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Balancing Your Marketing – What's The Best Mix?

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Guest Post by Matt Hill

Are you baffled by the exhaustive ways you can market your photography website? You aren’t alone. I’ll be honest, there is no conclusive set of directions on the perfect way to market yourself, but there is certainly lots of informed (and sometimes not…) opinions out there. I’ve spent the last 13 years working for a company that specializes in marketing, learned under many fantastic mentors plus made it a practice to continually learn and grow. Today I offer you my take on balancing a virtually endless realm of possibility when marketing your photography business online, and a bit of old-fashioned offline marketing.

I want to start first with a high-level distinction between marketing and advertising from my point of view. Then I’ll move on to some specific suggestions.

To begin, it’s my firm belief that choosing just one method of marketing is dangerous and inadvisable. It’s certainly akin to the old adage of “putting all of one’s eggs in one basket,” and the advice exists because you’d better be right. Are there guarantees? No. So I say be smart and choose a balanced approach.

That being said, let’s begin with a phrase I believe that Hubspot coined – “Inbound Marketing.” My paraphrasing of their approach is making content that attracts people who desire to talk to you, and focusing your attention on serving them. It’s a beautiful idea, and worth reading more and watching their webinars. And it’s essentially SEO combined with laser-focus on not interrupting people.

Hmmmm. Not “interrupting” people. Advertising is, essentially, interrupting someone while they are doing a completely different task. Think magazines. You purchase it not for the ads, but for the content. And while you are flipping through it, your journey is interrupted by these gorgeous ads designed to make you pause, consider and act. Seems humane to choose a marketing path that tends to potential visitors when they wish to seek you.

On the other hand, we all seek to maximize our business. Awareness is essential. How do you raise your memory in someone’s mind? Expose your business. Essentially you pay more for less at this point, but your potential for new customers is increased. Perhaps someone didn’t even know that your kind of business existed, or so geographically close and they are not in the habit of asking peers for recommendations. This is a good argument for advertising.

Graphs, charts and seven steps after the jump!

Take a look on your analytics. Do you see a variety of wedges in Traffic Sources?

In the above example, it’s quite balanced. The sum of Search Engines, Referring Sites, Direct Traffic and Other equals 100%, but no single method dominates the others. Digging deeper, you can see below, that qualifying your traffic sources is important:

The Pages per Visit (P/V) is important. In the above example – this is organic traffic from Google. Low bounce, high Time on Site (TOS) and majority New Visits. The other 46% of visits were returning visitors… Wow. Cool. They came back! As you scan down your list of Traffic Sources, you can qualify which are getting you a better return. Here is how you get there in Google Analytics:

I mention this first because informing yourself with real data is the best way to decide where to put your chips.

Simple start for online advertising:

1. Google AdWords

Sign up for an account. Write a few text ads. Geotarget them to your area of business. If you are graphically inclined, make some image banner ads and also place those to appear via the Google AdSense network (via your same account) on other people’s sites. best advice I have ever received regarding writing AdWords ads is to google your search phrase and write your ads while looking at all of your competitors’ ads. Be unique, eye-catching and human. Perhaps I’ll write more on this in the future 🙂

2. Google Maps/Places.

Does your business show up when you search? If not, then claim your listing or add it. It’s free and these results show up BEFORE all organic results on Google . Get in the top 10 for your area. Google.com/Places

Google Places also allows you to offer coupons to map searchers. Incentives! How awesome is that?

3. Start/continue your Blog

It’s the easiest way to add fresh content to your site and puts across your true personality. The new content pushes you up on organic search results. And it’s fun for both you and your potential customers! It’s also cool if your customers like being in your blog and send the link to all of their friends!

4. SEO

It’s been beaten to death, but it is important to have an SEO-optimized website. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a local SEO agency to help. Best question to ask if you’re scared they might be sketchy is “Can you give me three telephone numbers of satisfied customers?” If they are proud of their work, the answer will be yes.

5. eBlasts/Opt-in

Marketing email is still one of the highest-acting forms of marketing. You’ve been collecting your customers emails for years, right? Well hire a local kid fresh out of college to make you some good-looking, well-written email templates and start sending out offers, updates and seasonal ideas to your client base.

Also essential is to prominently add an Opt-In form on your website that encourages potential customers to get on your email list. give them an incentive, like a free sitting or 10% off prints.

Never purchase lists. That’s a horrible interruption of someone’s day. Email inboxes are kinda like someone’s living room – don’t go there uninvited.

6. Your Peer Network

Make friends with other professionals in the area. Refer work you cannot do to them, and they will do the same for you. It’s rewarding and enriching to hang with other shooters and build a stronger community that not only knows everyone in the area, but can also confidently be generous with each other. And it’s good karma 🙂

7. Socialize it!

Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote the cool stuff you do and your offers. Make a fan page on Facebook (not your personal account) for your customers so you can be yourself on your own time 🙂 Be generous! Retweet and repost interesting things. Most of all, be professional and courteous.

These are a solid start to building a lasting marketing plan. I didn’t mention direct mail, print ads, client presentation or other stuff like that because I am an internet geek 🙂 Doesn’t mean those other things aren’t important! But I can confidently say that the above marketing and advertising suggestions will build you a solid business base.

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This post sponsored by Pictage – Make More Money – Free Your Time To Go Win More Clients

Written by scottbourne

May 31, 2010 at 4:32 am

Posted in Marketing

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