- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers
- Tabletop Photography: Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
- Low Budget Shooting: Do It Yourself Solutions to Professional Photo Gear
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
A Success Series for Modern Day Photographers
In last week’s edition, A Guide To Photography Trade Shows, we talked about the major trade shows and the importance of getting involved in them to get ideas and give your photography business a boost. We learned some of the pluses and minuses of different shows so that you can choose which show(s) are right for you.
We’ve been talking a lot about getting new business lately. Another important part of running any service business is getting repeat business. It’s hard to make a living off of a bunch of one-off’s, especially in an industry that is becoming increasingly flooded with Pro-Sumer competition.
I recently received a call from a concerned photographer (we’ve been at this a long time and try to offer ideas, support, and anything else we reasonably can to our clients). He was perplexed that his past clients were being lost to new competitors due to lower pricing, even though the quality was nowhere near what he offered. If you’re in the industry, it’s easy to relate to this problem. We hear it from photographers more and more lately. On the positive side he’s still doing very well and luckily had the foresight and the time to address this before it got really bad. Then my mind went right to the most important things about getting repeat business; simple principals always work the best.
The first thing we talked about was the customer experience. Every time an order goes out in the mail or is picked up at the studio, it needs to be accompanied by a big THANK YOU NOTE, and a call for action (asking them for more business). You need to let the customer know that you’d be honored to serve their photography needs in the future. Remember that all of your clients have friends and family, and that marketing to an existing client and their connections is infinitely easier than drumming up new business and the cost is usually pennies on the dollar compared to prospecting or advertising.
The second thing we talked about were more specific ideas on messages to include in orders or return emails from orders that would strike a chord. I mocked up a couple for him to think about (of course he’d put his own spin on it). The key is to be genuine. Remember what got you into photography – why is photography so important for you anyway? The other thing I tried to take care of in this note was the cost of the photo, let’s say they bought the photo with a little reluctance on price - talking about the memories the image will hold, and putting into perspective with a real life quote from your experience will help.
Here’s an example:
Dear Michael Connors,
“We appreciate your business and our hope is that these photographs will be cherished by you and your future generations. I went into the photography business after seeing my grandmother’s emotion when showing me her photo albums – seeing what these photos of loved ones meant to her hit a nerve with me. She would not have sold her images for all of the gold in the world. And that is when it hit me, that I can make memories for families that last many lifetimes. We would also like you to know we are a full service photography company offering Weddings, Family portraits, Children, head shots and much more.
So with that said we are including a gift certificate for a family portrait. If you don’t have the need for it, we’d encourage you to pass it on to friends or family who may. We would be honored to serve you again.”
The Dickerson’s photo group
Memories of people we love is what we hang on to, Dickerson’s Photography is here to document these memories.
(Ask them for their business and the just might give it to you!) Don’t ask and they probably won’t give it to you.
Dear Michael Connors,
“Thank you, Thank you!
We appreciate your business and our hope is this photograph will hold memories for generations. We at Dickerson’s Photography have serviced our community for 25 years and are honored every day that our community (you included!) supports us! We would also like you to know we are a full service photography company offering weddings, seniors, Family Portraits and much more. We have enclosed a gift certificate for a family portrait session, We are at your service”,
So those are just examples but you get the idea. Something from the heart goes a long way with customers in getting repeat business and showing where your values are. Simple gestures like this are very important and will keep you on top if you stick to them.
Someone new to the game with a $600 DSLR does not have the advantage of marketing to existing customers. Don’t miss the opportunities that are right in front of you. You need to separate yourself from the competition. Business owners with marketing minds, even beginning photographers, will take a look at the competition in their area and find the weaknesses of competitors. Savvy folks will always find them. Sure up your game and stay on top of your business so your weaknesses can be learned from and turned into strengths.
Mike Connors | MorePhotos CEO
Drew Warner | MorePhotos Marketing
Photo by "worradmu"