When it comes to the foundations of a business, regardless of industry, knowing who your ideal client is a top priority. Without identifying your ideal client, you’ll likely struggle with your overall brand messaging. How do you connect with someone if you don’t know who that person is and what appeals to them?
At Little Hound Creative, one of the first things I ask my brand & website design clients is who they most enjoy working with. What kind of person do they wish to attract? Common things to focus on when describing your ideal client include their gender, location, industry, personal attributes, wants, needs, and problems (that you are there to solve!). Once you have identified your ideal client, the next step is to find them!
This blog post aims to set out four ways that you can reach (& attract!) your ideal photography client. I’ll cover how to use social media to find your ideal client and identify other places where you can get in front of them. I’ll also discuss how vital it is to have a website for your business, and the importance of SEO.
With so many social media platforms available to us, it can be hard to know which ones to focus our attention on. I would recommend choosing just 2-3 platforms when marketing your business, rather than spreading yourself thin and trying to show up everywhere. When it comes to choosing which social media platforms to use, it can be helpful to consider social media demographics and keep your ideal client in mind. For example – if your ideal client is female, you could choose to focus on Pinterest as statistics show that it’s users are largely female. (Reference 2)
Being a photo-sharing app, Instagram, is a perfect platform for photographers to share their work. If you’re not on it, you should be! With over 500 million daily active users, who are said to spend an average of 29 minutes per day on the app (Reference 1) – you’re really missing out if you aren’t using Instagram as a marketing tool for your photography business. By participating in social media such as Instagram, you can get your photographs in front of more people and likely your ideal client. A good way to make sure you’re targeting the right people is to get used to using hashtags. If you offer your photography services to a specific area, for example North Carolina, you could use hashtags like #northcarolinaphotographer and #northcarolinaphotography so that people searching for a photographer in that area will be able to find you. You can also use keywords like ‘North Carolina Photographer’ in your Instagram bio. If you’re a brand photographer offering business services in North Carolina, you might search for businesses in that area and follow and engage with their account. As you can see from the examples above, Instagram is a great platform when it comes to finding and connecting with your ideal photography client.
Whilst we can use social media demographics to identify the platforms we should be conquering, it’s important to note that if you aren’t getting on with a certain platform then you shouldn’t feel forced to use it. Just because everyone is making Tik-Tok videos, doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon and start making silly dance videos in your kitchen! Focus your energy on marketing methods that you excel at and enjoy, and you’ll likely get the best results.
As well as social media, there are other places to consider marketing your business. You’ll need to think back to your ideal client and where they will likely ‘hang out’ to get in front of them. For example – if you’re a brand photographer you might consider showing up at a business networking event in your area. If you’re a wedding photographer you might like to build a relationship with your local venues so that they can recommend you to potential clients. You could consider being a guest writer for another businesses’ blog that your ideal client is likely to read. By identifying specifics about your ideal photography client, like their interests, we can try and predict the places that they may be.
It’s important to remember that the point of identifying your ideal client is that they are the people you love to work with. Your ideal client is not the client that you didn’t click with, or who wanted a style that was completely opposite to yours. To attract more dream clients and to-die-for projects, showcase only the work that you are most proud of and want to attract more of.
As a photographer, you may decide that you want to niche into a specific offering ie. wedding and engagement photography. Therefore, your content should be kept relevant to this. For example – your portfolio should consist of wedding and engagement shoots, your blog should appeal to brides & grooms who might be planning for their wedding, your website copy should talk to love struck couples. If you have a specific audience in mind – get specific and talk to them directly!
Did you know that Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day? (Reference 3) If you don’t have a website, and are denying your business the opportunity to show up on Google, you’re definitely missing out on being seen by your ideal client. Unfortunately, having a website alone doesn’t mean that you’ll pop up at the top of the page. Cue the term – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). As a business owner, if you don’t know what SEO is, you should. SEO is the process of optimizing your content so that it has a greater chance of showing up on search engines like Google.
As a branding and website design expert, I’m always going to sing the praises of a great website. But…what makes a great website? An attractive design alone does not equal a great website. In order for your website to be seen by the right people, and to convert them into paying clients, it must be designed with your ideal client in mind. When you work with me on a website design project, I’ll emphasize the importance of optimizing your website content for SEO. This involves integrating keywords into your copy, page titles, and meta-descriptions, significantly increasing your chances of ranking prominently in search engine results.
It’s also important to optimize the images on your website for SEO. Thinking of uploading your original, high res, super large images? Think again! Images with a large file size will slow your website down and whilst your work might be truly outstanding, no one is going to wait around long enough for those photos to load! As well as resizing and compressing your images, I’ll also assign them alt-tags so that they can be found on search engines.
A website is often the first place people go to learn more about a business. It’s also often the place where new leads are captured through a contact form. Without a website, your business may seem unprofessional and lack credibility. After all, what good is focusing all your efforts on getting in front of your ideal client if you have nowhere to send them?
In summary, securing your ideal photography clients requires a strategic approach. Familiarize yourself with your ideal client’s preferences and interests, showcase your portfolio on platforms like Instagram, and ensure your website is SEO optimized. Soon enough, you’ll find your perfect clients eagerly seeking your services, allowing your photography business to flourish.
Mistakes are an integral part of any entrepreneurial journey. They can be tough lessons but often serve as invaluable stepping stones toward success. When I embarked on the adventure of starting my own design business, Little Hound Creative, I, too, made a significant error – one that taught me big lessons about the importance of flexibility and finding my niche.
You know how everyone says, “find your niche!”? Well, I bought into that big time. I thought it was wise to focus exclusively on serving one industry: pet businesses. I adore animals, and the idea of working with like minded individuals seemed great. Well, it was, but it was also a crash course in learning the value of NOT putting all your design eggs in one pet basket.
The key lesson I learned from my mistake is the necessity of taking the time to discover the kinds of projects that genuinely ignite your passion and align with your skill set. While I did (& still do!) enjoy designing for pet businesses, my heart yearned for a more diverse range of projects – think florals, feminine script fonts, and high end design. Occasionally, I’d get this type of work, but I craved more of it!
They say the early bird catches the worm, right? Well, sometimes, the early bird gets stuck eating the same worm every day. I fell into the “niche early” trap because of stuff I read online (classic mistake!). My advice? Take your time discovering what it is that you love and what you are great at.
Instead of being super-specific, make your niche less rigid. I transitioned from serving solely pet businesses to marketing my branding and website design services to service providers and creatives. This shift allowed me to maintain my love for working with pet businesses while opening doors to a broader range of industries. By making my niche less restrictive, I found joy in the variety of projects that came my way.
In conclusion, making a mistake isn’t the end of the world; it can be a catalyst for growth and discovery. If I hadn’t initially niched exclusively into serving pet businesses, I might not have discovered my desire to work with a more diverse range of industries. It’s essential to remember that it’s okay to pivot and evolve. Cheers to not getting stuck with the same ol’ worm!
An Instagram landing page is a page that people are taken to when they click the link in your Instagram bio. You can easily customize this free template with your own brand fonts and colours to make it your own.