If you are trying to grow your photography business in a sustainable way that fits your lifestyle, and doesn’t run you into the ground, building a solid brand is going to help you get there. But what does that mean? In simple terms, it’s how people identify you among all the others.
Many people first think of a logo or slogan when thinking of brand, but it’s really so much more than that. Your brand is how people perceive your business and the value you provide to them. It’s most often what drives a consumer’s decision to choose you over another photographer.
Every touch point with your clients and potential clients creates your brand. So while your visual identity; logo, marketing materials, and website, are all important,they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a strong brand in today’s increasingly saturated photography market. So, let’s look at some ways we can boost our brand!
1. Create your ideal client profile.
This is so important. I know it sounds a little silly, but if you do this exercise it will help lay the groundwork for all of your branding. Take the time to sit down and write out a very detailed description of that one person who would be your all time ideal client. What does she look like? Where does he shop? Does she have a family? Where does he work, or is she a stay at home mom? What does he do in his free time? Does she use Tiktok? Get detailed, like really, really detailed. Even give them a name.
Now, when you are making any decisions about your brand, using your voice online or choosing where to spend your marketing dollars, think of this person you’ve created. Speak to her, make choices that would appeal to her, and be places she will be. Always have your ideal client in mind.
2. Make your space reflect your brand.
No matter what kind of space you use, whether you’re setting up in your dining room for every session or you lease a giant commercial studio with gorgeous natural light, there are always things we can do to make sure that the place we welcome clients to, reflects our brand. Your space is really an extension of you and your business, so make sure the way it presents is in line with the feeling you want your clients to have when they come to see you. Cleanliness and organization is one of the easiest ways to reflect a professional look and feel, and also an important safety factor, but make sure to add in some personality as well!
3. Let your clients know who you are.
Share stories, write a bio that really tells something about yourself, and show your face. Allow clients to connect with you as a person, not just a service provider.
My bio on my website tells a very personal story about what photography means to me. Not everyone will read it, but many do. I know this because I get many inquiries, and in turn clients, who mention it. They feel a connection to what I have written and they appreciate it.
The same can be said about a particular photo I often use, where I am holding a Starbucks cup. My ideal client drinks Starbucks, so while it’s authentically me, it was no mistake that I held that Starbucks cup for my profile picture. I can’t tell you how many people commented on our shared love of starbucks when contacting me!
Share your story, share who you are, be real and let people connect with you in a real way.
4. Take your brand beyond online.
How we meet people, connect with people and reach potential clients has to go beyond digital connections. You need to get out there and meet people, face to face. Through networking, attending events or hosting your own, having in person consultations, or at least phone calls with people, are all ways to connect on a more personal and authentic level than sending off a quick email with a price list. Tone, feeling, and humour can all get lost online, direct human interaction brings this all back.
5. Figure out your unique selling proposition and make sure everyone knows it!
If you’ve been around APNPI for a while, you’ve probably heard of this, but I want to reiterate the importance. Your unique selling proposition is what makes you special and different from every other photographer in your neighbourhood. Once you’ve figured out exactly what your own unique selling proposition is, make sure everyone knows it. Make sure that thing, whatever it is that makes you stand out, is what you are known for! For more information on your unique selling proposition and what that means, read this article from our friends at Sprout Studio: https://getsproutstudio.com/photographer-unique-selling-proposition/