Marketing Your Photography Week: Marketing in the digital age

July 29, 2010


[Editors Note: This week is “Marketing Your Photography” here on DPE with Rosh Sillars. Rosh will be bringing you a new article every day this week, make to sure to check them all out!]

Traditional advertising uses a shotgun approach to finding new clients. Digital marketing is about targeting your specific marketing and testing techniques until you find what works for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), also known as organic search, is one of the best methods of marketing online. The goal is to attract people to your Web pages based on keywords related to your product or service.

Ultimately, search engines want their customers to have a great search experience. To achieve this goal, the search companies write algorithms that will index and find the best results for a query. Usually, the results depend on the Internet community, based on how many people link to the site and the quality of the links. Search engines also note if the sites are connected to relevant experts on the topic.

Make sure your Web site is well-optimized so the search engines know your area of expertise and that you offer quality information. One mistake people make in optimizing is focusing on who they are. Finding your name or studio name is not very impressive, unless your name is John Smith. Focus on what you do and where you are, such as Nashville portrait photographer.

Once you title a Web page, make sure everything below it supports the title (Nashville portrait photographer). Use the keywords in your text. Yes, you should have written content. It is amazing how many photographers use very little written content on their Web sites. Remember, search engines cannot read the 1,000 words your beautiful photographs represent.

Use alt tags for your photographs. Alt tags also are important for image search. You can drive good results through online image searches with well-captioned and tagged photographs, especially Google images.

If you can’t make your way to the front page of Google with organic results, consider buying your way to the front page with pay-per-click marketing. Photographers find varying degrees of results with search engine marketing (SEM). You can advertising on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Google AdWords is the most common form of search advertising.

Google also wants the people who click on their ads to have a good experience. So they work hard to place the most relevant ads near the top of the page. This means you must make sure your advertisements relate to the page your ads are directed to. For example, if you advertise for the keyword Florida photographer and your ad states you are a senior portrait photographer and the page they are directed to talks more about fashion than senior portraits, Google could lower your quality score. A low quality score will cost you, the advertiser, more money. Google wants to see consistency throughout the process.

If you decide to use AdWords, do your homework. You will need good copywriting and SEO skills. Keep your ad groups narrow and focused. Not doing this will cost you money.

Some photographers are having better luck with Facebook advertising. Using Facebook, you can narrow down a target market. For example, you could advertise to 25- to 35-year-old women within a 50-mile radius of Dallas, Texas, who like design. Other options with LinkedIn and Twitter advertising are being developed. Banner ads are OK if you are developing a branding campaign, but such campaigns should generally be left to large budgets.

No matter what type of Internet advertising you use, make sure you create a special landing page for your ads. Make sure each page caters to the people you are targeting. Sending people to the front page of your Web site is often very ineffective. Always have a call to action and an method to capture your prospect’s information.

Always include analytics code on your pages. This way you can track quickly, efficiently and without wasting a lot of money, what works and what does not. By testing everything you can increase your sales with the right combination of advertising.

When it comes to Internet advertising, there is a powerful digital medium that is often over looked. We will discus it on tomorrow’s post.

This post is part of a series on digital marketing by Rosh Sillars, host of the New Media Photographer podcast and co-author of “The Linked Photographer.”

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- who has written 10 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Rosh Sillars is a veteran photographer with a photojournalism background specializing in people, food and interiors. He earned his BFA in photography at the College for Creative Studies (CCS), Detroit. Rosh offers his services to traditional media, new media and corporate clients. You follow Rosh on twitter at:

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