One of the most exciting photography filed out there, if you are just starting as an Architectural Photographer and you are looking for some tips to start marketing your business stay tuned.
Table of Contents
Build Your Portfolio
The first thing you need to understand is that the perfect portfolio is a marathon and not a sprint, you always will update and upgrade your portfolio and it will never be perfect within your eyes.
Everyone needs to start somewhere and this is the perfect time to start building your portfolio.
Start with your own home, friends’ home, or free shoots for real estate agents, architects, and designers, yes for free, you need to get experience and learn the profession and everyone need to start somewhere.
It does not mean you need now to work for a year for free, 4-5 shoots will get you to a starting point where you can get the experience and show verification in your portfolio.
It takes 1 month and in total 5 working days, it must be better than waiting a few months for your first opportunity just to understand you are just starting.
Ask for Referrals from friends and colleagues
Our best marketing tools are the people that we know, it’s time to reach out to friends, family, and colleagues, ask for them to share your business with their network, and offer promotions (consultation, extra photos, adde value not price reduction).
Give your current clients referrals fees or benefits when making an introduction for a new client.
When you book a client (actually book, not just a referral) you can give your existing client a referral fee or a benefit.
This can be 25% off from their next shoot (you drive them to book you again for receiving the benefit), which can be extra images, edits, or even a slideshow that you can do in 5 minutes at no cost.
The goal is to move forward as faster as you can because the real money comes from the returning client assuming you nailed the job.
The more jobs you have the more you have marketing material and show that you are busy and encourage people to work with you as a rising star.
Understand your target audience
Yes, everyone is a client, but you need to understand who are your clients.
No matter if you are an Architecture Photographer or a Real estate Photographer you need to understand how the market works and more importantly to understand that there are many potential clients out there besides real estate agents and architects.
For architecture, this can be the interior designer, the developer, hotel or resort, restaurant and bars, retail stores, landscape architect, pool and spa companies, furniture, lighting, and many more potential companies you can market your business towards.
In real estate, this can be the homeowner, developer, architect, and designer if they haven’t done their images already.
Network with the Right People
Networking is a great thing, but it’s important you put your focus into meeting the right people, or the people that know other people.
There are many networking meetings, weekly ones like BNI and other events. Try to find the industry-relevant events where architects, designers, real estate agents, and vendors network, this can be an exhibition, tradeshows, and even local business groups.
Everybody is somebody, never forget this, be kind to everyone because you never know who can bring you your next client.
Create Referral Program
We talked about it in the previous section, but it’s important to create a referral program that intense your clients to bring you more business.
This can be done in several ways, the best way is licensing. If a photoshoot cost 1,000 euros to your client, you can tell your client that a second license is 50% for example making the shoot cost the client 1,000 and the second license 500 euros.
But hey what’s the point? The goal is to tell your client that they can manage the vendors licensing as they know who does what and split the cost of the shoot with them.
In a senior that each additional license will cost 50% for this example, and you have 3 people that are interested in the license (client+2 vendors) this brings the pricing to 2,000 euro, divided by 3 people it’s about 660 euro per person, reducing your client’s price to 660 instead of 1,000 euro it was before.
You can also let your client manage the pricing, on large projects when you have 5 licenses some clients will transfer more of the costs to other vendors, while you make the same, they will pay less as other vendors will take the majority of the costs.
Now you might ask yourself why should they do this? Because the vendors the client will never let 5 different people photograph the home or space, they will only give the main client (architect, designer, or developer) their photoshoot and the rest will have to buy their images.
Another great option is to co-op with another photographer that has more or less experience than you or works in a similar region but not in yours.
We have several people in our area that refer all their high-end work to us because they prefer to give the client a great service rather than underperformed on their high-end projects.
When we get a smaller project that does not fit our schedule or budget we refer the work back to them, so it’s a win-win for us and for our clients.
Do Sales in Person
Leave your social media, phone, email, and flyers.
People do business with people, so get comfortable going out there and bringing business in.
This is how you create a connection with people, get to know them, and do business, as no one has the power to open the 100th marketing email for the day.
Send Customized Emails
If you do send an email, don’t send a general one, everyone wants to feel special, and sending “hi all” is a big turn-off.
With technology today, you can put a syntax “name” for example in the subject or body of the email and the software or service will enter the contact person’s name making your email much more personal and potentially more engaging.
Invest in SEO marketing
SEO takes months and even years to perfect, there’s no better time than today to start working on your SEO.
Take an expert (a real one) as it will take several months until you see some traffic coming your way, and you don’t want to start doing so after you “struggle” with your marketing and in-person sales starting to be too much to handle.
It’s pretty simple, quality content, a good website, have the viewers in mind are the sauce for great SEO for your website.
While it is pretty time-consuming, requires lots of knowledge, and costs pretty high, the right professional can bring you lots of business that you didn’t even dream of.
Avoid Local Directories
While it’s important to have a profile on relevant websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and even professional websites like Houzz it’s important that you stay away from the public and local directories.
Directories will let you list your business for free and even publish your business without asking you, while you think there is no such thing as bad advertising you need to understand that they leverage other businesses at your expense.
The worst thing you can do to yourself is when people will look for “ Architectural Photographer in Poland “ for example or “ Johne Doe Photographer “ your name will appear under the “ Poland Best Photographers “ listing.
Because even if they land on your page on the website, they will easily navigate and explore other competitors listed as well there, meaning they leveraged your name to get traffic to their website and not yours.
Ask your market for insights
Lastly, talk with your clients, they know best what they want and what they are looking for.
Ask them what they see as the best value, service, or added product or services they would be looking for, and ask their opinion about your marketing, website, and other materials.
Do they understand what you do? What do you sell? Do you look like someone approachable (not too expensive and not too cheap)? Will they contact you and why not?
Use our network to get the insights as they ultimately know the best they are exactly the clients you are going after with your marketing material.