When you think of marketing tools for photographers, you immediately think of the portfolio, which is the main thing togs use when showing a prospect exactly what they can do… and that’s great!
But, it’s not the only option, and there is actually something that I think is more powerful for photographers, which I call the ‘Testimonial Book’
Before I start explaining the testimonial book, let me first share why I think the common portfolio can be a problem.
The Pitfalls of a Portfolio
Now, I’m sure your portfolio is incredible and really shows your clients just how great of a photographer you are… but the effect of a portfolio only has a really great impact on OTHER photographers!
Simply because they can appreciate your photos. They know if the exposure is right, they know why you chose a smaller aperture to reduce background distraction, they understand the rule of thirds!… They understand it all and they can appreciate what you’ve done.
Your prospects on the other hand can certainly see that your photo’s look nice, but that’s as far as it goes in most cases. They wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the photos of a beginner to photos from a pro. As long as they were shot on a DSLR, that’s all your prospects will really understand. I’m sure you’ve even had some ask why the backgrounds are blurry on your portraits, and why the person isn’t in the center or the shot, haven’t you?
The point here, is that your prospects probably aren’t going to be able to see that your work is better than the other 5 photographers portfolios they’ve seen… so you need to find other things to include to make yourself stand out.
Enter the Testimonial Book
The testimonial book is exactly what you would imagine…
A book FULL of testimonials!
You already know that you should be getting testimonials from all of your clients. It sometimes seems like pulling teeth, but it’s worth it in the end because every testimonial helps!
- Compile every testimonial that you’ve received throughout your entire career… if you’re fairly new to photography get your friends and family to give you a testimonial. It doesn’t matter who they come from, as long as they’re about your photography and are positive.
- Next, create a PDF file on your computer (with a program like adobe acrobat pro, or Google Docs) with each testimonial. Include the persons name, suburb, occupation, type of photography, and even something personal like “loves pugs!” to make them seem even more authentic. Include a photo if possible!
- Third, print it out and have it bound. It doesn’t have to be extremely fancy though. You can get spiral bindings, glue the spine, or even just a simple staple! The value isn’t in the presentation, it’s tin the contents.
- Finally, give a copy to all of your prospects along with your portfolio. They will often look at this even before the portfolio because people value the opinions of other people like them.
The Reason This Works So Well
You may already know about “social proof”, which says “People will do things that they see other people are doing”. So if you can show your prospects a book full of testimonials from 100 happy clients, then it’s much easier for them to follow the though process that’s something like “if all these people think that this photographer is so great, then who am I to disagree?”, so they will be far more likely to choose you over the other guy…
If, on the other hand you didn’t show any testimonials, all they have to judge and choose you by is your actual photos which they simply don’t have the knowledge or experience to judge correctly.
So you need to start getting as many testimonials as possible! Put them all in a book and give a copy to every single prospect to help make their buying decision easier. It’s extremely cheap and will often double your prospect to client conversion rates!