blog format. You’d need a template built on highlighting your portfolio in a stunningly professional manner. If you start there and then move on to all those marketing tips mentioned above, you’ll find major growth in just a short period of time. Isn’t digital technology amazing?