Getting a domain and a website or blogsite needs to be done before any of the other steps, it's the biggest thing you can do for your business :) I have had clients say to me they would not hire a photographer who didn't have a website, so a lack of one could be driving away potential clients.
I'll be posting a new article soon on how to build a website your clients will LOVE!
I found Mad Mimi to be the easiest and most user friendly of the bunch but MailChimp is not far behind :)
A monthly newsletter is best to keep your clients engaged, and it's a great way to let them know about an amazing blog post, a promotion, or even mini sessions that are on the horizon.
You can do contests and incentives to have people sign up for your mailing list, but for now you already have one - your clients' email addresses. Just be sure to give them a chance to unsubscribe with no hard feelings if they would like to.
3. SEO - Search Engine Optimization - AKA getting your site or blog on the first page of google.
Here I just have to reiterate point 1 (establishing a website separate from your facebook page.) Think about when you need a plumber, or a contractor of some sort. Do you search on facebook for one? I mean sure you might post asking for one and a couple of friends will post links or pages to plumbers they have used and liked. But what is your very first step? Search on google. This is what your potential client will do, and all of your competitors' websites will pop up before any links to a facebook page would.
Before I was on the map with SEO I went 25 pages into google before I gave up looking for my facebook page, and guaranteed no client of mine would have had the dedication to do that.
In a land where there are more photographers in a city than doctors and lawyers combined, haha, you want to get a good ranking on google.
There are SO many ways to do this, and it is very complex and unfortunately ever changing task. But a GREAT guy to follow and get info on this is Zach Prez
. The things I have learned from him are too many to count
and if you buy his recipe book on SEO you will gain access to his community, which is just a never ending fountain of knowledge.
4. Last but DEFINITELY not least: Blog, Blog and more Blog. But don't make it homework! Blog about your passions, tell a story about what you are blogging about. For instance, if you are a photographer tell a story about the session you are blogging. Simply saying look how cute little Jimmy is! We had SUCH a blast! Doesn't draw readers in.
People respond more to storytelling. A great resource to understanding your clients and what they like to read is Psychology for Photographers
Once you have all of these things set up, use facebook merely as a sounding board, try to always direct your facebook followers to your blog or website. For instance when I have a mini session announcement I put some information on my facebook post but I always direct them to the mini session page I posted up on my blog, that way I can get traffic to my blog, and hopefully people staying to take a look around.
Unfortunately a lot of these things will mean a monetary investment. But take it from someone who knows what it is like to move to a city and have to start over on building your network. Being on the first page on google has gotten me many more clients than I have gotten through referrals, because word of mouth only moves so fast. So imagine what it can do for you!
It is worth the investment of time and money involved to establish your presence OFF of Facebook---because Facebook pages might be sinking, and you gotta learn how to swim.