- 4 Things New Photography Business Owners Need to Do
- What Responsibilities Do Photography Business Owners Have?
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I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a rough ride for many photography businesses.
But rather than letting the state of the world get us down, it’s important to focus on the future and what you can do right now to shape it.
There is no reason why your photography business can’t be even more successful after COVID-19 than it was before. But it will take a good deal of planning and effort on your part to make your business better than ever.
With that in mind, here are four critical things you can do today that will help put you and your business back on track for tomorrow.
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One of the first things you should do to help your business is to streamline communication between yourself and your clients.
Things aren’t just going to be hectic for you as states start to reopen and you can get back to work. Your clients will be busy getting their lives back on track as well.
The question is, how can you reach your clients and do so in as streamlined a fashion as possible?
That’s easy - use Podium.
I recently learned about Podium and it is one of my favorite finds so far in 2020.
Think of Podium as a souped-up messaging tool for local businesses. Not only does it enable you to interact with clients (and leads, for that matter) via text, but you can also connect remotely with visitors to your website via text.
This means that with one platform, you enable yourself to be in direct contact with more clients and leads more of the time, without expending a ton of time to do it. Not bad, right?!
Better yet, Podium organizes all of these interactions into a handy dashboard shown above. This makes it simple and easy to keep track of texts with clients, leads from Facebook, Google Reviews, and discussions with team members, all in one spot.
Podium is built on the idea that the best way to get leads and turn prospects into customers is timely, genuine communication. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to ask you questions or find what they’re looking for, and Podium does just that.
Additionally, Podium enhances your ability to send payment requests and get paid quickly and securely from anywhere. That’s the kind of streamlining we all need!
This truly is a game-changer for photographers. A centralized platform that allows you to communicate effectively, get leads and convert them into paying customers, collect payments, and stay in touch with your team...what’s not to like about that?
Check out Podium Starter for free and see what I mean when I say this is one of the best tools for photographers I’ve yet to find this year.
Revisit Your Business Plan
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Another crucial task you can do right now is to have a look at your business plan and assess what changes might be needed.
After all, the chances are good that your business will look different moving forward, so now is the time to make adjustments for the new normal.
For example, where selling fine art prints online might not have been a large part of your business before the pandemic, it might be worth expanding your online sales to reach people that are shopping for photography gifts online.
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Making changes to your business plan can seem like a long, drawn-out task, but it doesn’t have to be and you don’t have to go it alone.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has excellent resources for business owners that are looking to get things back on track. In fact, their Learning Center has a completely free course on writing a business plan that can help you revise your goals and set new ones for the future. The SBA offers a free social media marketing course that could help you reach new clients (and more of them) to boost your sales too.
The SBA also has district offices where you can get local assistance with business counseling, training, and business development to help you take your business to the next level after COVID-19.
Quick Tip: Speaking of government guidance, if you haven’t already, bookmark the CDC website so you can stay up-to-date on the latest news on COVID-19 and the most recent guideline for keeping yourself and your clients healthy.
Step Up Your Marketing
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As great as it would be to not have to do any marketing and instead rely on word of mouth, that’s just not the reality for most photographers.
Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is the most powerful kind of marketing for your business, so you should certainly do what you can to encourage your clients to tell others about you.
But to survive after COVID-19, you’ll likely need to step up your marketing game so potential clients see you front and center rather than your competition.
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The key to a marketing plan is that it is formal. Don’t just jot a few notes down about how you want to blog more often...
Instead, take the time to develop a multi-step marketing plan that allows you to hit the ground running. Replace, vague statements like “try Facebook ads” with concrete, actionable steps, complete with a refined marketing message, lists of materials or things you need to craft your marketing message, and, of course, how much you want to spend on getting that message out.
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Additionally, make sure your new marketing plan includes multiple modes of advertising. Capitalize on the word of mouth you already get and supplement it with marketing on social media, Google Ads, email, heck, even in the local paper! You need to cast a huge net to try to make up for all the business you’ve lost due to the pandemic, so go as big as you can.
I would also recommend that you make it a point to blog frequently.
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Blogs are great because they’re easy to put together and they give you an opportunity to add new content to your website (which Google likes). What’s more, blogs are a great chance to share helpful tidbits to your clients and other followers (i.e., “How to display your photos” or “The best home photo printing options”).
The key with a blog is to have a nice mix of posts - some should be informative and educational, others might be product reviews, and others might be tutorials. By having a variety of posts, you keep the information you’re sharing with your followers fresh, and you run less risk of tiring them out with the same types of posts over and over again.
And, of course, as I mentioned earlier, streamlining your communication and using platforms like Podium to get more leads will only improve your chances that your new marketing strategy pays off.
Get Your Contingency Plan Together
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I’ve heard more than one of my photography colleagues say something along the lines of “let’s hope COVID is a once-in-a-lifetime event.” I certainly hope it is too, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not already planning for the next catastrophe.
Issues big and small can come up before you know it and disrupt your ability to work. It could be another pandemic, an injury, a natural disaster, and so on. Being prepared for calamities like this is essential if your business is to thrive.
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Have photographer’s insurance for all that gear in your studio. Set aside money each month to put into a rainy day fund. Focus on paying down debt. Evaluate all your spending and trim the non-essential stuff. Identify ways that you can expand and grow your business so you have multiple revenue streams you can rely on if things go south again.
The more time and effort you put into planning now, the better prepared you’ll be in the future when another calamity happens. Have a Plan B, a Plan C, and a Plan D for good measure too. If you can do these things, you’ll be in a good position for your business to get back on solid footing after the pandemic.