A lot of people when they think of marketing think of social media. This is exactly why I’m not even going to talk about social media marketing in this post. I want to expand your minds on other ways of marketing that can make a larger impact and don’t feel as depleting as the social media hamster wheel.
When I first started my photography business I certainly did not have the budget to invest into marketing or ads or paid promotions, so I really tried to capitalize on ways I could market and advertise my business for free or just some ways I could better my business to be in higher demand.
I literally could go on for hours about ways to market your business, so I just threw 5 quick ones together that you can either go and start doing asap, or that you can sit and brainstorm on.. And I’m bringing you some IDEASSSS!
Take some notes!
Market Your Business Without Social Media
So you want to learn more ways to market your business and get yourself out there without actually blasting yourself out there all the time everywhere (aka social media)? I know this is a big deal for people who tend to be more introverted as well.
And I want to let you know, that YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EXTROVERTED to be successful in marketing. The best way to show up in your business is to show up as yourself. No matter what that looks like. The more you can do this, the more likely your dream aligned clients will find and come to you because they will resonate with you.
A mistake I’ve made in the past, and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one on this is as I was finding my place in this industry space, I felt the need to try and blend in and do what everyone else is doing.. Which led me to not being my full true self.
If you’ve ever felt like this, this is your sign and wake up call to STOP doing that! So let’s move into ways you can market your business without social media!
Marketing and networking with other vendors inside the industry is a HUGE one. Think about it.. We’ve all heard the term “It’s all about who you know.” And honestly, that is so true especially in this industry.
Let me tell you a story about my biggest lead generator for a specific venue. When the venue first opened, I drove 2 hours to go visit it and I connected with the owner. I was then invited as their open house photographer and they created a photo album of one of the weddings I photographed there, and now I am at the top of their photographer preferred vendor list. It is one of my biggest lead generators for wedding inquiries.
The moral of the story is, you NEED to be connecting with other vendors both in and outside of the industry, but you also need to be networking even more than you think you need to be networking.
The more connections you have, the more your name is going to get out there, and the more known you will become for your services. I promise you it is worth your time!
Make a list of vendors
When you’re brainstorming vendors to connect with, I want you to write a list down of other vendors who you also know you could serve with your services. And brainstorm ways you can collaborate with them in a way that serves both parties, and then take the time to reach out to them.
This is something a lot of my current students are doing with email templates I’ve provided them with to be able to make other vendor connections that help grow + market their business effortlessly.
If this is something you haven’t thought about doing, or have but haven’t actually done it.. Take it from me that this is your sign to do so! I promise you the connections you make will only help you be able to better market your brand.
Getting in Front of Other People’s Audiences
It may feel like your audience is limited to your mom and best friend these days with all of the algorithm limitations. And although there is a lot lower visibility on social media, that is what this whole episode is about. How can you market your business effectively WITHOUT social media?
And if you’ve felt like your audience is limited to the people who are already in it, it’s time to expand that. My favorite way to do this is by getting in front of and leveraging other people’s audiences to bring more people into your circle and services.
There are TONS of ways to do this, honestly, the possibilities are endless and you can get as creative as you want.. But here are a couple ideas for you:
Blogging or doing a guest blog post
Think of people both within and outside of the industry who have audiences that you know your services can serve. Reach out to those people to see if they would be interested in doing a guest blog post on your blog OR if you could do a guest blog on their blog, or even if you could write a guest post on their social media.
An example of this would be a florist. You could do a guest blog post for them on how to keep your florals protected in bad weather.
Or another idea is a wedding planner where you can do a guest post about the importance of doing a first look or not in terms of photography and how their photographer and planner can help you plan their day around that.
Again, endless possibilities, but the more you can get in front of other people’s audiences who you know you can also help serve, the more you are going to be able to make those vendor connections and put your services out there.
Another idea you could do is collaborate on a giveaway with aligned vendors or people who have an audience you know you could serve.vRemember, there is no such thing as networking too much.
So think outside the box on how you can also leverage other people’s audiences. But also remember, if you are reaching out to collaborate with someone on a blog post, social media post, or giveaway, be mindful of making sure that it is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
Word of mouth by having good client experience can be one of the most powerful marketing tools to move your business forward. One way to do this is to leverage your past clients by doing a couple things:
Asking them for testimonials
There’s a whole process that goes into getting really awesome reviews. But you want to create and deliver an awesome client experience in: the onboarding process, your communication, the way you prep and educate them, the way you connect with them in person, the way you deliver their photos, and everything in between that you do.. Make sure you are delivering an awesome experience to them.
That way when it comes time to ask for a review, they will want to shout your name everywhere! You also want to think about how you’re asking them for testimonials. Because if you’re just emailing them and asking if they’d write one.. You’re doin it wrong!!
There’s an art to getting strong and converting testimonials.. Which is something I teach my students how to do inside my coaching program that allows them to bring in more aligned clients.
Offering a referral program/bonus
Another way that really helps you market your business is to create a referral program or bonus for your past clients. This helps reward them for referring you to other people which helps with word of mouth, and also helps serve your clients even more because they will want to refer you when you give them a killer client experience.
In short, you can incentivize them with something whenever they refer you a newly booked client, whether that be a starbucks gift card, free print, a usb of their photos, free mini session, percentage off a future session, etc.
You really can get as creative as you’d like with this.. As long as it’s enticing enough that they will WANT to refer you (which again, if you have the client experience to back it up, people will already want to refer you without the referral kickback).
Blogging is absolutely not dead. Sure a lot of content these days are going to video content, but that doesn’t mean all is lost with blogging. The best part of blogging is that YOU OWN IT because it’s on your website, and you can control the content and where to lead people on your site!
Blogging when done right can be huge lead generators for your services. I do think, however, if you can add some audio or video content to your blog, that might be more appealing to someone landing across your blog.
Some big things to think about when blogging for your marketing strategy is:
A blog is pointless if you don’t have a solid SEO game plan. There needs to be a point to the blog in who you are trying to reach, and what you are wanting them to do.
Having good SEO is so important because it helps you rank on google for what your ideal clients are actually looking and searching for, which allows you to rank easier.
And when you have a solid piece of evergreen content (meaning content that is relevant for a long time and isn’t trendy or seasonal) it’s a long game as in that piece of content can help you rank and be relevant for years
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to NOT have keywords on your blogs (or any piece of content for that matter). Make sure you’re using keywords that are relevant to that specific blog post so google can know to read that and make sure to push it to the right audience.
Doing keyword research is important when creating blog content and knowing the outcome you want from that one specific blog post.
Making sure you’re changing and updating your metadata to work for you in the meta titles and the meta descriptions is important! This can be a missed opportunity for SEO if you’re not doing this!
Make sure the content you’re providing is readable for Google and the viewer, and that you also have really good photo + video content that go along with that blog post as well.
What’s a good piece of content without a STRONG CTA?! You know I love a good CTA, so if you don’t have one on every single blog post you’re writing, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with the viewer and also lead them into your funnels.
Shift your content focus into more video! No, I’m not just talking about Reels.
I’ve been saying this for the last couple few years now: everything is turning to video marketing and it is NOT going away. It is here to stay and the way we show up needs to shift to reflect this.
I know what you’re thinking. “But Rach, we’re PHOTOGRAPHERS! How the heck are we supposed to do video marketing when we take photos?”
This is going to be an adjustment for us. But I think it’s worth it! It’s actually a chance for us to get creative and break out of our normal boring content of posting a pretty wedding picture, captioning it “golden hour ✨” and calling it a day.
The best way for people to envision themselves as your client is to hear testimonials and to actually SEE you in action. So think of BTS videos galore, and also video slideshows showcasing your photos.
Get as much video content as possible and start to incorporate that into your content and marketing campaigns, your guides/info pages, putting it on your website, etc. Of course on your social media too, but I’m trying to not talk about social media in this post, so those are just a few ideas other than of course social media.
The more social media gets frustrating, the more I lean into my email marketing. This is because I have access to names and emails to the people who have raised their hands and are interested in what I have to offer them.
The cool thing about an email list is that you have more control over what content they’re consuming at what time. It’s a powerful thing, because these people already are familiar with and want my content, and they want to hear more about what I have to say.
A really good example of how to segment your email list is for mini sessions. Give your audience the chance to opt-in to your email list to be the first to know about when you’re offering mini sessions and all of the info about them.
These are the people who are really interested in and want to be the first ones to know and have first dibs on your mini session time slots. That way, you can launch your mini sessions to your email list before you even have to announce it on social media, that way your social media can be the last place you’re going to rely on getting clients that way.
Continuously promote and talk about your email list so people want to opt in, and don’t focus on the number of how big that list is. Because it doesn’t matter! You just want to get them on your list so you can give them first dibs at your offers.
Think about it, a single email could sell out your entire mini sesion day time slots. It’s so powerful!
How to build your email list
Some things to think about when you’re creating your email marketing is number one: creating a freebie or offer.
You want to have something juicy for people to WANT to opt into, otherwise your list is just noise to them. A huge mistake I see with people trying to grow their email list is they use call to actions like: “be the first to know about my offers” or “join my newsletter”.
You might get a few people to sign up here and there, but those are not effective and powerful list building generators.
Make sure you have an offer that is very clear to them on what they’re getting and why it’s important for them to subscribe to your list. By having a clear freebie/lead magnet/offer, it allows them to know exactly what they’re getting by opting into your list, and they are getting something immediately in return that can help serve them.
Another thing I see a lot of people doing wrong is not creating a funnel or welcome sequence. Once someone opts into your list, how are you welcoming them on, providing value, and clearly letting them know what comes next and what they can expect from you.
After that, how are you nurturing them so they want to stay connected and stay on your list? I personally use ConvertKit because it’s the platform that has the most integrations in my eyes, and I customize my templates to my own branding. It’s also actually free for your first 300 subscribers too, so I highly recommend it!
I could go ON and ON about email marketing because honestly, it’s my fav. But those are a few ideas to sit on as you brainstorm ways to start your email list
Like I said, I could go on for days about ways to market your business WITHOUT social media, but these were a few quick ones that came top of mind for me.
I hope you have some notes from this post because truthfully, there’s a lot more that goes into running a successful business OTHER than social media. I know we live in a world where we think social media is the most important thing. And don’t get me wrong, social media has been a POWERFUL lead source tool and big blessing in my business… but with the big shift in what everyone is feeling with instagram and social media lately, I wanted to give you some tangible marketing ideas you can take advantage of so you don’t feel reliant on social media in your business.
This is what I empower my students to do as well, because there’s so much more that goes into it than social media!
Be sure to check out more GoldBiz podcast episodes here!