Rebecca Shostak is the Founder & President of Galler.ee Inc., a modern Photoshop template design company, and has received international recognition for her work.
It’s the new year. The ornaments have been boxed up, and what remains of the neighbor’s Douglas Fir is sitting out on the sidewalk cluttering up your storm drain. Your house had a thorough vacuum, and you’ve vowed to work off those extra pounds accumulated from spiral ham and that Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark your aunt keeps giving you every year. But most importantly, you’re ready to breathe new life into your photography business. This is your year.
Here are five things to think about to make 2017 the year you take your studio to the next level. Let’s do this.
Get a Brand Your Clients Love
Every part of your brand is a representation of what your studio stands for, so start by outlining who your ideal client is, and then why that client is the best one for you. What about that demographic makes you want to continue doing business with them year after year?
Wedding Hello Packet by Galler.ee
When you understand who you want to speak to, you can begin working on the how. Each studio’s brand is totally unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. But here’s a quick cheat sheet on how to begin morphing your marketing materials into something that will speak to the clients you’re trying to reach:
- Make a list of brands you absolutely love (clothing, retail, an online store, another photographer, etc.), and then analyze what it is you love about each brand in a list (colors, fonts, message, iconography, etc.). What do each of these elements say to you, as a customer? What do they tell you about the store or company you’re buying from?
- Try re-working your existing logo and marketing materials using elements you picked out from other brands. Perhaps it’s as simple as a color change (“My ideal client likes light, bright, and airy”) or a style swap (“My clients tend to be young and trendy, so my logo should give off this type of a vibe, too”).
Need some inspiration? Check out some of these great branding ideas on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gallereeinc/
Ramp Up Studio Packaging
Ever been to a favorite boutique, and when they wrap up your purchase, it’s so pretty you don’t even want to take it out of the bag when you get home? That’s how clients should feel about products they receive from your studio. Your packaging is a reflection of your brand; you want your packaging to elevate the products into a royal presentation.
Try adding custom hang tags or stickers with your logo on them, ribbon and tissue to match your brand colors, and boxes that impress.
The new year is also a great time to try something new with marketing. Interestingly, not all marketing techniques have to cost a lot of money, and it’s a great way to showcase your brand and what it stands for so that potential clients come to know and trust your business.
Not sure where to start when it comes to marketing? Start by using the customers you already have. Make a commitment to crafting a solid referral program! Word of mouth is the #1 way top photographers get most of their business, so offer rewards for referrals, hand out beautiful cards that current clients are proud to give to their friends or send out personalized Mobile Apps, and make your referral program an easy read on your website or blog. (Check out the Digital Referral Program Brochure, which is professionally written and enables you to set up a custom referral program in minutes.)
Digital Referral Program Brochure by Galler.ee
Another idea to help clients keep coming back? Build your marketing right into your packages. For example, if your Baby Plan includes a “membership” to your photography services from maternity through the milestone months once the baby is born, you give clients an incentive to stick with you through the years.
Get Organized. No, Really.
I could literally go on for pages about how to organize your business. But the truth is, when it comes to organization, everyone is totally different! As creatives, we span the gamut from being completely O.C.D. about every paperclip, pencil, and Photoshop file on our computer desktop, all the way to living in blissful chaos, with files everywhere and papers strewn across the desk.
The most important thing is to find an organizational method that works for you. If that means getting a physical planner or a client workflow whiteboard, so be it! If it means creating a new folder system on your computer to organize photo shoots better, go for it. Identify where you’re getting bogged down and where you could improve your workflow, and focus on improving that one specific area.
Photographer’s Planner by Galler.ee
Like paper in your hands as opposed to digital copies of everything? Maybe you haven’t renewed that business license in a while, or keep losing the contact info for your favorite clients. A binder and printable organization system may be what you need.
Having a hard time keeping track of whose photo session needs to be blogged, whose is ready to be edited, and which new lead you need to email back? Try a client workflow chart like this one, which can be completely customized and then printed at ShootProof’s partner labs for less than $20.
Need to organize all. the. things. and want it all in one place? Invest in a modern planner, which are super trendy (and incredibly helpful) in photographer circles right now. (Galler.ee’s has coordinating stickers!)
Ready to start 2017 off on the right foot? Use promo code NEWYEAR15 to save $15 towards any purchase in the Galler.ee template shop.
What’s your plan for improving your business? Comment below, and sign up for a free ShootProof account (no credit card needed).