Get Your Business Ready for the New Year
It’s a brand new year full of brand new opportunities to create amazing imagery. But is your photography business ready for the New Year? Richard has 10 tips to help jump-start your business in 2015!
1. Have A Portfolio for Your Audience
It’s fair to say that we’re all suffering from online fatigue—yes, it can be an amazing marketing tool, but when you’re sitting face-to-face with a potential client, a screen just can’t compete with full-size, tangible imagery. Pull potential clients out of their everyday digital world and make a personal connection through a printed portfolio. Photo books are an excellent way to not only display your portfolio, but to cater the collection of work you are showing to the audience you are presenting to. Try designing and printing separate books for your different areas of expertise, whether it’s fashion, fine art, wedding, travel, portraits, etc.
2. Get Your Gear in Shape
Restock your film inventory, clean up your equipment, explore new gadgets! Now's the time to make sure your photog kit is filled with everything you'll need, so when your busy time hits you can focus on shooting. Freestyle Photographic Supplies has everything you'll need to hit the ground running.
3. Build Your Network…
It’s all about who you know. No, it’s not just Hollywood jargon… you wouldn’t believe how much you can grow your business by growing your network. Make friends and start relationships with other professionals and vendors at your next shoot. Also, take advantage of tradeshows, workshops, and other fun gatherings—those are some of the easiest places to meet more peeps!
4. …and Maintain Relationships
Once you’ve made some new industry friends, be sure to keep in touch! Posting your photos on social media? Tag other vendors that were involved in the event and use associated hashtags. Have a client who needs an event designer, beauty artist, etc? Refer folks from your network that you’ve seen in action! Can’t take a job because you are already booked? Make reliable photog friends you can send jobs to, and they’ll most likely return the favor.
This may seem a little too obvious, but it’s a mistake that lots of us make, all the time—typos! In the process of maintaining your relationships, be sure to do a double-take on emails and social posts for accurate referrals and tags of names/companies. It can be easy to miss an opportunity to connect because of auto-correct.
6. Don’t Leave Them Empty Handed
After you’ve made a connection with a potential client or another vendor, give them something to remember your name and your brand by. Present your images as well as information on your brand & business to new clients and others in your network. Follow up with clients that could use your services again, like a bride who may need portraits of her new family, or a designer you’ve worked with that will need someone to photograph their new line.
7. Be a Dependable Marketer
It sounds strange, but consistent marketing (especially online) is an extremely important tool when growing your business. Are you creating new blog entries at regular intervals so readers know what to expect? Are you posting photos on social media at times when your followers are most likely to be online? Are you staying active on all of your social media platforms to keep followers engaged over time? If you go the traditional marketing route with magazine ads, does it accurately embody your unique brand and services offered?
8. Recognize Branding Opportunities and Keep it Consistent
Your brand is more than just your logo. Be aware of how your brand is being perceived holistically: that’s everything from your own appearance to your website design to the look of your photographs to the packaging you use to send prints. At the end of the day, you want potential clients to recognize any and every piece of your business as “you” through consistent and frequent exposure to your brand identity.
9. Be Prepared for Business After the Shoot
Being paid for a shoot is not the end of a business transaction, it can be seen as just the beginning. After all those glorious photos are taken, there are ample opportunities to add value and sell more to a client through prints. It’s way easier for clients to understand the value of print if you have examples they can feel and hold, so stock your studio sample collection with prints on some of your favorite papers, swatch kits, and print comparisons on different mediums such as canvas vs. fine art vs. photographic.
Also, picking your favorite prints and gifting them to clients after a shoot is a beautiful, genuine, and emotionally-charged soft-sell to keep you and the experience they had with you on their mind for future opps. Remember: every successful job is another subtle invitation for future shoots.
10. Streamline Your Workflow with an Online Storefront
Now is the time to set up your online storefront! The benefits for you and your client are rooted in efficiency: clients can view photos and order all their prints in one place, and you reap the benefits of print sales without spending tons of time coordinating fulfillment. It's a win-win! There are lots of great options out there, so explore and see what fits your business' needs best (check out some of Richard's favorites here). Hip hip hooray!