Getting the wheels spinning in your photography business is one of the hardest things you can do.
It seems like it’s all flowers and sunshine once you’ve already got a client base, but what can you do to bring in those initial bookings – kind of like seedlings that you’ll nurture and turn into big business…
In this quick article, I’ll give you 3 actionable ideas that’ll bring in new clients and then turn them into even more new clients, creating a perpetual cycle of business, even when the economy sucks!
1 – Use Facebook ads to get calls
It’s too early to pay for most types of advertising like newspaper, magazine or even shiny brochures (which I don’t recommend anyway), but you can get new clients without spending much if you know what to do on Facebook Ads.
I won’t get into too much detail here (you can get more details via my email newsletter – subscribe in the sidebar), but no matter what type of photography you do, there is a way to target people who would be interested in what you do – and it can be extremely cheap!
The great thing is that almost no photographers are doing this yet, so finding clients is like shooting fish in a barrel.
In most cases you’ll be able to bring in a new client for under $10 in advertising. So if your average client spend is just $200, you’re making a significant profit!
2 – Give them what they’d never expect
So the Facebook ads are an effective and cheap way to bring in new clients… NEXT you need to give them a great experience so that they book you again in the future, as well as refer their friends and family to you.
This is another area where you can crush your competition because nobody really cares about their clients, especially once they’ve been paid.
Here’s what to do…
Always reply to missed calls, texts and emails as soon as possible. The myth of waiting to reply for several hours just makes you look too busy and makes them feel unimportant
- Reply to enquiries in the way they were received, so don’t reply to a text message with a phone call Some clients will text or email because they don’t like speaking on the phone, and vice versa.
- Contact each client after their session to say they did great and ask if they have any questions etc. This is just a small added touch and only takes a minute or two for each client.
- For bigger jobs (in the several hundred dollar and up category) write a handwritten thank you letter and send it via regular mail or drop it under their doormat if you’re passing by.
- Send birthday and Christmas cards and make sure they’re hand written. Keep sending them for at least 5 years after you’ve worked with the client. It’ll only cost around $1 per card, but it’ll boost referrals and repeat sittings like you won’t believe.
These are just a few generic ideas that scratch the surface of going further than your competition. Depending on what type of photography you do, you’ll be able to come up with your own ideas and specialisations!
3 – Ask for referrals (without becoming a pest)
You’d be surprised how few photographers EVER ask for referrals from their clients. From the students who started out with, I’d estimate that it’s fewer than 5%.
Most just assume that if their photos are good enough they’ll get the recognition and referrals they deserve… and they do get some referrals, but very few.
The simple act of asking clients to refer a friend will boost your referral rates by at least 10 times – That’s a personal guarantee. I’ve seen students go from 1-2 referrals each month, up to 20-45. A HUGE jump.
You don’t have to make it sound like you’re begging for the work. Just say something simple and easily relatable like this…
“Advertising these days seems like such a waste of money. It’s almost impossible for small businesses like me to compete with those big impersonal studios. That’s why I prefer to do exceptional work for great clients like you, knowing that you’ll refer me to friends or family when they’re in need of the best photographer.”
It’s not pushy and it makes them feel like you’re both on the same side, fighting against the companies.
I’m sure that’s enough to keep you busy for the week, so I’ll leave it here and let you put it into action.
If you’re looking for more information about the whole Facebook ads things, or want to learn more strategies to use in your business, just sign up to my newsletter up at the top right of this page!
P.S. This stuff isn’t just a bunch of theories – I’ve taught it to thousands of photographers around the world over the last few years and have been able to test and track their results and tweak the ideas. It works, so use it!