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Self-Promotion For Photographers: GETTING THE GIGS…AGAIN
Self-Promotion for Photographers Series, 6
GETTING THE GIGS…AGAIN
Almost anyone can get the gig once with a little savvy marketing. A shiny display ad or some mailers with lofty promises and you’re in, baby! But getting the gig again and gaining repeat clients takes more than savvy marketing. Furthermore, it takes more money to get a new client than it does to get repeat work with existing clients. The math is easy – putting some effort in securing repeat clients is important.
MAKE THEM LOVE YOU
There was a great line Ridley Scott’s GLADIATOR; Maximus’ mentor turned to him and said, “make them love you.” Go and do likewise. But maybe leave off with the gore and gratuitous slaying.
I can’t over-emphasize the relational element in your marketing. Plenty of photographers out there have a rep for being divas, and some of them get hired despite that because they’re brilliant. But be brilliant AND likeable and you’re a step ahead of the diva.
GIVE THEM MORE THAN THEY EXPECT
This one is easy – find out what their expectations are, then exceed them. Go beyond the call of duty and just see if your clients don’t keep coming back to you.
First – give them a better product that they expect. This means always working on your craft and sharpening your skills.
Second – Serve them. Make their needs your absolute priority.
Return calls and email immediately, ask questions that make them aware that their needs are your first priority. Provide great catering – even if that’s just bringing a cooler of cold bottled water and some fruit to a location portrait shoot. Provide free wireless in your studio.
Whatever perks you can think of – make it happen. How fast can you get proofs to your client? Do it. In the first few weddings I shot, back in film days, I had the ceremony proofs developed and in a small album for the couple to see during the reception – they absolutely loved it and were astonished I would do that for them.
Third – Suck it up if you fail to meet their expectations. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes and have sessions where we can’t seem to focus straight yet alone compose an inspiring image. Be honest with clients and if your work is substandard apologize and ask for a chance to reshoot it or make ammends. I’m constantly amazed by corporations that blow it and mask their mistakes in lawyers, press conferences full of double speak, and smoke screens. Just apologize and make it right. The next article is about harnessing word of mouth – and that’s a two-edged sword because if clients talk about you when they’re happy, just wait to see how fast your name will travel when they’re not.
FOLLOW UP & CLIENT CARE
If it takes more work to get a client than it does to keep a client, it makes sense to put some intentional effort into showing some love to your existing and former clients.
Send thank you cards after the shoot, holiday cards in December, and occasional updates or gift-certificates. Have an open house once a year and wine & dine your clients from the past year or two. Do whatever it takes to stay in touch. I know some of these suggestions are too expensive for the little guy – so scale it down. But do SOMETHING. It doesn’t take much to let your clients know that you appreciate them and would love to work with them in the future.
Love your clients. Woo them. Serve them. Make them love you. If you spend three hours working on a direct mail campaign next week, spend a couple lovin’ on your current and former clients.
Tomorrow, Getting The Gigs, Part 3 – The Return of Getting The Gigs. Gigs is Back and He’s Mad as Heck! Sorry, got distracted. Tomorrow we’re talking about Word of Mouth.
Remember: The Self-Promotion series is winding down. The last in the series will be an FAQ and grab-bag of reader stuff.
If you’ve got questions, suggestions, a story about self-promotion, or you want to show the world your website – leave a comment. Know a photographer with a site that brilliantly promotes themselves – let us know.