When it comes to generating new business, the digital realm has afforded professional photographers new exposure and publicity through a means of advertising that was previously not available. However, with an assortment of options on offer, how can photographers gauge whether they are getting the best return on their marketing expenditure? In an effort to help make your next marketing decision easier, we’ll now look into the main online advertising options.
The iconic yellow-covered phone book has transformed itself in recent years to include an online directory and mobile app platform. Photographers can place advertisements, which are listed via the company’s online directory, voice directories, mapping sites, and all the major search engines. Advertisers may evaluate their ROI as measured by leads, listing appearances, listing interactions, and call tracking.
While one complimentary listing is available per customer per address, managed services start from $18/month (without any images, keywords, FAQs or links), and reach up to $131/month for a fully comprehensive listing (including custom branding, and the most number of images, keywords and content).
Oneflare functions as an online business services directory and tendering platform for all types of service providers. Accounts are free to set up and alert photographers when there are customers searching for a job that fits their profile.
The profiles are given a rating by Oneflare according to the information provided, reviews and verification. Said profiles allow photographers to include: a logo/photo, description, customer reviews, license and insurance details, and a portfolio. However, listing contact details requires a subscription.
Photographers may prepare estimates for customers based on a pay-per-quote method ($20-30 per lead), or through monthly plans which include a set number of quotes (below). ‘Premium’ listings are also available ($499/year), boosting you to the top of search results for up to 25 suburbs.
While customers have reacted favourably towards the site, numerous service providers have taken issue in paying a fee to quote (without a guarantee of work), as well as many non-responses.
Another option is to take up membership with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). This membership (Accredited Professional Photographer) has several prerequisites and costs $500 per year – plus a one-off assessment fee ($100).
As a member, photographers are listed on the AIPP’s online directory of accredited photographers, however, only a descriptive bio, profile picture, and website link may be published. Because many consumers are unfamiliar with the AIPP, this membership is more beneficial in terms of credibility than generating new business.
With Google often a starting point for customers, Adwords can promote ads that match the keywords users search for, which in turn direct to the photographer’s site. Photographers can control the bid and budget for their ads, while also monitoring performance metrics – click-through rates, costs-per-click, sales, brand awareness, and ROI.
With a suggested bid of $4.85 per click, and an industry leading conversion rate, this translates to almost $100 per lead. The nature of the ads means competitors with a larger budget may dictate the positioning of your ads. With that said, you can retarget advertisements, where ads ‘follow’ customers on Google Display Networks if they visited your site – albeit, for an additional cost.
Last but not least, Facebook has become popular among professional photographers opting to take a DIY approach to advertising. Users can create business pages where they may: describe their services, create advertisements, post statuses, upload a portfolio, utilize calls to action, and so forth. You can also boost (promote) content and target specific audiences, thus generating new business.
Analytics allow individuals to assess the reach of their content, engagement levels, plus the demographics and activity of their customers. While these features demonstrate how your business is performing, there is an extensive level of business development required first – that is, building a community. It is also possible to set a promotional budget for each post depending on the number of people you wish to target. However, with the variable costs involved, you may find yourself spending more in the grand scheme of things than you originally anticipated.