I get this question from many photographer friends and those I mentor: How do I attract my ideal client?
Ideal client: someone who you enjoy working with, who values your work, style, talent, and experience (AKA the dream client).
Knowing your ideal client matters because it makes your job a whole lot easier. Once you figure out who your ideal client is, you can market directly to them and ensure you’re doing business with people who value you.
It’s not rocket science, but how to attract your ideal photography clients does take some intentionality. Remember, it can take time to learn who your ideal client is, and that’s ok. Here are things to keep in mind as you discover who your ideal client is:
1. Figure out who your ideal client is.
Your ideal client isn’t necessarily the one who likes your style. I mean, sure, that helps, and that’s probably what drew them to you, but there’s more to an ideal client. It’s a two-way street: your ideal client should not only enjoy your style, but you should enjoy theirs too!
This is particularly important for wedding clients. Ask yourself what type of person you want to hang out with all day (cause that’s what you’ll be doing), and what type of person will trust you and value your talent and experience.
Questions to ask yourself: What type of client helps me achieve my business goal(s)? What are the qualities of my dream clients? Laid back, feisty, or somewhere in between? Traditional, or up for an adventure? Detail-oriented or go with the flow? Someone who knows what they want out of their photos or who likes surprises and going with their gut? Figure out what type of personalities jive best with yours. And that doesn’t mean your client is going to be your best friend (though MANY of my clients have become just that!). Go with your gut, and really think about who you want to spend your time with.
2. Market yourself authentically.
To market yourself authentically, you gotta know what you’re selling. I’m not just talking about your photo packages, either. With your ideal client in mind, think about how you can market yourself on platforms where they’ll find you: your website, Facebook, and Instagram, to name a few.
Take time to craft compelling messages that clearly state what your clients can expect when they choose you. Be specific. I’m not just a wedding photographer, I’m a South Lake Tahoe-based photographer specializing in wedding photography, portraits and event, concert, travel and adventure photography. That being said, I’m a photographer who promises to cuss only three times in front of your grandma, will throw back tequila shots with you at the end of the night on your dance floor, sends koozies to all my clients, and isn’t afraid to tell your Aunt Myra no.
My ideal client is adventurous and laid back. They are backyard BBQ-ing whiskey drinking partiers that just want to celebrate their day with the people they love most. They value classic photography and those are 100% the kind of people I attract most often.
From a quick look at my website and the photos I share on social media, clients can draw the following conclusions:
- I’m fun. But seriously. The photos I display are genuine candids, where my clients are naturally emotive.
- My style is journalistic and real, not over-edited or filtered.
- Weddings are my jam, and I also specialize in other services, like events and commercial photography.
- I’m inclusive and I care about my community. It’s pretty clear that I love my LGBTQ+ couples and give back to my local community directly through my sales—these things matter to me and I want to work with couples who value that.
Clients know you’re good at your job—they want to know what makes you, you. Consider hiring a website designer and copywriter if you’re not tech savvy or if you’re struggling with developing your messaging. Hire a photographer (yes! hire another photographer to photograph YOU!) to help you solidify your branding and marketing messaging with a collaborative lifestyle session.
3. Ask for reviews and referrals.
Oftentimes, your clients are happy to do this unprompted, but consider including messaging in your photo delivery email or a follow-up that asks them to review you on WeddingWire, The Knot, Yelp, Facebook, Google, or any other preferred platform where you can capture your ideal clients. Future clients are going to trust who you are in the words of someone who has experience being your client (just like restaurant reviews!). If you’re still stumped on who your ideal client may be or what makes you unique as a photographer, take a look at your reviews and see if you can find any patterns or keywords that several clients use.
My most recent review: “Oh what’s more 2020 then your photog getting dysentery… but still FUCKING KILLING THE GAME. May faint, will still provide a good time.” ACCURATE.