© 2010 - 2012 Photography Art Cafe. All Rights Reserved.
Online Photography Business Plan
Small business online marketing advice for photographers
Let's have a look at 5 key factors essential to a good online photography business plan.
For a start, the fact that you are researching online business plans is a good thing; it puts you immediately ahead of many competitors. It means that you understand there is more to online business than simply having a site that seems to look as you imagine it should.
A website that earns you money is a business, and a business needs a plan. Luckily, doing things well isn't rocket science! I've found the transition from e-commerce ignoramus to web-savvy photographer fun and simple!
Whatever kind of photographer you are - wedding or photojournalist, professional or amateur - you can take your work online with real success. Plus, small business online marketing can be done successfully on a tiny budget.
What's the most important thing to remember when setting up a photography business online? Build trust. Trust is the key theme that runs throughout everything you should do as a photographer promoting yourself on the web.
This free downloadable book, written by Dr. Ken Evoy, is the most most definitive guide on gaining the trust of visitors to your website: "Make Your Content Presell!". I really urge you to have a read of it.
So, now let's look at 5 important parts of a good online photography business plan...
How many webhosts combine lively, creative designs with top notch business features, all in one package...? Very, very few. Check out what I've made of Squarespace!
1. The 'About' Page
Whether you are offering your services as a photographer or just selling fine art prints, it is crucial to include a page about you on a website.
It gives visitors a chance to 'meet' you and to begin to trust you. It is an opportunity to show that you are a real person. It is a sign of openness and that you are not just interested in making a sale before scuttling back under your stone!
But the 'About' page does not only provide an opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level - it gives you the chance to be taken seriously.
A friendly, informal section should definitely be included. But the About page should also feature a clear account of your background as photographer. Essentially, you should provide a professional CV, written in the third person.
It is also important to include an 'artist's statement'. This should be written in the first person since it is an opportunity to express exactly what characterises your approach as a photographer. What interests and motivates you? What are you currently preoccupied by? The artist's statement shows that you are serious about your work.
2. Contact Information
Contact information is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is another means to build trust. Being easily reachable shows that you have nothing to hide and are open to business.
Secondly, internet surfers are impatient! If they like what they see on your website but have to hunt like mad to find contact details, they'll be back to Google searching for easier alternatives in the click of a mouse.
Most web surfers do not stumble on a website and suddenly become customers. They get to know it a bit first; go away and come back; make contact by email or phone. Providing contact details is a crucial part of the process of building trust and custom.
Include contact details on every page of your site in a highly visible location. A dedicated 'Contact' page should also feature an email address, business phone number and business address if you have one.
3. The Portfolio
Your portfolio of images should, of course, showcase your best work. It is crucial to strike a balance between pleasing design and ease of use. Slow loading pages are an absolute no-no!
Create galleries that provide decent, large versions of your images. Viewing them should be an easy and pleasurable experience.
Be sure to watermark your photos to defend against illegal use and copyright infringements. Registering all work that appears on your website through a national copyright service is an important part of any photography business plan.
So you'd love to sell your photos... but can't really spare the time / don't know where to start!
How can Redbubble help you?
I also think it is worth including a page of testimonials that can be reached from your portfolio. Whenever you receive positive feedback from a customer, ask if you may use what they have said on your website. Put together a list of positive comments to show visitors how satisfied previous customers have been.
This helps to close the gap between you and visitors to your website. It makes you seem real and trustworthy, which is crucial to internet marketing for online businesses.
Testimonials are especially valuable for photographers seeking assignments and commissions. Wedding photographers, for example, have a much larger role than merely providing images. People want someone who is easy to deal with: punctual, friendly, efficient and so on. Customer comments can cover all these areas and be very reassuring to potential clients.
When starting your own photography business, one of the hardest things can be deciding on a suitable price for your prints or services. Pricing is a skill and quite simply has a vast impact on the success of your business. You must have a strategy for getting it right.
The most helpful guide I have come across is the book: "Make Your Price Sell".
4. Small Business Online Marketing Strategies
We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.
- Ansel Adams
98% of small business websites fail. But far from being a disheartening statistic, this is encouraging. Most of your competitors don't know how to promote their services and work! Understanding some essential small business marketing strategies is the most important element in a strong online photography business plan.
Without traffic to your site all of that skillful effort at building trust goes to waste. So, how to increase web traffic?
Well, assuming you don't have $5000 to spend on advertising each month (!), it is impossible to successfully promote a site that merely sells something. You need content. You need to offer something for free - your knowledge.
Traffic to your business will grow when search engines like Google consider it a valuable website. This 'value' must be rooted in content, which could take the form of a frequently updated blog or organised articles.
A few simple 'search engine optimization' techniques combined with straight forward and free marketing strategies will pay dividends. Here are my 12 top tips on how to increase web traffic free.
Not only does free content generate that crucial traffic to your website, it encourages visitors to return and builds trust in you as an expert. It simultaneously gets eyes on your site and predisposes them well towards you. So it is one of the most important small business online marketing tips!
Here are 3 free ebooks that are invaluable for understanding the role of content in creating a successful online business:
Plus, here is my review of the tools and strategies I personally have made use of to create a successful website: How to sell photos online successfully.
5. Free Newsletter
You should definitely offer a free newsletter to all visitors of your website. It is one of the most powerful tools for creating customers and an essential part of your online photography business plan.
Simply provide a small form for people to enter their name and email address into on each page of your site. Many small business online marketing experts believe this is the single most important strategy for gaining customers.
It gives you the chance to stay in touch with all visitors to your site who have shown an initial interest. Do not let them forget about you! Send them an email once a month.
People are always more likely to become customers on a repeat visit than the first time around. This makes email marketing and newsletters fundamental to a good photography business plan.
|Advice, tips and news for pro, and aspiring pro, photographers...|
I hope these 5 tips have been useful for you. They each play an important part in a strong online photography business plan.
But they are just a start; there is a lot more that needs to be done to have success in the online marketplace.
I thoroughly recommend that you investigate the leading resource for providing small internet businesses with the tools and knowledge they need to flourish: SBI!
Whilst an online business is often the best means for photographers to succeed, I think it is always worth diversifying until you can afford to focus on one thing. To that end, here are some tips on: How to sell photos offline, how to sell photos through stock photo websites and how to sell pictures online through sites like RedBubble.
Here is an account of the photography business plan that I have personally implemented and been really pleased with.
Have Your Say and Share Your Photos
Tell us about your experiences selling photography online. What has made your photography business plan a success?
Where Next?Art Marketing Online