5 Easy steps to do Market Research before you start your Photography Business
Marketing research is the first thing you do before starting a photography business. A lot of photographers assume that they will find their marketing once they start the business. This is why most of them fail to sustain their business.
I have outlined five crucial stages of marketing research where you will identify your competitors, find out who is your ideal client and put out the right message to book for a photoshoot. Below are the 5 steps to follow.
Step 1 – Find out your competitors
This step is no brainer. You need to find out who your competitors are in your niche.
How are you going to find out or where to look?
That is easy.
They are everywhere- Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter etc.
For example, let say you are a wedding photographer and want to find your competitors. Go to Google and type the keyword “ Wedding Photographer” and you will see a lot of results. The top results are usually paid ads. Check both paid ads and organic results.
Open the website and look for Facebook and Instagram icons. Check their Facebook and Instagram pages and see how many people follow and like them. Do this for at least a dozen of them. Make a list.
When you look at their online profile, you will see the message they are sending out to their customer on their social post, videos or blog post etc. All these messages are influencing their customers to get their attention and or book their photoshoot.
Step 2 – Understand your customers
You need to understand your customer before you run an ad, send an email, or write a sales copy. The purpose of researching customers is to stand in their shoes and make them feel that you have read their minds. When you create ads or a landing page that has truly relate to your customers, they will feel that you can really help them.
How to do this?
First you need to figure out what their problems or challenges are, what they desire or wishes are. Some customers are too busy for a photoshoot, they can’t travel to a photo studio, don’t have a large budget, some think they are not photogenic, they fear being in front of a camera, they feel they are too old for photos etc.
Secondly from your list of competitors, find out all the messages they are sending to your customers. Looking at their ads, landing pages, blogs, Facebook posts and Instagram stories will help to understand what your customers are thinking and saying about themselves.
Finally pay attention to language and wording your customers are using. Check their comments, posts or feedback to get ideas. You can use those words on your content, ads or story so that they feel that you also speak their language and you have really understood their pain and problem.
Step 3 – Create a customer persona
What is a customer’s persona? It is a detailed description of your target customer. Whenever you write an ad copy or blog or article, make sure they are directly targeting your customer persona.
When creating your customer persona you lookout for two main things – Demographics and psychographics. Demographics are age, gender, income, location, jobs, income etc.
Psychographic are the Influence, educational resources, thoughts etc.
Below is a template for creating a customer’s persona. This is an ongoing process and you will be updating all the time. During this process, it is also important to eliminate the wrong people who don’t fit your customer persona. For example those who just want to do a free photoshoot or always ask for a discount, do not value your work and efforts etc.
Level of Education:
|PAIN AND GAIN|
If you have photographed a number of clients then creating this is easy. Figure out who your best clients are and gather as much info as you can. Check their Facebook profile, who they follow, where do they work, what do they like etc.
For a new starter who has had fewer clients needs to do a little bit of research. You will need to join popular Facebook groups, follow the popular photographers, and see who their followers are. Then you can check their profiles, bio, info etc.
Step no 4 – Understand customer’s Awareness
After you have created your customer persona, it is important to know their level of awareness so that you can send the right message and right offer through the right channel. Below are the 5 stages of awareness and what customers are thinking on each stage.
Assume that your customer persona is soon to be a mum and you want to book her for a photoshoot. You need to find out what awareness level she is in.
|Awareness Level||What customer persona is thinking about|
|Totally Unaware||She knows she is pregnant but not thinking about any photo shoot.|
|Problem Aware||Realized that the baby is due soon, this is one of the rare opportunities to take photographs of herself with her husband/partner.|
|Solution Aware||Options like take photos by herself or husband, use a mobile phone or get a camera to take a photo|
|Niche Aware||Taking photos by a mobile phone or a camera did not produce better photos. Want proper photoshoot from a professional photographer.|
|Offer Aware||She knows about your photography and different packages available|
Step no 5 – Buyer’s journey: Convince your customer to buy
This step follows the customer awareness level. Your message for each stage is different. For example for a customer who is in a Totally Unaware stage needs a longer ad copy, a convincing story and an amazing offer to book your photoshoot. If your customer is on the Offer Aware stage, then he/she already knows about your photography service. All you need to do is provide a valuable offer so that he/she will book you rather than going to another photographer.
A buyer’s journey has three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. I have already mentioned the customer awareness levels on Step no 4. The Consideration stage is where they ask all the questions like how long is the photoshoot, how much it costs, where they need to travel, what to wear etc. You need to answer all the questions and show them why you are the best so that they will make a decision to book you.