How To Increase Sales For FREE With a Little Work
The first thing to consider when marketing any website is to consider the competition and to consider your unique sales proposition. Why do clients want what you have to offer, and why would they choose you? Is there a viable market for your products or service you are offering? If so, where is is? What is it? What is the goal of your business?
My task was to create a website for Steve Whysall Photography that would attract commercial clients without sacrificing his wedding clients business.
Steve wanted more commercial photography work for diversity without sacrificing his bread and butter, his wedding photography. Being pigeon holed as a wedding photographer left him vulnerable to one specific heavily saturated market. With the advent of technology, and the inexpensive entry of market, many wedding photographers are not truly trained professionals like Steve. He wanted some distinction through his commercial work that his wedding peers cannot do.
We began by combing through all his old photography jobs to create a large commercial online presence through galleries. With a more diverse portfolio including CORPORATE HEADSHOTS, CORPORATE PRODUCTS , ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS, GOURMET FOOD, (His favorite), REAL ESTATE, and STUDIO PORTRAITS (he was the favorite for that at The Corcoran) he could compete with his professional colleagues and diversify his photography business.
SEO ANALYSIS OF AUDIENCE AND MARKET
To study how people search, create a Google PPC campaign, and then use the free tool for analysis of search terms. It includes the competition, and the $ amount for advertising. Another option is a free keyword search tool called WORDSTREAM.
Imagine my dismay when I discovered that photography in all fields has been drastically declining sharply since 2005. Just a graphical illustration would make most pack up their bags and go into a different field.
This is due to the advent of technology, the ease of entry into the market, and the fact that many people love photography and want to do it for a living. The competition is HUGE. During the analysis I discovered that one field in photography was actually growing, and that is FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY.
With the analytics, I learned that the trend of wedding photography was changing from a more elegant look to a rustic, farm type look. (It's back to elegant again, and now is heading toward industrial settings like old warehouses, which is why he moved his studio to Frederick).
We needed more food photography examples, and we needed weddings that had that rustic look.
(To learn how important your audience is, please check out Business 101: Your Audience
Understanding Whysall Photography's Unique Marketing Message And Unique Sales Proposition
Whysall Photography is competing for multiple types of photography services, and we need to cater to all of them in one short message immediately, to keep visitors from leaving. YOU ONLY HAVE 8 SECONDS TO GRAB SOMEONE'S ATTENTION AND THEN THEY ARE EITHER GONE OR ON THEIR WAY TO BUYING WHAT YOU OFFER.
While recognizing that his experience shooting weddings is prominent, and afraid of losing that business, we tested his home page with a strong rotating portfolio of all work. We analyzed the stats and while this was bringing in plenty of wedding work, his commercial side was still suffering. The messages in the body of the website along with a commercial gallery link in the header navigation were not enough. We A/B split tested one image to a rotating gallery with large photos to show off his skills for both clientele. The large rotating images was more successful. We then needed to create his marketing message that would appeal to both wedding and commercial clients.
Whysall Photography's Marketing Messages
Through intense seo keyword research and asking questions in the field, we discovered that brides want the wedding to be all about them, their big wedding day, and how special they need to feel and look. Brides also are interested in a more photo journalistic wedding style. Gone are the days of ordinary wedding photos with just family members lined up.
When it came to commercial work, the business looking for professional photography needs to know if their photographer is a true professional, and that what they offer that is of a high caliber standing.
For FOOD PHOTOGRPHY, Steve can offer two unique messages. The first is that he used to be a gourmet chef prior to becoming a professional photographer. Having this background allowed Steve to compete by offering free food photography styling, because as a gourmet chef you are trained how to style your food. Secondly, he was educated at The Corcoran, which is an elite college catering to artists. Only the best get admitted. This education is where Steve learned to create his artistic compositions.
Creating an artistic image works across the board for both weddings and commercial work.
And so does his expert lighting techniques.
His opening message is that he is a professional photographer.
Here's his wedding message:
When your wedding day is over, all you have are your memories and your photos. Make sure your photographer has the experience to capture the beauty of your day that will leave your family and friends breathless! Steve has photographed Over 1,000 weddings.
Here's his commercial message for gourmet food photography.
The headline clearly states I style your food photography. Businesses hiring a food photographer know they have to pay extra for a food stylist. And his sales message? As a former professional chef for 15 years around the world at exclusive restaurants, I understand how the flavors all work together, and how to present your dish to make your food sell. I bring your food to life with my creative compositions and my expert lighting techniques.
Because Steve apprenticed with a famous local National Geographic Photographer, Richard Nowitz, I asked Steve the largest lesson he learned from that experience. He answered, "Oh that's easy, my expert lighting techniques". His National Geographic training needed to resonate with corporate clients and wedding clients. Had his marketing message only simply been "Trained By National Geographic", a wedding bride could think, "Well, that's lovely. What will he shoot? Animals jumping through the jungle"? His uniques sales message needed to be more succinct, and RELEVANT to what Steve can do for YOU. For the brides, Steve can capture them like a magazine model, making them look beautiful, and make them pop in the photo with expert lighting techniques. Also, he understands that they want the emotions captured in a photo journalist way. When I discovered Steve had also worked as a photo journalist, I asked him what his biggest lesson was working for them. In came the next marketing message, how Steve takes your photo from mediocre to extraordinary. And the public really responded well. View Whysall photography by clicking on Whysall Photography Website.
The Marketing Messages Were Born and Then Optimized
Once the messages were born we incorporated them throughout his website, using design elements as explained in a previous post. VIEW WEBSITE DESIGN TIPS. Each page of his website was optimized with its unique sales proposition, solving a client problem, and giving them a reason to contact Steve. To learn how to incorporate SEO into your website, please see my FAQ page.
How do you decide your keywords?
First you need to discover the market through seo research. What are users typing to find what they are looking for? And how many other businesses are competing for it?
There are short tailed search terms, and long tailed search terms. Using Whysall Photography as an example, typing in "Food Photographer", or "Gourmet Food Photographer" into Google are short tailed search terms.
If you type that into Google and look you will see a number. That number today is 15,200,000.(It varies depending on browser and date). That number represents the number of websites competing for that search term. He is number one in the non-paid, or organic section for that search term.
Let's look at a long tailed search term. My research showed me that brides looking for a photographer like to find one at the location where they are getting married. Creating local galleries for all the wedding venues photographed is a good way to market for these more specific search terms. Check out a few : "Briar Patch Wedding Photographer" "Stone Manor Country Club Wedding Photographer" "Weatherlea Farm Wedding Photographer" "Blue Run Golf Club Photographer".
The short term searches are more difficult to rank for due to the competition level, but the long term searches are more relevant, with less competition, and can bring you in a lot of business. Check out some of his ranking search terms
Gourmet Food Photographer
Advertising Photographer DC
Corporate Portraits Frederick
Wedding Photographer Pricing DC
Wedding Photographer Pricing VA
Real Estate Photographer Frederick
Briar Patch Photographer
868 Estates Photographer
Blue Mountain Lodge Photographer
Mount Vernon Farm Photographer
Whitehall Estates Photogrpaher
The Woodlands Photographer
Bull Run Golf Photographer
Weatherlea Farm Photographer
Because Whysall Photography Has an Older URL It is Easier To Get Him To Rank
The age of your URL does matter, but it’s not impossible to rank in Google in the search engines. The trick is to rank for the long tailed keywords and then slowly build up to shorter keyword searches.
I hope this article helps you to understand a marketing approach that helps your small business compete online. You can compete online. You don't need to break the bank to put it all together. It just takes creative and strategic planning, testing, and TIME.
To learn more about SEO please read What is SEO Marketing?