Learn how to increase your photography sales and profits by effectively communicating your value proposition to potential clients. Discover valuable tips and insights on showcasing your expertise and differentiating yourself in a crowded market. Read on for practical advice on how to prioritize value over cost in consultations and increase the perceived quality of your work
We recently conducted a survey on Facebook to gauge our community’s interests. The topic of photography sales and how to create value in your business emerged as a popular one.
One of our fellow photographers, Denise, asked for advice on how to effectively communicate her value as a professional photographer during a consultation call. She mentioned feeling frustrated that potential clients focus on the cost before understanding the quality she brings to the table. She also emphasized that her work goes beyond simply taking pictures.
Discover how to effectively demonstrate your photography skills and value proposition to potential clients, prioritizing their needs before discussing pricing.
Maximizing Value Creation for Photography Sales
Three Key Steps for Photography Businesses
To ensure that you demonstrate your value to prospective clients, there are three crucial steps that you need to follow. These steps serve as building blocks which aim to provide you with practical strategies to effectively create and communicate value.
Step 1: Uncovering Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is the key differentiator that sets you apart from your competitors. So, Identifying it requires you to conduct a thorough analysis of your business and the needs of your clients. This will help you understand what makes you unique, why your clients should choose you over others, and ultimately get you photography sales.
Step 2: Defining Your Target Client
Knowing your target client is essential to creating value. You need to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, and tailor your services to meet their expectations. Specifically, this enables you to provide a personalized experience that resonates with your clients and adds value to your services.
Step 3: Reinforcing Your USP at Every Touchpoint
Creating maximum value means ensuring that your clients experience your USP at every interaction they have with your business. This means that you need to consistently communicate your USP in your marketing, website, social media, and in-person interactions. This will help to establish your brand as a reliable and high-value option in the photography industry.
Overall, by prioritizing value creation you avoid the common mistake of waiting until the pricing conversation to explain your value proposition. Instead, focus on creating value upfront. By the time you present your prices for your photography sales, your clients understand and appreciate the value that you offer.
Discovering your USP
Understanding why a client would want to hire you in the first place is key!
To create value for your prospective clients through the sales process, first, understand what that value is. What it is that truly makes you different? This is referred to as the Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If you want a nice primer on this topic, you can check out this great article on building a strong brand.
Here are two key questions you can ask yourself to help define your USP:
- Why would someone hire you over your competition?
- What specifically makes your work so great that it makes the prices you charge actually a good value?
Example Case Study – Joe the Wedding Photographer
Joe is a wedding photographer, and he is a photojournalistic purist. He excels in blending in with his surroundings and creating an image at just the right moment. Not only are his images full of raw emotion, but he has an amazing ability to see the light as no other photographer does. His images are full of drama and his use of shadows creates a really deep sense of mood.
Defining your Target Client
To effectively market your services, you need to define your target client. It’s not enough to know what makes you different; you need to understand who would hire you and why. Think of it as aiming a bow and arrow with a blindfold on. Without a clear target, you’re just firing in the dark.
Specifically for Joe, his target client is a discerning bride-to-be with a refined taste for life’s finer things. She is a highly educated working professional, such as a lawyer, doctor, or pharmacist. As a natural leader in her professional life, she values creative collaboration. She wants to work with a photographer who can capture her vision without being overbearing. She has a strong sense of family and tradition. Her wedding is an opportunity to showcase her love for authenticity.
While defining one target audience is essential, consider defining three target audiences with specific names and personalities. As suggested by photographer, author, speaker, and writer Dane Sanders. By designing entire personas around your target clients, you can create more focused and effective marketing strategies.
Communicating your USP to your Client
Once you’ve defined your unique selling proposition (USP) and your target client, it’s time to align everything from your outward presence to your branding and communication. Your goal is to create value by highlighting your USP in a way that resonates with your target client. You want them to connect with you on a deeper level even before discussing prices.
Create value first and everything needs to frame your brand and USP in terms of your target client.
For Joe, it wouldn’t make sense to showcase posed family portraits on his website or talk about his posing abilities, since his specialty is photojournalism and his target client values authenticity and raw emotion. It’s important to scrutinize every aspect of your outward presence and ensure that you’re always speaking to your target client.
Some key areas to examine include your website, blog, social media, offline marketing techniques, and correspondence. But to truly create value, you need to refine the client experience even further. Think about your meeting space or studio, your product offerings, and your presentation package.
While we could delve into each of these areas in-depth, let’s focus on one specific example: email communication.
Re-Enforcing Value Through E-mail
Joe can use email to reinforce his brand and provide value to his busy working professional clients who prioritize predictability and reliability. Here are some tips he can follow:
- Speed: Joe responds to emails on the same day they’re received before 5:00 pm, and the first thing the next morning otherwise.
- Professionalism: Joe composes professional emails that are error-free and well-written.
- Format: Joe uses proper salutations, two-line breaks between paragraphs, and appropriate sign-offs and signatures.
- Personality: Joe injects a bit of his unique style and humor into his emails while keeping them professional.
- Relevance: Joe ensures that his emails are clear and easy to understand by drawing references to relevant information. He may even include links to blog posts or other resources.
- Personal Connection: Joe makes a point to reference any personal connections that his potential clients may have. This helps build trust and credibility with his clients, who value referrals from friends and acquaintances.
Here is a quick example of an e-mail that Joe might write to a potential client after they inquired. It shows off many of the points above.
You can also find an extensive list of pre-written email templates in the Sprout Template Library.
Final Touch Points
This is just one area – there are so many other “touch points”, and as I mentioned above, I could literally expand this out to a 50,000-word book. I don’t think you want to read that much right now, right?! So instead, I’ll give a few other quick examples of how Joe might be able to refine all areas of his business to show off his USP and talk more specifically to his target client.
- On Joe’s website, he carefully curates the images he displays to highlight his USP and showcase the kind of work his target clients are looking for.
- Joe’s website features testimonials from past clients that specifically mention how he met their needs and exceeded their expectations.
- On Joe’s social media accounts, he shares images of beautifully printed albums and other finished products to emphasize his commitment to delivering high-quality, tangible art pieces.
- All of Joe’s marketing materials and branding are designed to appeal to his professional audience, with a sophisticated and polished look.
- Joe updates his voicemail message every day to keep potential clients informed of his availability and set clear expectations.
- Joe’s albums are crafted from premium materials and feature clean, minimalist designs that draw attention to the photography.
- Joe answers the phone in a friendly and professional manner, using a greeting that his clients are comfortable with.
- Joe’s blog features in-depth stories about specific images, giving clients insight into his creative process and showcasing the artistry behind his work.
Understanding your brand and your target audience is key to optimizing every aspect of your business. By taking the time to refine each touchpoint, you can create a cohesive and impactful experience for your clients. Remember to enjoy the process and take it step-by-step, focusing on refining one small part of your experience each day. With consistent effort, you’ll see significant growth and improvement in just a few months. Keep refining and evolving, and you’ll be on your way to creating a truly exceptional brand experience.