Life can be hard as a photographer.
Competition is stiff. Clients have trouble understanding the value you bring. And market rates are consistently being driven down.
And that’s if you’re already established.
But there’s good news, too: photography as an industry hasn’t really embraced modern digital marketing.
That means there’s still plenty of opportunity for a photographer to stand out online and generate their ideal clients. And any good digital marketing strategy starts with a good lead magnet.
Lead magnets let you collect the email addresses of your audience. You can then keep in touch and market your photography services over a long period of time.
In creating a photographer lead magnet, you are only limited by your imagination. So, we’ll look at some of the best lead magnets for photographers to help inspire your own.
Guides are the go-to lead magnet idea for photographers. Simple and valuable, these are small digital books that help your audience solve a particular problem. They are delivered as well-designed PDF documents.
For these, use the knowledge of your target audience and your experience working with clients to find good topics:
Here is an example of a guide from photographer Renee Farias:
This is another popular lead magnet for photographers. Even easier to create than the guide, the tip list is simply a collection of useful tips organized into a list. These are great for quickly delivering value with minimal time investment for you or your audience. And it doesn’t hurt that humans are hard-wired to love lists.
Here is how Vanie Poyey Photography uses the tip list:
Virtuance provides a list of simple things to do in order to prepare for a virtual open house.
As its name suggests, a resource list is a curated collection of useful resources for your ideal photography clients. These are particularly useful for things that are difficult or time consuming to research and vet.
Below is Caroline Tran’s version of this photographer lead magnet:
When it comes to lead magnet ideas for photographers, this one is a bit controversial. Consistently providing free work can devalue your services and make your audience less inclined to actually pay.
However, freebies can still be very effective. Not only will they attract people who are highly interested in your services, but after receiving a taste via your freebie, leads will often need more (paid) services. This is similar to how a store might offer an incredible deal just to get you in the store and then upsell you other products and services.
Ultimately, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons and determine if this photography lead magnet is a good fit for you and your audience.
Here it is in action at The Budoir Divas:
Video has become one of the most engaging forms of media in online marketing. Use of this format requires more upfront investment, but since they are rarely used by photographers (or even videographers!), they can definitely help you stand out.
With that being said, don’t do video just to do it. The information you provide should make sense as a video. In the following example, real estate photography company Virtuance uses a webinar to teach leads about social media giveaways:
Coincidentally, giveaways can also be a great lead magnet for photographers…
A giveaway can be a great way to maximize your exposure. It can rapidly build your email lead list and bookings due their viral nature.
You’ll need to offer a valuable package, like a full family photoshoot, but you only have to provide the prize to one person, yet you still benefit from being exposed to many people.
To run the giveaway, use an app like Gleam, which makes it easy to setup your giveaway and go viral.
Here is an example of a giveaway done by Laura Walter:
If you do photography for corporate clients, other businesses, or professionals, templates can be quite useful. A “template” is basically a fill-in-the-blank framework your audience can use to quickly create something.
In the following example, Virtuance offers social media post templates to their audience of real estate agents:
Allowing your leads to download some of your most gorgeous shots as computer or phone wallpapers is great for branding. Your audience will be permanently exposed to your brand. It also requires almost no extra effort since you’re using images you already have.
Here is an example from Max Rive:
A magnet in the real world doesn’t attract all objects. It only attracts certain metals with high iron content.
Likewise, your photography lead magnet shouldn’t try to attract everyone. It should be designed to attract only your ideal clients, while having little impact (or even repelling) other groups.
So, make sure you have a solid grasp of who your ideal audience is and their unique struggles, problems, or obstacles you can help them solve.
This concept goes hand in hand with focusing on your ideal clients.
Put simply: being vague is a death sentence in marketing. For example, which of the two is more appealing:
Take better pictures with your phone.
Take stunning selfies with your iPhone in 6 simple steps.
See? Being specific is far more compelling. And your audience will think so too.
Specificity significantly boosts conversion rates because your ideal audience feels like you’re speaking directly to them. This makes your lead magnet irresistible to the people who matter most. Everyone else will move on, which avoids wasting their time and yours.
One important note: if you have multiple specialties as a photographer, you will need to define an ideal client type and specific lead magnet for each.
This is obvious. After all, if you do weddings, families, and pets, how can you possibly come up with one lead magnet to engage all those market segments?
If the photographs you take are professional and beautiful, then your lead magnets should be too.
Your lead magnets are an extension of your brand, so prospects will associate the quality of your lead magnets with the quality of your photographs.
While most photographers are familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, few have mastered Adobe InDesign, which is the best program for designing PDF files. So, we recommend working with professionals. You can use a professional lead magnet design service like us or hire a freelance graphic designer.
Whatever your choice, don’t make a bad first impression with your lead magnet’s design, or you’ll never turn those hard-won leads into customers.
People aren’t patient. Especially online. In fact, every second of delay costs websites a significant percentage of conversions.
So, don’t make your leads wait.
Once they’ve requested your lead magnet, you need to send it to them immediately.
For files, you’ll want to upload your lead magnet somewhere publicly available but not accessible elsewhere on your site. You can use an online storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive for this. Wherever you upload it, the file will have a unique URL that can be used to access it.
Alternatively, you could place the URL link on a thank-you page that leads see right after signing up. However, this approach has several drawbacks:
You want your lead magnets to deliver value. And they can only do that if they get read/watched/used.
Creating a massive lead magnet, while valuable, is too intimidating for most early-stage prospects. They might download your lead magnet, but they’ll end up stashing it away in a folder on their hard drive, never to be seen again.
Ideally, your lead magnet should be as short as you can manage while still delivering value. The goal is to give your audience a “quick win”. You want them to be able to download and quickly consume your lead magnet, so they walk away feeling they got something worthwhile from you.
Your audience is busy. Don’t try to make them commit time they don’t have.
The lead magnets for photographers we’ve covered should help you create compelling lead magnets of your own.
If these haven’t sparked any ideas, you could also just ask your audience what they’d like to receive. Try asking questions that allow you to identify gaps in their knowledge. Find the emotional hooks that most strongly resonate with them. The more people you talk to who resemble your ideal clients, the richer the information you will get.
Regardless of your approach or whether your niche is photography or fitness, lead magnets are powerful tools to help you grow your business. They add valuable content to your website, establish you as a trustworthy authority, and nurture relationships with prospects that can turn into loyal clients.