Okay, we get it, Facebook. The heyday is over. No more free exposure for our photography business.

We need to pay to play.

What’s the big deal? We’ll just spend a couple of bucks on Facebook Ads, boost a few posts, and voila! We’re booking wedding and portrait clients like crazy, right?

Well, if it were that easy, every photographer would be advertising on Facebook and CRUSHING it… but that’s clearly not the case.

There are literally millions of newly engaged couples online today that still need a wedding photographer. To be specific, there are over 10 million people on Facebook who’ve become engaged in the last year.

So why aren’t they booking you?

We talk to dozens of photographers each month, and these issues kept coming up:

  • How can I get real value out of Facebook?
  • Is it worthwhile to spend the money on Facebook ads?
  • If Facebook ads actually work, why am I still struggling to book more clients?

After taking a deeper look into their ads, we noticed a pattern. In this post, we’re going to show you what we discovered, and exactly how to fix it.

From Homepage to Landing Page

The biggest mistake photographers make with any online advertising is sending paid traffic to their website.

Just to be really clear, what do we mean by paid traffic?

When someone finds you online by searching Google for “photographers near me”, that’s called organic traffic. When someone finds you through another client’s StickyAlbum or folio, it’s called referral traffic.

Paid traffic is when you buy an ad to drive traffic to a particular web page.

So, if the biggest mistake photographers make in online advertising is sending paid traffic to their website, where should their Facebook ads send people to?

The Landing Page

Because most photographers have small teams (and many of us are a team of one), we have to treat our website like an employee. Its job is to communicate a lot of information (like who we are, what we shoot, where we shoot, and how to contact us) to a lot of different people (couples, high school seniors, parents of newborns, boudoir clients, etc.).

The problem is, when we send paid traffic to our website that’s communicating all of this stuff, people get lost, confused, or distracted.

So, for example, let’s say you run Facebook ads to newly engaged couples in your city looking for a wedding photographer. You send them to your main homepage, hoping they’ll book a phone call with you. But now they have to navigate through your about page, blog, services page, and example portfolios, which causes information overload.

“The website is dying and the single-purpose landing page is taking over.”

This drastically decreases their chances of finding your contact page and actually reaching out, so instead of sending traffic to your main website, you need to send them to a dedicated landing page.

The landing page is similar to your website, but it only does one thing for one group of people. It’s a specific promotional page where you showcase a specific type of photography with a specific offer or deal.

“Knowing the difference between your homepage and landing page is a huge key to running a successful pay-per-click ad campaign.”

4 Reasons to Send Traffic to a Landing Page

There are so many reasons to use landing pages for traffic, but right now, we’ll focus on the big four:

1. The Squirrel Effect

I’m guilty of being easily distracted when I visit a new website. And guess what… I’m not alone. We are ALL guilty of this! (Thanks, smartphones and tabbed browsing!)

It may not be obvious, but our websites are full of “squirrels” — distractions that take viewers away from our intended purpose.

When we send traffic to a page on our existing website, they may read the copy, but before they scroll to the form where we want them to take action, they get distracted.

They click on “Weddings” or “Seniors” or “Blog”, and within seconds, they’ve moved away from the form.

That quickly lowers the impact of your ad campaign.

On a landing page, though, the distractions are removed. There’s no side menu, navigation bar, or clutter. It’s focused on a singular, clear call-to-action.

2. People Have Short Attention Spans

In 2000, researchers said the average human attention span was 12 seconds. In 2015, that dropped to eight seconds. To put that in context, it’s shorter than a goldfish’s!

We all have short attention spans, and when combined with a demand for instant gratification, we have a problem on our hands.

Homepages, especially photography sites with hundreds of images, can take a moment to fully load. It may sound ridiculous, but those extra few seconds can impact the entire ad campaign.

Because landing pages are more simple and usually hosted externally, they load really fast.

3. Landing Pages Are Specific to a Promotion

As we said earlier, landing pages are designed to do one thing for one group of people. But many of us shoot multiple niches of photography — weddings, seniors, family, newborns, boudoir, etc.

When we’re promoting one kind of photography on our Facebook ads, those potential clients don’t need to see information about all the other types of photography we’re capable of shooting.

Not only is it distracting, but it also makes us appear to be less of a specialist.

Landing pages allow us to be really specific to the niche we’re targeting. For example, through one campaign, we can promote ourselves as not just a photographer, but a wedding photographer. And we’re not just a wedding photographer, but a wedding photographer in a particular city who specializes in barn weddings for same-sex couples.

Whatever niche we want to go after, we’ll target them with specific Facebook ads that take them to a landing page created just for them.

4. Landing Pages Create & Maintain Tension

Clay Collins of LeadPages — a popular landing page builder — said that marketing is the creation of desire-based tension. We want our photography landing pages to create and maintain tension too.

Just like a good server at a restaurant never wants his guests to get full from their meal, we don’t want our visitors to get full from our images. The good server wants his guests to order dessert but knows they won’t order anything else if they fill up on dinner.

We need to give our visitors a taste of our photography without letting them “fill up”. If we put too many images on a site and give them more than they could possibly want, they’ll get overwhelmed.

The images just become more noise. There’s no tension. There’s no reason for them to take action and reach out to us.

But if we only put a few images on a landing page, that’s not enough to fill them up. We want them thinking, “WOW, these images are amazing. I want to look at more! I want to see their full portfolio. I want to learn about their pricing.”

5 Key Elements of a Photography Landing Page That Books Clients

So what do you put on a landing page?

1. Client-Focused Headline

When somebody comes to your landing page, the first thing they’ll see is whatever message is at the top of the page. That message will either invite them and compel them to keep scrolling, or it’ll make them feel like they’re in the wrong spot.

Most people that view your landing page will only see the top half, so this is your chance to grab their attention and invite them to look down. The best practice in crafting the headline is to say something that’s relevant to their needs and what they’re looking for.

The headline should use client-focused language, rather than photographer jargon, and make it really clear what you’re offering.

What are your visitors really looking for? What can you do for them specifically?

Like I said earlier, it could be barn weddings in a specific town, city, or even neighborhood.

2. A (Short) Bio

Next, you want to include a little bit about you.

This isn’t a place to insert a 500-word autobiography, but potential clients want to have an idea of who you are. Introduce yourself and give a brief overview of your experience, style, and passion.

3. 10 Good Images

Of course, you want to include images, but not too many. Remember, you’re trying to create some desire-based tension, so you don’t want visitors to “fill up” on your entire portfolio. I recommend using about 10 of your best images.

If your landing page is for newborn photography, you probably shouldn’t include your favorite boudoir shots. Make sure the images are specific to the kind of photography you’re promoting.

And, to maintain consistency between the Facebook ad and your landing page, use the same images on both.

4. Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to add credibility and social proof to your photography.

Make sure to include 3-5 blurbs from previous clients talking about how awesome you are. It goes a long way!

5. A Clear Call-to-Action

Finally, your landing page should have a clear call-to-action, both above and below the fold (i.e. the part of the page you first see before scrolling down).

We want the CTA in several different places to encourage people to take the action.

Here’s what it looks like when you put it all together:

How to Build Your Photography Landing Page

Many of you are not full-time designers or web developers, and you don’t have the time (or the need) to create these pages.

And, while there are many online tools that help professional marketers create pages like this, they usually cost $300-400 per month, which just doesn’t make any sense for you as a photographer.

With landing page builders you can create beautiful landing pages. Here at StickyFolios, we specialize in creating landing pages for photographers, and even have a landing page designed specifically to send your Facebook ad traffic to. You don’t have to go out and buy a custom landing page solution. It’s all included in the StickyFolios platform.

For more info on the complete StickyFolios platform, make sure to check out the complete tour HERE.