I have a simple belief: Any serious photographer can develop a smart, measurable approach to online marketing, and will earn customers as a result.
NaturalApertures was founded on this notion, and has since become a drumbeat against a self-defeating behavior: photographers resorting to self-promotion as the core of their online presence.
It’s natural enough to do this, since our products and services are on our minds 24/7, but it’s a pitfall for any photographer trying to earn customers via social media, content marketing and search.
The trap opens widest when we act as though we’re more important to our customers than they are to us. This is exactly what we do by failing to make our online presence about customer needs.
A boring monologue results that literally throttles the business goals we go online with in the first place — to earn customers. You must break the monologue by delivering value.
“Value”, the cliché that’s overused by blogs covering social media, has the virtue of being the linchpin to discovering online marketing success. When you deliver value your audience grows, search visibility increases, credibility improves, and you win more customers.
Defining value takes work, but until you do the knowledge gap remains and time invested in attracting customers online is wasted.
Photographers must fill the value knowledge gap with an objective view of who we’re trying to serve. How does a photographer with limited time and resources accomplish this?
Start by asking questions.
“Photographers must fill the value knowledge gap with an objective view of who we’re trying to serve.”(tweet this)
Asking Our Way to Marketing Success
What we can learn by asking a few questions is remarkable. And, we can accomplish this in ways that are simple, free or inexpensive, and that can provide powerful insights into how to market to our audience.
Web survey: Host a survey, free of charge, using a service like SurveyMonkey. Before you do you need to write the survey, and before that you need to determine your objective for the survey.
Lets do this now: Your objective is to learn what’s valuable for people who are on the hunt for products and services like those that you provide. You need to understand the customer journey.
What kind of information do they seek? What questions do they ask as they define their need, search for solutions, compare providers and narrow down to a purchase decision? What information sources do use? Read The Customer Journey and Why It’s Crucial for Photographers to better understand this process.
Web poll: Similar to a survey but shorter, polls can be used to collect valuable feedback on blog posts and other content. A poll is an easy, interactive way to let readers voice their opinions, and can help you enhance engagement with your audience.
Polls are literally plug-and-play if you operate a WordPress blog. This post has a good list of WordPress poll plugins. As with a Web survey, you can literally have this up and running in a few minutes, and you can also use products like SurveyMonkey to develop and host polls.
Promoting Surveys and Polls
Survey recruitment can be a task, but there are a couple of proven approaches to getting people to participate.
Current customers and readers: The lowest hanging fruit will be the customers and readers you have already. Craft and send an email invite, and create a banner or other tout for your website or blog that directs people to the survey.
Social Media: Naturally, leverage your social media profiles by asking your fans and followers to participate. Once the survey or poll is posted, tweet the link and invite people to participate. Be sure to ask for retweets! Post on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Answers, as well as Facebook.
Video: If you want to get really creative, seed your YouTube channel with video segments about the Survey. This can be a great way to spread the word, creates a dedicated link to the survey for as long as you keep it up, and gives props to your brand, as well.
Other photographers: Ask your photographers buddies to help you promote your poll or survey.
Incentives: Survey participation is often driven using an incentive. This can be effective, but be careful with the approach. Mainly, ensure that a targeted audience is taking the survey. If you’re targeting consumers, not photographers, for example, you want to ensure that you promote the poll and survey to the right audience.
That said, an Amazon giftcard or even a free eBook giveaway can give your participation a very nice boost.
The critical takeaway here is twofold – the value knowledge gap is deadly to online marketing objectives but closing it is straightforward with a little effort.
Get started today– you will be on the path to finding more customers online as soon as you do!
Image credit “”jscreationzs” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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