In order to get commercial photography jobs, you need to get fresh leads into your inbox weekly or, better yet, daily. Unfortunately, most photographers like you don’t have a clear and easy way to generate leads for commercial jobs. It’s not like you can put an ad on Facebook and expect a 6-figure advertising job to drop in your lap.
It just doesn’t work that way in the commercial photography world because professional art buyers are very savvy in who they hire. They are not likely to click on a social media ad when searching for potential photographers to hire.
The good news is that I have found 7 great ways to generate leads without social media and now I want to share them with you today. Sound good? Let’s get started.
Booking a Commercial Photography Job Takes Time
In the commercial photography world, it takes anywhere from 30 to 180 days to turn a lead into a booked shoot. So, even if you’re booked now, a low number of leads spells trouble down the road.
Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of leads, you just need good quality leads. If you’re consistent about your marketing, you can expect to convert anywhere from 30% to 50% of your leads into paying jobs.
7 Ways to Get Commercial Photography Leads Without Social Media
Social media seems like a nice way to generate leads, but the amount of time, energy, and money you put into social media posting and advertising often goes wasted and leads to very few shoot inquires. There are many other more effective ways to get leads without spending lots of money or wasting your precious time scrolling through your iPhone and messaging random art buyers.
Here are seven great ways to increase your leads:
#1 – Current Clients
This is, by far, is the easiest and best way to get new leads. It takes a lot of work to get a client but, once you have them, getting them to hire you again is sometimes as easy as a simple phone call. Get a list of every client you’ve shot for in the past year or two and reach out to them to say hello. Don’t ask for work, just ask them how they’re doing and what’s going on in their world. The more you care about your clients and nurture your relationship with them, the more likely they are to think of you when they are looking to hire a photographer for their next project.
#2 – Referrals
Of course, clients are a great source of referrals, but you should also think about your various professional networks as a source of referrals. Maybe you worked with a great stylist on a shoot? Take them out for coffee and get to know them better. To succeed in photography, you need to have great relationships with your support crew as well as your clients. Not only does this create a work-related support system, but it also creates an opportunity for you to refer work to others and for others to refer work to you.
#3 – Mailing List
At a minimum, sending out a weekly newsletter will do wonders for your lead generation. Keeping past clients and leads in the loop of what shoots you’ve been up to will keep you top-of-mind with them. Clients and past leads will then think of you when they have a shoot coming up that fits your specialty.
#4 – A Great Website
When was the last time you looked at your site and compared it to your competitors? If it’s been more than 6 months, get back there and invest some time in updating your portfolios, showcase some recent work, make it run fast, and tune up the SEO. A sloppy, hard-to-use website may prevent someone from reaching out to you. Make your website as smooth as silk with a great user interface, large photos, and compelling copy about your photography style and what it’s like to work with you.
#5 – Google Ads
Google Ads can be very expensive if done without careful consideration. However, one simple, inexpensive campaign you can do today is called a Brand Name Campaign. If you Google your business name, what shows up on the first page? If you’re not showing up there, then pay Google the $1 per click (or whatever it costs) to show up #1 for “(Your Business Name Here) Photography”. Make sure you set the campaign to be an exact match, so you’re not wasting money on unrelated searches.
#6 – Source Sites
Being a part of Source Sites like Wonderful Machine, Workbook, and LeBook automatically gives your photography business a boost of credibility. Though you may not get a lot of leads from these sites, you will get very qualified buyers coming to you because they know these sites only list vetted photographers.
#7 – Directory Listings
There are so many great places to put links to your website for free or very little money. Behance.net is probably the best for commercial photographers. But you should also check out putting postings on Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Business.
Takeaway About Commercial Photography Marketing
At the end of the day, not one of these methods is the “secret” to getting more leads. They all work together to help you stay top of mind of art buyers. The trick is just to keep your marketing engine in motion. Keep adding fresh work to your website. Keep staying in touch with your clients via an email newsletter. Grow off your successful shoots and ask for referrals. Plant seeds in your network and harvest the fruits later.