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Photo Marketing 101: Create that Marketing Budget

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our semi-weekly blog series on marketing yourself as a photographer. In our last post, I laid out a couple of ideas that you can use to begin to market yourself and your services for free.

An investment in marketing is an investment in your business. Each dollar you spend should pay for itself and then some. Here are a few things worth trying:

Paid Search Marketing

Paid search marketing is a way to spend your marketing dollars in a controlled environment to attract potential customers who are already searching for you. Whenever you search something on Google or Bing, you will see paid ads show up on the top and right hand side of the natural results that the search engine displays. These ads are targeted to the keywords that you entered into the search field.

You can use ads in search engines to attract potential customers. Step 1 is picking your keywords. What will people be searching for when you want to bring them to your website? If you’re a wedding photographer in Springfield, you might use “wedding photographer in Springfield”. It can be that simple. Google provides a simple keyword generator tool which can help you build a list of keywords similar to yours that people are searching.

Step 2 is to create the ads. You have a limited amount of space to get across your message. The key here is to give accurate information, and let the person know what you’re offering before they click. Because in paid search, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad. You can even use a phone number and pricing in your ad to stand out from the crowd.

Step 3 is to set your budget. One reason why paid search is a good place to start spending money is you can limit it very easily. You can spend as much or as little as you want per day, or per week, and turn it off whenever you need to. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Google AdWords and the AdWords Learning Center.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook ads work a lot like paid search marketing. The ads on the right side of all pages on Facebook are easy to create and target only those people who might be interested in your services. You can use an image to call attention to your ad, and target people based on location, age, gender, and interests. In addition, you can cap the amount of money you want to spend, just like paid search. With the amount of time people spend on social media sites these days, this might be a very profitable place to advertise for a lot of people.

If you’re interested in getting started or learning more, visit the Facebook Advertising Page.


Sponsorships are an interesting form of marketing, because they’re a way to tap into an existing marketplace instead of trying to create your own. Organizations, websites, and companies are often looking for sponsors to help them launch a product, promote an event, or offer something special to their customer base.

Get a sense of who your potential customers are, and where they might be spending a lot of their time. Maybe there is an event taking place near where you work or live, and a lot of potential customers will be attending. By sponsoring the event, you’d be able to get your name in front of that audience when they buy tickets or attend the event. It gives you a little credibility because the host of the event is essentially introducing you to their audience.

Sponsorships can be very successful, but are tougher to find. You will have to do more work, researching the potential sponsorships that exist, contacting those people in charge, and negotiating the relationship. Often times you might be able to give something away for free or help them promote the event/product which can limit the monetary cost to you.

In the next edition of this series, I will ask you – the readers – for some new marketing ideas that you’ve looked into or tested and the results.

Homework: Get over the fear! The fear of spending money on marketing is something that can cause hesitation for anyone that is doing it for the first time. Use the comments below to discuss this fear and share insight and encouragement that others can use to help get past this hesitation.