14 ways to promote your photography business without social media

Simplified Business

February 6, 2024

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Are you looking for a gentler way to promote your photography business without social media? The online world can feel like a noisy place, especially as an introverted business owner, it can all feel a little overwhelming at times.

So often I find myself needing to retreat and take a step back from social media, which is why I like to have other ways to promote my business (that don’t involve social media). This gives you the space to take a break when you need, or choose to let it go completely.

Having run my business for an entire year without Instagram, I can 100% say it is possible. 

But, what I have learnt since then is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Once you let go of the pressure of Instagram having to do all your selling and marketing, you can instead see it as a tool. 

A tool that can easily be replaced, or used as and when you need it. Because while these apps have convinced us that we need them, in reality they need our attention. And that is something we have complete control over.

I think the biggest thing for me is that I want to feel empowered when it comes to marketing and promoting my business. I want to feel that I have done things with intention, created something that makes me feel excited and trust that the right people will find my magic at the right time.

There are certain rituals and routines you can build into your process and workflows to help you promote your business steadily. But I also wanted to include a couple of suggestions that you can use if you find that your bookings are low, and you need a quick boost of new leads.

So if this is something you crave too, here are 9 habits that you can cultivate to promote your business without social media.

1. Consistently blogging and sharing your client stories

I know this one seems so obvious, but it’s often the thing that gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. Not only does it keep your portfolio up to date, it’s also great for SEO and can be used as a way to nurture and build stronger connections with potential clients.

The biggest reason I see my clients avoiding posting about client stories is because they really just don’t know where to start. From choosing the images, to actually writing the post, there are just too many options. Which is why I always suggest having a simple formula that you can repeat over and over again.

Usually when working with my clients, we use their brand values and the overall experience they want to create for their clients as a starting point. We then create a little blogging template that they can use (over and over again), to showcase their work in a way that highlights their brand values and most importantly the experience of working with them. This helps them easily choose the images that support these goals and blogging doesn’t take as long, because they know exactly what to say.

PRACTICAL TIPS:

  • Use your client questionnaires to help you create blog posts for your clients. 
  • Build in reminders into your workflows – use these gentle nudges to keep you accountable.
  • Make blogging about your clients part of your process. 
  • Make it fun, if it feels like a chore you will resist it. But if you can create your own little ritual around it (like going to your favourite coffee shop, it will be something you look forward to.

2. Improve your SEO

Ok, this probably doesn’t come as any surprise, but making sure your site is ranking well on Google should always be at the top of your priorities. Especially if you want to find ways to promote your business without social media.

I am not an expert in SEO, but if this is something you want to explore and dive deeper into, I would highly recommend this course specifically for photographers.

PRACTICAL TIPS:

  • One of the best ways to improve your rankings is to get backlinks to your website. Which is why I always suggest adding this little to-do to your workflow – and that is to share the gallery with other vendors involved. 
  • Another way to improve your SEO is to get more Google Reviews. This is something I spend so much time helping my clients with in their Goodbye and Nurture workflows. And I have this helpful download if you are searching for ways to get more google reviews.

3. Build a simple sales funnel

People don’t just land on your website and go straight to the contact page (well most people, anyway). Potential clients will go on a bit of a journey to figure out if you are the right photographer for them. 

They might land on your home page, browse your pricing, read a couple of blog posts or guides and then get in touch. Others might need more time to think – they might dive a little deeper into your content, sign-up for your lead magnet and then reach out again when they are ready.

Which is why a simple sales funnel will help you be a bit more intentional about that process, and gently guide potential clients into knowing that you are the perfect fit for them.

And it’s really not as complicated as you might think. Here is an example of a simple sales funnel I helped create for a wedding photographer.

There are two main things that I suggest your sales funnel does for you. The first is to help you promote your business in the background and on repeat (while enhancing your signature experience). And the second is to help you grow your email list. Depending on what type of photographer you are, you can use email marketing in different ways.

PS. Regardless of whether you promote your photography business with or without social media this is a great way to build more ease in your selling process.

4. Build your email newsletter – I think this is the best way to promote your photography business without social media

This is an area I see my clients getting stuck (especially as a wedding or an elopement photographer). Which is why the first step is always to get very intentional about the purpose or function of email marketing, and what role you want it to play in your photography business?

If you are a wedding or elopement photographer, it’s a great way to help you bridge the gap from someone being interested in your service, to actually booking you. By creating something of value for your clients to opt-in for aka, your lead magnet or freebie, you can provide your potential client with something really valuable. 

You can then create a simple three step process that helps you build trust and help your potential client figure out if you are a good fit for them, and if they would like to work with you.

If you are a newborn, family or brand photographer, it can help you maintain your connection with past clients. You can intentionally keep your brand top of mind, by continuously showing up in your clients inbox month after month and remind your past clients that there are still so many ways you can support them. You are able to offer them so much value, long after your service is done.

5. Ask past clients for referrals – a simple and effective way to promote your photography business without social media

I have built three successful businesses on referrals, in fact most of my current clients have come from referrals. 

But here is the secret, you need to let past clients know how they can best refer to you and make it easy for them. You can get really creative on how to do this, and in ways that feel in alignment with your values.

This could look like creating a proper referral program, but I always prefer these referrals to feel more genuine and less transactional. Which is why I would suggest that you find ways for your clients to easily spread the word about how amazing you are. 

The simplest way is just to ask – you could add an email into your workflow, or mention the best ways your clients can share about your work with a friend in your goodbye guide.

But you could also send your clients a link to their blog post and encourage them to share it with their friends. You could also send them a beautiful gift which they will likely share on their socials. Or you could encourage them to send your free resource page (or lead magnet) to a newly engaged friend.

6. Create a habit out of submitting to your favourite publications

Again, this probably seems like another obvious one. But when things get busy you might forget, and so making this a part of your workflow or process is a good place to start. 

Adding a simple to-do in Dubsado will remind you to see if your clients images and story would work for a particular publication.  If you have already used your questionnaires to gather all the information you need (like list of suppliers, and a strong narrative and connection to your client) the easier it will be to submit it to the right publications. 

7. Share your galleries with other suppliers

There are so many reasons to create this as part of your marketing strategy, and is one of the best ways to get your work seen by new people. Not only that but you will start to build relationships within your industry, and give back to everyone who contributed in some small way.

As always, be intentional about the way you share. You can really get creative on the experience AND set the tone for how you want suppliers to share your work and credit everyone involved.

This is something that can easily be included in your process, and the more you do it, the more you will become people’s preferred supplier.

8. Invest in word of mouth marketing – hands down, the best way to promote your photography business without social media

Without a doubt, the best way to be less reliant on social media to promote your photography business is to invest in word of mouth marketing. You do this by creating a signature experience for your clients, that you can repeat over and over again.

It might take a bit of time to build your word-of-mouth marketing, and you definitely won’t see fast results, but if you do this consistently and repeatedly over the course of many years you will be well rewarded for your effort.

I have started three businesses in my 10+ years of entrepreneurship, and investing my time and energy to make my current (and past) clients feel seen, valued and appreciated has always had the biggest impact on my business.

And this is exactly what I can help you create – a signature process / workflow that helps build connection with your clients to bring more joy and satisfaction into your work. That feeling is palpable, and your clients end up feeling really connected to your brand, and more than happy to shout your name from the rooftops.

9. Nurture your relationships with past clients

Again, this is a habit you can create that helps your clients do most of your promotion for you. But more importantly, it helps you build stronger long-term relationships with your clients. Even if you are a wedding or elopement photographer, it’s important to nurture your client relationships long after you have sent them their final gallery.

Having past clients who are willing to leave reviews, give their feedback and refer you to their friends and family is one of your biggest assets in my opinion. 

Something that I love about having good relationships with my past clients is that they are always so willing to lend a helping hand. This could look like completing feedback forms that help you create clearer offers or helping you better understand their needs and desires, allowing you to create clearer messaging in your marketing. Not only that, but if you are like me, having clients that you can work with again, and again is something that will make the biggest impact in your business. 

This leads me to the next section of, what can you do if you need a quick influx of new clients. 

Perhaps you have been avoiding social media and so you haven’t had any inquiries, or you are still starting out. Here are some quick things you can do to promote your photography business without social media:

10. Connect with your preferred venues 

Ok, so this one is mainly for wedding photographers, but think of ways you can build trust and connections with the venues you LOVE to work at. Think of things that would make a venue coordinator’s life easier. This could be something as simple as sharing a past wedding gallery, and a link to the blog post you created highlighting all the awesome features about the venue. You could also leave them a google review, saying how lovely it was to work at the venue and your experience of photographing a wedding there.

You could pop in during your off season, with a beautiful album of images you have taken at their venue or get creative with your business cards. Instead of just leaving a business card, how can you do something a little different? Something that will be noticed by your dream client. 

An idea I had for a past client was to create a quote card reminding couples to do their wedding their way! On the back it had a link to her free resources page which was filled with ways couples could be themselves and design their wedding, their way!

This is easily transferable for other types of photographers, for example if you are a brand photographer you could reach out to other web designers. If you are a maternity photographer, you could reach out to local doulas or small businesses.

11. Reach out to your network & past clients

This one can feel a little scary, but is such a potent way of getting more referrals. Sometimes your past clients or people you connect and work with regularly might just assume you are super busy. By being open and honest with them (and if you have formed a good connection with them), they will only be too happy to connect you with your dream clients.

12. Skill Shares

I have done this so many times, at different stages of business. And is another tool I keep in my toolbox for when I need to promote my services and I am low on bookings. Not only does it give you the opportunity to get help in an area in your business where you lack certain skills, but it also allows you to build your portfolio AND your network with like-minded business owners.

13. Get creative with print – an old school way of promoting your photography business without social media

Sometimes we forget that there was a time (not so long ago) when social media didn’t even exist. Which is why looking back at old school forms of marketing, and putting a modern spin on them can be a fun and playful way to promote your business without social media.

There are soooooo many ways you can use printed collateral to promote your business, but here are a few of my faves:

  • Referral cards – if you have a well thought out referral process that aligns with your values, giving out physical referral cards can make a big difference
  • Taking business cards to a wedding / shoot. 9/10 times someone will want your details. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you are creating an experience or giving people something to remember you by.
  • Using QR codes to send clients to specific landing pages – like the free resource page I mentioned earlier.
  • Client gifting – I mentioned this earlier, but having a really intentional client gift can help spread the word about your incredible service
  • Even something as simple as sending your clients a little reminder to book another shoot, or to print their albums could lead to more sales.

14. Find the places your soul aligned clients are hanging out 

I put this on here because it can be one of the best ways to get yourself out there, and that is to connect with other people’s audiences (where your dream clients are already paying attention). This could be something as simple as writing a guest post on someone else’s blog or going on their podcast. 

You could also look for wedding fayres, summits or gatherings where you know your potential clients might be hanging out. The key is to be very intentional about who you would love to connect with, and how you can gently guide them into finding out how they can work with you.

If you are thinking about going to a wedding fair – I have a helpful video that shows you how to get the most out of the experience and connect with your dream clients!

I hope that this has shown you that there are so many ways to promote your business without social media. 

If you would like help building the systems and strategies that will help you craft your simple sales funnel, or improve your word-of-mouth marketing I would love to support you through a Reset Day

Or sign up to my newsletter where I share more tips on how I run a thoughtful & intentional business rooted in slow business values & principles.

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