In this article you’re going to learn how to get more clients for your photography business in 30 days or less, without spending a fortune on advertising.
Legendary marketer Jay Abraham believes there are only three primary ways to grow a business and they are:
- Get more clients
- Increase the average transaction value per client
- Increase the frequency a client repurchases
For the most part, small business owners tend to only concentrate on getting more clients which isn’t necessarily the easiest way to grow your bottom-line, however it’s an essential part of building a photography business.
What Strategies Can We Use To Achieve This Goal?
If we were to break down the premise of this article, we would discover that the answer to this question could be achieved via two different strategies.
The First Strategy Would Be To…
- Increase the level of visibility your business generates within your target market, thus increasing the amount of prospect enquiries which in return will increase the amount of clients you acquire based on your current “prospect to client” conversion ratio.
The Second Strategy Would Be To…
- Increase your “prospect to client” conversion ratio without increasing the overall exposure of your business.
It is possible to double your photography clientele with either one of these strategies, but for effectiveness, I recommend you employ both these strategies as it will undoubtedly get you the best results in the shortest period of time.
How Do We Execute Each Strategy?
When it comes to implementation this is where most photographers become overwhelmed and that’s why I’m going to preframe this section by recommending that you only select one option from each category of the list I’m about to reveal.
By focusing on just two individual items you’ll have a much better chance of taking action which in effect will produce better results for your business.
Three Strategies For Growing Your Monthly Enquiries:
1. ) Create & Launch a Paid Advertising Campaign
By now you’ve probably realised that most photographers cringe at the thought of spending their hard earned money on advertising.
For those who buy advertising, usually aren’t getting a return on their investment which is a result of several factors from strategy, implementation, math and patience.
The fact is that paid advertising is by far the most reliable and quickest ways to grow a photography business and today it’s never been easier with online services like Facebook Ads and Google Adwords both of which are capable of delivering more than enough targeted leads and sales to your photography business.
Which Advertising Platform Should You Use If You’re Just Getting Started?
I recommend that you start out with Facebook Ads as they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to setup because all you need is a Facebook account, so you can literally have an ad campaign up and running in minutes without any real technical skills.
Google Adwords on the other hand is definitely more technically challenging and can be quite strict on advertising standards compared to Facebook which in turn requires meeting precise criteria before your ads will be approved.
The key strategy with any paid advertising is not to directly focus on upfront sales but instead to focus on capturing leads which you can then follow up with over time through one or multiple channels of communication and engaging the prospect when they’re ready to buy.
Most photographers don’t realise that the majority of people that come from ads aren’t necessarily ready to buy straight away, take newborn photography for example where a woman has just become pregnant and is interested in having maternity and newborn photography at some stage in the future.
In this example, do you think she would remember your ad or business when the time is right? The answer is no…
Instead, if you were to incentivise this woman to give you her contact information and you actively followed up with this woman in six, nine or say twelve months, the chances of this woman becoming one of your photography clients would increase?
Yes, of course they would because the timing is right.
What If You Have No Money Or Simply Don’t Want To Spend Any Advertising?
First, you need to look at paid advertising as cost of doing business and include the cost of acquiring a customer in your cost of sales. In order for you to be able to do this you’ll need to have a firm understanding on what the average lifetime value of customer for your business is worth?
If you don’t know what the average lifetime value of a customer is worth to your business then you need to work this out because if you know this number and the cost associated with acquiring a customer, advertising then becomes a simple math equation.
If you’re average customer value is for example $1,000 dollars and it costs you $100 to acquire a customer via paid advertising, would you be willing to continue to invest $100 in advertising to make $900? Of course you would, it’s not rocket science.
2. ) Add A Structured Referral System To Your Business
Most photographers fail when it comes to generating referrals for their business, but what most photographers don’t realise is that referrals are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to generate leads and future sales.
In its simplest form, a referral can be achieved by politely asking clients upon completion of an order… if they have any friends or family who would be interested in your products or services and whether or not they would be happy to refer them to your business.
Now it goes without saying that your chances of receiving referrals increases dramatically if you already have a high quality product or service that is delivered flawlessly, creating a positive, near perfect client experience.
Asking for referrals is effective, however it can also be ineffective because it relies solely upon you and your memory.
With that said, if you wish to turn referrals into your best source of lead generation you’ll need to create a “Structured Referral System”.
What Is A Structured Referral System?
A “Structured Referral System” involves taking the same “ask for a referral” concept but rather than relying solely on our memory, we instead create a system or process that takes full advantage of automation…
Hence reducing the potential for human error which improves consistency and the overall effectiveness of leads generated through referrals.
Creating a structured lead generation and referral system can be as easy or as complex as you choose to make it. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll generate more leads with an automated referral system then you will without and simply asking once, upon the receipt of purchase, just isn’t good enough…
Referral campaigns can be automated using a variety of different media and which one you choose isn’t necessarily important just so long as you select one.
Email Marketing Automation
If you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of money to spend I recommend you start with an email autoresponder and create a sequence of follow up emails that only get sent out to a client after the completion of an order, over a period of 30 to 90 days.
Whilst an automated email sequence can be used to achieve a variety of photography business goals, I recommend to begin with focusing solely on generating referrals and then branch out to include other goals like increasing the frequency of purchase from existing clients as you grow in confidence.
Remember that consistent contact will continue to remind your clients of your existence and when the time is right, your business will be at the forefront of their minds.
An email marketing service I’ve used and recommend to other photographers when getting started is Aweber Email Marketing which is relatively inexpensive and straight-forward to set up in a matter of minutes.
Start by writing a sequence of emails that contain offers incentivising your clients to refer you more business.
Offering rewards based on a structured referral system, where the value of the reward received would be relative to the amount of referrals generated by your client.
Rewards can be anything from a discount to a gift or giveaway.
Mobile Phone Apps
Another option for generating referrals virally is to use a service like Sticky Marketing Tools.
They have a features called ‘Sticky Albums’ which let you create digital photo albums in the form of a mobile app which your clients can save to their iPhone or iPad and then share with their friends and family.
Every time a photo album is shared and downloaded your photography business is receiving more and more expose from the friends and family of your clients.
If you have the time and a little bit of money don’t forget prewritten direct mail pieces. These work great and essentially act in the same way as your email sequence except in a physical format and can accompany photos for example to add extra impact.
3. ) Do More Of What’s Already Working For Your Business & Then Automate It
Simple concept I know, but the reality most people ignore this fact and get distracted by bright, shiny objects…
If you were to examine exactly which activities are currently generating leads and converting into sales for your business you would learn exactly where your attention and marketing budget should be focused. Simply scale what’s already working and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Once you’ve identified what’s working in your business, find ways of automating those processes to reduce the amount of time you spend on those tasks which in return will save you money.
Here’s An Example…
Let’s say in the past you had run a promotion that was reasonably successful, if you were to take that exact promotion and automate it, you could easily increase your sales without any extra effort on your behalf.
Automation doesn’t have to be difficult and could be as simple as setting up an email autoresponder sequence. An email autoresponder allows you to automatically send out emails based on when a subscriber signed up to your newsletter or any actions that they may have taken.
A sequence of automated emails could be delivered over a predetermined period of time. As part of this email sequence, would be an evergreen version of the promotion and sales tactics that were successful in the past.
New prospects would be automatically sent this promotion at a predetermined time or action taken after they originally sign up to your email newsletter for instance.
It’s a simple technique that would increasing the amount of people who see your offer on a recurring basis and potentially if implemented well would generate more sales.
And that’s just one example of how you can start to work on your business and not in your business…
Booking more photography clients is important, however it’s only one piece of the marketing puzzle.
Don’t forget to concentrate on increasing the average transaction value per client and frequency existing clients repurchase, ensuring the financial success of your small business long term.
Think about how you can implement the strategies discussed in this article for your own photography business to get more clients.