In this photography business Q&A session, I share the answers to a few questions asked on Instagram. Hit play below or scroll down to read the post.
Today we have three great topics to talk about!
1. I’m increasing my prices, but I’m not sure what language to use on my website so that my current clients know that the new prices apply to new bookings only.
Clients who have already booked with you are not going to be looking at your website and reviewing prices. If for some reason a client reaches out, then you can do that confirmation.
You can also have nothing about pricing on your website. You could just say “for pricing please inquire.” You could also have a general statement stating “most of my customers spend X on their portrait session” or, “my portraits start at X and go up from there.” If you don’t want to spell out your new pricing, you absolutely do not have to.
2. What are some marketing tips for new businesses to help find and book new clients?
This is a massive topic. I cover so much of this in my full course, “The Organized Photographer” which will open up for registration again at the end of the year and class will start in January. So I’m not going to go all the way into this because that is something that my paying students and my mentoring students get. But, I do want to skim the surface and give you some ideas.
When you’re an entrepreneur, marketing is everything. I’m going to give you three things that I would recommend you start with.
The first thing is that you need to be 100% certain as to who is your ideal client.
You cannot market to people and try and recruit new people if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach. There is a certain type of ideal client that is right for you that you want to serve. As a new business, it is tempting to just want to take everybody and want to work with everybody because anybody that’ll give you income is a win.
Are they young families? Are they newlyweds? Are they families with seniors in high school? Are they people who are having babies? Are they brands that you want to work with? You need to know who they are, where they live, what they do for fun, what they do for a living, do they have kids, do they not have kids? Where do they spend their time? Where do they shop? Where do they eat? What zip codes are they in? Are they churchgoers or not? Are they homeschoolers or not?
Create a story around who your ideal client is, the more you know about them. The more you can figure out how to reach them.
The second thing you’re going to do is I want you to “go” where they are.
That could mean physically or it could also mean on the internet. If it’s an actual boutique, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a playground – go to those places. Then, I want you to spend time going online to those places too. I want you to follow those businesses and engage with those businesses online.
When the Instagram algorithm sees that you are in the same circle of orbit as your ideal client, your business and your business page and posts from your business are going to show up as recommended to your ideal client. Hopefully what’s going to happen is that you or your business is going to get shown to her and it’s going to catch her attention and she’s going to follow your page. Then she’s going to start engaging with you.
So, you need to be spending time and supporting the same places that your ideal client does, online and in person.
The third and final tip I’m going to give you from this humongous broad category is that I want you to think about businesses that you can collaborate with.
Again, this is going to be businesses that your ideal client spends time with, engages with and follows. When I say collaboration, a lot of people automatically think you have to give them free photos and do something in return. Small businesses love to help each other out. It doesn’t always have to be a financial trade or a “let me do pictures for you and then you can share about me.” Those are great things, but it doesn’t always have to be monetary. You can find all kinds of creative ways to collaborate with local businesses.
3. I am planning for next year. What should I do to prepare for the slow months?
This question came from a family photographer. I’m going to assume that she means January, February, and March and what can she do to prepare for the first quarter of next year. My answer is, it depends. I need to know which boat you’re in and I will speak to both of these.
Are you in the scenario that your family relies on your income and therefore you need to make a certain amount of money every single month? If so, your question is what can you do to bring in income during the first quarter when you know that it’s going to be slower for family sessions?
Scenario number two is you don’t necessarily need the set monthly income. So what can you be planning to fill your time with so that you are productive in your business?
Those are two different directions for what to do for the busy season.
If you are on the side of needing a set monthly income, you’re starting to get scared because you know that after the fall busy season, family sessions are just going to drop off and you’re a little bit panicked.
You need to be marketing for what you’re going to fill that time with now. Marketing is four to six months in advance. Blogging and social media are that way. You can really promote in-home or studio newborn sessions.
If you are not really big into newborns yet, but you’re interested in starting, do model calls now so that you have work to market for you because people have babies every month of the year. It’s a great thing to fill your first quarter with.
You can also do some sort of family session promotion around cold weather. Another thing that you can fill your first quarter with, is either branding or product photography. Those are also things that people need all year round, and it’s a great season to do that. If you have any interest in doing that, you should be doing model calls now so that you have images to market with now.
You’re marketing for the people who are going to book you in the first quarter.
If you are in the second scenario, you’re interested in how you can fill that time doing productive things for your business when you know that you’re going to be shooting way less than normal.
The first quarter is an incredible time to do all the behind-the-scenes stuff in your business.
A new website or a website revamp, planning out your content creation for as far out as you can. You can plan out your marketing calendar for the entire year so that you know what you’re talking about and what, when you’re selling and when you’re not selling. You can write out ideas for newsletters.
Another really great thing to do with the first quarter is to either have a mentorship or take a course.
There are a lot of conferences that will be in the first quarter. Give yourself the gift of that education, or hire and get your mentor on the books. That is a great time to hire somebody because you have the time and the brain to actually work on your business and to really engage with a mentor.