5 Tips for Booking More Clients This Year
With the pandemic affecting the live events industry this year, booking clients seems more challenging (and more important) than ever! As we enter a “new normal”, here are five tips for booking more clients in 2021—let's make sure you can manage a profitable business and continue your passion for photography.
The internet already plays a pivotol role in your photography business. And now that more and more people are relying on online transactions, improving your online portfolio and digital marketing plans will play key roles in booking more clients. Connecting with old customers, giving freebies, and learning how to empathize with clients can also help you get the gigs.
So, how you can combine your photography, marketing, and communication skills to get more clients next year? Let's see...
IMPROVE YOUR PORTFOLIO
Creating a great online photography portfolio isn't all about uploading your best and most recent shots. It's also about strategically showcasing work that's relevant to your target market. Not just the kind of images that YOU want to take, but the kind of images your potential clients connect with in some way. Make it a new year's resolution to switch up your portfolio... with intent.
- Learn from the best: Get educated on some of the most popular photographers of all time, and deep dive into what made them famous. Even if these photographers focus on a different niche, understanding what drew people to their imagery in the first place can help inspire you to look at your own work from a different perspective.
- Use a good website builder: If your website is a weak point in your business, now is the time to focus on improving it! Look into using reputable website builders, such as Wordpress, Squarespace, or Showit to build the foundation of your site on. We'll ge to SEO in the next section...
- Social media is part of your portfolio: Even if you have different goals for your website and your social media, they are two halves of the same whole. Make sure your images and brand are consistent (and powerful) across both! Afterall, some potential clients might never make it past your social media and onto your website.
DON'T NEGLECT ONLINE MARKETING
While you may prefer managing photoshoots or editing photos, those won't happen without clients. Without any customers, you won't have bookings... just expensive equipment gathering dust.
Marketing may feel overwhelming, so try treating it like an appointment—set aside time devoted to only marketing, and condition yourself not to reschedule it.
These are a few ways to improve your online marketing in 2021.
- Create engaging content on social media: Different platforms have different algorithms that are constantly changing, and you won't be able to master them all. But there are some tried and true foundations, so take a minute to learn about social media 101.
- Optimize your website: After having a website full of photos, it's time to add text. By writing useful and SEO-optimized blog articles, page descriptions, etc., you can boost your rankings on search engines. That way, more potential clients can find you. One of the easiest ways to optimize is by using keywords—think of the kinds of words and phrases potential clients would use to search for you online, and include them wherever you can (just try not to get spammy).
- Bring in inquiries: Your online presence is your digital store. Make sure there's a way for potential clients to easily message you on your website. And like we said, some potential clients might never go to your website at all, so be sure your social sites also make it clear how to get in contact and book a shoot.
GIVE DISCOUNTS AND FREEBIES
In the world of fine art photography, "discounts" and "freebies" can seem like dirty words. But vouchers, marked-down packages, and free gifts are great ways to attract more clients (and bring back old ones). Just be cautious in developing them—understand your costs and pricing so they won't affect your sales negatively.
Try giving loyalty rewards or referral vouchers to returning customers. Or, offer a number of free prints as long as they pay within a specified booking period. When you offer perks, clients feel like they are getting more value from you—and don't forget to add a sense of urgency1
Try to limit your special deals to seasonal events, like the start of a new year or holidays like Valentine's Day, where people feel more generous and festive. If you offer freebies constantly, you may end up attracting customers looking for the lowest offers only.
CONNECT WITH PREVIOUS CLIENTS
Word-of-mouth advertising can be powerful, especially since 84% of people trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues. It's okay to ask for referrals! You can even use incentives (see previous point) to help motivate them.
Try to turn your previous customers into repeat clients, too. It's easier to connect with existing clients than make new ones. So, besides serving as a bridge to connect you with their circles, your communication can also prompt them to remember your business whenever they need a photography service.
MAKE IT ALL ABOUT THEM
When speaking to a potential client (directly or via online marketing), it's easy to fall deep in making the conversation about you, especially when there is a lull in the conversation. Don’t fall victim to this! Instead, ask open-ended questions to your potential clients. This gives them room to expand upon their needs, and gives you a chance to show them how you'll address those needs.
If you make the conversation about them, they’re much more likely to leave the interaction picturing what it would be like to work with you. They'll also be thinking about how great of a time they had talking to you, because people typically enjoy taking and sharing about themselves. Trust will be built because you got them to share personal stories and information that they usually share with close friends. Suddenly, you seem less like a vendor and more like a friend, increasing your chances of getting booked!
Remember, people prefer to buy from someone they feel a personal connection with rather than from companies and strangers!
A successful photography business is more than taking amazing pictures. You need to develop a consistent style, build a portfolio, and create marketing plans to book more clients in 2021. Remember, getting potential customers to see the value that you're offering shows them how much they can benefit from booking your services.
Photos courtesy of KT Merry