When I posed the question in my VIP Facebook group about “What is your current biggest business struggle?” I got a lot of responses about getting clients and getting inquiries. Don’t we wish we had a magic wand for this? Abracadabra CLIENTS! POOF…Done….and here is a million dollars! Oh life would be great! I say let's have MAGIC WANDS FOR EVERYTHING! But alas we have to come down from dreamland and realize that not everything is as simple as “Your Wish Is My Command” and getting client inquiries is one of those things that you have got to work at.
You’re probably sitting there like “YES…THIS IS WHAT I NEED!” You have beautiful work. Your welcome package is stunning. You have a personality that is amazing. You have branded yourself beautifully, but people aren’t emailing you, calling you, banging down your door to have you photograph them. So what have you done? You’ve blamed it on the over saturation of photographers right? Oh my dear sweet friend, there is so SO much more to be done. Oh how I wish there were time and space on this here little corner of the World Wide Web to fill your brains with everything you would need to know and everything I teach those who come to my workshops and mentor with me. But I can’t. I do however have 5 tips to get you on your way to getting more inquiries and hopefully booking more clients.
- What does your website look like? Is it a professional place? Your website should feature your best work. Your website needs to also contain a few vital keys. One of them is, it needs to have a form that makes it easy for them to contact you. There is nothing worse than wanting to send a business a message from their website and then have to leave their website to send an email. You want to keep them there. The longer they have to look around the more they can get to know you. Have you ever walked into a store, browsed for a minute and saw nothing that caught your eye and left within seconds of walking in? Or walked around held a few things in your hands…walked up the cash wrap and nobody was there and you’ve thought….”I don’t really need this” then you leave without the items you were going to buy? Your website is your store…you want to show your best to them. Get them interested in all that you are and all that you have to offer. Your contact form is the checkout. Don’t make it hard for them to contact you.
- Whenever you do get an inquiry make sure you store that email into a database. Overtime you will build your email list. Send out quarterly newsletters and let past clients, past potential clients know what you are doing now. If someone inquired with you a while ago and didn’t book you, sometimes situations change where they now might be your ideal client. They still might not be your ideal client, but they might know someone who is. By keeping your mailing list in the know they feel more connected to you and they will keep you in their minds. Newsletters are a great way to make a call to action to get them to inquire with you.
- Work with Vendors. Have you thought about approaching businesses that cater to your ideal client? Maybe it’s a wedding cake maker, or a children’s boutique a hair salon. Work with those vendors and get your information into their hands. When someone says “Do you know of a photographer?” or “Who did those pictures on the walls?” your name will be mentioned. Make sure those vendors have your business cards on hand too.
- Business cards. Speaking of business cards, you should ALWAYS carry some on you. So I have to tell this story. I drop my business card in those fish bowls at restaurants to win a free meal ALL the time. But it’s not to win a free meal…oh no, it is to share my business card. Now I have a pretty sweet business card that is pretty thick and pretty awesome looking. So it gets picked a lot. I’ve won shopping spree’s at stores, girls nights, meals and gift certificates multiple times…and that’s super awesome but wanna know what’s even more awesome? I’ve booked REAL clients both commercial and portrait clients from dropping my card into a fish bowl. It’s also good to have business cards handy incase you ever get into a conversation about what you do. Hand them your business card. The more you get your name out there the more your chances of getting inquiries will go up.
- Advertising. Now I’m not talking about the free social media type of advertising. (We know how much I love social media…so we are not dogging on social media). But I am talking about really advertising. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month on advertising, but you do need to invest in advertising. Everyone knows about McDonalds right? When you think of fast food…you probably think of McDonalds (or it is near the top). They are well enough known that if they worked social media well enough they could never have to spend another penny on ads. But guess what? They know that it doesn’t work that way. They need to show people they want business and that they are serious. They want to keep themselves in your mind. When your tummy is growling and your driving in your car, you look up and there it is…a billboard of a giant diet coke and fries…I can get on board with that! Advertising reminds people you are in business and that you want them to know about you. Maybe it’s running a Facebook campaign to start with, or a small ad in the corner of your town newspaper. Possibly you pay for a spot on the front page of a blog your ideal client reads for a month or you subscribe to have your flyer ran in weekly reader mailers. Whatever it is that fits your budget and works best for you invest in it. We live in a world of so much free advertising and if you are a believer that the market is over saturated in your area then stand out from your competition and pay for advertising.
I can’t tell you that if you do these things that all your dreams will come true and you will make a bazillion dollars. But I can tell you that you have more control over getting people to inquire with you than you realize. Set yourself up to be successful, create beautiful work, continue to take classes and pay for education apply the things you learn and you will see a growth in your business.
Most importantly don’t give up too soon. It can take around 8 months to see success in marketing, so keep marketing yourself…you’ll get there!