"People rarely buy what they need.They buy what they want"
Seth Godin does it again, with an old quote that got me thinking about the biggest challenge for professional photographers today, creating the "want" for your images.
I'll recognize my grammar in that statement is a little weak and Mrs. Szabo, my high school English teacher, is cringing. However, I can't think of a better way to put it. The biggest part of the challenge is on your end as an artist. You've got to plant that seed with your target audience and then just like a garden, pay attention to the care and feeding of your plants. It's called marketing!
So, let's look at some things you can be doing to create a stronger passion and value for your images. It's not just about advertising, but about building a strong brand.
Do you make ever session an experience? You've got to make it fun and let your passion for imaging show with every client. Tim Walden in a Weekend Wisdom podcast talked about making it an experience.
Remember what you're selling! You're not selling photographs, but memories. You're not selling prints but creating family heirlooms for future generations. A wedding album isn't a book of pictures, it's the story of the start of a brand new family.
Only show "wow" prints in your galleries and your portfolio. If your images aren't any better than Uncle Harry's why is somebody going to be excited about your work?
Smile on every phone call! Believe it or not, when you're smiling your voice is different. So, when you're talking to a potential client, they need to feel you're excited to be working with them. Make every client feel special and show your appreciation. Check out this post in the Marathon Center on making clients feel appreciated.
Is your work exciting? Look, even what you perceive as the most boring portrait session has the potential to be fun and memorable. Mix things up and show the diversity of your skill set. Make it fun for your clients.
Build your brand around community involvement. Be helpful and supportive on community projects. People like buying products and services from companies they perceive as giving something back. Don't just be a vendor who takes from the community. You're looking for the community to be good to you - so you've got to be good to your community.
Everything you do falls under the umbrella of exceeding expectations. You've got to make yourself habit-forming and build a reputation for being the nicest photographer in town! Advertising and great publicity are important elements, but you've got to create excitement with every experience.
There's a great quote from Roger Staubach the sums it all up:
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.