Why You Need a Niche
The days of mass marketing are gone. Offering “something for everyone” is no longer the benefit that everyone’s looking for – in fact, it’s often a turn-off.
“Good at everything, outstanding at nothing” is the message that is conveyed. Or, more tellingly, “Good for everyone, outstanding for no one.”
And in a highly competitive marketplace – which photography certainly is – you really need to stand out in people’s minds.
Which means creating a niche: specialising in a particular type of product or service, for a particular kind of client, so that you become the highly recommended go-to photographer for that line of work.
So how do you create the right niche?
Start With Yourself…
Exactly where do your photographic talents lie? What are your favorite subjects, and why? Are action shots your thing, or can you bring objects to life? Do you like the challenge of working in difficult conditions – weather, lighting – or can you create the perfect environment to showcase your subjects at their best?
Consider your other talents, too. Do you make people laugh, or can you calm their nerves? Are you unobtrusive, able to capture the heart and soul of an event without intruding on the action? Can you direct with ease, organizing without offending? Do you love animals?
Sometimes it’s hard to see our own talents clearly – so if in doubt, ask your friends, family, past clients.
What are my greatest strengths?
What makes my work stand out?
How do I make people feel?
Finally, consider your values. What’s most important to you in your work? What impact do you want to have? How do you want to help people while providing your services?
Then you’ll be ready to move on, to…
Build Your Brand Around Your Ideal Client
Yes, your ideal client. Why not?
You’ll get to do the work that most suits your talents, with the people you most enjoy working with, making the kind of profit that suits you both (that gets paid on time!) – while your client will get a service that is perfectly tailored to their needs, and will be more likely to rave about you as a result.
It’s win-win: simply the best business outcome and the path to success.
So start by getting clarity around your ideal client.
Who are they?
What do they do, enjoy, worry about, get involved in?
Where are they, both geographically (e.g. near you) and virtually (i.e. where do they hang out online)? What problems do they have that you can solve?
This last question is particularly important to help you think more creatively about your business services; to enable you to package them in ways that truly benefit your clients, and communicate those benefits more effectively.
Because there’s a particular trap that you’ll want to avoid.
Don’t Just Let Your Images “Speak For Themselves”
Of course, potential clients will want to see an example of your work and will be impressed by beautiful shots. But to truly stand out in their minds, to convince them that you are the right person or company for them, you need to help them envisage exactly how you will benefit them.
That means you need to throw some words into the mix, so that when people view your work they understand exactly what they are looking at, and how that could benefit them.
You want them to move beyond thinking:
“Oh, so you’re a photographer who specialises in children, that’s cool.”
“Wow, so you encourage children to celebrate who they are, by taking photos of them within the context of them doing something they love.”
Unless you spell those benefits out to them, they’re probably not going to get them just from looking at a picture. But once those benefits ARE spelled out, they’ll look at those images with fresh eyes, and see the greater potential in them.
They will understand the value of your service. And that’s what will convince them to hire you.
Analyze yourself: your loves, your talents, your values. How do you want to help people through your photography?
Analyze your ideal client: who they are, what matters to them, what their problems are that you can solve, or issues that you can address.
Package the best of you into an irresistible offer that appeals to your ideal client and solves their problems.
It’s a lot of work. You may need help with it. But it’s worth the effort to establish a business that has true clarity around your unique value, in order to attract the work that you love.
All my Love,
Rowena Roberts is a brand strategist and copywriter working under the name Words Inspire. She bangs the drum for “authentic branding”, helping business owners to clearly articulate their goals and talents in order to attract more of the work and clients that they love.