These fast methods of growing your online presence are called “growth hacking”. Not to be confused with any real hacking, growth hacking is a collective name of methods that are completely accepted by Google and don’t involve breaking into anywhere, or stealing any kind of information.
In this article, I’ve assembled three of the most important online marketing trends, which you should keep an eye out for in 2019 as a photographer.
1. Content is still king
Content marketing has long been the main driver of online marketing. Without content, there’s no life on the internet. You, however, are in luck, since you are a content creator. You create visual content in the form of photos and videos every day.
Yes, you’ve probably heard that content marketing is all about copywriting. Yes, there’s a lot of truth to that statement, because most people mainly use Google’s text-based search tool, but for you, image search is just as relevant.
Google’s text search tool will only find you if you write about things, and do so in a detailed fashion. For example, if you’re into glamour photography, and you don’t have a detailed description about this service of yours on your website, then nobody looking for a glamour photo shoot will ever find you. If, however, someone doesn’t know the term “glamour photography”, and searches for “hot pictures of me for my husband”, then she still won’t find you if you don’t have an article about the purpose of glamour photography.
Content and SEO
But! Here’s your big advantage over other people! You have a ton of images which you can illustrate your content with. You write a few lines about your shots, and you already have a long piece of valuable content. You can now be found on both Google’s text-based and image search for several relevant keywords, which your potential clients are likely to use. This of course applies even if you only pursue photography as a hobby.
What else can you do with this content?
If you have a Facebook page, or an Instagram profile that has more than 10,000 visitors, then the best way to utilize these is by driving your social traffic to your own website. Why? Because your website is what we call “owned media”. It’s forever yours, full of opportunities. You can showcase much more of yourself, your work, and your services than on any social network. You could lead your followers to your website with an interesting blog post, or article. This is what you can do with your content.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Whenever I get to the topic of SEO at the university or during a training course, I cite Jay Conrad Levison, one of the greats of guerilla marketing: If make a website which nobody visits, then it’s like waving in a dark room – nobody knows what you’re doing, but you.
Well SEO is your lamp. Based on our experience, search engine optimization is the most cost-effective marketing tool when it comes to gaining more website visitors.
But what is SEO exactly? It’s a broad topic, too deep to get into here, but in a nutshell it’s a collection of methods aiming to rank your content in high positions on Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages), thereby increasing your chances of getting more organic (non-paid) traffic.
What do you need for this? A fast and search-friendly website, among other things
Okay, what does that mean? At the beginning of 2018, Google began using something called mobile-first indexing. This means that when it comes to ranking content, the algorithm looks at the page’s mobile version first, and decides if it’s “good enough” to rank highly.
Mobile speed has been an important ranking factor for Google for some years now, as it’s crucial for a pleasant user experience. Today, it’s more important than ever. That’s why it’s worth spending a few minutes testing if your website is speedy enough by Google’s standards. If you score below 70%, then it’s time you found yourself a new web development company to work with.
Social media – The essential online marketing tool for photographers in 2019
Let me start by saying that for me, a website with good SEO is more important than any kind of social media presence. But if you already have all that, then it’s time to drive your social traffic to your website. This of course requires well-maintained social media profiles. Do you have a Facebook page? Good. Do you post on it on a daily basis? Good! But don’t stop there! Get yourself on Instagram and Pinterest! Every photographer should be on these platforms!
But there’s a big mistake many photographers make on social media – being overly protective of their images. I don’t like it either when someone steals my words (which happens often), which is why I disapprove of the unauthorized use of photos as well.
Here’s my advice: create photos that anyone can use to their hearts’ content. Of course watermark them clearly and in a way that it’s hard to remove. The expenses of creating these images should be considered a part of your marketing budget. Then dedicate a page on your website to your terms of usage, pointing out that the images you share on social media can be used so long as your logo and/or website remains clearly visible. This decision of course is entirely up to you.
All you have to do now is shoot some images and share them on social media for everyone to see and share.
Online marketing trends for photographers in 2019 – Conclusion
Let’s recap – here’s what you have to do, if you want more website traffic in 2019:
- Create text-based and visual content to be more “findable” on Google
- Have a search-friendly website
- Have a creative approach to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
If you take this advice, then a year from now you could be seeing three times the traffic you’re getting today.