How I Rebranded My Photography Business | Part 4/4: SEO and Mareketing

How I rebranded my Photograpy Business

Hello Beautiful,

Welcome to blog 4/4 in my rebrand series! This week is SEO and Brand Marketing – hands down the hardest part of sustaining a brand. I am by no means an expert at this, but I will tell you everything I’ve learned so far! I’ll start with SEO because a lot of people know about it, but not what it is or how it works. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The way it works is search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo index all the content on the internet multiple times/day so that when someone types in a search term, the search engine can bring up:
(1) the most reliable source
(2) the most accurate information
(3) the most relevant
(4) the most recent
By indexing the content on the internet, search engines then rank the websites and pages it finds in order of accuracy and popularity. Sounds simple enough, BUT if you’re a small business or in a crowded business space, it’s hard to come up as a top search. Introducing: SEO! The way you can boost your website’s ranking on search engines is to be a relevant source – this means updating your site regularly (read: daily).

You can do this lots of ways, but the most popular and most efficient way is blogging. Blogs contain SO. MANY. WORDS. That these search engines can index. Another great way to boost your SEO is to link your social media accounts to your website. This lets the search engines know that you’re a real person with things to say, not just another website. SEO also works like a web – your website is linked to your social media and your blog, and as other people reference your blogs and social media, you’re seen by search engines a reliable source, upping your rankings. This means posting frequently – I’ve met bloggers and other business professionals who try to tweet 10 times a day and post on Instagram and Facebook twice a day! That’s a LOT, but it pays off. I, personally, don’t have that much to say yet, so I post 2 or 3 times a week and am trying to become more frequent as my business grows.

A few notes on social media platforms before I move on: social media platforms, especially those owned by Facebook such as Facebook and Instagram reward you for using each platform individually. So that means when you post to twitter, don't send it to Facebook via twitter. Post the exact same content on Facebook via Facebook. Same thing goes for Instagram.

There’s lots of technical things you can do on your website, too. The most important thing is to register your website with all the search engines. They’ll give you a HTML code that you enter into your websites header/metadata so that the search engine knows to go find you and index your content; however, recently google has done this via Google+, so be sure to set one of those up for your business. As far as content goes, make sure pictures on your site are named relevant things. If you have a picture of a purple wedding bouquet and on your computer that image is named ‘039472.jpg’ rename it to ‘purpleweddingbouquet.jpg’ that way when someone Googles “Purple Wedding Bouquets”, your site and your picture is more likely to come up as a relevant search.  

One word of caution if you're re-branding: changing your website address (URL) will hurt your SEO big time - It will literally erase it. So if you've done a TON of work on your website and SEO be sure to follow these steps to keep some of your momentum:

1. Keep your current URL and redirect it to your new URL for a while (6 months or so)
2. Copy your website and import it into your new URL - be sure to transfer all your blogs, too!
3. Link up all your Social Media Accounts to your new URL
4. Join in on Blog Circles (More info at Social Media Hat)

It has been so fun to share my experience with you guys and I hope it can help you in your branding/rebranding process!
If you're looking for more information starting/rebranding a photography/video business, check out this article at Shoot Dot Edit. (Or copy this link: http://shootdotedit.com/2017/08/how-to-start-photography-business/) 
As always, if you have any questions drop me a comment or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you.

xoxo,
Sarah

How I Rebranded My Photography Business | Part 3: Building Hype

How I rebranded my Photography Business

Welcome back, lovely!

So once you’ve gotten your concept down and you’re making moves to build your brand or re-brand, you’ve got to build hype and let people know what you’re up to! Let people inside your excitement. When I re-branded, I posted a lot about it – I shared my new name, logo, website sneak peeks, business card sneak peeks, and my feelings about my new brand. And you know what? People liked it! I built up hype and let people know that I was re-branding and that it was still me, but with a different business name. This way I didn’t lose followers (or follower – thanks Mom!) or confuse people when I switched up the look of things.

The way I did this was I built out my brand and WAITED. And it killed me to wait because I’m not patient. But I waited a few weeks before I launched and posted the sneak peeks I was talking about on instagram and facebook and the twitter so that I didn’t lose anyone in the process. The same goes for when you’re launching a brand – build hype! Tell people you’re starting a business or that you’ve got exciting things in the works for your current business. Friends are amazingly supportive and will send people your way more often than not. So let people know what you’re up to behind closed doors. If you sell a product, have a giveaway to get people involved, if you’re service based (like me) offer coupons – make it a BIG reveal like a grand opening of a store front and have fun!

While you're building hype around your business, don't be afraid to spend some money on advertising. Boosting posts on Instagram and Facebook is a great way to reach a broader audience for $20. One thing I will say about boosting posts is that I, personally, haven't seen much traffic out of them other than more followers on my social media pages, but when I boosted my post about my website launch I saw more traffic to my website and it did result in some inquiries and a booking!  On that note, I will leave you for today, but tune in next week for my final installment in this series: SEO and Marketing!

Xoxo,
Sarah

 

How I Rebranded My Photography Business | Part 2: DO IT

How I Rebranded My Photography Business

Hello lovers,
Welcome to part 2 of 4 of how I rebranded my business! This week is DO IT.

If you’re diligent, branding a business can take as little as 3 weeks, but to really make sure you love it – I’d give yourself at least 2 months to make sure everything is perfect. So I already posted about the concept of your brand – basically the framework of how you want to look and feel. So now let’s break it down into the entities of a brand.

A logo: every good brand has a logo – a recognizable symbol. A logo is one small picture that represents your whole brand. You can go simple, fancy, modern, nature inspired, anything. But it needs to fit your brand because it’s going to be literally everywhere. Along with a logo, you should pick 2 fonts that compliment each other to use in your publications, website, etc.

Materials: you need materials even if your brand is 100% online. You should always have business cards on hand. Moreover, you can create catalogues (digital or physical) for any industry, flyers, pamphlets, packaging, etc. I have business cards with my logo and lots of white space – they’re simple with my name, industry, and contact information. They reflect my brand and are consistent with my other materials. I have an online catalogue linked to my site and I also have physical copies of the same catalogue, too. I have a way I package my deliverables and I even have custom stickers with my logo to seal envelopes and boxes when I mail things. If you sell a product, consider product stock photos on your social media feeds for a uniform look. If you’ve got a storefront, consider uniform displays that reflect your brand. 

Vibe: a business vibe is SO important. It’s what makes your business yours. My vibe is personal – all my written materials are typed the way I speak so people feel like I’m talking to them in person. The way I set up my website was outlining it: home, about, blog, contact, catalogue. Then I wrote out a paragraph for each tab: the home page welcomes people to my site, the about page was about me, the contact page is about my ideal client and working relationship, and the catalogue is a beast of its own, and you’re on the blog page now and it’s just a collection of my thoughts. Then I added photos and videos to make the site pop and showcase my work. More importantly, my vibe continues into my interaction with the client AFTER they’ve contacted me. My correspondence with them is personal and tailored to their event. My booking process is exactly the same across the board according to my policies and processes I made for myself. Every client fills out the same information and pays at the same stage as everyone else. In short, every client has the same experience that's also personal to them at the same time.

Lets get down to the timeline:

Before doing ANYTHING make sure you have a logo and photo and/or video content. These things can take months to get from professionals or to make yourself. So don’t promise a timeline to yourself or others until you have these things. Once you have them, you’re in the 1 month window – let’s break things down week by week here:

Week 1: Visuals – Create a logo then create your marketing materials based on your logo

Week 2: Build your website based on your visuals

Write 1 paragraph per tab on your site and upload photos and videos to the right pages – I suggest hiring a professiona, but if that’s not in your budget use Wordpress or SquareSpace to DIY.

Week 3: Nail down your business process – What’s your sales pitch? What’s your file organization? What do your clients need to do before you can start your end? Write down your process form start to finish along with how you want your client to feel. (P.S., be on the lookout for my e-course on small business administration that covers this topic as well! Coming in the Summer of 2017)

Week 4: finalize everything and I mean everything. Click on every link on your website, read every word on your site and printed materials to check for misspellings, write out your business processes, then launch!

On going: Tweak along the way – if it’s not working, change it - it's not the end of the world to make mistakes.  

Next week I’ll be posting on building hype around your brand launch and the week after that will be my most requested post: SEO and Digital Marketing.

Xoxo,

Sarah

How I Rebranded My Photography Business | Part 1/4: Concept

How I Rebranded My Photograpy Business

Hi there!
I recently re-branded and wanted to share my process with you! Maybe you’re reading because you’re interested in creating a brand for your business, or maybe you’re contemplating a re-brand – either way, I hope this series helps you! This is the first of a 4 part series on how I re-branded my photography business and what I learned. Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, for that you need to check out Native State Design Co., but I wanted to share all I know.

So here we go – Part 1: The Concept.

A brand is an intangible thing – it’s a feeling, a look, the way someone recognizes you; It’s a concept, a notion, and recognition. Because a brand is such an intangible thing, it’s hard to imagine one sometimes. But it’s not impossible and there’s a lot of really great brands out there like: Starbucks, Target, and Anthropology. You get a feeling from all of these stores because of their brand. You look at a Starbucks and you know it’s a metro place you can go and hang out even if you’ve never been before. You look at a target and think it’s a clean, happy place to shop. You look at an Anthropology and you know its an urban, sophisticated clothing store. You’re able to deduce all these things because of the brand: a collection of colors, logos, pictures, surroundings, and vibes.

"When I began my re-branding process I was ready to establish Gold + Sage as a welcoming, ethereal, and simple creative studio. That was my concept and everything else flows from that."

To me simple colors are black and white, so I incorporated a lot of white space into my website, logo, and my printed materials. I avoid colored fonts and blocks so that I can achieve a simple, clean look. Next is my style: ethereal. My photography and video style is romantic and moody; I play on the shadows rather than the light and capture raw emotion instead of posing my couples. I’m slowly building a photography and video style that is recognizable without someone seeing my name on an image or video. Lastly, I wanted to be welcoming and personal. I’m not the business, the business is me. When you read my blog, it’s me talking – when you visit my website I want you to feel like you’re hearing from me personally. I’m not a formal person, I’m a real person and when someone books with me, they’re booking with me not a business. So I say the silly things that pop into my head and I don’t always use perfect punctuation so that my posts read the way I want them to (and all the English majors cringe).

All of these things make a brand and consistency is key. For me that’s the hardest part! It means I don’t always get to post the cute thing my dog did on instagram (which is why I also have a personal account – for the not professional dog photos), but it means that the things I am posting are consistent with my brand. BTW: branding your instagram feed is SO HARD. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know (which will be never, fyi). So in summary, know your concept before you begin. Do your research and determine the vibe you want to project - a great way to do that is to create an inspiration board on Pinterest or a physical one. Once you've nailed down the direction you want to go, start building your visuals like your logos, print materials, website, and Instagram feed.

Stay Tuned for part 2 next week: “DO IT.”


xoxo,

Gossip Girl

(Jk, it’s Sarah)