Posts

Should You Own a .photography Domain?

Using a .photography domain will not make your studio easier to find on Google. Even though their may be lots of buzz around the new URLs, local businesses like a photographer’s studio should use a .com domain.

With so many of the .com names already taken, newer photographers may be tempted to host their business’s website on a .co, .net, or even the new .photography domain. For example, if your name is Amy Adams, domains like AmyAdams.com, AdamsPhotography.com, and PhotosbyAmy.com might already be taken. So the temptation would be to purchase a URL like AmyAdams.co, AmyAdams.net, or even the new AmyAdams.photography.

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Who is talking about Your Photographic Studio online?

photographic studio site

Have you ever wondered who is talking about your photographic studio’s website online? Google makes it easy with the “site” search feature. Site is used to filter your Google search results only for a particular website.

For example, if I want to find all mentions of Tom or John Hicks on our website, in the Google search bar I would type:

Hicks site:jdphotoimaging.com

I will get all references to anyone named Hicks mentioned on our website. Notice there is no space between the word “site”, the colon, and the website name. You don’t need to use http or www or worry about capitalization either.

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4 Ways to Make Your Business Card a Marketing Tool

steve-martin-business-cardYou’ve got a business card, but is it memorable?

The problem with handing out a plain business card is that the moment someone sees that it is ordinary, they absentmindedly put  it in their pocket – and eventually in the trash. We’ve all done it. That’s why your business card should be memorable. A great business card is more than just contact information: it is the first impression about you and your studio’s brand. Read more

Do Your Written Words Enforce Your Brand?

Most of us write in a single style (English teachers call it “tone”) we have developed over many years. We write emails, newsletters, Facebook posts, flyers, and (if you’re good at marketing) blog posts and web site pages too.

But when we’re in a hurry, we don’t always think about what our writing style says about our business. We focus on writing to give information or to persuade, and we assume our writing style will just take care of itself.

However, to turbocharge your studio’s marketing, it is important that your writing style enforces and reflects your brand.

So what do I mean by “writing style?”

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Use Focus to Build Your Brand

If you have a small studio or you are a part-time photographer, customers will think you and your business are the same, especially if you use your name for your business. Ask me about John Smith Photography, and I’ll have a hard time separating John in my mind from his photography business.

In other words, for most customers your personal and your business brands are the same. This means that  if you want to build your photography business, you start by building your personal brand.

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What Happens if You Don’t Think About Your Brand?

This.

Does anyone remember generic beer?

The idea was that the major beer companies could sell unbranded products to supermarkets at a reduced cost since they didn’t have to pay marketing expense.

For example, the beer might be a premium brand or economy lite – whatever the manufacturer had on hand the day they filled the generic cans.

So what happened to unbranded products? They are gone.

Over time, low cost and uneven quality cannot compete with quality brands.

The Photographer Next Door Isn’t Your Competition

Your competition is Disneyworld, a new couch, or a swimming pool.

That’s because in most folk’s minds, professional photography isn’t a need – it is a luxury. After the rent is paid and there’s food in the fridge, if someone has extra money left over, they tend spend it on things that make them happy.

While “happiness” is impossible to define, marketers have figured out that consumers try to achieve happiness by spending money on luxuries that offer status or experiences. Athletes promote $200 tennis shoes and celebrities promote stylish clothing lines so you can look like them. Vacation destinations show smiling families doing exciting things together.

So if professional photography is a luxury good, successful marketing should promise your customer status, a great experience, or both.

How do you do that?

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How to Promote Your Personal Brand

Every business needs a brand. In fact, if you don’t want to compete on price, you have to compete on brand.

However, if you’re a professional photographer, you can chose whether to brand yourself or your business (learn more about branding for pro photographers here, here, and here).

The challenge is, once you’ve decided to build your personal brand, not only do you need good photography, but you need to learn how to promote (i.e. brand) yourself as a photographer.

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The Secret to Branding

Why is branding important? When folks don’t know anything else about two similar products (like two 5×7″ prints) they will use price to decide between them. Without branding, the lowest price wins.

If you don’t want to compete on price, you have to compete on brand.

A brand is more than just a logo. BNET defines branding as:

“a means of distinguishing one firm’s products or services from another’s and of creating and maintaining an image that encourages confidence in the quality and performance of that firm’s products or services.”

Jon Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing offers an even simpler definition:

“Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likeable and trustable.”

It makes sense. All of us would rather do business with someone we know, like and trust – even if it costs a few dollars more. That is how you want your customers to feel too.

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