5 Ways to Maximize Sales With Online Tools with Alissa Zimmerman
Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December 2017 issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.
The ability to leverage online tools for product sales can make or break your final sale. There is an endless array of services and programs that will leave you feeling hopeless as you get started implementing them into your business. Below are my top five ways to maximize your product sales with online tools.
This seems like a no-brainer, but an online gallery can be so much more than just a place where you post your clients’ images. We use N-Vu online galleries for multiple purposes at Salvatore Cincotta Photography.
We offer online galleries in our top and middle packages as pull-through to get clients out of à la carte and our bottom package. Online galleries represent a soft cost to the business. Typically, you pay for an online gallery for a one-time annual fee, so it’s not a hard cost to our business when we assemble our packages.
Next, online galleries offer a great way for clients to share their images with friends and family. This generates the best form of advertising for your business—word-of-mouth referrals. The key is to make your display image as impactful as possible. Don’t clutter them with your logo or watermarks or anything that will distract the viewer from enjoying your imagery.
On the practical side, we like to use online galleries as a way to allow our clients to go home after an in-person sales session to make their decisions on what gift sizes and images they want in their album. In person, we like to lock in their images for their large wall prints and album cover details so we are able to give feedback and suggestions on what we think will look best on what products. From there, clients are exhausted and have no desire to sit in the preview room for another hour or longer selecting images to fill the rest of their package. Providing an online gallery for 30 days allows them to go through the images on their own time and not feel rushed into making decisions on the spot.
Not only do we use online galleries as a way to host client images, but we create folders within the galleries dedicated to product images to remind clients about the products we walked them through in person. Clients are often so overwhelmed at the number of images and amount of information being presented at the in-person sales session that they forget what each product is once they get home. This is a nice way to show them exactly what they are selecting images for.
Room-Vu is a service offered for free with an annual N-Vu plan. It’s built into the program and is my favorite feature on the platform.
I am a visual person, and am pretty good at helping clients decorate their walls. They need a little extra help to visualize the way certain images will look in various sizes.
Have you ever heard the objection, “I don’t need anything larger than an 8×10” from your clients? It’s a common objection that photographers face during in-person sales, and something that most don’t have the confidence or tools to overcome. Room-Vu has become part of our IPS workflow that has increased our sales tremendously since we implemented it a few months ago.
After the session, I send an email out via 17hats to the client to schedule their preview session. Once the date and time are confirmed, I ask them to take pictures of their wall space (either empty walls or walls with images they are looking to replace) with an 8.5×11-inch sheet of paper taped to them. I use these during their preview to help them visualize what their images will look like in their home. I send them the step-by-step instructions, and tell them to take the pictures on their phone and simply text the images to me. Once I have the images from their home, I mock up a variety of suggested images and clusters. I have these ready to show clients as soon as we get through the selection process at the viewing session.
When clients can visualize the way these images will look on the walls of their home, the sale is a done deal.
Seamless Workflows with Online Tools
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a seamless workflow for the backend of your business. There is no greater tool on the market for processing and maximizing efficiency than 17hats.
We have created an automated client journey with 17hats. We can add the client as a contact from initial inquiry and setup, and send a quote workflow automatically. Once the client accepts the quote, an invoice and contract are automatically generated.
The booking process then relies heavily on email communication. It is so important to set up as many email templates as possible to save yourself time and energy throughout each client’s experience with your studio. This ensures you’re responding in a timely matter and not letting anything fall into a black hole.
17hats can be daunting and overwhelming at first glance. Where do you begin? Luckily, 17hats now offers templates from a variety of photographers (including our studio) that you can add to your account to customize your internal processes. Check out the 17hats Marketplace for more information.
R-Vu is another tool brought to you by the powerful N-Vu platform that makes all photographers’ eyes light up when they hear about it.
Re-Vu allows you, with one click of a button inside your gallery setup, to select a custom date. The system automatically relaunches your client’s gallery and sends out customizable emails to anyone who has visited their site. Imagine this time of year sending an email to all of those people saying, “Send Bob and Susie the gift of artwork for the holiday season.” Or set the Re-Vu date to send out the emails on their wedding date, encouraging their visitors to purchase pictures for them to celebrate their anniversary.
Another way to use Re-Vu is a little more hands-on. When photographing an event, have you ever had a guest or family member pull you to the side to take a quick snap of them and their friends/family? Do you think those people ever actually get to see that image you took? We leave it up to the bride and groom to share their online gallery with all of their friends and family, and I guarantee nine out of 10 times it simply never happens.
We have started working on a landing page to be displayed on an iPad at wedding receptions. We will encourage guests to enter their email address to receive a notification once the images from the wedding are available to view online. Not only is this great for additional online sales potential, but it increases your list of email addresses to which you can send the Re-Vu email reminders multiple times throughout the year.
Sometimes in-person previews and sales sessions just aren’t possible. We lean on the convenience of Skype more and more as we continue to increase our destination client base. Skype previews are similar to in-person sales, but are not exactly the same. You have to be strategic and to the point at these types of sessions.
We send our clients their gallery links 72 hours before their scheduled Skype session. This allows them plenty of time to sit down together to view all of the images, select their favorites, share with friends and family, etc. Before getting on a Skype call, go over their package options. If you do not give your clients enough time to soak in all of their images before getting on a call, you are setting yourself up for a zero sale.
On the call with your clients, start the conversation by asking them about their favorite images. Tell them to heart their favorite images inside the gallery so you have easy access to talking points while on the call. From here, you can talk about what products would be best for the images they love the most.
After the initial chitchat, walk your clients through each product in your packages, starting at the top package. Show them the product details while on the Skype call as best as possible. Have that gallery folder of products available inside their image gallery so they can reference each product image easily as you walk through the options.
This is another opportunity to have your clients send you images of their walls in their home so you can have Room-Vu mockups ready for them on the Skype call.
Online sales tools can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. It’s all about how you leverage them and taking the time to set everything up properly from the beginning.