One of my favorite genres to shoot is, hands down, high school seniors. Not only do I get to be a big part of this huge milestone for them, but they are usually eager for their photo shoot and so fun to work with! However, if your area is as saturated with photographers as mine is, you can be left with a lot of competition which means you need to step up your senior marketing game. A great way to do this is to find you a handful of senior reps to help you with the dirty work.
It's usually best to start looking for your senior reps either the summer before school starts, or very early in the year. The sooner the better. Post on social media, put ads out... whatever you have to do to claim your seniors! A good way to find the reps that would work best for you is to have them be recommended/nominated by others. Prepare a questionnaire for each nominee to fill out and return to you. Find out things like their hobbies, accomplishments, goals, fields of study, etc. Then narrow them down to a select few that you think would help your business grow. It usually works well to find a male and female from each school in the county. You want to get your business name out to as many students as possible. I recommend having them sign a contract stating they will use and represent only you for their senior year photography needs.
Senior reps should definitely get something out of the deal, if not, why else would they work so hard to market for you? Here are some things you can offer them to get them interested and motivate them to get your name out there.
Have senior rep cards made with your contact info on them. Include your business name, location, email address, website, and phone number. Give each senior rep a certain amount of these to hand out. Consider putting their name on their cards, so that when someone uses you because of their referral, you'll automatically know who to give credit to.
Throw in a free mini senior session just for representing your business and working to gain you clients. Then offer things like free prom photos for x amount of referrals, free hard back albums, free prints/canvases, graduation cards, maybe a "best friends" session.
Make it so that the more referrals they get you, the more they get out of the deal! You have to give a little to get a little. And the payoff for the things you are giving away to a handful of senior reps can be very rewarding to your business in the end.
Have them share their images you took on social media giving you credit, pass out rep cards with your contact information, anything they can do to get your name out their to get you business and them free stuff. It's a win-win for both you and them!
Photography is a competitive business, no matter which genre(s) you shoot. One thing is for certain, just like newborn photographers know new babies are born every day, high school senior photographers know that every new school brings a new group of students for you to market to.