Photography by gré – Kelly Segré
Spending your advertising dollars on your boudoir photography business is something that can possibly drive you crazy! How do you know where to find your target customer? If you talk with local magazines they will tell you the number of readers they have, but your target demographic could only be a small percentage of their readers. Since they base their advertising rates on the number of readers you may be overpaying for an advertisement that will not do you any good. Online advertising offers the most variety, but once again, targeting the right audience is the hardest part.
So where do you even start? First, define your potential customers. Figure out who they are and where they shop, do they go to the gym? What are their habits? These are the first key factors when determining where to spend your precious advertising dollars. Now, once you have this figured out, you may need to seriously take a look at your competition. You should really assume that they are thinking of the same places to advertise that you are. This means you need to get creative with your advertising. It is not just about stating what it is you do, you are sending a message about your entire company, your style and your own appeal. So be as original as possible while still maintaining a true sense of who you are as a photographer.
Assuming you have all of the above figured out you can begin to start looking for ways to advertise. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of it figured out, you are not alone! So where to begin? The internet is the most affordable and the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to having a large audience at your disposal. Facebook advertisements have been a really popular way for photographers to try to connect with potential clients, but this can be tricky. You have to come up with your target demographic in your area. If you live in a small town in the middle of the country you are obviously not going to have as many people clicking on your link like you would if you were in Los Angeles or New York. So be frugal and only branch out to the communities you can really offer service to. If you are in a bigger city, you could spend a fortune on people clicking on your link (since Facebook charges you per click) and it could be people just wanting to see your work and they may have no intention of booking you. So it may be affordable, but you do need to figure out if it is for you.
Free web ads. It’s free so do it right? Possibly, look at the site that is offering the free ads. How does it look? Do you like the style of it? If you don’t then the clients you want to book probably don’t like it either. The site you advertise on is still a reflection of your own studio! Also, some free sites have review boards and reviews that can be posted anonymously. The last thing you need is a site that has a false bad review that they refuse to take down. This does happen! When it comes to free ads there can be a catch, so do your homework! And this goes for free ads or ones with a high price tag, do your homework! The last thing you want is your advertising dollars going to waste!
Bridal shows for boudoir photography? There have been some photographers who swear by this, but for the most part, brides are there looking for a wedding photographer and might not be interested in a boudoir session at that point in time. If the show is affordable and you do weddings then definitely push both weddings and boudoir, but going in as a specialist can be risky.
Networking and word of mouth is still the most effective way to advertise. If you have a strong client base and a good relationship with lingerie boutiques or another business that caters to women then feed those relationships! Send them little tokens of appreciation and let them know you are thinking of them and referring them as often as possible! Treat them the way you want them to treat you! If you can build these types of relationships all it does is validate your other forms of advertising. When people see your ad on Facebook you want them to remember the good things they heard about you at the gym. This is called cross promotion, you want your ad to keep popping up to the same people, this way you are always staying fresh in their minds!
When you spend money on advertising, you are not just advertising a service for people to come in, spend money and then leave. You are creating a brand and selling an experience. You are reassuring your potential client that you are the right photographer for them. Anyone can put up an ad with their business name and contact information. You need to set yourself apart and do some legwork before you start spending all of your money on an advertisement that may not even pay for itself in the long run.
The best way to advertise your boudoir photography is to spend your money wisely. Look at all of your options and then decide on what is best for you. Just because some magazine calls you up and tells you about their discounted rates does not mean it is a good deal! Think first, then advertise!