Here's what I see - Every day I read comments from people on Facebook as they share ideas about the challenges of running a business. Then I look at dozens of websites each week that are half-baked. I keep running into people who are "two tacos short of a combo!" So, I might as well stay with a food theme this morning. Many of you have contributed to an entire recipe book, not on cooking but ways to confuse your audience and lose business.
In my efforts to establish Sarcastic Saturday as a national holiday, here are some guidelines to totally screw up your business, brand and target audience. If you're shooting for brand recognition from all your competitors, just follow these guidelines.
- Don’t give people a way to talk to you! I keep seeing websites where photographers refuse to share a contact phone number!
- Show your clients everything you’ve ever photographed. Good or bad, everybody knows the best way to attract clients is to show them you know how to focus.
- Use your about section to talk all about your awards and how you got started! That’s sure to have people beating down your door. Besides, if you have a few awards, even if they go back to sixth grade, that should impress people a lot more than opening your heart.
- How about listing every testimonial you can think of? Don't forget to include something from your mother too. A dozen well-written testimonials should be at least as effective as Sinéad O'Conner doing a commercial for Loreal hair products.
- Don’t take the time to proofread anything you’ve written! Your target audience already knows you're smart why be a show-off?
- Confuse your audience a little more by calling yourself a professional and show mediocre images anybody’s Uncle Harry could create! It's about quantity anyway, and you've got more images than anybody's relatives.
- When people do contact you, don't bother to call them back right away. After all, it's the weekend, and you worked hard all week. Hey, I get it, if you call back too soon they'll think you're not busy and, in turn, question why. It's best to let them wait a week before you return their call or answer their email.
- Argue with any client who's unhappy. I understand this one. If you let them get away with it, then they'll just come back and do it again. Besides, they're wrong, and you're right, and they need to learn that.
- Use your blog to talk about anything you want regardless of its relevance to your readers. That drunken bachelor party you went to last week was a kick, and it's fun to write about. Besides, those Moms who you want to trust you with their kids for some portrait work live boring conservative lives and need to spice things up a little.
- Talk first and listen later! Hey, we all know consumers don't know what they want, and they've come to you to hear about what they need. So, don't waste any time and just let them know what you can do for them. No questions, let's just cut to the chase and impress them with your ability to communicate.
Just to wrap it up, this has been a kick to write, but there isn't a single one of the ten points that I haven't seen examples of on some of the Facebook forums, many websites or live conversations. You're in a word-of-mouth business with deep roots in communication, great customer service and exceeding client expectations. It's about your heart, passion and love for the craft. If you're close to any of the points above, then step back and figure out what you need to do differently.
Stop making it easy for your competitors to grow their business!