Building your clientele requires a ton of work on your part (and great images and excellent customer service too…), but getting more people in the door and signing contracts with you doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with these three simple tips, you can get more clients who appreciate the work you do and are eager to pay the prices you want.
Understand Your Clientele
Although this seems like a no-brainer, many photographers just don’t understand who their ideal client really is. Maybe that’s due to lack of insight or lack of trying, but spending a few minutes thinking about who your clients are and what they like will help you cater your marketing message to them.
Consider where your ideal client shops. What are their hobbies? What sort of life do they lead? What might their photography needs be? What does their budget allow? These are just a few basic questions that can help you develop a clearer strategy when it comes to reaching these people through your marketing. For example, if your ideal client is new parents, offering discounted pricing to account for the fact that they have a very expensive new addition to the family might induce them to call you.
Remember as well that the approach you take in terms of reaching clients will differ from one to the next. The parents of high school seniors will have vastly different needs and wants than the CEO of a company that needs a headshot for his resume. As a result, reaching your ideal clients might take several specific marketing strategies. But regardless of the type of client, it’s essential to spend some time thinking about who they are and what they need, so you can demonstrate to them that you have the products and services they seek.
Understand the Decision-Making Process
How people chose photographers a decade ago is a lot different than how people choose photographers today, and it will no doubt be different a decade from now. Staying abreast of how consumers make decisions regarding purchases will give you a leg up and help you define your marketing strategy.
Today’s consumers rely heavily on online reviews from websites like Yelp to form impressions about all kinds of service providers, photographers included. As a result, it behooves you to provide excellent products and services that generate positive online reviews. What’s more, it’s essential that you ask satisfied customers to give you a review, or at the very least, a testimonial, that way you can further your positive online reputation.
Decision-making is also about being informed, and photography consumers appreciate a photographer that demonstrates his or her knowledge about their craft. Blogging is a great way to give yourself some street cred. Not only does it allow you to show off your expertise, but it also gives you a platform for marketing your business and reaching potential clients in a very meaningful way. Even better, try creating video tutorials and putting them on YouTube. With millions of viewers a day, it’s an excellent medium for demonstrating the expertise that will wow potential clients.
Go the Extra Mile
Consumers today aren’t just looking for incredible photos and great pricing, they are also looking for someone that has a reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done and done well. This doesn’t mean you have to give away free products or stay hours beyond your scheduled time to help clean up a venue or take gigs hours away without charging mileage. But, what it does mean is creating a customer experience that really wows your clients and gets them excited about sharing that experience with others. It’s this kind of word-of-mouth marketing that is so incredibly valuable in determining your success.
So, be willing to be a little flexible on price. Take jobs that might require you to work after hours every once in awhile. Be educative and help your clients understand the processes of posing, lighting, exposure, or other photography fundamentals in which they are interested. Be open, honest, and fun. Just do everything you can to ensure that your clients are happy and satisfied, and their recommendations to friends and family will get you more high-quality clients that love your work and are willing to pay top dollar for it.