The simple fact of the matter is that most businesses fail within a few years. Some never find their target market. Others suffer from a lack of sound management. Still others go under because of poor customer service or bad products.
Photography is no different. Each year, thousands of would-be photographers discover that making a success out of their passion is a little more difficult that it might seem. And though big issues come up that cause businesses to fail, many go under because of simple problems that could have been avoided in the first place.
If you just aren’t getting the number of clients you need, consider these sure-fire ways to grow your photography business.
Clients Won’t Just Come to You - Go Find Them
Just because you have a studio, a website, and a few fliers hanging up around town doesn’t mean that you’ll have client after client coming through the door. You have to make marketing one of your top priorities. After all, if you don’t get your name out there, you can’t expect potential customers to even know that you exist.
Be active in your pursuit of new clients. Start a blog and offer advice for photography customers. Give parents pointers for selecting wardrobes for family pictures. Examine a few fun ideas for wedding photography portrait ideas. Offer valuable advice that helps readers solve a problem, while at the same time recognizing that you know what you’re talking about.
Be engaged in the community as well. Volunteer to take portraits at a local event. Take to social media and highlight the services you offer. Come up with a seasonal promotion to draw in new clients and advertise it in the local paper. The point is that taking to local and online platforms to promote your brand, your products, and your services, and being actively engaged in the marketing process, will get you far more customers than if you sit back on your laurels and wait for clients to come to you.
Give Clients Something to Be Excited About
Photographers are a dime a dozen these days. Seemingly everyone has a camera, which isn’t a bad thing, but competition amongst photographers is stiffer than ever before. With so many photographers competing for a limited number of gigs, it’s important that you separate yourself from the pack by giving potential clients something to be excited about.
Maybe you offer a special in which a client that books you for a wedding also gets an engagement session for a deeply discounted price. Perhaps you offer a friends and family discount whereby a client gets points towards a free session with every person they refer to you. Even better, you can offer unique products or services that get people buzzing and booking you instead of the other guy.
One way that’s sure to grab people’s attention is offering an entirely new way to create a photo album. Think about this - what if you could tell a client that is getting married that you have a way for their wedding prints and album to be funded by other people? With Album Registry, you can do just that! The way it works is this - you become a supplier with Album Registry. Your clients then get a dedicated URL where they can direct friends, family, and guests to an overview of the prints and albums they’d like to have. Then, guests contribute to the cost of those items, essentially crowdfunding your photography services on behalf of your client.
The beauty of this kind of system is threefold: First, it’s easy to use and convenient - guests don’t have to consult a bunch of registries to try to find a gift that hasn’t already been purchased. What’s more, they can be certain they are contributing to the memories of the day by helping your client get the products they really want. Second, even if the photography products selected by your client aren’t totally funded, they can still get something, such as a smaller print or album. Lastly, using Album Registry helps increase your profits because photography services often get trimmed down as the budget for large events gets tighter and tighter. This way, photography services are external to the budget and in the hands of generous guests. Album Registry a win-win situation for your clients, their guests, and you!
Whether you specialize in family portraits, weddings, or event photography, you won’t be the only service provider that clients need. In the case of events, for example, there will be caterers and decorators, too, so why not network with those kinds of companies to see if you can forge a mutually beneficial relationship?
For example, contact caterers in your area to see if you can place fliers or brochures in their place of business to try to drum up prospects, offering to do the same for them, of course. If you’re a wedding photographer, work out an arrangement with local hair stylists or bridal shops such that if one of their customers hires you, they get a discount. Heck, even asking a local coffee shop if you can display some of your photos on their walls is a great way to network in the community.
The point is this - even if you’re a self-employed, solo photographer, you’ll still often encounter the same businesses over and over again. Creating a business relationship with other companies in your area will help you market yourself while also creating connections that can easily lead to more business for you. You simply have to be active in the marketing process, offer unique products or services, and network in person and online, and your photography business is sure to grow!