Photographers have long been searching for low cost marketing solutions to help promote their trade but with the birth of the web, many have simply ignored or under utilized a wonderful medium perfectly suited to sell their craft.
Web marketing does not have to be costly, in fact the Internet is ideally suited to small, independent studios that would rather not produce costly marketing materials, and for example the web can be used to;
- Offer a rich, vibrant portfolio in full color at a much lower cost to traditional print materials
- Promote specials and encourage studio usage during slow seasons
- Market programs in a flexible environment, with no additional print costs
- Sell prints and stock images online
Unlike print, which has high front end costs and easily becomes outdated, the Web offers photographers the ability to quickly change content, add new portfolio items and update content to reflect changing markets.
Keeping costs low for photographer web sites is a key concern, as many photo studios struggle to meet vital traditional marketing needs. There are a number of ways to keep costs under control, such as:
- Employing a content management system which will allow the studio publish photographs to the web and make minor text changes without paying a web designer
- Using a template as a basic site layout, there are literally thousands of pre-designed web sites on the market today and many would be perfect for small studios.
- Barter with the designer, many web designers use stock photography over custom work because they can not afford to hire professional photographers.
- Once the perfect designer has been found and the perfect web site has been launched, many small studios forget the most critical part of having a web site, the maintenance.
Unlike traditional print which is static and used for only a brief period of time, the web requires ongoing attention and updates. In particular, be sure to:
- Review the web site homepage at least once a month, the content should be fresh and reflect immediate marketing needs
- Update portfolio examples often, and feature the most relevant work at the top of the page
- Mark future changes on a calendar to ensure content is fresh
- Remove outdated content, events and promotions promptly
- Remember, the web is the first place new clients will visit but the last place any business owner thinks to look
A final point to keep in mind, while the Internet may seem new in an industry where professionals still use cameras from the 1960’s and film hasn’t changed in nearly as long, the pretty young models, blushing brides and handsome husbands being marketing to today have never know a world without the web, are you catering to their needs?