Get To The Sale … Now

“I’m so excited about my photography business. But I have so much to do. My website is anything but perfect. I have a few images but I know I need more. I talk about my services, yet its pretty generic. There are so many details to think about. I know it will be a while before I get it to where I want it to be. When I hear people actually sell things through their websites I’m amazed. How do they do that? It will definitely be a while for me.”

Sound familiar?Photography Sale

For many photographers, its easy to put up a simple website. With just a few pages to fill, its usually fairly easy to put something together to show the world.

But how do you make the transition from simple website to selling machine?

Its not as difficult as you think.

In fact it only requires one thing: action.

Yep, you simply have to offer something for sale. That’s it.

If you want to sell your photography as artwork, it can be as simple as putting an order button below the image on your website, or starting up an account on a place like Etsy.

Dig Deeper: Can You Still Use Etsy For Making Money With Your Photography?

If you want to sell the service of photography, its as simple as describing what you do, what you have to offer, and an order button to complete the transaction.

Dig Deeper: How To Book Clients Without The Face To Face Consultation

That’s it.

Sounds easy enough, right? [Read more…]

How To Book Clients Without The Face To Face Consultation

I recently had a question come through on a post – What Are You Selling On Your Website?

“Thank you for the info here. How would you go about creating a call to action for a product not yet created? For example, how would one get a client to book or purchase a package through a website without a consultation? I’ve struggled with this concept and would really appreciate your perspective.”

Really there are two answers to this question. You need both in order to complete a sales process online.

1. Content

2. Action

Lets start with content.

The one thing I write on probably more than any other topic is content. And in many ways, I’m showing you how to do it by actually doing it.

If you’ve spent time on this site, you know there is a huge amount of content – hundreds and hundreds of posts for you to search through and learn from. If you come in and read a post and like it, I’ll lead you to more content in a variety of ways. I love using Dig Deeper’s:

Dig Deeper: Why Every Small Business Owner Must Now Be A Content Provider

At the end of each post you’ll find additional posts related to the content you’ve just read:

And of course you can always head back up to the navigation and find specific information on just about anything related to building a photography business.

By reading content, we’re developing a relationship. You read and learn. And hopefully trust me to continue providing quality content that can given to you in a variety of ways. Including some things for sale.

The same applies to your prospects and customers. [Read more…]

Blogging Is Booming For Business … If You Do It The Right Way

Its easy to get caught up in the promise of big returns by using the latest social site – whatever that may be. Yet by jumping on the “latest and greatest” social networking site, you may be missing out on an opportunity that has been there all along.

Blogs are sometimes overlooked as the strong marketing tool they are. A recent study showed that blogs as sources of online buzz have increased over the last five years  from 36 million to 181 million. Yet why are blogs still so strong? Should you be using them? And is there a right way … and a wrong way … to use a blog for your photography business?

Blogs Are The Backbone Of Success

Sarah is a photographer. When she decided to start her photography business, she had been unemployed for several months and didn’t have a lot of funds to invest in her new business. So she did what any savvy business owner would do and did everything she could for free. She printed off business cards on her home printer. And she started designing a Facebook page to showcase her work. She spent several months adding posts and content to Facebook and gradually built up a pretty good following. She gained over 2,000 followers and had a steady line of prospects and customers – enough to keep a steady income coming in every month.

Then someone got a hold of her Facebook password and started posting spam from her account. Facebook received a number of complaints and shut her account down. [Read more…]

What Are You Selling On Your Website?

Why do you have a website?

That may seem like a trick question. Yet it’s a question most people don’t think about. They build a website because you have to have one in today’s world to run a business. But they never give it much thought. So take a few minutes now and think about why you have one.

Is it to find clients online – people you would never meet up with in your local community?

Is it to provide a brochure for people that you hear about you and want a little more information?

Is it to sell your photography?

Your website isn’t a one-purpose marketing tool. Instead it’s a multipurpose resource that can provide you with many different opportunities … if you plan and use it correctly.

What did you list as your reasons for having a website? Once you write down your ideas, its time to head over to your website to see if it really provides a strong resource for your ultimate goal. Let me give you an example. [Read more…]

Why You Should Not Be SEOing Your Website

If you have an active blog for your photography business, chances are you’ve read all you can about SEO. If you’re going to write day after day to try and attract new clientele, you might as well make sure the search engines love it, right?

And while I agree SEO may still have a place in your overall business marketing model, if you’re doing it the “old school” way, you’re probably not having much success. Here’s why.

[If you’re just getting started with SEO, here’s a great place to start: Best SEO Practices and Tips For Your Photography Business.]

Traditional SEO

People that follow the “old school” method of SEO love to use keywords. They fill up their titles, meta tags, descriptions and content with as many keywords as they possibly can.

If you look at the title of their blog posts, they look something like this:

Wedding Photography California: Jim and Kelley – Engagement Photos at Laguna Beach

Or something along this line of thinking. Then if you hover over the photographs they’ve included in the post to see the meta tags, you’ll find something like this:

Jim and Kelley Engagement Photos in Laguna Beach California Wedding Photography Wedding Photographer John Smith with Smith Photography Inc Image 1

And of course as you read through the post, you’ll find those same keywords listed again and again. And again.

Its enough to make you back out as fast as you can. And its enough to make Google back away as well.

While this “old school” method of SEOing may have worked in the past, Google has been watching these sites for years. And they’ve decided that they have less value than a site that speaks directly to their audience. So they weight them differently, don’t give them top value, and throw the ranking down below those that are concentrating on quality rather than keyword stuffing.

What To Do Instead

Whether you’ve been doing this type of SEOing for months, or have recently read about it and were thinking of adopting this strategy this year, think again.

Instead, focus in on what you can do to make your content that much richer; that much more valuable to the people that want to read it.

Start with your domain name. If the word “photography” is already in your domain name, it will be a part of every page you create. And while you can use it as a keyword, its not necessary to over use it.

Create motivating titles. People like stories. So start the story with a great title.

A Fun Day At Laguna Beach Celebrating The Engagement of Jim and Kelley

Regulars to your blog will be instantly attracted to a title like that because it concentrates on what it is “engagement” and where “Laguna Beach”.

From there, you can really play it up.

How To Get Romantic: Jason and Crystal Showed Us How Its Done


Fun In The Sand: Did You Ever Think An Engagement Shoot Could Be Like This?

That’s where the interaction comes in. That’s where people come back to your blog again and again because they love what you have to say AND what you produce.

Tag your photos the right way. Then tag your photographs with an appropriate tag for the post. You don’t have to tag the photo with your name, the business name, unless it’s a photo of you. Instead, focus in on what it’s a photo of: [Read more…]

How To Boost Your Photography Business With Pinterest

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Facebook and Twitter have been the social phenomena for many months now, so eventually some other site had to come along and see what they could do to gain traction.

It may be with a site called Pinterest. Pinterest is a social site that calls themselves a virtual pinboard. It allows you to organize and share all of the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, organize their wardrobe/closet, and find favorite recipes. Yep, if that sounds like a place the female population would love, you’re right. Its heavily weighted towards female users who love sharing and commenting on everything fun.

While Pinterest is simply a pinboard, meaning there is no true way of selling or getting people to buy your products, it is a popular way to showcase images with links back to the original source.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Pinterest yet, now is the time. Use these ideas to set up and draw attention to your photography.

Spend the time

Pinterest is just like the other social sites in use today – you get out of it what you put into it. Find the movers and shakers of Pinterest and build relationships with those who are known for quality “pins”. Once they recognize you, they are more likely to post about your photography. [Read more…]

Are You Building Trust Through Your Website?

I love marketing. I love seeing how other people put together campaigns. And because of it I follow a lot of people online to see what they will do next.

About a year ago I was introduced (through an online newsletter) to a woman who has a huge following online. So I started following her. And I really like her style. I love how she has set up her website, how she communicates with her fan base, and how she makes her offers.

But there is something else. I don’t like her as a person. At all. We don’t have the same beliefs or the same ethics. Some of the things she talks about actually gets me riled up in the mornings.

And yet she is busier today than when I first started following her a year ago. Why? Because she is true to herself and isn’t afraid to communicate heart and soul to her followers.

When you head over and read her site and blog posts, she is an authentic person, meaning she tells you exactly what she believes. She mixes personal ideals with her business strategies all the time. You not only get to know her business, but you also really get to know her as well. And I know if you have the same beliefs as her, you end up feeling connected almost immediately.

“That’s me.”

“She’s speaking directly to me.”

“She so gets what I’m feeling.”

Yep, she’s heard all of that and more. (She posts testimonials so I know what people are saying.)

Both online and off, being true to yourself means you’ll resonate with others as well. Think about your hot buttons and the things you love and support. If I say “National Rifle Association” or “Greenpeace” I’m sure your mind automatically begins churning things over. You may be passionate one way or the other on these topics. And if we get into politics, I’m sure the opinions would really fly.

Yet when you’re with a group of people that you “gel” with, you let your guard down. You know you can speak freely because they have the same opinions as you. And even if they vary in small degrees, there is still enough common ground that you can remain great friends.

And no matter what beliefs you have, wouldn’t you rather work with “friends” than with people you really don’t agree with?

So why not show your true colors? Yes, you have to draw your line in the sand and only talk about online what you truly want other people to know about. But if you create content, develop your marketing and your services around what you do and love, others will pick up on it. If you show your true personality in all that you do, your prospects and clients will love you all the more.

They want to work with a friend, not a business owner.

They want to feel like you truly get them, and aren’t just handing them something so you can make money.

11 Things You Must Do To Be More Effective At Blogging

Do you blog? What does your blog mean to you?

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time now, hopefully you’re beginning to realize the importance of content on a blog. It can truly be the tool you need to catapult your business to a whole new level.

I started blogging years ago, and now use my blog on a daily basis to connect and build relationships with my customers. Along the way, I’ve discovered 11 things you must do to be more effective at blogging. Take a look at my list, and let me know what I’m missing. What do you do regularly that helps you build a strong web presence with your blog?

1. Talk To Your Visitors

When people come to a blog, it’s to learn more about you. If you offer great information, they will be back. As a photographer, they love to see your photographs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn more about you too. Instead of creating a post, titling it “Amanda’s Senior Photos”, and placing 10 of her best images in a row, do something more. Tell the story of Amanda. Tell what it was like working with Amanda. Pictures may pull us in; but if you have a story with the photographs, we’ll quickly feel that much closer to you.

2. Consistency

If you blog, you have to blog regularly. Doing it only when you feel like it, and only when you have time doesn’t cut it. To be recognized, you have to build a schedule and stick with it. If you blog once a day, make sure you get it in once per day. If you create a blog post on your recent senior portrait setting, make sure you create a blog post for every senior you photograph.

3. Use Plugins

Right now almost 1 in 5 websites online uses WordPress as its design platform, and with good reason. Nothing is easier than being able to load a plugin in to make your job easier, and give you even easier access to create great content for your readers. Here’s my list of 10 WordPress Plugins For Photographers – what are your favorites? [Read more…]

Building an Awe-Inspiring Online Portfolio in 5 Easy Steps

Building a portfolio is easy. There are hundreds of free tools available that allow you to throw together a few photographs, and use that to show your work to potential customers.

The hard part is making it good.

A great portfolio does more than just showcase your work. It converts visitors from lookers into paying clients. It allows them to not only see what you do, but become so motivated by it that they can’t help but take the next step.

And best of all, to be a truly spectacular online portfolio, it must also help you put everything together quickly and efficiently, giving you more time to do what you love.

How do you know where to start? Lets walk through 5 steps that will help you put the whole thing together

Start With A Question

Let me ask you a question. How would you define the word “portfolio”?

In many cases, a photographer will say their portfolio is a gallery of their best images, ready to showcase the work they’ve completed for other customers.

And I would agree – that’s the starting definition. But it’s truly more than that. A portfolio is a collection of creative works that are used to showcase your skills, and hopefully motivate the viewer with enough information they agree to buy.

Using that definition, your portfolio becomes more than just your gallery of images. It becomes the entire presentation you use within your online presence to motivate and showcase who you are, in hopes they move to the next step.

So in order to build a truly awe-inspiring portfolio, you have to ask yourself:

What do people truly need from my portfolio in order to move from looker to client? [Read more…]

Who Really Owns Your Photos On Social Sites?

Like most people, you probably don’t think twice about it.

You head over to the newest social site, sign up for an account, check the “terms of service” box without really reading it, and begin posting. Content, photo videos – it all goes up without much thought as to the true impact.

But what rights do you have to your content, photos and videos after you put them on a social site? What rights do you have to it after the fact? And more importantly, what rights do they have?

Almost every photo-sharing site has some type of license agreement to your content. While the agreements change from site to site, what you are agreeing to can change significantly. Here’s an overview of 12 major photo-sharing sites:

But even after you sign up with an account and start using it, things can change. For instance, on June 1st, Twitter announced the company was partnering with Photobucket to make sharing photos easier. Which means if you have a Twitter account and post photographs using the new API, you’ll also be subscribing to Photobucket’s terms of services by default.

Therein lies the problem.

It’s fun to use social sites, and most of us don’t think twice about signing up for an account. In fact, in many cases the benefits far outweigh the detriments.  Who wouldn’t want the possibility of reaching out to millions of people that spend hours on a site every single month?

Yet problems do exist, and will continue to grow as we spend even more time online. Whether you are trying to avoid your high school senior using a photo posted on Facebook for other uses, or you are trying to gain compensation to a photo you tweeted on a monumental event, its important to think before you post.

3 Rules Of Advice For Photographers

Think Before You Post
I often tell people to think before they write up a quick post and place it into their newsfeed. Would you want your mom reading it? Your grandmother? Just a few seconds of contemplation can save you years of embarrassment – as Senator Weiner can now tell you.

The same applies to your photos. You may love the image you just captured. But before you tweet it and share it, what are the implications? What are your goals for the photograph? In some cases, putting the image on hold for a few hours or even days can save you in the future.

Where Will Your Compensation Come From?
Instead of thinking about it on the fly, sit down and come up with your own policies on posting photographs.

If you hope to be compensated for your work now or in the future, make sure you are fully covered before you post. Include it in a package price for your clients. Take the necessary steps to copyright it. Or use a watermark to protect the integrity of the image.

If you’re using it as promotion, post it to showcase what you do. Always make sure the image leads back to you, and you keep up to date on your profile. Also realize that as much protection as you use, there is always the possibility of your photos being reused without your permission and without your credit. It’s a new fact of the social atmosphere.

What Is Your Ultimate Goal?
What is your ultimate goal for posting a photograph? Are you using it to capture a new audience to your work? Are you using it to try and gain sales? Are you using it for marketing and exposure?

Know your goals ahead of time. It’s possible to use social successfully in a variety of ways. But your first task is to know how it will benefit you. Only then can you take the necessary steps to make sure you are protected.