Every few years there seem to be major shifts in how to effectively market your business, and I believe we’re experiencing this right now in a major way.
There are unlimited ways to market your business, but I believe these are the 3 most effective low-cost marketing tools that you can use right now, whether you’re a photographer, an online entrepreneur, or even if you run a brick and mortar business.
They may not look like what you’ve done in the past. They may stretch your comfort zone a lot. But give them a try. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
So let’s dive right in.
Marketing Trend #1: Messenger Bots
When I was engaged to my husband, we lived about 8 hours away from each other and cell phones were pretty new and not very widespread.
So we sent each other emails.
Lots of them, sometimes more than once per day. And I was glued to my email like most pre-teens are glued to their smartphones.
But times have changed. Now, 6 kids later, I can’t remember the last time my husband and I emailed each other to communicate.
It’s been years. Many of them.
Email isn’t dead, it just isn’t used nearly as much for personal communication.
It went from being a great way to connect with others to being a burden to have to sort through, with some people having thousands of unread messages in their inboxes (which explains why sometimes you never hear back from inquiries who email you and want more info – they may never see it or be opening it because of the mess in their inbox!)
Now, messenger and text is where personal communication happens, with people reading almost every single text and message that they get.
Texting is most personal, usually reserved for the closest family and friends.
Messenger is used for pretty much all other friends and family that you aren’t quite as close to but that you still want to communicate with.
Since people rarely use email for personal communication anymore, they’re going to open their non-essential emails less and less.
Not only that, but to make things even worse, Gmail and other email services are becoming more and more aggressive with what emails they actually show to people, so your response may end up in the promotions tab, or worse, spam.
This is where Messenger Bots come in. Using a service called ManyChat to automate my messenger marketing, I’ve been consistently getting over 90% open rates and 30-40% click-through rates (or more!), even as my subscriber list grows. This is because messenger is more personal, less noisy, and most people still open every single message they get.
This means that almost all the people you reply to will actually read what you send, as opposed to 20-30% of the people who open your emails (and that’s considered a decent open rate for emails!)
Since you can automate the responses, they can get the information right away instead of having to wait for you to respond. Plus, ManyChat will notify you personally if you want it to so you know right away that you got an inquiry to respond to. Making the first impression and not having them wait for info like pricing will put you ahead of everyone else, which is a very good thing for you.
With a service like Zapier you can also get lots of these people to join your email list as well, right through Messenger.
I also give a full step-by-step video tutorial on how to set this up in The Modern Tog Insiders.
Marketing Trend #2: Facebook Groups
With the recent Facebook algorithm changes rolled out a few weeks ago (October 2017), Facebook groups are getting a front row seat in your news feed without having to pay for anything. It’s by far the best way to get free exposure using Facebook.
Plus, Facebook is investing a lot of time and money into making groups better, so I expect they’ll continue to give them a lot of free reach. If you want to get in on that exposure without having to pay for ads, Facebook Groups are the way to go.
So let’s say you’ve got a photography business or a brick and mortar business but no idea how to grow a group around it. What can you do in terms of groups?
If you do wedding photography, you could create a group for wedding planning in your location, allowing brides to come together and chat about local vendors, tips, venues, etc. If you put this together, you’re going to be the natural choice for most of them in terms of who they pick for a photographer.
Or family portrait photographers could create a group about fun activities to do for families in your local area.
You could also host live meet-ups in person as well, which really helps cement the community.
If you’re a local business, the key is to keep it locally-based in topic. Since it’ll be more relevant and super specific to what they are looking for, it’ll be more likely to attract people who live close enough to become clients. Plus, since you’ll be the moderator and you’ll be the one engaging everyone, people will know, like, and trust you, which leads to more clients.
Marketing Trend #3: Facebook Live Video
Facebook Live videos aren’t new, but they are continuing to be one of the best ways to market your business, even as a photographer.
Aim for a video between 15-60 min long, and use a service such as BeLive.TV to schedule them in advance, which gives people the opportunity to get reminders that show up in their Facebook notifications. It also allows you to share your screen and bring on other guests with you at the same time.
I’ve actually done webinars via Facebook Live, and while I only had 300 people on live at one time, by the end of the webinar itself I had an organic reach of over 50% of my page size, which is far larger than most other types of posts.
So how can you as a photographer use Facebook Live to grow your business?
Here’s several Facebook Live ideas I’d recommend trying:
- Show the images you’re currently editing and talk about your clients’ story as you give them a quick peek of the images via video
- Set up a phone on a tripod during a session for a behind-the-scenes look at how you work with clients
- Do client interviews that celebrate them but also talk about how awesome you are to work with
- Do an “unboxing” video when the prints, canvas, wall art, albums, and other products arrive
- Show your products in the homes of your clients right after you’ve installed them and ask them what they think
- Talk about wedding trends and give tips for planning a wedding in your area
- Interview other local business owners who have the same ideal client as you
- Create a webinar that educates, empowers, or entertains your ideal client, such as “How to get your newborn baby to fall asleep” if you’re a newborn photographer
- Do tours of locations you’d love to shoot in and encourage people to contact you if they’d love to have photos there
- Share your values and what you stand for to make emotional connections
BONUS Marketing Trend!
This is just a quick tip, but I found a new type of Interactive Photo that you can post on Facebook that gets CRAZY reach as of right now. I don’t know if it’ll be this effective forever, so take advantage of it while you can.
Basically, it’s an image that people can press and hold down on, and while they’re holding down, it reveals some sort of new content to them, either a video or a slideshow of images. If they stop touching it, it stops showing the hidden content.
Right now, it’s extremely effective because it’s new and hardly anyone has seen it before (so they’re curious), AND because people have to actually engage with it by pressing it, so Facebook shows it to more people because it highly rewards engagement.
How to Best Use Messenger Bots, Facebook Groups, and Facebook Lives
If you want help learning how to set up and use Messenger Bots, Facebook Groups, and Facebook Live videos in your business, I’d love to invite you to join me and become a Modern Tog Insiders Member, which is opening for enrollment again November 13-16.
In the Insiders, you’ll have access to me personally and will have easy-to-implement tutorials and tips each week for growing your business, plus a growing library of all past content released.
You’ll also be part of one of the best photography communities available online, which gives you accountability, helps encourage you to actually implement, and gives you a wide variety of caring people who can help you grow your business as well. Here’s what Claire Rosebush Harvey has to say about it:
If you’d like to learn more, click here now. I’d love to get to know you more personally and help you grow. See you on the Inside!