Keeping In Touch – Utilise Your Clients

It has been said before on many episodes of The Ready Steady Pro Podcast that you should be keeping a database of your past clients. Having the contact information of all of your previous clients (or, current clients rather) allows you to reach out and contact them directly. After all, you’ve worked with them already and you are now a known quantity to them – You already have that relationship with them and they will be more open and receptive to you than they would be to a generic marketing email from some other photographer. Just because you’ve shot their wedding and it’s been and gone doesn’t mean the door is closed to opportunities. There are so many ways and chances to reach out to those clients once again and leverage more business and continue the relationship.

Keeping In Touch

A good example of this is what I do around New Years: I would usually reach out to clients via email – a personalised message written specifically for them, referring to their wedding day, containing a few images and basically thanking them for allowing me to photograph their wedding or event that past year. I would tell them how much fun it was to be their photographer and how much I enjoyed it. In previous years I have also included a 10% referral discount at the bottom of the email (usually a code for them to pass on to a friend or family member) and also a discount for them if they would like some other photography doing (family shoot, lifestyle, portrait etc). There would be relevant links to the website for each of these services as well. The email of course makes it as easy for them to get in touch as possible – email, telephone numbers, links etc are all included everywhere within the email it’s appropriate.

Some photographers and business go as far as to send chocolates or flowers and gifts at Christmas time too. If you think this is more appropriate then go for it! Whatever you feel works for you and would most successfully achieve the goal of getting more business.

It all sounds like a lot of effort though…

It may sound like a lot of work having to type out personalised and individual emails for each client that past year, particularly if you’re already fortunate enough to have had a fair few clients, but this year was slightly different for me…

I was so unwell over Christmas and New Year recovering from Pneumonia and then having to put up with a condition called Pleurisy that I was just drained of energy. I didn’t have the get up and go to type over 20 individual emails to clients. So instead, from my sick-bed, I simply sent them all text messages. Nice and simple.

I wished them a wonderful New Years, told them to have fun if they were out celebrating, stay warm, stay safe and all the best for 2015. The messages were very short and sweet (it was a text after all). It didn’t need to be much – just enough to let them know I was around and thinking of them at this time of year and sending them a pleasant little message. I’m sure none of them expected it.

So, when one client told me her sister was getting married and that she will pass on my details I was very pleased. Then another client replied to say that she would be getting in touch in the new year about making an album.

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Bonus!

Extra Tip

Remember – when adding links to emails etc use Bitly. You can create custom links for each email (if you want) and track the clicks to see if your campaign is actually working. It’s well worth doing and having some visibility over the success of your efforts.

Now It’s Down To Me

Now, the ball is back in my court of course – I have to chase these up and see them through, but for 15 – 20 minutes work (from bed!) I’ve got 2 solid leads that could make the business some money in 2015.

It was an exercise well worth my time if you ask me.

And hey, even neither of these leads come off – I’m still the nice guy who wished them well and reminded them I still exist. It’s a win/win.

It’s a Timely Exercise

This sort of exercise is timely though. If you’re going to reach out to clients and wish them well for the new year you’re going to want to do it soon. It’d be odd if they received a message late in January as it may seem like an after thought. Just do this now. If their numbers are in your phones just take some time to message them. If you store details in files sit down on the sofa tonight and get in touch with them. Better still if you’re making use of a system such as LightBlue all of the contact details you need should be to hand

Join The Conversation On Social Media

Come and join the Ready Steady Pro community over on Facebook. It’s thriving and all of these topics and more are discussed in great detail by the almost 400-strong group.

Happy New Year!

So, happy new year from all of us here at Ready Steady Pro. May 2015 be a successful one and if you’re aiming to transition to full-time, may 2015 be the year you do it successfully! Good luck everyone!

Advertisements

Targeted Marketing

On The Tube in London, and other city undergrounds you will see adverts pasted inside the trains. Adverts for:

  • Headache relief
  • Hair loss
  • Holidays
  • Flu & Cold Remedies

There are more than just the above categories of adverts of course, but isn’t that list above some of the most targeted marketing available?

Thousands of people commute via the tube each and every day. The commute can be long, hot and cramped. It can be exhausting, it can give people headaches and stress people out. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out. It’s enough to make you think ‘I need a holiday‘ – the solutions to all of these things are advertised mere feet away from the people in need of them. The adverts are placed strategically knowing that people will need them, or, at least be open to suggestion when they see a solution to a headache.

When thinking about marketing are you trying to get your brand in front of as many people as possible or are you targeting your advertising to your future clients? The positioning of the marketing is arguably more important than the reach of the marketing.

Give that some thought get the next time you post fliers around your local area, or the next time you take out an ad in a local shop. Perhaps try looking at the most affluent area available near you, perhaps look at advertising in baby and children’s magazines (if that’s your thing).

Think specific. Then perhaps you’ll have less of that ‘they’re not my kinda client’ thing going on if you’re marketing to ‘your kinda client’.

Where do you market yourself and what have you found successful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photographers – Who is Your Audience?

Something I’ve seen a lot recently is photographers blogging seemingly for the attention of other photographers. Whilst this would be fine on a photography news site or a photographic training site, I’d say that really it’s not ideal on a wedding or portrait website where non-photographer paying clients are looking.

An industry where debates are always had

Photography is no doubt an industry full of debates: Jpeg vs RAW, Full Frame vs ASPC, Canon vs Nikon and on and on the list goes. Because of this we all tend to choose sides and have opinions and that’s great. If everyone thought the same thing it’d be a very dull world indeed.

However, I just question whether the websites we’ve painstakingly taken the time to put together for the benefit and purpose of obtaining clients are the best places to voice our opinion on all things photographic?

It sometimes feels a little bit like publically airing your dirty laundry to me.

There are plenty of photographers out there now who have successfully transitioned into making a living from almost exclusively (sometimes completely exclusively) from teaching photography. So, it sometimes does happen that a photography teacher will have a balance opposite to most of us whereby they make most of their income from teaching, but still occasionally shoot for a client, so you may see a site hosting content for everyone. But what works for those photographers in those situations may not be right for you.

Take it elsewhere

Personally, I set up a completely separate site to allow me to talk about photography: www.michaelrammell.com. It’s there that I can talk about gear, write reviews, share personal work and my own thoughts on photography in general. To an extent that is also what Ready Steady Pro is for – this is an outlet for everything to do with the business of photography and things of that nature. These websites allows me to write posts just like this one: that are designed to make you consider for a moment whether your blog, where your potential paying clients may be looking, is the right place to add your own proverbial fuel to a particular photography-fire.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 21.37.43

You can of course write about what you like. This is, after all The Internet and your blog is of course your domain. I can’t tell you what you should and should not be writing about. I’m purely trying to get you thinking about whether your blog is the right place for some of these discussions.

Not everyone will agree, but my advice is this: stick to private groups and communities or start a separate website for that sort of chat. In short: your clients don’t need to see all of that. Put your best foot forward – that being your wonderful photographs, testimonials from previous clients and blog posts advising, helping and guiding your next clients. Show off what you can do for a client and do everything to get them to book you, not what you think about a particular camera or another photographer’s work. More often than not your opinion on cameras, tech specs or another photographers work is not why your clients are going to book you.

As was pointed out by Steve Saporito, David DuChemin and so many others – show what you sell.

What do you think?

What are you thoughts? Should we be keeping this side of the world of photography away from our clients, or, should our clients be made aware of what is happening in the photography industry? Post your comments below.

Podcast 15 – Gear for Photographers: What’s in our camera bags?

We’re back! Let’s get back into the swing of things with this really apt song!

It’s been far to long I know! But The Ready Steady Pro Photography Podcast is back! Episode 15 see’s us returning with a show recorded back in mind January. I was once again joined by the old guard (old as in they’ve been on the show before, not actually old) to talk about what gear we have in our bags. My guests for this episode include Rob Grimes, Lel Hurst, Neil Graham and Lee Jones.

Each of my guests today views the gear in their bags in a slightly different way and put emphasis on different items too. We talk about lenses and bodies, of course, but also other items and accessories you should have along with you on a wedding day. The subject of third party lenses comes up too when Rob touches on why he uses Sigma. I also ask my guests to talk about what items they easily could have done without when they first started and also to talk about the items they absolutely could not do without if push came to shove.

There are also lots of news and announcements at the end of today’s show too, including lots of ways you can too can get involved with Ready Steady Pro such as Photographer In Focus, Photography Q&A and how you can apply to appear as a guest on the show!

It’s good to be back! So get ready for another cracking episode. Notepads to hand!

Sit back and enjoy this episode of Ready, Steady Pro! Click the link below to listen / download the podcast.


View In iTunes
Click here to listen to the Podcast


This weeks Topic

Round Table Discussion: “What’s in our camera bags?”


Today’s Little Gems

Rob Grimes: Focal Lens Calibration Software
L
el Hurst: BoredPanda.com – Beautiful, Artistic & Fun. Check out this website
Neil Graham: SLR Lounges Complete review of Canon Lenses: Which lenses are best?
Neil Graham: Gordon Parks (found through Ted Forbes) – Check out his work
Lee Jones: Ready Steady Pro Facebook community – come along and join the Facebook community
Michael Rammell: One Camera One Lens by Paul Griffiths


Show Notes / Links

Sigma Lenses
SquareSpace


This weeks Hosts

Michael Rammell
Lee Jones
Lel Hurst
Neil Graham
Rob Grimes

Podcast 14 – An Interview with Valerie Jardin

In Ready Steady Pro fashion: Episode 14 see’s us returning to an interview. Following on from the success of interviewing the likes of Frank Doorhoff and Andrew Hellmich, we’re back with another very well known photographer in our hotseat – Valerie Jardin of Valerie Jardin Photography.

Valerie Jardin Profile Pic-1

Valerie is a surprise package: being most known for frequent appearances on the massive ‘TWiP’ Podcast and of course being synonymous with street photography , Valerie was kind enough to share all sorts about herself including have been a studio owner, shooting weddings and not liking the experience, and making a living from shooting photographs only for herself.

This week Valerie and I also get into discission about the importance of family members and the role they can have on your success too!

Valerie Jardin Photography -Street photography-4

So, be sure to get comfortable and enjoy a delightfully educational listen.

Sit back and enjoy this episode of Ready, Steady Pro! Click the link below to listen / download the podcast.


View In iTunes
Click here to listen to the Podcast


This weeks Topic

An Interview with Photographer Valerie Jardin


Today’s Little Gems

  • Contact at least 5 potential customers every day! (more in the show, listen to the end!)

Show Notes / Links

Valerie Jardin
Digital Photography School

This weeks Hosts

Michael Rammell
Valerie Jardin

Podcast 12 – An Interview with Phil & Helen Silverman (Husband and Wife Team)

Episode 12 see’s us returning to the interview format, but today’s episode is an interview with a bit of a difference. Instead of our usual one-on-one chat, I’m instead talking to the wonderful husband and wife wedding photographer duo that is Helen & Phil Silverman.

That’s right. Helen and Phil featured on Episode 11 where we spoke extensively about pricing and even went on to talk about sales. Well, I enjoyed their company so much that I’ve invited them back on to the show so we can learn more about them and what it’s like to work alongside your Hubsand / Wife. They really are a husband and wife dream team. Helen, assumes the role of sales director, marketing director and everything else-but-main-shooter, allowing Phil to focus on the product: the shooting & post-processing. They each focus on their strengths and pull in the same direction, lending all of their best bits to their business. As Phil describes in the Interview; “Yin & Yang”.

As husband and wife teams become more common in the photography industry it was really great to be able to get the Silverman’s on the show to tell us about their dynamic and how they cope with it all. I know I couldn’t work with my wife and she would say the exact same too! So hats off to Helen and Phil!

In this episode I also finish up with a short discussion about stock photography with Phil, so there is something for everyone. Get ready for another cracking episode. Notepads to hand!

Sit back and enjoy this episode of Ready, Steady Pro! Click the link below to listen / download the podcast.


View In iTunes
Click here to listen to the Podcast


This weeks Topic

An Interview with Phil and Helen Silverman – wedding photographers


Today’s Little Gems


Show Notes / Links

OKDOTHIS
Jeremey Cowart
Melissa & Jerry Ghionis
Frank Doorhoff
Martin Bailey
Zack Aria


This weeks Hosts

Michael Rammell
Philip Silverman
Helen Silverman

Podcast 11 – Pricing for photographers [Plus Bonus Content]

My guests this week include show regular Neil Graham. A voice we’ve not heard for a few weeks now: Lee Jones and two new voices in the form of a husband and wife team. The Dynamic Duo that is Phil & Helen Silverman.

This week we’re talking about Pricing including how to set your pricing (where you should start). We talk about removing the emotion from making financial decisions in your business and how to price for profit and sustainable cash flow. But as always we do go off on little tangents here and there and speak about all sorts. So, get your notepad and pen at the ready. The guys have a lot to say when it comes to pricing!

(This is another ‘Extended episode’ with over 30 minutes of bonus listening. So do get comfy!)

Sit back and enjoy this episode of Ready, Steady Pro! Click the link below to listen / download the podcast.


View In iTunes
Click here to listen to the Podcast


This weeks Topic

How to set your prices, removing emotion from business. Cash Flow. Pricing for Profit
BONUS CONTENT INCLUDED! Be sure to continue listening past the gems for more photographer banter.


Today’s Little Gems

  • Neil’s Gem for the show this week was the 3-in-1 Rogue Honeycomb Grid from ExpoImaging. A flash accessory he picked up a few weeks ago from Calumet.
  • Lee’s Gem was Zoe Richards’ eBook: ‘100 Lessons I wish I learned sooner as a photographer in business”
  • Phil’s Gem was a friendly warning concerning the weight of Nikon Flashes bending the Hot shoe’s on his camera’s when hung upside down (for example when used with straps such as the BlackRapid). Caution is advised! If you’re using a strap that allows you to have your camera’s upside down. Phil was using Nikon D700’s and had to bend the hot shoe’s back with pliers! (the bending of the Hot Shoe’s result in flash mis-fires!)
  • Helen was very kind and wanted to share 2 Gems with is today:
    • DON’T DISCOUNT. Work on a perceived value approach. Instead of £100 off, why not throw in £10 worth of prints. £10 cost to you, perception of cost to the client is much higher.
    • Manage clients’ expectations. Don’t be afraid to say no. Work with the couple and offer alternative solutions instead of saying ‘No’.
  • Michael’s Gem was 10% off Moo.com’s Luxe business cards. The thickness of 3 business cards with a seam of colour in the middle

Show Notes / Links

Michael Rammell’s Pricing Calculator: Sign up here to receive the calculator via email
David DuChemin
Squarespace 10% Discount exclusively for Ready Steady Pro Listeners


This weeks Hosts

Michael Rammell
Neil Graham
Philip Silverman
Helen Silverman
Lee Jones