Are You Missing Your Most Obvious Customer?

Every week you attend a networking meeting. Every week you go you talk about what you do. Every week you say hi to “Joe” and chat about the weekend.

Then one day you decide to meet Joe for coffee. After a ten minute conversation, he says “sign me up”.

Wow. That was easy, right?

Yet in many cases, that scenario plays out all over the world time and time again.


Because we simply fail to reach out and connect with the most obvious person that can use our services: the people we know best.

This happens for two reasons.

1. We get busy and don’t take the time to connect on a personal level with those around us.

2. We don’t go into enough detail when explaining what we do.


To solve the first problem is easy. Think about all the people around you. People you network with on a regular basis. People you run into when you’re dropping your kids off at school. People you worked with at the last event you attended.

This week – right now – pick out one person and call them up and invite them out for coffee. Don’t try and sell them. Simply meet them for coffee and talk about anything and everything. Get to know them on a more personal level.

Then when you’ve had coffee with that person, think of another. Call that person up and invite them out for coffee in the next week. Get to know them on a more personal level.

And so on. [Read more…]

Is This What You Are Doing Wrong With Your Sales?

Are you wondering why sales aren’t where you think they should be? Are you wondering how you can get more people to your site who won’t just look, but will actually buy?

Its hard not to fall into the trap of entitlement. If you look around you, everyone talks about the overnight success stories, and the businesses that have grown from $0 to $1 million in a matter of days. Just yesterday I was emailed a story about a company that is now making $600k a month, though they were almost bankrupt a mere six weeks ago.

Entitlement is a part of our culture. We watch a show or movie and we movie from concept to solution in under two hours. Entire serial killer mysteries can be played out in less than one. So why shouldn’t we be able to build a business in a matter of weeks? We’re entitled to it, right?

The problem with entitlement within our business model is we lose site of what is truly important. Our thoughts drift to:

  • I have the most amazing product/service ever
  • My services deserve attention
  • Nobody is doing anything like me
  • I’m charging less so I should fill up twice as fast
  • Its [insert whatever you choose] fault, not my own [i.e. the economy, my parents, my spouse, my lack of education, etc]

Yet none of that is the real problem. The real problem is we bring all of our focus internally instead of placing it where it belongs … on the consumer.

A few months ago I chatted with a woman who lost her job and was trying to build up her photography business to replace her income. Her goal was to build up a portrait business that consisted of boudoir, maternity and baby portraiture. She had some great work and had a huge potential to make it grow. Where she was lacking was in marketing and sales.

So we began talking about the best way get her work out there into her community. After a little work we decided her best bet would be to get her work on the walls of a local doctor’s office. She sent off a letter and after a week … nothing. To say she was put off by the whole experience was an understatement. She was ready to throw in the towel on the whole project. Until I asked her a few questions. [Read more…]

The Photography Sales Funnel Part Two: Generating Leads At The Front Of Your Funnel

In part one of this series on the Sales Funnel, I related my story of how a photographer needs to look at the entire sales cycle in order to give it strength and work to grow a successful company over time.

The sales funnel is a systematic marketing process where you filter your prospects into customers, then refine them into raving fans that refer you again and again. But before you can build your base of raving fans, you have to attract high quality prospects at the top  of the funnel. This is where your marketing can really shine.

See You At The Top

The top of your sales funnel is the one area that requires the most experimentation. It’s the area where you can try different things, achieve different results, tweak it, and start all over again. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to how you can attract quality prospects, limited only by your imagination and your resources.

For many photographers, they immediately start with the more traditional ways of marketing: business cards, sales brochures, postcards, phone books, magazines, newspapers, etc. You can also dip into the higher priced marketing methods, such as expos, tradeshows, displays, billboards, etc

Thanks to the Internet, you can also find many methods to market and capture leads in the online world. Many people stay with the “free” concept, which can work. Things like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter can all work well if you have the time. Yet the Internet is filled with opportunities – most of which are a lot less expensive than traditional methods. Banner ads, ezine placements, pay per click advertising, blogging, podcasting, guest posting and many other Web 2.0 tools.

The method you use to drive prospects is optional. Yet your ultimate goal is to attract and qualify people that may at some point purchase from you further down the road – down your sales funnel. At this stage, you goal is to drop as many people as you can into the funnel, then use other mechanisms to qualify them and continue them down the path. [Read more…]

The Biggest Assumption About Marketing – Are You Guilty?

What is the first rule of thumb when it comes to marketing your photography?

Never, ever assume anything about anything. Ever.

Because the moment you assume someone knows something, chances are you’ll get your marketing all wrong. Because its almost never true.

Here’s why.

You’ve been dreaming about being a photographer for years. You might even have a strong business, and have been photographing clients for years. But as you live and breathe photography, it becomes a part of who you are. You think in shutter speeds and aperture settings. You look at the world through an imaginary lens – all the time. And you constantly look at how you can gain new clients by the marketing materials you produce.

But your prospects and customers haven’t. They don’t work in your office. They don’t read photography magazines. And chances are they haven’t thought much about the art of photography. She has other priorities. She’s living in her own world 24 hours a day, and that world probably doesn’t involve a lot of research in photography.

Until she’s ready for your services. Then she starts her investigation. But even at that level, every prospect will have a different way of doing things. Some will spend hours researching online. Some will be happy with a flyer they’ve received in the mail.

Which means some will be better educated than others. But the problem is you don’t know which is which. [Read more…]

Are You Targeting The Average Client?

I just read an article titled, The End Of The Average American. It referred to the old mentality that marketers shared 25 years ago when they could easily target the “average” American, and be right on target almost all of the time.

Twenty five years ago, over two thirds of all households were married couples. The 2010 census shows that for the first time in history, married couples are a minority. And even in the married population, less than 21 percent of all households are married with children.

In our two largest states, California and Texas, no race or ethnicity is a majority. And the census itself shows how are population has changed – it now comes with instructions in 65 languages.

With this much diversity in the American population – and I would venture the same things are happening worldwide to some degree – can you really be targeting a clientele in the same ways as before?

Let me give you an example. How many portrait photographers send out a postcard or use a photograph like this in your marketing?

Yet now that we know very few people live “the normal lifestyle”, what if you used something like this?

It’s different. It’s unexpected. And it’s taking a new niche by storm, and possibly setting up your business to an entire niche that’s grateful to have you marketing to them.

Niches work well because you can target your client down to the detail.

Twenty five years ago, it may have worked to say “married couples with children under the age of ten”.

But today, going to the next level may help define you that much more: “gay and lesbian couples with kids under the age of ten”.

You are narrowing your niche even more. But you are also getting to the hearts and souls of the people you are targeting. And thanks to the Internet, your target market will be willing to drive a lot further, or even fly you out to them if you have what they want.

5 Ways To Boost The Most Important Page On Your Site

What’s one of the most important pages on your website?

Your home page?

Your gallery section?

While they are all important in creating your overall brand, there is one page that stands out above the rest, and has the most impact in converting a complete stranger into a potential prospect. Yet its also one of the pages we think the least about, and throw up more as an afterthought.

It’s the About Us page.

Statistics continually show your About Us page is the second most trafficked page on your site. Yet if it’s just a few bullet points, a few sentences that give basic information about you, it’s also the number one page that is holding you back.

Your About Us page should be used to sell who you are and what you can do. And while that sounds easy in theory, statistics also show its one of the most difficult pages for people to write. There’s something about “tooting your own horn” that people simply find impossible. They consider it bragging. And therefore they write up a few sentences and leave it at that.

Having trouble writing up your own About Us page?
Maybe its time to let someone else do it for you.
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Adding The Pizzazz To Your About Us Page

1. Start with a story. Every business started with one late night idea that built up because of passion. Every photographer loved the art of photographing, and somewhere along the way decided to turn it into a business. People love to hear that story. They love to know what was “the moment” for you, and what persuaded you to take action and create the business you are in today.

2. Who else loves you? Over the years, you’ve accumulated awards and accolades. Now is the time to share them with the world. Whether it’s a degree in photography, finishing a week long seminar and training session in Italy, or a 1st place award from the county fair, that’s you starting point. That’s why you are doing what you do today. And someone else has appreciated what you do as well.

3. Say it with a photograph. I’m always amazed at the number of photographers who don’t like to have their personal image showcased on their websites. Why? Be creative with it. Showcase your personality. Create an image that you’ve always dreamed of creating with your clientele. And use it on your site, and throughout your social platforms.

4. Use different media tools. The great thing about the online world is you have a variety of tools available to you to enhance your look and feel. Use them all to showcase what you do. Animoto, YouTube, SlideShare, Photoshop and others offer you amazing tools to create a variety of ways to showcase your talents. Don’t be afraid to use this new technology to make them say “wow”. (example)

5. Ask for comments. Instead of telling people about you, ask your current customers what they think. Then use those in your About Us page as well. Chances are they can say it better, and your prospects will completely relate to what they have to say about who you are and what you offer.

Bottom Line: Online or off, the ultimate job of self-promotion comes down to us, the business owner. If you can’t toot your own horn and make yourself stand out from the competition, it’s that much harder to convince people to use you as their photographer. Its your time to shine. What’s holding you back?

Promote yourself with a new About Us page today >>

Finding Your First Five Photography Clients

After years in the business, sometimes its difficult to think back to the very first day you opened your doors, and waited patiently until the first client came in. blue eyes portrait

Chances are even if you’re brand new, you’ve started out with friends and family. I remember doing a ton of friends, just to gain experience and to get my portfolio up to where we had something to show other prospects. That’s the best way to start.

I remember one of our dreams was to do love portraits, or photographs of two people in an image that portrayed a scene of romance. In order to get exactly the right look, Andrew photographed his brother and myself in a variety of photographs, which we used to show potential clients what we had in mind.

You have to have samples of what you truly want to do. A potential customer can’t read your mind, and they can’t picture what you describe. They have to see it to believe it, and want it. [Read more…]