Building a business, in many ways, is no different than building a house. You've got to have a solid foundation. Too often, especially new photographers, are building their marketing programs before they've developed their skill set. Anybody can get their first client, but a solid foundation gets the first client back a second time and brings more people in the door.
by Skip Cohen
Watching TV, I continue to be blown away by the trend to negative advertise. It's especially obvious at election time each year. Politicians slam each other back and forth and bring us to the only conclusion we could have, none of them are truthful and they've all got something to hide.
So, here's the connection: Don't be a politician! Negative advertising doesn't help you build your business. Talk about the things you bring to the party. Make yourself so good that your work and reputation speak for themselves!
1) Let's start with your "About" tab on your website. Talk about why you love photography and what imaging means to you. This is the charter you live by. Keep it relatively short, no more than 3-4 paragraphs and sign it like an artist statement.
2) If a picture is worth a thousand words then show spectacular images on your website. Don't put up one image that's a compromise or just there to fill space. When you're meeting a client in person, show them your work. Let them see your creativity. Have different albums that demonstrate different techniques.
I've written this many times before. With each image ask yourself, "If this was the only image I could show is it good enough that I'd get the job?" If the answer is "No" then consider not putting it up, unless it's part of a sequence that's important.
3) When you talk about finished products and pricing, talk about value, quick delivery time and the benefits of online hosting, just to name a few. Every bride has heard a horror story about a "friend" who waited a year or two for her album, didn't get any images she liked, etc. If you dig back you'll find the story has been dramatically embellished, but that doesn't change her world of reality. So, hit on things you bring to the party and stress your sense of customer service.
4) Show some of the products you offer, but you don't have to show everything. If you're a children's photographer for example, show one of your Day-In-The-Life albums on your site. You might even want to have a short video showing how you interact with your clients. Check out Kirk Voclain's videos posted on YouTube of his work with seniors. Here's a prime example of why he's one of the best senior photographers in the country. Each one of his videos are completely different.
5) Most important of all, be accessible. When a potential client tries to contact you, be there! Or at the very least, return their calls or emails promptly. Give them a phone number to call and follow Scott Bourne's advice in his recent post.
Photography is a word-of-mouth business and you've got one goal with every client: to exceed their expectations and make yourself habit-forming! If you truly want to separate yourself from the competition, you've got to go that "extra mile" and deliver more than they asked for.
"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile!"
Great service and great images mixed with a solid dose of integrity and sincerity is the recipe for growth and success in photography! You won't grow anything if you're spending time slamming your competitors and trying to convince people you're the only one doing it right.
The author was listed as "unknown" on CustomerServicePoint.com, but that doesn't change the relevance:
"To my customer. I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it. I may not have the time, but I’ll make it."
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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.