Everyone who is connected to content marketing has heard the statement “content is king”. With good content you can build a strong brand and attract new visitors, clients and sales.
However, content is not the only important part of a business. Have you heard the statement, “community is its own kingdom”? This means that if you provide really good content, sooner or later you will build a community around your brand. Relationship marketing is what will help you to do that. That’s what we are going to discuss in this article.
Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to create a strong connection between clients and a brand. Its goal is to generate repeat sales, encourage word-of-mouth, and gather customer information.
In this post you’ll find 5 essential tips on how to build solid relationships with people around your photography brand.
Understand Your Audience
When you build relationships with your audience you start understanding their needs. No one really needs to follow you on social media. People follow you because your services fulfil their desires. Your posts are funny, informative, helpful or they are just looking for sales or discounts on the services you provide.
You need to learn how to trigger emotional responses from your followers. Think about your reader and whether they will be impressed when they read your content. The best way to connect your content and your followers is to engage your followers in conversation. For example, photographer and blogger Jasmine Star uses her blog to answer people’s emails or messages from social media and actually help them to solve their problems. See her interaction with clients on the following post: LISTEN + HEAR CLIENT REQUESTS.
Jasmine answers her client’s questions with only a few sentences. She keeps in mind that there may be more than one person who has the same problem. You can see how many comments there are. People respond emotionally, as their responses reflect how important photography is to them.
It is very important that you engage in conversation with your clients or followers. It’s more about listening than talking. And don’t forget to write down all your new ideas. People want actionable content that will help them reach their goals. They want to put your content to good use, so let them do it.
Use Seed Content
One of the greatest ways to build a strong brand is to collaborate with influential people from the photography world. Successfully partnering with experts from your field could make your content go viral on the internet. So, how do you do that?
Your goal is not only to find people with a lot of followers on Twitter or Facebook, but to create a list of people who can create engagement with you about photography. Just because someone has many followers does not mean that their level of engagement with their followers is high. There are various online tools that allow you to figure out which followers are real and who has the most engagement in a certain subject. A tool like Twtrland will help you with this task. You can search for topic, skills, areas, or other parameters, based on influence. I typed the word “photography” into the search box and marked Power Users to figure out who the influential people are and how engaged they are with their followers.
The next step is to create seed content that the experts would be willing to share. What I did on Photodoto is I made a showcase of the 50 best portfolio sites and emailed the owners of these portfolios, letting them know that their site was featured.
Email is better than messages on social media, as someone could easily miss a comment on social media. When you have written an article to post online, and you want to send it to an expert,, don’t be annoying and don’t ask for anything. You could ask the expert to tweet the article, so people can decide for themselves whether to share the article or not. For the expert, it’s an opportunity to show off how great they are, since his/her portfolio was featured in the article. And for you, it’s a great chance to spread your content and get your brand out there.
I did this with my Christmas post, interviewing some famous photographers and asking them just one question: “What is the best Christmas gift for you?”. After the publication, I emailed these photographers asking to tweet the article. They couldn’t help but share this content as they took part in creating it.
Collect Customer Feedback
What new features, product or services could help your business get to the next level? What can be fixed or improved in your existing business strategy? You can find the answers to these questions in your clients’ feedback. Whether you’re just starting out as a photographer or your business is already established and running, it is very valuable to study clients’ feedback constantly.
For example, Defrozo, is a service for photographers, allowing them to create a site and manage a lot of tasks in one place, and also manages clients’ feedback. Below you see the screenshot of their survey they made to define key features of the ideal photography marketing platform.
One of the ways to quickly collect your clients’ feedback regarding your work is online proofing. There are lots of tools enabling you to create photo galleries for clients available on the web. The most popular professional services are ProPhoto, Zenfolio, Photoshelter, and Shootproof.
One free solution worth checking out is Defrozo. Personalized photo albums for clients are just one of the tools this platform provides, you can create a personalized photo album for specific client in just 3 steps. You can activate digital downloads for separate photos or entire galleries, as well as lock in your gallery with a password.
This is one more way to build good relationships with clients and make them talk about you.
Deliver Value to the Clients
Another great step you need consider to take in order to build strong relationship with clients is to provide value. You need to stop thinking about making money, however, to start thinking about how to deliver value to your clients.
Why Apple products are so popular all over the globe? Because they took an existing product and brought to the perfection. They think on how to enhance the experience of the final product. The features of all Apple devices are so functional and useful because they thought of something you don’t even think about until you use the product or service.
The same way Google does business. Go all out to let your clients know you are a stickler for quality. Let your clients know that you think about all the details beforehand. Check the location of the future photo shoot beforehand, creating in mind some poses and great foreshortening; think of something your clients may forget and remind them about it. Consider all the steps of your communication with clients from the first message that you’ve booked a photo shoot to the delivering a final product to the client.
Listen to the Clients
Even complains from your clients can be a gift is you react on them quickly and properly. Be accessible and available when your clients have questions, concerns or ideas. People are tend to look for someone to share their problems and thought with. If you can listen to your clients properly, you will end up knotting the bond between your client and your business.
No one cares about you trying to build business or make money, everybody cares about themselves. You need to make it easy for your client to reach you. If possible, be their next door neighbour and friend ready to listen anytime.
Also, keep your clients informed about new trends, discounts and giveaways. Any method to communicate with client is great: be it an email, new article on your blog, or social media post.
So, content is a king, but without social media it won’t be sharable and won’t bring you success. Don’t expect that you will build strong relationships overnight. It requires your constant time and effort. Communicate with people every day, let them understand your message and get closer to them.
Utilize relationship marketing for your photography business in the The Photography Workshop Series – advanced photographic exclusive seminars covering producing content, building an audience, utilizing google display remarking tags, collecting customer feedback, social media pushes and the business of photography.