Photographer Nick Perry
Back in the spring, I had an opportunity to start working with professional photographer, and one of my closest friends, Nick Perry. The mission? Overhaul his photography website, and design a custom-built digital marketing strategy that would start bringing in leads.
If you don’t yet know Nick, know this: he’s one of the most talented photographers you’ll ever be lucky enough to meet. Like many small businesses, his web site wasn’t attracting visitors, and as a result, his vision of establishing his photography business was on hold.
Whatever Nick has committed himself to, at least one thing is true: he’s passionate about it. Nick values things like quality, and believes that the details are what make the difference. When it comes to passion, Nick Perry’s twenty-five year photography journey is engaged in an ongoing battle with his love of brewing beer. In fact, his attention to detail and quality are probably why the beer from Great Lakes Brewery is so popular.
Without going into the whole story, Nick began his career as a professional newspaper photographer. He graduated from one of Canada’s prestigious photojournalism schools, Loyalist College, and went on to work for a number of newspapers. This was during a time when the industry was facing countless challenges. Discovering brewing along the way, Nick made some big decisions, and dedicated himself to start working in the brewing industry. Years, and countless brews later, Nick has earned himself a lead role at Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto. Even though Nick’s path changed, his cameras were never out of reach and one day recently he approached me about starting a serious photography business. This was perfect, because at the time I had just launched MeetMichael, and was eager to help.
The Web Site
Potential customers use a web site to size up the quality of your business. There’s foundational functionality that has to be there, but the site always needs to feel fresh and show that you’re busy. Everyone wants to have the best, most in-demand service – especially when it comes to family photography, where the entire thing is based in emotion and love. If you’re not giving off that vibe, customers will go elsewhere. The first step was to adopt a new design for NickPerry.ca. We looked at several professional WordPress templates to help get us started, and ultimately selected one that best reflected the high-end nature of Nick’s photography. We identified three core services that Nick was going to offer: family photography, product photography and portraits, and so we committed to building out dedicated landing pages for each. On top of that, we knew this was all about storytelling, meaning that in order to sell, we had to tell Nick’s story. When you look at his new website, the language we use is simple but evocative, and when it should be, emotional.
Building a Strategy
In my marketing career, I’ve specialized in being a generalist – and I’m glad for it. Doing so exposed me to every piece of the marketing toolbox, and positioned me really well to support talented clients like Nick who need an end-to-end marketing strategy. In Nick’s case, what he needed was… well, everything! With the new site ready and waiting, it was time to start raising NIck’s profile as a photographer. In other words, Nick Perry Photography needed a marketing strategy.
Having clients or customers that will vouch for you is worth a hundred times anything a marketer can write. That’s why we established a Google Business profile for Nick and started reaching out to past clients. Every one of them were happy to leave a review.
Even before the new web site launched, we were able to generate five, 5-star Google reviews from past clients. This helps position him as a great photographer that new customers could trust. And going forward, every new client that he shoots is asked to do the same – with the goal being to have not just the top reviews, but also the most. That tells customers searching that you’re the best, and you’re in demand.
The other key piece in this phase of Nick’s marketing strategy: consistent content creation. Nick’s content strategy is all about talking about photography, showing what he’s working on – things like printing, framing and even the best local spots to take photos. This all positions him as the expert he is, from a visitor’s point of view, but also in the eyes of Google Search. Why is content so key? There’s 52 weeks in a year. Dedicating yourself to creating a blog post a week means with just a year investment, you’ll have 52 pieces of evidence that speak to your expertise. Despite its importance, so many brands fail at this sage because the results aren’t instant. For my money (and yours) though, this is one of the best ways to drive long-term traffic to your site while establishing you as an expert in your field.
Decisions by Data
My job as a marketer is to ensure that every client is set up for success. I deisgn and build experiences that customers can see and use, while also implementing valuable background functionality they don’t – for example, Google Analytics, Search Console and Merchant Center. On the WordPress side of things? That means investing time into ensuring the site is technically designed to be optimized for search engines. For Nick’s project we did all of this, while also investing time into implementing Google Tag Manager. We wanted to measure what was driving clicks on the web site. Not just visits to other pages, but knowing which buttons were people clicking. Were they were opening and zooming things like portfolio images. If so, which ones? Over time this level of detail will teach us more about the site’s visitors, and what content they’re interested in – which is data that can help shape the direction of the business.