The business side of your photography business is quite possibly the hardest aspect of your company. There are many wonderful avenues you can take to find tips and seek out advice, including the Clickin Moms forum, but one of the easiest ones is the CM Post which is automatically sent out to everyone signed up on Monday mornings. CMmentor Lisa Tichane has gathered up the top 20 tips from the CM Post over the last year for you to enjoy here. Enjoy the business advice below and then head on over and sign up for the CM Post to get more in the future!
top 20 business tips from the cm newsletter
by Lisa Tichane
It’s Summer! Can you feel the energy in the air? It’s the perfect moment to think about how to take your photography business to the next level! Every week, the CM Post brings to its readers – amongst other amazing information – one simple but powerful business tip to speed up their success. Here is a selection of our favorite ones from the past few months.
*image by April Nienhuis
General Business Tips
1. Keep in mind that you and your local competition are not selling the same product. You are an artist. The work that you create is (should be!) unique. Focus on differentiating yourself – show your market that you are providing a product and service that they can’t get anywhere else.
2. Team up with local businesses to promote each others work. Focus on the ones sharing your target market. You will both gain exposure and new clients!
3. Don’t be afraid to befriend your competition! Find a friend and/or an ally in your competition and you can both refer business to one another, let alone gain a friendship out of it!
4. Do you have a referral program? Word of mouth is the most effective (and cheapest) way to get new clients. Give your past clients a little incentive to motivate them to spread the word!
5. If you consider offering a portfolio building discount, make sure that your clients are aware of what your full prices are. They will appreciate getting a good deal, and they will also know the real value of your work (so they won’t fall off their chair the day you will decide to charge full prices!).
6. Turn off your internet. Unplug or turn off your wireless connection. When you’re editing, just EDIT. You’ll find that you can cull and process your images much more quickly if you remove the distraction!
7. What have you done lately to turn your customers into repeat clients? Customer loyalty is one of the best things you can put your efforts into. A happy client is the key to future sales, but also your best advertising campaign through word of mouth!
8. Be willing to say no. Recognize that agreeing to meet a client’s every request doesn’t necessarily build better relationships. If a client (or prospective client) asks you to do something that is beyond your interest or expertise, politely but firmly let them know that you’re just not qualified to fulfill that request. It will benefit both of you in the long run.
9. To keep your clients coming back to you, a surprise thank you gift can go a long way. It can be as simple as a few gift prints or other low COGS item, they will have much more value in your client’s mind!
10. Have you thought about sending a handwritten thank you note to each of your clients? In this digital world, taking the time to hand write a few personal words to your clients can really set you apart!
11. Do you have a customer feedback form? Knowing what your clients feel about their overall experience will help you improve your service, but also make your clients feel valued and trusted.
12. Don’t forget to treat your past clients with something special: a discount on a cool new product, an exclusive mini-session day, a client-only newsletter… Show them how much you value their loyalty!
Blog / Website / SEO
13. Do you have a photo of yourself on your website? As a photographer you are not just selling a physical product, you are selling yourself. Furthermore, studies show that potential clients are more likely to have confidence and trust in a business with whom they can identify an actual human face.
14. Make sure that your e-mail and phone number are easily accessible from every single page of your website. Contacting you shouldn’t require any effort from your potential customers!
15. When was the last time you updated your website portfolio? A potential client can be hooked (or turned off) by the impression he gets during the very first seconds of his arrival to your home page. The first images he sees have a tremendous importance, choose them well!
16. Try to blog at least once a week. It’s good for your SEO (search engines love fresh content) and will make your readers come back often to check for new articles.
17. Only blog the images you would like to be hired for. If you want to be known for your lifestyle work, don’t blog traditional posed images, otherwise you will get even more inquiries for this type of photography. People want what they see!
18. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics on your blog/site, do it now. And monitor your results once a week. It’s the best way to understand how people are finding you, and what you should improve to get more traffic.
19. The title of your blog post is the most important content for your SEO. Use 60 characters maximum, and make it unique! (don’t repeat the same title over and over, and don’t include your site title in it: you don’t want to compete with yourself!)
20. SEO is important, but your website can’t be “just” an SEO tool. Don’t artificially stuff your articles with key words or you will bore your readers in no time! Customer experience must always be a higher priority than keyword spamming.
If you don’t want to miss our next business tips, make sure to register for the CM newsletter! Now, it’s your turn… Is there a favorite business tip you would like to share with us? Tell us in the comments below!
Lisa Tichané, France
Website | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Mentoring | Ask a Pro
Maybe it’s because she’s “a bit silly” or maybe it has to do with her being “a child at heart” but Lisa has an incredible talent for photographing babies and children in her fun, clean and playful style with her Canon 5d mark ii, 50 f/1.4, 24-70L and 135L. Marseille, France is the place she calls home along with her two boys where they love to play in the countryside treasure hunting and inventing goofy games. She does enjoy some quiet once in a while where she can browse the web with her coffee and chocolate. Laughter is a must have, though, as she states, “a day without a good laugh is definitely a lost one for me.”