Why Word-of-Mouth Doesn’t Cut It in Photography Anymore

making money with photography online

Fifteen or twenty years ago, word of mouth and a few well-made flyers might have been enough to get a local photographer some attention – but even in those days, word-of-mouth as a local artist’s marketing tool was dying.

It’s all well and good to have customers talking about your business or to have a few photographs hanging for sale in local shops, but the internet is so important and competition so fierce now that a photographer without a strong online marketing strategy is dead in the water.

Two big changes have hit the industry in the twenty-first century: the first was the huge rise in popularity and accessibility of the internet, and the second was that everyone got a camera (first a clunky early-digital model, and then one built into a smartphone).

You know, because you’re an artist, that having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer – but there are a lot of potential clients (and competitors) out there who think they take pretty good photographs and therefore don’t need you. There are also a lot of competitors, some in your area, showing off and even selling their photographs or their services online.

So it logically follows that even if you want to stay 100% local, you need to start marketing yourself online too.

Almost everyone these days has a smartphone, and every time a potential client looks at his phone is an opportunity for you to advertise to him. But how do you do it?

The science of marketing over the internet, especially marketing something as specialized as photography (and showing customers why they need your photos instead of trying to take their own), is pretty daunting. Lucky for you, there are experts out there who can help with things such as

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The science of getting your website or social media account on the top page of Google and other search engines for relevant searches like “photographer near me” or even “how to take a photograph” – anything that could relate to your business
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing): Additional work to boost your search engine results, including paid listings
  • Social Media Marketing: The creation of a wide variety of professional and relevant social media profiles to help your business promote itself and connect with customers
  • Online Reputation Management: The work behind keeping your reputation in the world of the internet spotless by promoting good reviews and fixing or hiding negative ones, as well as helping you put your best foot forward to potential clients and show them everything you’re capable of.

When you let the experts handle the marketing, you’re left to do what you do best: take wonderful pictures. And with the right presence and management on the internet, your photography business can grow itself – just like in the old word-of-mouth days.