There is one thing you can do to boost your photography business. It's easier than you think, but it can make a huge difference.
The Conversation That Brought Up This Subject
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kevin Graham asked me for a favor. He wanted my opinion on some of his galleries. To his credit, his instructions were very concise and clear.
Can you do me a favor and pick a photo from my
- Wedding Gallery
- Engagement Gallery
- Portrait Gallery
And tell me which you'd kill.
I promptly ignored his directions. At least it seems that way. In mind mind, I completely fulfilled his request. Just perhaps not in the way he expected.
While reviewing the three galleries he provided, I picked my favorite from each one and told him the results.
Then I told him to kill all the rest.
Why did I say that? Because nobody listens, not even me.
I've heard folks say that if you want someone to do something, you have to tell them what you want them to do. There's truth in that statement, but it ignores another basic reality of human nature.
Once you understand and accept this reality, you can improve your bottom line by concentrating on the essential thing that is most important to your client.
The One Thing
When presented with too many choices, most people will decline to make a decision. Without really thinking about it, that's exactly what I did. It was easy to go through and choose my favorite image. The reason is because I only had to do one thing. Pick a winner. It's a simple task when you look at it this way.
The much more complex task is deciding which of the images I've already passed over should stay and which should go. It was much easier to say “kill all the rest.” It's human nature. People take the path of least resistance.
All they want is the one thing that solves their problem. The rest is just useless noise.
You inherently know this is true. You do it yourself when you're trying to find information, buy a product, or choose a service. People look for what they want, and they do that one thing at a time.
Boost Your Photography Business
How many times have you heard the advice that you need to specialize in a niche? It's solid advice because it's true. The smaller the niche, the easier it is for you to stand out in it. That tight focus forces you to examine and refine your service to the point of perfection.
Portrait photography is a broad area. Headshots for entertainers is a tightly defined niche. You're not just doing portraits for anyone. Instead, you're offering an outstanding service for a client base that needs a great headshot and is willing to pay for quality, because that's one of the most important things that a casting director is going to see.
Now isn't that much more lucrative than doing portraits at Sears? If you want to boost your photography business, eliminate some of your potential customers. Then serve the remaining customers with outstanding quality and dedication to your craft.
Clearly, some photographers serve more than one market. A growing number of photographers shoot for clients and then also conduct workshops. There isn't anything wrong with that at all.
The problem comes when you mix your messages. Here's another example.
The Biggest Photography Blog Mistake
Let's say you have the hottest wedding photography business in town. Other photographers are attracted to your work and want to learn. There's a viable business opportunity there. You have the time and everything you need to conduct some workshops to satisfy that market.
The key is to realize that it's a separate market.
Too many times, I've found photographers who screw up their message by posting the wrong information on their web site. Wedding photographers need a web site to do one thing – to attract new wedding clients. This is not the place to talk about how you met the photography challenges of your last wedding. The prospective bride looking for a photographer doesn't care about your 85mm f/1.4 lens. She just wants to know that you can capture her wedding and deliver a professional package.
Likewise, your photography workshop clients may not be interested in referrals to the florist or baker you would recommend for your wedding. These are the folks who want to know how you got that shot in low light without catching your reflection in the minister's glasses.
Separate markets need separate web sites. Each market gets one message. I'm the wedding photographer of your dreams. I can teach you how to be the wedding photographer of some couple's dreams. Related, but separate.
Wedding photographers who have a blog should write with one goal in mind. They need to write for the next couple who needs a wedding photographer. The only goal for their web site is to entice that couple to get in touch to discuss their wedding. That's it. You don't need to sell them on anything on the site. Your sole objective is to generate a lead. Let them call you. Listen to their needs and dreams, and then you know you're talking to someone who is really a potential client for your business.
By concentrating on one thing – showing the couple why you're the right photographer for their wedding – you're eliminating people who aren't really your customer in the first place. That's OK. It means you aren't scaring off any couples who don't know an aperture from a hotshoe.
Bring your photography workshop customers to a different site and follow the same recipe. Write about one thing. Write about the things that make them happy. Entice them with the possibility of knowing how to do the things they already want to know. It doesn't hurt that you also know the best place to get cupcakes to bring to the workshop, but let that be a surprise.
Everyone likes to buy, but nobody wants to be sold. If you want to have more success and boost your photography business, then concentrate on the people who want to buy. Limit your message to the customer that wants to buy what you have to offer. That way, you aren't selling them. Instead, it's more of a temptation. They came to you with a need or desire. You just have to stay on topic with a quality product or service that entices them to do what they already want to do – pay for it.
Everyone wants something, but they only want one thing at a time. When you mix your messages, it makes a visitor's decision to leave much easier.