As the summer season begins, it is never too early to prepare for Fall Sports. As photographers, we will do all we can to produce great photography. It’s what we love to do. However, one area that can often be ignored is the marketing of your photography business. Increasing your bookings is a must. Making a commitment to invest the time and capital into this area on a regular basis will promote and increase awareness about your business. This awareness will result in growth and increased revenue. Constantly being out in front of your customers and prospects will only grow your business. Here are a couple of marketing ideas that will help make this Fall a success:
The most effective way to book more business is to make face to face sales calls on promising potential customers.
Make sure your first impression is a great one. Taking the following steps will insure a great first impression:
- Attitude is everything! Display an upbeat positive attitude. Explaining the execution of the photo shoot and your unique product line with excitement and passion is one simple step to making a great first impression. Always present a “can do” attitude. Your positive energy will have a positive influence on the entire presentation. Even when giving a 30 second sales pitch, the use of positive body language and an energetic attitude can make all the difference.
- Dress the part. When meeting with your contact for the first time, your appearance is one of the first things your prospect will notice. If meeting with a large booster group in the evening, professional attire consisting of a dress shirt and slacks may be necessary. Casual dress is acceptable if you’re meeting a coach in the gym or out on the field. Looking sharp shows respect to the client and can only help in making a good first impression.
- Be Prepared. Put time and effort into perfecting your sales presentation. Before every appointment, visit their website and thoroughly review all their information. With this one step, you will gain detailed information which will make you more comfortable and confident when giving your pitch. It also is an excellent way to show the customer you actually care about the project and you’re not just trying to book another shoot. Have plenty of copies of your presentation to pass out. Have your print samples organized and ready to pass out at different times of your presentation. Passing out all of your materials at the beginning of the presentation can result in the customer concentrating on the samples and losing focus on you and what you are saying. Review and know the particular products and prices of what you will offer. Testimonies are a powerful tool. Provide a list of satisfied customers. Let your prospect know who already believes in you and has benefitted from your services. Finally, have scheduling agreements with you so you can close the deal.
- Listen. Be careful not to talk all the time about you. Listen to the specific needs and desires of the customer. Listen and take note to the problems and complaints they’ve had in the past. Ask questions to discover the expectations they have for the photo shoot and the photography company they hire. When discussing their experience with your competition, stay positive and listen to what they like and dislike about them. Gaining this information is the key to satisfying their needs. Remember two ears, one mouth.
- Start and finish on time. Coaches are pressed for time. Having an efficient, organized, to the point presentation is what they desire. Respect their time by staying on track. A printed copy of the agenda for everyone attending is an effective way to accomplish this. Show gratitude towards everyone attending for taking the time to meet with you. Prepare your presentation allowing enough time at the end to answer any questions the customer may have.
- Leave a lasting impression. One step in the marketing mix that many ignore is the power of a hand written thank you note. This is an excellent way to show your character to the customer. With all the quick digital ways of communicating today, a hand written note is a unique tool. It shows special effort which the client will remember. Make it a habit after every appointment to send a follow up note thanking the client for the opportunity to meet with them.
Maximize the benefits of technology – Although face time is the best way to book business, the use of the following technologies allows sales people to reach clients in several ways.
- Collect Emails – Collecting the email addresses of all of your accounts will create a database that is a very valuable marketing tool. Also, collecting emails from prospective accounts is another step in the right direction. Use email technology to maintain your relationships with your accounts. Constantly stay in front of them with the simple click of the mouse.
- Emails are also a great way to keep your buying customers informed about new promotions, products and specials. One of the most powerful uses from the collection of emails is the ability to remarket old events. Remarketing through emails is a great way to raise revenue. Sales from these past events have a high profit margin because most of the overhead cost has been covered.
- Web Presence – In today’s marketplace almost every business has a website. Obviously in the photography business, the graphic design of the site is extremely important. A website is a great place to showcase your work. However, sometimes so much time and effort is given to the look of the site, that the objective of the site can be ignored. One of the main objectives for a website is to introduce your products and services in a positive way. If your website is difficult to navigate through or is to complex, customers can become overwhelmed and frustrated. Having a website that is easy to understand and navigate through will maximize your opportunity of capturing a new customer. Keeping your site clean, simple and easy to use will be a pleasant experience for visitors keeping them coming back. Websites are also a great way to capture emails and other contact information of interested visitors. Make sure your site gives them plenty of opportunities to do this.
- A good business is built on good relationships. Social media, facebook, twitter etc. are all about building and maintaining relationships. Use social media technology to keep your customers excited and informed on what your company is doing. Use this technology to introduce new services and products. Social media is a great form of the best advertising, word of mouth. Provide exciting information that will get people talking. Be sure you get the Facebook address and the Twitter address of all the people you talk with so that you can request to become a friend or follower with them.
- Be Reachable – Never forget the power of a personal telephone call. At times your telephone is your business life line. Nothing can frustrate a customer faster than having their calls ignored and being forced to leave several voicemails. At some point in most selling situations a telephone conversation will take place between you and your client. Customers are calling you because they want to talk to you on the phone, not through email or through texting. Make it a common practice to answer all incoming calls. Be sure to use this powerful tool correctly. Customers will always recognize and appreciate the fact that every time they call you, they can reach you.
Maximize your sales – Making sales is always necessary, but determine which accounts are the most profitable and the characteristics of these accounts.
- Focus on being profitable -Filling your calendar with lots of business is exciting. Landing those accounts you have been working on for months or years is a great opportunity. Sometimes the excitement of getting the new account can distort the focus from being profitable. Good sales are profitable sales. Review and pay close attention to your offers and price points. Keep track of your overhead expenses and compare them with your sales after each event. Determine your profit from each event. Focusing on this and staying consistent with this practice will inform you which events are worth shooting and which ones need to be replaced. Discover which products are most profitable such as Attitude Panos, statuettes or Level Two products and always include these in your offers. Keep your offers simple and not over whelming. A complicated offer can frustrate your customers. This confusion can result in smaller orders with smaller sales. Another way to stay profitable when prospecting is to seek all sports opportunities in a designated area. Scheduling several appointments in the same geographic area will maximize your sales efforts and minimize your expenses. Make it a goal to execute your photo shoots with minimum overhead and maximum efficiency. After each photo shoot, take notes of the positives and negatives of the shoot. This will help in shooting the next year. Stay organized with your equipment from start to finish. This will make your shoots more efficient, allowing you more time to book more business. Yes, we always need more sales, but keeping your focus on making them profitable will eliminate frustration and add to the bottom line.
- Repeat business & New business - One of the most profitable parts of the photography business is repeat business. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to concentrate only on gaining new business. Repeat customers are currently satisfied with your services and spend more than new customers. They will refer business to you. Focus on this group and keep them satisfied. With new prospects, make the most of every appointment. Hopefully, you will be successful and book the event. However, even if they have already booked their photography, this meeting introduces them to you and the services of your company. Always remind them if they ever need a backup photographer, you are ready and willing. Also, this first meeting with them will make things more comfortable when approaching them again the following year. Don’t miss any opportunities, stay in touch!
Become as effective with the marketing of your photography business as you are with photography itself and the sky’s the limit!
Candid Color Systems can provide assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting school sports, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 and become a customer today.