So many amazing photographers struggle to get leads due to the high volume of photographers in their area competing for clients. They waste hundreds of dollars by running Facebook ads that do not produce a single lead.
It seems like everyone and their brother has a camera and is a self proclaimed “photographer”. The sad part is, that even if you offer highly professional photography services it can still be difficult to stand out from the crowd and get consistent leads.
There are four secrets you MUST know if you want to stand out from the competition and get leads every single month.
Secret #1: Aggressive Scouting System
I know what you’re thinking. It’s a small town. You know exactly who your competition is. You see each other at the local Chamber Banquet and the regional bridal shows. You may even shoot big events together sometimes.
Even if all that is true (and having grown up in a town of 600 people I know it absolutely can be), your competition research needs to extend past who the other local photographers are.
To aggressively scout your competition you need to research:
- Who are the other photographers within a 50 mile radius of your town?
- Are they a professional or amatuer photographer?
- What style of photography do the SELL?
- What style of photography are they GOOD at? (strengths)
- What style of photography are they BAD at? (weaknesses)
- Do they have an established brand?
- Do they have their own studio?
- Do they have a preferred venue?
- What is their pricing structure?
- How far do they travel?
- Have you worked with them before?
- Do they have an active Business Facebook page?
- What sort of reviews do they have?
- Are they active in community?
- Preferred method of contact?
- Do they use paid traffic?
I strongly encourage you to gather all of this data into a spreadsheet so that you have it all organized in one place. I would create a master list of photographers and then separate tabs within the spreadsheet that contain all of the individual information you gathered.
Once you have researched your photography competition, it is also important to research businesses within a 50 mile radius that are related to your profession and the services they offer, so that you can become an authority in your area. These include:
- Luxury event venues
- Mid-Level venues
- Low-cost / Free venues
- Catering services
- Event planners/coordinators
- Cake designers
- Formal wear shops
- DJ’s services
- Limousine / chauffeur services
- Car rental companies
- Dry cleaning services
- Hotels / B&B’s
I know it seems like a ton of unnecessary information but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This type of information not only establishes you as an authority in your region but it will give you valuable information which you can share with clients, referral points for leads that you can’t serve as well as a list of networking and partnership possibilities.
Some of the most successful photographers partner up with other service providers (DJ’s, venues, florists, etc.) and offer discounts for booking within your “network”.
Once you have thoroughly (and exhaustively) done your research, you need to take a hard look at your own business, to see where you fit in.
Secret #2: Niche Specific Service
The number one problem that keeps most photographers from scaling their business and getting consistent lead flow is that their target audience is way too, broad.
You absolutely can not serve everyone with a pulse. Millions of photographers try and fail miserably to offer their services to an undefined audience.
Do you want to know the secret to success in your photography business (and every other business for that matter)?
BE. NICHE. SPECIFIC.
So what does that even mean? It means, pick ONE aspect of your photography that you are passionate about, and fairly good at and put everything you have into becoming the absolute best at that one thing!
Broad – Wedding Photographer
Niched Down – Natural Light Wedding Photographer (who specializes in outdoor weddings)
Broad – Children’s Photographer
Niched Down – Children’s Lifestyle Photography (focusing on in-their-home sessions)
This process of “niching down” will help you to better identify the ideal customer you want to serve AND help you better target your advertising efforts at them. Once you know exactly who your ideal customer is, you can better represent that on your Facebook business page.
Secret #3: Google Ranking FB Business Page
It may sound like a no brainer but having a professional, active business page is essential for collecting leads on Facebook. The one thing I cannot stress enough is:
Do not use your personal page to advertise your business or run Facebook ads!
If you don’t have a Facebook business page, you can learn how to setup your business page HERE.
However, simply having a business page is not enough though. Think of your business page as the lobby of your business. What is the first impression you want to give off to a potential client?
Your business page needs to introduce the viewer to your brand as well as offer valuable content on a consistent basis. There are some 4 key elements that you should incorporate into your page to maximize it’s lead generation capabilities.
- Use keywords in the “About” section of your page. Be as descriptive as possible in your about section. By using specific words you increase your visibility in search engines such as Google.
- Select a vanity URL. When you setup your business page, you can choose a custom URL. (www.facebook.com/yourawesomebusinessname) This will reinforce your branding and give a more professional representation of your service.
- Choose images carefully. The profile image and cover photo are the first thing that a potential client will see, so it is super important that the images be clear, professional and updated.
- Encourage customer reviews. These reviews can show up in Google search results so encourage loyal customers to leave positive feedback on your page!
Make sure to post regularly on your page. Helpful tips such as What to Wear in Your Engagement Photos or 5 Tips for a Stress Free Session with Your Child are a perfect example of valuable content for your page. You don’t need to have a blog yourself. Simply find valuable content online and share it from your page.
Secret #4: A Client Generation Funnel
The dreaded “F” word. If you are like most people outside of the internet marketing crowd, the word funnel is often regarded as profanity. The sad truth is that funnels are a brilliant way to scale or automate your business and you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table every month if you are not using one!
If you have been running Facebook ads straight to your photography website and still cannot get leads, then you are not alone!
There are 2 reasons your website won’t convert a Facebook ad:
NO LEAD MAGNET – Ask yourself, why would someone opt-in your website and give your their email address for no reason? They don’t. The secret to getting consistent leads in ANY business is to have a mutual exchange of benefits. Give your audience a freebie or offer in exchange for their information.
The truth is that it is REALLY hard to convert cold traffic with a Facebook ad. So, by offering a lead magnet you are establishing yourself as an authority as well as developing trust with your audience, therefore warming the audience up to your sales offers.
WEBSITES ARE DISTRACTING – If you drive traffic directly to your website without capturing the viewer’s information first, there is a strong chance that they will browse your site never really enter any information in the contact form.
When your audience is scrolling through Facebook they are not in a buying mindset. Users on Facebook are there scrolling to fill in some down time or for social interaction. So, they are often still in that mindset when they click through your ad. With that in mind, it is important you not try to “make a sale” in a Facebook ad.
If you are lucky enough that users click through on your ad, to your site then you face the same problem. With photography, word of mouth referral is a primary source of leads. The way to turn Facebook ads into your primary lead generation source is by using a simple funnel specifically to build your list and warm your audience.
This funnel should contain four parts: the Facebook ad with strong lead magnet, an email optin page, a thank you page and a follow-up email and phone call.
Some examples of great photography lead magnets are:
Children & family photography
- Guide to taking better pictures of your kids
- Meal planning printable
- Seasonal printable
- Guide to a stress free session
- Secret poses to flatter mom
- Coupon for free sheet of wallets
- Guide to packing for college
- Make-up tips for session
- Wedding day checklist
- Honeymoon packing printable
- Tips for great wedding day photos
- VIP Vendor list
- 10 Questions you must ask your wedding photographer
Remember that the main goal of this lead magnet is to entice your audience to click your ad and enter their information so that you can warm them to future sales offers. You are building authority and trust as a foundation for a future client relationship.
THE FACEBOOK AD
The trick to making sure that the people who see your ad will actually be interested in it is narrow targeting. Setting up a highly profitable ad is not difficult at all. In fact, for many small businesses many of the targeting options are similar.
If you look back to our post, “How to Use Facebook Ads to Get 5 New Patients in Your Dental Practice This Week” you will notice that the type of ad and much of the targeting will be the same as your photography ad. For generating leads, you should use a Consideration ad that sends people to a destination off of Facebook.
My secret small business ad targeting formula is this:
(Your City + 50 miles) + (single gender) + (20 year or less age gap) + (2 unique qualifiers)
Now, the reason this formula works is because the audience is very defined. Even if you serve men AND women ages 18 – 65+, you should not target one single ad that way. Create ads that speak to specific segments of your audience, and you will increase your lead flow exponentially.
The unique qualifiers are unconventional or untraditional targeting options. For example, a dentist may want to target newly engaged women or those with an anniversary coming up (both are Facebook ad targeting options) and offer them a free tooth whitening session.
If you look at the ad and targeting below you will see this in practice. This ad is intended to reach women who are engaged and seeking a wedding photographer. The significance of the lead magnet (VIP wedding list) is to specifically target those who can most likely afford high cost sessions.
The qualifiers in the ad below are newly engaged (1 year) and Sephora. The idea is to attract quality leads that have a real chance at converting, so that needs to factor into the ad copy. You can have more than 2 qualifiers (such as income and other interests) but you need at least two for your ad.
Once they click the ad, the second most important thing, is that they land on a page that's sole purpose is to capture their basic contact information, so that you can follow up with them later after they have been warmed up by your lead magnet.
THE LANDING PAGE
To setup a landing page, you can use any funnel building software, but I always recommend using ClickFunnels to build a great lead generation funnel. It’s really easy to use, has great customer service and has great templates in place to help you set your pages up quickly.
If for some reason you aren't able to use funnel software right away, then you can always add a page to your current website that LOOKS like an opt-in page. The trick to this however, is to remove the menu options from the top and bottom of the page, so that the visitor cannot navigate anywhere within your site.
The trick to getting the fast opt-ins is to make sure that the page they land on, is exactly what the audience is expecting to land on. You can do this by restating your headline and offer from your ad and using similar images. Also, the less information they need to enter, the better your result will be.
THE THANK YOU PAGE
The same rules apply to your thank you page. Once your visitor enters their information and clicks the button to receive their freebie or offer, they should be immediately redirected to a page that says thank you, give them your contact information and creates a sense of urgency that they contact you right away.
If you notice, the visitor is directed to their email to receive their freebie. There are two reasons for this:
- You want to train them to receive things from you via their email.
- You want them to be able to find it quickly again. An instant download sometimes get lost, especially on mobile devices.
The most important part of this process is following up on your leads. The first step should be setting up an autoresponder to immediately deliver their freebie via email after they click the button on your landing page. This email should again thank them for signing up for your offer as well as repeat your contact information from the thank you page.
I encourage using ActiveCampaign as your autoresponder because it has a 14 day trial and is inexpensive, with plans starting at $9 per month. It is easy to use and integrates with most payment processors and websites. You can learn how to setup an automation HERE.
The second step in following up with your leads is to reach out to them. It may take calling and emailing a few times to actually get ahold of your lead, so be persistent, but not overbearing!
The photography competition is pretty stiff in many regions but that doesn't mean your lead flow has to suffer. Finding an ideal customer is very similar to finding the perfect outfit for a photoshoot. NOT EVERY SINGLE ONE IS A PERFECT FIT.
That being said if you thoroughly research your competition, niche down your service, create (and update) a professional Facebook business page and use a lead generation funnel you can create a revolving door of clients for your photography business. The rest should be a “snap”!