marketing

Stop Destroying Your Business - 5 Tips to take out the noise

Sky.jpg

Website design and user interface is something that I find interesting. There are so many different templates and designs from Squarespace to Flothemes and Wordpress to name a few, that it is interesting to see how people utilize them to look different (or the same). But there is one thing that can kill your site before your customer even begins their journey. Noise.

(Disclaimer: I am still working on this on my site. I’m not perfect, I just like to help others as I grow)

Donald Miller over at Storybrand talks about this in every podcast and hammers it home in his book Storybrand.

But what does this mean? For the most part, it means that you are confusing the customer before they even know what you do. I see this often enough with photographers. They are not clear on what it is they do. Sometimes they even start with the landing page on the about them section. Now, in all honesty, no one cares about you. What I mean by this is that when the first thing someone reads on your site is

“I love love; it makes me giddy to see two people walk down the aisle….”

No one cares, and worst of all you just made it all about you.

I am also not saying that you shouldn’t have an About page, just don’t let that be your hero. In your about show your personality in a way that describes you, but try to keep it short.

When you start saying “I photograph families, seniors, children, births, weddings, engagements, dog maternity, and boudoir.” They get that you are a photographer, but it really doesn’t set you apart.”

Now what I mean by this is think about it from you clients eyes. When they show up on your site and there is a gallery filled with a bunch of “random” images they might know that you shoot all that but at least be concise. Maybe lump it all in to family photographer.

For example, if you are booking a hotel room at a private resort, do you REALLY care about the detergent that they use on their sheets, the photos of the conference rooms, or the energy output of the sauna? (I know that there will be the small few that do) or would you care more about if your time there is going to be relaxing and stress free?

One of the best websites that I have seen recently is from Adventure Instead (Maddie Mae and her business partners rebranded). Let’s take a look at the first things that you see when you open the site.

Adventure-Instead.jpg
  1. The Navigation is simple. The first link is to provide more info then about the photographers, then pricing, then the planning resources.

  2. There is a Contact Us Button right at the top. The call to action that pushes visitors to hit them up about their elopements.

  3. The Main header calls out what they are and what they do

  4. Followed by another call to action (leading those that want more to dive deeper).

  5. Right under this they utilized a space above the fold to tell people about their style in simple words. Relaxed & Stress Free/Intimate & Meaningful/Unique & Adventurous.

Even on mobile the experience is the same, minus the Contact Us button. You still know who they are and what they do.

There is no question in my mind about what they do, who they are, and what the brand is about.

Now here is the big thing. Don’t copy them. Like actually think about your site and your brand. Maybe use elements, but the words and content is theirs.

The other thing that their site and brand does well, is that they make the client the hero, they solve the problems, and provide resources for their clients to have the relaxed and stress free experience that they claim on the home page.

Iceland.jpg

Get rid of the nonsense.

A majority of people are browsing on mobile devices, so when a newly engaged girl is looking for a wedding photographer on her phone while at her desk at work, will she really have time to read through why you shoot sony, or why you like pies, and then go searching for where you are located, pricing, and how to contact you. Might you have the same luck with a landing page showing some of your work, where you shoot and pricing? Especially if they came from a place like pinterest or instagram and have already seen your work?

What about a mother who is booking for a family session over the holidays, right now she is thinking about 9 million other things, and probably doesn’t care to read about your life story, She wants family photos, that look good, and she can send to family and friends and look like life is as put together as she portrays.

People don’t have time. So here are a few tips to cut down on the noise of your site.

  1. Make sure what you do is stated.

  2. Make sure your location (or where you serve) is stated.

  3. Make it easy to contact you

  4. Put at least a starting price on your site (In my opinion, you are wasting time if you don’t, yours and clients. And no one likes that)

  5. Make your site more about your client than you.

If you are looking for insight and brand mentoring shoot me a message. Or check out my page on brand strategy mentoring here. 

Solving all your photography problems (Not Really) - Colorado Elopement Photographer

Colorado Elopement Photographer (2 of 3).jpg


I am in many photography groups, and there are a lot of things that they have in common. Many times there are some frustrating circumstances which photographers seek answers too. I am going to address my opinion on some of the most common problems.

Clients Misusing Photos

Instagram Filters

While my thought is unpopular this is my blog and my opinion so here it is. It doesn't really matter. They paid you to take a photo you took them, and they have them. Clients may through a filter on them thinking they are making them better when they are not. If they tag me after doing it, I will remove the tag. But over the 8 years that I have been doing this, no one has said; “I saw your photo on Carrie’s Insta and just had to have you.” It tends to be more along the lines of “You shot so and so’s wedding and I loved how you worked.” Or “Carrie said you were amazing, so I looked at your photos and I love them.”

So you can make a big fit about it and leave a sour taste in a previous client mouth who then will only mention their negative interaction to people, or you can let it go and be creative in ways to keep clients from filtering your work.

For me, I stress how much I craft each session to be unique and fit the mood for the day. I mention this at nearly every touchpoint that I have with clients. It doesn’t always work, but it has helped. But even if they do, I have bigger fish to fry.

Using photos in ways, they didn’t pay for

There are many posts about clients who booked a session for family photos and then use a photo for their profile or “headshot” on their website, or some sort of publicity. Again While it would be nice for them to book a new session, or pay for proper usage, I can guarantee that 99% of the clients that do this have no idea about commercial usage vs. personal. So instead of getting all worked up over the fact that they misused a photo, spin it a different way. Mention to them that you love that they enjoy their photos so much but that from a brand standpoint doing a professional session that fits their brand would be far better in the long run. Offer a return discount or something else. Look for ways that you can turn this into a repeat business rather than leaving a sour taste in a client's mouth. If people don’t understand usage, they will not understand why you are making a big deal about it.

Colorado Elopement  Flowers(1 of 1).jpg

Giving photos to vendors

In the wedding industry there are many times where vendors do not want to pay for images, so they will approach the couple to get the photos. Often the couples don’t think twice about giving them to the other vendors, especially if they enjoyed their services. So again, the clients probably do not understand the big deal about this. So you have several options here.

You can let it slide - If it was a vendor that I don’t care to work with again. I usually do this. If they post it on Socials, I may comment on it. But there have been times where I just don’t want to work with that vendor, so I am not going to try to network.

Touch base with the couple. Talk about how you do special packages for vendors and how you would love to touch base with the vendors about the photos. Then proceed from there.

Reach out to the vendors and talk to them. But look for ways that you can get repeat business. I ask for backlinks. I will give them non-watermarked photos in exchange for backlinks on their site.

This is my preferred option; when the couple books and you talk about delivery, mention that you will share certain photos with vendors so if any of them contact the couple they can send them to you. If you don’t want to give photos to vendors, that is up to you. But for me, the photos are already there, I have already been paid for them, by being pleasant to vendors and giving them a great service as well you have a better chance of being referred or even booking business off of them. For example, I gave a salon photos, they loved them so much they booked me for their rebranding photos and then several continued shoots after. By giving them photos, I booked several thousand dollars of shoots over the next year.

Copyright

So there is a lot of info about Copyright out there but here are the basics of it.

Whoever presses the button own the photo. If you are at a wedding and you have a guest take a photo of you and the couple...that guest owns the photo.

There is no need to register your photos for a Copyright to take effect. Once you publish online, they are copywritten. Although no registering decreases the number of damages that you can collect if there is a violation.

There are work for hire instances where you do not maintain the copyright, but this is signed away in the contract for said job.

So when clients want copyright, that can be negotiated. It is a lot more common in commercial work than in other types of photography. But there are times where individuals want copyright when what they want is printing rights. This is something that can be touched upon in many ways, on your site, in your contract, or during a consult.

Read more here

Clients with “Big” asks

giphy.gif

Uploading old Galleries

I have seen posts about old clients coming back and needing photos from years prior. I have had this happen. You know how long it took me? Under 10 min. I located the HD, plugged it in, made a new gallery and uploaded.

I do say in my contract that there is an archiving fee. That if I need to upload a gallery after X amount of time I charge X amount.

It gives people incentive to back up their gallery and wedding photos.

It gives me the opportunity to make them happy again if they need to have their gallery re-uploaded. I can mention “Hey normally there is a $100 unarchiving fee, but ill waive this and if you want to order any prints Here is a 20% off code.” Boom, smile on their face.

Wanting Photos Faster

I find this one the simplest. Communicate in the booking process, the contract, and after the shoot when the photos will be done. If you have someone that is asking for photos faster, then tell them you have X number of sessions before theirs, but if they would like them faster, there is a $1000 rush fee. Or whatever $ amount you feel is appropriate. Hold your ground and be firm.

Working for free for brands

Occasionally there are times where brands ask you to work for free or exposure. In your head, you are thinking “ They sell jackets for $500 a pop they can afford to pay me.” Well, here is the plain and simple truth. They should, but they may not have a budget for it. Some brands just do not put value on the visuals, so they do not have a budget set aside for photos. Instead of worrying about it. Move on. Brands that can’t pay will suffer in the long run. But you can also respond with “Thank you for your interest when you receive a budget for elevating your brand shoot me a message and I would love to chat with you about what we can do!”

Just don’t work for free.

Mountain Tops-1-2.jpg

Facebook Ads Part 2 - Thoughts, Strategy, & Ramblings

Ocean Themed Bridal Shoot (14 of 80).jpg

So I recently published a post about how to create a Facebook ad. You can find that here.  

So let's start out with the simplest question. Do they Work? The short answer is yes. In the second quarter of 2017 Facebook Ads brought in $9.16 billion dollars (Adweek). So, yes they work. Digital marketing is taking over as the big player for companies when it comes to marketing. The long is is that they work only if you know how to use them. There are many nuances to Facebook Ads, and I still am learning many new things about the platform. The biggest thing to know to utilize them correctly is to do the background work. 

1. Know your target market. 

2. Know your objective(s)

Narragansette Rhode Island wedding - The Towers (17 of 68).jpg

Target Market

Your target market is a group of people or buyers that have common characteristics, needs, or buying patterns. If you have not figured this out, there is no point to even starting to create a Facebook ad campaign. If you do, you are just blindly handing money over to Facebook. 

Crazy Egg has a great article here, with practical steps to define your target market. 

I also have a worksheet that may help. (It is very simple and still needs work) But here it is.  Taking the time to define your target market can be one of the most effective steps to building your brand and being profitable in your business. 

Think of your target market as if you were fishing for a specific fish, you can throw a net in that catches everything. This includes other types of fish, other types of sea life, rubbish, plants, and maybe a few other items. But if you know the patterns of the fish that you want to catch, you can fish in a way that specifically catches that type of fish. 

Do you think Tesla markets to people with a $25-40K income that shop at Walmart and eat at Del Taco? Probably not. On the flip side, do you think that Walmart markets to people who make $500K and Drive Tesla's and regularly eat at high-end restaurants? Probably not. Those would be wasted ad dollars. 

I would rather have my ad shown to fewer people with a higher likelihood to buy than have thousands of people see it with no action. 

Intimate Engagment Session - Big Sur California (13 of 69).jpg

Objectives

Starting an advertising campaign without an objective is nearly as bad as starting one without knowing your market. You will approach the ad and copy within the ad differently if you are trying to build brand awareness vs. if you are wanting to build an email list. 

In the marketing world, the best way to build your objectives is to follow the SMART objectives.

  • Specific – If your objective is too broad it will be hard to know if you were successful. If you want to build brand awareness, how? What will you do? How will it be measurable?
  • Measurable – Can you measure in a quantitative or qualitative way? How?
  • Actionable – How will this improve your business. 
  • Relevant – This the objective relevant? Does it even matter?
  • Time – Can you set a specific time frame for your objective. 

An example of a smart objective for a photography ad campaign could be. 

I will gain 50 relevant email addresses for future mini-sessions within two weeks, and 100 relevant email addresses within 30 days. 

Ocean Themed Bridal Shoot (9 of 80).jpg

By taking the time to figure out your Target Market and your Objectives you can save yourself not only time and headaches but also a lot of money. If you want to make an ad without taking the time to figure these out, then you are just throwing your hard earned dollars away. You can feel free to just Paypal it to me and I will make better use of it. 

Stay Tuned for Part 3 on Copy and Strategy

Facebook Ads - How do I create one?

Intimate Engagment Session - Big Sur California (56 of 69).jpg

Facebook ads are a beast. There are people that think that they are ineffective. But according to Adweek the Facebook ads brought in $9.16 Billion dollars just in the second quarter of 2017. People don't spend money on things that do not work. Except for the government. (Jk... Kinda).

As a Colorado wedding photographer, there is a large market for photographers, so standing out is key. 

Anyway, when you first create your account the Facebook Ads Manager can look very confusing, but when you break it down, the basics are simple. The hard part is all the background work that you have to do prior. By this I mean, identifying your target market, setting up your goals, and writing your ad copy (One of the hardest things). 

Before you get started you need to create an account. Find out how here.  

Intimate Couples Session Hawaii - Destination Photographer  (20 of 51).jpg

After you have the account created, you can begin creating your ads. Below is a video walkthrough for those of you who want to create an ad. 

Over the years I have used Facebook ads to build brand awareness and to reach new clients. When I relocated back to Denver, Colorado, and wanted to start reaching more clients for weddings in Denver, I targeted potential clients there. When I wanted to shoot more weddings in Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge, I started targeting clients there. I have only been back in Colorado for a year, but those ads are paying off. 

Stay tuned for a follow up video on Strategy and Ads. 

If you have any questions please leave a comment or shoot me an email. 

Another great resource is Here