There is no escaping it: We live in a digital world but we operate in some old-school ways. From photography to our tax returns, we must all learn to operate efficiently and effectively in this new world. Here are some of the tools I use to run my business smoothly and make maximum use of my time. This isn’t just about saving time. It’s about giving your customers a unique experience.
Back in 2012, we produced our first promo video after attending a conference and seeing that other “rock star” studios had created them. The immediate results after we released that video on our website and Facebook were astounding. We went from getting inquiries that wanted to know if we had ever shot in a dark reception to inquiries saying they knew we were the wedding photographers for them—and what could they do to book us right away? There are two main components to producing an effective promo video for your photography business. You’ll want to think about story and technique. Both are extremely important on their own, but together they become much more powerful.
I’m still amazed that so many photographers are clueless about the two most important ingredients to their success: building relationships and fine-tuning their skill set. Great photographers need both. Neither of them ever stops being important. Year after year, I hear photographers say, “If only I had the money for better gear.”
For the past two months in The Business Corner, we’ve been building your price list from the ground up by first determining a retail value for each product you sell. Last month, we looked at alternatives to the cost-based pricing model, examining products and situations for which cost-based pricing doesn’t work (November 2018, “Your Dream Studio: Strategies Beyond Cost-Based Pricing”). One product we briefly discussed last month that breaks the cost-based mold is digital files. For this month’s theme of digital strategies, let’s further explore how to price and sell digital files.
I remember the switch from film to digital like it was yesterday. And look where we are now. I’m about to write an article about your workflow…and it’s going to be all digital. If I wrote this 15 years ago, a computer wouldn’t even have come into the equation. But what does that mean for you? Has life gotten easier? Nope. It has gotten harder. You have more to do and more possible ways to do it (i.e., screw it up). Clients are more demanding than ever (I actually had one the other day who, after I gave her 10 preview pictures, asked for more before the proofs were ready). Marketing is a constant effort. So how do you keep up and keep your sanity?
Bringing in strategic partners for any project helps expand your reach, creativity and brand awareness. It’s time to expand the concept and go beyond just sharing the cost of production and mailing for a brochure or postcard. Here are a few ideas to start thinking about.
Cost-based pricing is an excellent place to start when trying to determine what to charge for a product, but it doesn’t work for everything. This month, we examine additional factors that may break the cost-based mold. Some strategies allow you to charge more than what cost-based pricing suggests, while others force you to charge less (or get creative).
In addition to being a professional in your field—competent, experienced, skillful—you can leverage your personality simply by being human and allowing those you work with to show their personality as well. This creates much stronger relationships, and people and companies will want to hire you again and again because of how enjoyable it was to work with you.
While it seems that good photography is the biggest factor behind any successful studio, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, you have to produce consistently good imagery and offer a great customer experience, but that is just part of the equation. This month, I provide you with five truths to help you build a brand that outperforms your competitors.
In last month’s Business Corner, we discussed controlling one of the two types of expenses in your business: general expenses, also known as overhead. This month, we examine the other form of spending, cost of sale. Cost of sale includes all money you spend serving a client.