As the people trying to get noticed, we tend to think that potential clients and buyers are flooded with promotions. And for the most part, that’s probably true – so when you’re tired of waiting for responses to your email or direct-mail promos, start thinking about inbound marketing tactics. Inbound marketing, by definition, is what you do to make customers find you. Instead of reaching out to clients and buyers and hoping to get a response, your marketing efforts focus on avenues that cause them to naturally come across your business.
Here are 3 top strategies to explore when developing your inbound marketing plan:
Search engine optimization is arguably the most important inbound marketing strategy today. In short, optimizing your website (and pretty much anything you write on the web) for targeted keywords is your best bet in getting found via search engines like Google. Our buyer survey told us that 61 percent use search engines to find new images, and 30 percent use search engines to find photographers. Carefully consider what keywords potential customers would use to find you and infuse these words into the text throughout your website.
Pro photographer Randy Santos, for example, has optimized his website for “Washington DC Stock Photography” and other related terms by including them in his URL, image captions, gallery titles, etc. Now his website dcstockimages.com ranks No. 1 on Google for that keyword. (Note: There are other key SEO strategies involved in ranking high in search engine results besides on-site keyword optimization. Check out SEOmoz’s Beginner’s Guide To SEO for more info.)
If you don’t already have a blog, then it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Blogging is an easy and effective way to share your work with a wider audience and lets you tell the stories behind your work. Having a blog also allows you to continuously create fresh content, which is important for ranking in Google search results. You can also reach out to industry-related websites and ask to contribute to their blogs (much like I’m doing here!). This is a great way to introduce yourself to a new community. For example, nature photographer Greg Basco regularly writes for NatureScapes, which ultimately helps drive readers to his personal website, Deep Green Photography.
Take advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to engage with your industry’s community. They’re prime places to connect with colleagues, industry leaders and potential clients. That’s because it isn’t likely that people are going to visit your website daily, but they are almost certainly participating in social media on a daily basis. You may find that one platform fits better with your workflow than others – that’s fine, just make sure that you’re sharing worthy content. Travel and landscape photographer Jim Goldstein – who has over 9,500 followers on Twitter – cautions against talking too much about yourself. His 10 percent rule says that only 10 percent of all your posts should be about self-promotion. The rest is about sharing and engaging with your community.
Remember, there’s a time and a place for self-promotion. The key is to become a respected and reliable source within your niche industry, and then people will be much more likely to listen when you do self-promote.
Allen Murabayashi is Co-Founder and Chairman of PhotoShelter, the leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing, and archiving tools for photographers. Allen is also an avid photographer and frequently speaks on how photographers can use online marketing to grow their businesses. PhotoShelter
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