Today’s question is from Tony who asks:
Table of Contents
- In today’s episode: Should I use ads in my photography business?
- What happens to referrals when you raise your prices?
- Ads to attract more customers
- Ads for brand awareness
- Google Adwords
- Facebook Ads
- How much to spend on Ads?
- Creating a landing page for your ads
- How Re-targeting ads work
- Using Google Analytics to track your ads progress
Should I use ads in my photography business?
I’ve been in business for just over two years. Word of mouth has worked very well for me. But I was wondering will online advertising work for my portrait photography business and help to get more customers ?
In today’s episode: Should I use ads in my photography business?
I answer Tony’s question and discus –
- Attracting more customers
- What happens to referrals when you raise your prices?
- Brand awareness
- Creating a landing page
- How much to spend on Ads?
- Google Adwords
- Facebook Ads
- How Retargeting ads work
- Google analytics
- Adding code to your wordpress website – From your wordpress admin console, Go to theme settings >> Header Scripts
Hi Tony That’s excellent that you’ve got word of mouth working for you. That is one of the best and cheapest ways of getting new customers.
That’s really, really good that you’ve got people recommending you. And you know what? The thing is, when that happens, your job is a lot easier to get the client. So good on you.
What happens to referrals when you raise your prices?
Now, one thing I should note is that, as you increase your prices, this word of mouth can actually dry up. And what I mean by that is that if you’re charging, let’s say, $500 for a portrait session, hypothetically speaking, and as soon as you raise your prices, to, say, $800 the following year, or the following season, those previous customers will be referring you to their friends and family for that lower price point.
And when they come to you, they’ll go, “Oh well, hang on, price is a lot more.” And then they’ll have to weigh up if it’s still a good fit for them.
There’s nothing wrong with you increasing prices, and it’s definitely recommended, because as we start off and we progress through our journey of becoming a better photographer and a better businessperson, we need to do that. That will eventually, I guess, dry up to a certain degree.
Ads to attract more customers
You asked about, “Will ads work in your photography business?” And short answer is, yes, it will. There’s a couple of things you should be aware of. One, it can get quite expensive, depending on the type of ads that you do. And today we’ll be talking about Google ads and Facebook ads.
The other thing is that you could be attracting the wrong type of clientele. So you need to set up your ads correctly.
Some of the pros that you’re going to get from having ads — now mind you, these ads can run 24 hours a day, be targeted to a particular demographic in your area, and it can attract more customers than what your current referral base is giving you.
So you can, you know, cast a wider net, maybe just in your town or could be even the neighbouring town, and so on, so forth.
Ads for brand awareness
The other thing is that you can create brand awareness by having ads running, and we’ll get into the retargeting in a second, but that’s basically adding a little bit of code to your website so that every time somebody goes to your website, they will receive ads that follow them around the internet. Which sounds very, very creepy, but it is very effective for brand awareness.
So the two ads that we’ll be talking about is Google AdWords and Facebook ads. Now, Google ads have been around for quite a while, and they are a bit more expensive. Now Facebook ads, slightly cheaper and you can get a little bit more targeted with your types of ads that you do create.
So with the Google ad, as you know, you go into Google, you type in a keyword, it may be “New York portrait photographer,” and you’ll get all the results come up. And the first top three results are the Google ads. They come up because of just the keywords that you put in for the search engine.
So for you to get started with Google AdWords, it is absolutely free. And basically what happens is that when you do log in to your account, you can create ads and be up and running within 24 hours or so. Now, the ads are charged on a per-click base, and it’s based on how much you’re bidding for a particular keyword.
So say for instance you’ve got, you know, “New York portrait photographer,” “New York family photographer,” “New York seniors photographer.” Now say for instance we’re targeting for these type of keywords, you’ll also have other people that are targeting for the same keywords, and therefore a bidding war, or bids, will come into play here.
And you know, ads could be as cheap as $0.20 per click, or up to, you know, $5 or $8 in some cases. It just depends on time of year and how many people are actually bidding for that. So the thing is, is that you can actually set a limit as to how much you want to spend per day, and also per ad or keyword click. And so that’s something you should be mindful of.
And with any ads, you should probably put a portion of maybe a session or even your monthly spend for ads. And it could be, you know, I can’t tell you how much that’s going to be, but that’ll be dependent on how much you’re earning. And you know, something as small as $100 a month can actually get you quite a lot of ads and views from the public.
Now with Facebook ads, it’s slightly different, where you can target two different types of people and if you say, for instance, target the people that like your page, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than if you were, say, to try to find new customers.
So Facebook rewards you by targeting your followers. So with the Facebook ads, and I do like Facebook ads, I’m not going to say better than Google ads, because I’ve had a lot more success with Google ads.
But what I do find, there are certain times that I want to target a particular promotion to a small demographic. And what that would mean is, I’ve got a, maybe a particular mini-session, or a session, or whatever it may be, a special for my wedding photography business, where I want to target particular group of people between the ages of 23 and 35 that may have two children and that are interested in Dora the Explorer, or pets, or something like that. And you’re able to do that, and you’re able to target a specific group of people, which is excellent.
Whereas with Google ads, you’re kind of throwing a wide net out. You can target locations, and that’s … Locations, and also the keywords, but you’re going quite specific here with the Facebook ads.
And, you know, the fact that you can pick age groups and where do people live, and so on and so forth. And that also depends on how much information they’ve entered into Facebook, and that’s what that’s based on.
How much to spend on Ads?
If you were to just blanket display an ad for, say, the next couple of towns, the neighbouring towns, and you just want to say people that have kids. Well then you’re going to throw a wider net of people you’re going to try to target, but the fact that they’re not your followers will cost you a little bit more.
And it could be anywhere, depending on how many people click on your ad, it could be anywhere from $0.50 to $1-$2.
Which, some of the unsuccessful ads that I’ve had, I think I would have had only four or five people click, and therefore a click became $2 or $3.
Whereas other ads, and the more that people engage with your ads and share them and like them, you get more reach, meaning that you get a lot more people seeing your ad, and they’ll, somewhere in the $0.70, or even I think $0.60. So, little bit more, better cost-effective in that regard.
Creating a landing page for your ads
So with these ads you just have to be mindful of what you want from your customers or prospective customers. Now driving people to just your main page is probably not really the best thing to do.
There’s a time and place where you may want to do that, and we’ll get into a little bit of that when we talk about retargeting, but if we’ve got an ad, say for instance, for a Autumn mini-session.
Well, what you should do is create what is known as a landing page. And this is, if you’re using WordPress, it is just like creating a regular page.
You know, you can put a photo, text, pricing and all that information that’s necessary for the special offer. And you can set the template to landing page, and what that’ll do is remove the menu items from the top.
Now, pros and cons here. If you haven’t got enough information for the client to want to book with you, they’re just going to hit the back button. Okay, so they’re going to go there and go, “What is this page,” and then back out. If you’ve got, so the menu along the top, where it looks like a regular page or a blog post, the prospective customer has the ability to go, “Okay, well, I’ve got information here from this portrait session. Let me go see what else is available.”
And, you know, they may look through your portfolio, they may look at your about page, which is why it’s very important that when you create a landing page, you give all the information that’s needed.
You know, you give examples of your work, you ask them a call to action, so a CTA, meaning that you ask them to do something. And that could be to get in contact with you, or enter some information if you’re doing a competition, whatever it may be.
But what you need to do is think about exactly what you want to offer your customers, and put as much information as possible on the one page. Because as soon as they start moving around the website, they can lose track of what they’re doing, and then eventually close the browser or back out. So just be mindful of how you set up your landing page.
How Re-targeting ads work
Now I did mention about re targeting, and what re targeting is, is just another way of serving ads to prospective customers. And what this is, is that you have a small bit of code, and both Google and Facebook allow you to put a little bit of code on your website, so as soon as somebody goes to your webpage and they surf around and they leave, it goes into a list of people, and you have to, I think, have a minimum of 100-200, depending on the ad network. And this list of people, you can serve ads to. And these ads can be segmented.
So let’s say you had people come to your webpage, and you’ve got a couple of sections, and it could be portraits, newborns, and weddings.
And you want to target everybody that’s come into your portrait page and had a look around there. You can actually send ads to them in Facebook or even around the internet like if they go to a website that could be a news website, or whatever it may be.
And you would have seen ads on the sidebars or along the top. And you can have an ad that’s targeted specifically for that.
So if I went to your portrait page, you can serve ads to me that are for a new special or a new mini-session, and these ads generally, actually, no, not … They’re both text as well as display ads, so they’re pictures.
Now I mentioned before, why would you, instead of sending people directly to a page specific for an offer, you can send them to your webpage.
Now, when you haven’t got any offers, it’s good for branding and just for getting people to see your offers, or your branding more and more and more.
So, the more we see something, you know, it’s why Coca-Cola and McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s, and all those places constantly doing ads, is branding.
So when you’re wanting something to eat regardless if it’s healthy or not, the first thing you think are these brands, because you’ve seen so much of them.
And the same thing applies to us as photographers. There’s so many photographers, and the more you get yourself in front of prospective clients, the better it’s going to be for you.
Now retargeting ads, as I alluded to before, you add a bit of code to your website. And if you were using WordPress, you would go to your theme settings and then header scripts.
Now I’m actually going to add a link to both Google AdWords and Facebook ads in the show notes, so you can go to their respective pages and sign up if you like. And just follow the tutorials that they have, which are very basic, but they get you up and running. And they will show you how to grab the code and put onto your webpage, and that will get you started.
Now the sooner you have these little bits of code on your webpage, the better, because you’ll be, every time somebody goes to your webpage, they’ll be counting as someone coming to your webpage, and there will be a little small cookie added to their browser so you can target them later.
In regards to the cookies, these cookies are there until the customers would clear their browser cache, or get a new computer, or whatever it may be.
So, you know, one day you may have a few hundred people, and then the next week it could be a lot less because a lot of people may have cleared their cache.
And I know there’s a few people that actually do deliberately avoid cookies, and also clear their cache after every browsing session, but that’s not a big thing, because the majority of people would not even know about the browser cache anyway, so.
Using Google Analytics to track your ads progress
One thing I should note is that you should also be using Google Analytics, which is a free service. To do this, it is relatively simple. I’ll add a link in the show notes. The reason you should be using Google Analytics is to work out where all your customers are coming from, how long they’re staying, what pages are they on.
I mean, even if you’re not doing ads, that’s something that you should be using regardless. It also will help you, especially with, if you’re using ads from the different networks, like from Google or from Facebook, to see where people are coming from and what page they’re landing on, and what page they’re going to after, which is very important.
You know, if you’re having people that are staying for literally seconds and then hitting the back button, that’s not good, because we want people to stay on our website as long as possible. So Google Analytics gives you a lot of information that can help you adjust your pages based on what the analytics would tell you.
One of the features I do like is user flow, where it shows you a page that someone lands on, and the next page that they go to, and so on, so forth, until they leave your website.
Which is awesome because you can see where they’ve gone. You know, “Have they come in through my main page? Are they going to my about page? Did they go to the contact page, and then did they go to my portfolio? And did they go back to my contact?” And you can kind of see the way they go, which is — I know, it’s all very creepy, but it’s a necessary thing to do now, with business.
So there you go, Tony, I hope that answers your question, and good luck if you are considering using the ads from the different ad networks such as Google AdWords and Facebook.
I know that I’ve used both, and have had, you know, some mixed results. But I think it’s one of those things where you can’t just put money in and expect it to work, you’ve got to actually use Google Analytics, kind of test these things. So just be aware of that.
Thanks for your question, and I hope that helps.