Four years ago, my good buddy, Scott Bourne shared the guest post below. It couldn't be more relevant for so many of you whether you're just starting out in your career, relaunching an established business or wondering why after so many years business is slow.
Take a second and ask yourself one question, "Do I stand out in the crowd?" Another good friend, Terry Clark once told me:
"The best thing to do to survive and thrive is find what everyone else isn’t doing and do that thing.”
You've got to be unique. We're a word-of-mouth industry, and you want working with you to be an experience and habit-forming! If you're doing the same thing everybody else is doing, then you become a price-driven commodity rather than an artist.
Take the time to listen to this archived podcast with Tim Walden. Tim and Beverly Walden NEVER compromise on the quality of an image or the relationship with every client. A sitting with the Waldens isn't about a portrait session but an experience to create a family heirloom!
Scott couldn't be more on point with the most important key components to building your brand. You've got one goal with every client - to exceed expectations.
I've written lots and lots and lots about selling photography. The other day someone asked me, to forget the books and long blog posts and seminars I've taught and sum up the key to successful photography marketing in three words or less. I am proud to say I was able to do it in two.
Unique and Value
Those are the two words I want you to concentrate on when you're trying to build your photography business. These are the ONLY things that matter when it comes to marketing. Not your logo, or which award you've won, or which association you join, but whether or not your photography company is unique and offers real value. Ask yourself... Is what you do unique? Is it something that people want and need? Is your photography truly valuable?
If you answer "No" to either question then you are going to have an extremely difficult time surviving, let alone thriving in the photography business.
Because at the end of the day, if you aren't unique you are a commodity. And if you're a commodity, then you will get your butt beaten working long hours for VERY little money. If your products aren't valuable, then no matter what price you charge, you'll always struggle. A car with no engine is not a good deal for the average person. The average person can't build an engine, install it and drive away. So no matter how low the price, the car with no engine has no value. You have to find ways to bring value to your clients. If you do that, then price isn't an issue.
And price is what this post is really about. You see, if you are unique, you can charge a higher price - but only if somebody wants the unique thing you have. If you are NOT unique, then you will always be competing on price. If you are on the other hand, valuable, but not unique, nobody will see the value.
This is an ethereal concept but try to dig into it. Make a list of how you are truly different from your competitors. Then make a list of how you bring value to your customers. What's your USP (unique selling point?) What's your value proposition? (How does your product match up with the needs, beliefs, feelings and desires of your prospects.)
When you can answer these questions, you can move forward and thrive.