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1. A common mistake of many small business owners, including commercial photographers, is to create a Web site that is nothing more than an electronic billboard. It’s simply a passive display that may look good, but it does not have the dynamic marketing qualities to maximize sales.
2. It’s understandable that, as a photographer, you might think your Web site should reflect your creativity and artistry: a stunning graphic design, a black background on all the pages and a home page message that tells the world how wonderful you are. You might also think that all you must do is display some of your best photos for your market niche (weddings, portraits, landscapes, etc.) and prospective customers will be sold. All of these Web site elements can be part of your Web site, but not primary to the sales/marketing process.
3. To make your photography business Web site a dynamic selling tool, you must first attract prospects; and the typical look and messages of a photography Web site are not the most effective methods for doing so. This relates to a common misconception, especially among small business owners, when they develop a marketing program and its strategies and use most any advertising medium.
4. Studies have proven (and, more importantly, proven on the Web, and other media, by thousands of businesses) that the first, and most critical, question prospects ask themselves when considering the purchase of any product or service is “How will it benefit me?” The “what” and “who” of a product or service is virtually disregarded until prospects are convinced that whatever they are buying will solve a problem in their lives, help them overcome an obstacle or make them happier.
5. Most businesses, however, fill their marketing and advertising, and the messages and images they contain, with the “what” and “who” of their businesses. Listen carefully to the copy of radio and TV spots and read the copy in many print ads. They are essentially “grocery” lists of all the products, or kinds of products, the business offers, which is the “what.” They also use too much of the valuable and limited time and space in their advertising to tell the world what college degrees they have, how many years they’ve been a photographer, attorney, etc. and their professional qualities. This is the “who”; and your target audience of prospective photography customers don’t care who you are until they know how they will benefit by doing business with you.
6. This concept also applies to Web sites and home pages. It’s likely you’ve created a highly artistic home page with very attractive graphics and a bold or lavish font, all presented on a black background. Prepare for a shock! This is not the first page your prospective customers should see. It’s a page they can see only after they become registered, qualified prospects.
7. Your Web site becomes an actual selling machine when you direct all prospects to a different URL, which is your sales landing page. Once they’ve taken the “bait” on the landing page, they are then provided access to your home page. Only after they are sold on the “why” of doing business with you are they interested in “what” they might buy. Most business’ Web sites have it backwards and that probably includes you.
Learn more about how to create and use a landing page to attract highly qualified prospects in the PhotographyTalk.com article, 9 Tips to Transform Your Photography Web Site Into a Dynamic Sales Tool. (Coming Soon)
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