Welcome to Episode 7 of the Sparking Growth Podcast! In today’s episode, I talked to Amber, a fantastic wedding photographer from Arizona. She knows who her ideal client is, but has been having trouble finding and connecting with them. We brainstormed some ideas to help Amber grow her photography business so she can go full-time!
Here is a cheat sheet of some of the episode highlights:
Amber’s intro, 0:22
Finding Amber’s ideal clients, 1:09
Amber’s current marketing and outreach efforts, 2:34
Expanding services and client follow-up, 5:40
Partnering with other local businesses, 6:40
Capitalizing on special interest groups, 7:42
Localizing your online efforts, 8:29
Local networking while having fun! 10:00
Optimizing your vendor email funnel, 10:51
Setting yourself apart from the masses, 13:43
Incentivizing interaction from qualified leads, 15:24
Where to connect with Amber! 17:53
Let’s dive a little deeper into a few solutions to help you connect with your ideal clients, though!
1 | Expanding services and client follow-ups
When you’re working towards freelancing full-time, your signature service might need some boosters to get you started. Amber’s main service is wedding photography and she supplements it with engagement sessions. One of the things she can do to expand her services and keep her clients connected with her is to offer anniversary sessions. It’s a natural progression from wedding photography – Amber’s clients will already be familiar and comfortable with her, after all!
By doing something as simple as adding a client’s wedding date to her calendar with a yearly reminder and then sending a Happy Anniversary card with a 10% off coupon before their anniversary date, she could start to book consistent return clients for anniversary photography. People like to be remembered, even if it’s just a quick handwritten note with a memory of their wedding. This is a simple action that could have a huge return on investment!
Go beyond what you already offer and find complimentary services. These little extras and personal touches can set you apart from your competition and bring your clients back time and again!
2 | Network while having fun!
Networking DOES NOT have to be a drag or a chore. There are so many ways to organically network. After all, one of the first questions that many people ask after meeting someone is, “So what do you do?” This is the perfect opportunity to tell them what you’re up to in your freelancing career without being pushy or salesy. If Amber goes to a Harry Potter trivia night at a local bar, she’ll meet plenty of other Potter nerds. When they ask what she does and she responds that she’s a wedding photographer, there may be someone who says, “Oh my gosh, my best friend Suzy just got engaged and you guys would get along so well! Can I have a business card?”
Don’t write off organic networking opportunities! They can be even more powerful for client referrals than traditional networking.
3 | Incentivize qualified client leads
Getting leads is great, but if they aren’t qualified (aka aren’t your ideal client), they can end up being a waste of time for both of you. Amber had gotten a great response to a date night giveaway that she did at a bridal show, but many of the leads she received from it weren’t even engaged. By finding ways to better qualify those leads, she can improve her return on investment from future giveaways.
One of the ideas that we came up with was a more specific date night combined with engagement photo session. That way, the couples who enter are clearly engaged or soon to be engaged and meet at least one of the other criteria of Amber’s ideal clients. This means that bridal show visitors who aren’t interested in the outdoors, Harry Potter, or whatever other specific date night theme Amber chooses won’t bother entering the giveaway and thus won’t waste both their time and Amber’s time!
Amber can also qualify leads by offering a “What kind of bride are you?” quiz in her initial follow-up email after a bridal show. This sets her apart a bit from the typical “BOOK ME!!!!!” emails participants will receive. It also allows her to only send follow-up emails to brides who would be more likely to mesh well with Amber!
Make sure that you’re qualifying your leads. Without this step, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time, including the time you could spend with people who will be a good fit and actually pay you!
Want to connect with Amber?
Find her at PMAphotography.com, on Instagram and Facebook @pmaphotography, and on Twitter @pma_photography. Don’t forget to subscribe to Sparking Growth for more episodes and share your biggest takeaways from this episode in the comments.