Day 5: Defining Your Niche
Why should we niche? I hear photographers asking that and even you know, other small business owners thinking about to finding your niche and I believe that niche ing is very, very important and knitting just means specializing and specializing in something you know and you know, think about if you're pregnant and you want to go to a massage therapist are you goingto you know, be attracted to the chain store that does chain stores chain spot whatever the does massages or someone who specializes in maternity massage, you know and what if that person was even more focused and specialized in third trimester massage? You know, even itching further she's going to attract those people in their third trimester now when I get there, if I'm in my third trimester and I have a massage done and thank goodness there is no more pregnancy for me in my life, but you know, if if that were to happen then and I'm there and I love this person she doesn't amazing job she knows what she's doing her image is...
what I expected and she's given me great customer service and then she tells me about baby massage am I going to go back to her for those other things? Absolutely, you know, it doesn't mean if you niche and specialize, you can't do other things what it means is you're going to attract the people that love your specialty that need your specialty and sewn itching I feel is very, very important especially these days in the swamp of photographers that we live in that you really do specialize in something and I do feel like it's easier in two thousand thirteen that it wass you know, ten years ago and one of the things and one of the reasons it's easier today is that just by not being a shooting burn photographer you could be something else you know it specialising doesn't mean that I have to choose a genre I don't have to choose newborn or seniors or weddings although that certainly could be your specialty I know a photographer who only photograph senior girls she doesn't photograph any senior boys she market specifically to high school senior girls and you know and that's a great nit she knows howto work with them and knows how to pose them and knows how to make them feel beautiful and and she of course attracts those girls you know, newborn specialist I know people who only photograph newborns they don't even want the rest of the first year you know what? It's okay, if that's your specialty that's great, you know, choosing a genre but it doesn't have to be you know my specialty is products importance for the home, something that you're going to enjoy and love every single day you know it's it's about heirlooms, it's about memories, you know, that's what my specialty is and I want people teo, you know, to know that that it's it's about creating these beautiful wall groupings that are going to be something you love all the time. And so, you know, thinking about what your specialty is, and we'll go through a few questions on that, but you really think about honing in on what you love and it's much easier to create the business that we want when we're creating it around what we love and so you know, we'll think through some of that, but when you shrink the size of your target market, you've got more impact, you know? So thinking about that maternity specialist again, you know, she is goingto be attracting those third met third trimester clients and that's exactly what she loves it's, exactly what she wants to be doing, and she's got more impact there if she's specializing she could be even be asked to go and give a lecture a presentation at el aleck league aura, you know, my mommy group or prenatal classes or whatever, you know, she's going to become the expert in that area and have much more impact in that area because she is so niche, you know, if I'm just a photographer what does that really mean? You know what? Everybody's a photographer and so you know, these days we've got an itch you've gotta make the more impact there specific cells but very specific cells mohr and at a higher price and we all know this is true when there is something that is a speciality something that is unique and different we're willing to pay more for it because that person is a specialty specialist or that product is unique and different and so, you know, think about getting really specific with your niche your usp is another way of looking at a niche you know, what is my unique selling proposition that's what the u s p stands for and so we want to think that through and think about what it is that is unique about the way I do business and, you know, going back to the wall portrait thing now I know for me that even somebody who has no experience with my business if they call my studio they're going to get a different conversation than they're going to get with any other photographer that they call and hopefully carly who I'm working with her you guys will meet we'll start having some of these converse same conversations with her clients so she'll be there, but I will tell you that having great businesses and great photographers and your community on ly raises the bar you know I would I would rather teach my next door neighbor everything that I know and have them running a successful and profitable business then have somebody next door who is that running a profitable business and is giving things away because that brings us all down you know? And so thank you think about raising the bar think about what you can dio differently and unique and what that unique selling proposition is and when they call my studio we're going to start talking right away about you know where they're going to hang their porch it's about doing something special for their home but they're gonna love and enjoy every single day I'm gonna get to know them and their personality, their lifestyle and I'm gonna make specific suggestions for them and you know it's different it's unique and though in the world of photographers that we live in so think about what you can do to be different and you know it doesn't have to be donna it doesn't have to be while porter's our product there are a lot of different ways that you can be unique there and we'll go through some of those things but think about what it is that you really love to photograph you know, most of us these day started photographing our kids I started that way fifteen years ago I was photographing my kids and fell in love with photography and I don't have an education and photography you know, it wasn't something that I didn't have a camera since I was eight years old I don't have one of those stories um but you know when I get what it comes back down to the core and what I love to photograph it's kids and now it's families because I know that I can I can do something really unique and special for families and it helps bring families together I can really talk to them about you know, they're doing something wonderful for their family, justin having and taking the time for a portrait session and some communicating that but you know, I love photographing kids that's my first love and think about what you love to photograph and maybe it's food or maybe it's landscapes or whatever it is but you know, if you are a portrait photographer, how can you incorporate those things if you love photographing landscapes you know, shoot everything and be unique and have everything be a panoramic beautiful piece that's got, you know, people here in giant landscapes you can do what you love and incorporated into even your portrait work what am I good at? Sometimes these things are not the same, you know, I love photographing kids, but maybe that's not the best thing that I'm good at, you know, so think those things through you could be capitalizing on the things that people tell you you're good at one of the things that I have, you know, gone from this incorporated in my business is the decor in design style and for even one back in the day when I had a hair salon, I would have people say to me and I never believed it at the time, but you know, people would say, oh, you're so creative or oh, I love the way that you have this set up for, you know, they they were saying things about my design style and looking back at that, you know, that's what I'm incorporating into my work every day, and I do love it, I love playing interior designer, you know, that's, a super fun part of what I do. So what do you get at and what do other people tell you that you're good at? We hear things over and over from people and, you know, think about what people are saying about you, those positive things, what are my strengths? And, you know, we all know that if we if we concentrate on our weaknesses, we get bogged down and we'd get negative and we get, you know, constipated, I don't know, but if we concentrate our strength, you know, stephen covey says, do what you do best and those are the things that you're going to you know, those are the things you're gonna be strongest at, so those are the things that are easiest to dio so think through what your strengths are and then as an extension of that three to five words to describe your personality and some of you girls in here have done this with me already but just thinking through three to five words that describe your personality and what that does for you is if you can think about the words that define you as a person and this is not as a photographer, we're just really who you are and what your personality is you can start learning teo project those things into your marketing and into your client experience and you know, and then as you change and evolve as a photographer and as a business owner, those things can come along with you, you know, you're not having to re invent all the time you just can evolve and you can move to the next level a lot of times what happens with photographers and any creatives in the beginning is way want to model ourselves after this other person who we think is so amazing and so we do all these things to be the same and then all of a sudden, you know, three, four years later and we've got her act together and we're ready to make things around we're you know we're stuck in this place it lists really isn't me I did this because it was this person that I wanted to be like and so I feel like it's really important to really think through who you really are and make sure that your your image and your personality are things that you're able to communicate in a positive way to your clients about the experience that they're gonna have with you and you know how you're going to be working with them and you know, I am very calm with my kids I'm on the floor with them I'm talking to them I'm playing with them and I'm quiet I'm not jumping all around making noises and you know, I know over the years I've probably gotten three or four of these squeaky chickens at conventions I would never use one of those in my studio I mean that's just not my personality, you know? So if I'm communicating certain thanks to my clients like this is the experience that you're gonna have, I'm not projecting really what's going to happen and my image my my personality so thank through those things um see and define your why you're why and your purpose has so much to do with really making those goals happen and your your passion without a purpose is really just gonna worry out you know, we all love photography we all love what we're doing, but if we really can't define why we want to make a business out of it and not why you want to take pictures, we all love taking pictures that's the easy part but why do you want to make a business? Why do you want to be profitable? And if you don't know why I take some time to really carve that out and think about you know, is it so that you can take a great vacation with your family every year? Is it so that you can, you know, give and contribute in different areas? Is it so that you can, you know, live in a fancy house or drive a fancy car? You know, I'm really what is your motivation, what's your why? Maybe you want to send your kids to college or whatever your reason is that's going to drive, making it happen? You know, just because we love photography is not going to drive profitability and so think about what you're why is and to find that, um and then think about the vision for your business and, you know, when you were thinking about niche ing and we're thinking about specializing, thinking about the business vision and really, you know, what is it that we are all about? What is what's her goal our mission or purpose? Why do we want to be in business? You know, I want teo not only take pictures of my clients, but I want to give them amazing family experience that they're going to remember and that's part of my little mini mission statement is creating creating images, creating memories, sorry, credit memories through images and experience. So it's not about just taking the pictures is about the actual experience that's happening and when you can communicate things like that to your client. No, I want to I want to tell dad's when they come in the door. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being here and taking this time for your family. I'm telling moms that even on the first phone call, you know, this is amazing that you're gonna do this together. Your kids are always gonna remember this, and when I tell my clients what is going to happen, then it happens and then that's what they remember, you know, and so being able to communicate those things is really what they're going to see. Every time they see the porch is hanging on the wall, they're going to remember that experience because we talked about it, we're gonna member that family time together and, you know, really carving at that time, and it is a lot of work for people to get ready for a portrait session, especially the way they go through with me and I'll do it, I'll talk to you about that, but they're they're making an investment in time and, you know, we want to reward them for that with an amazing experience and that's my right, and for the businesses creating those family moments and those memories and then, you know, giving them something beautiful to remember it by who is best for my message, we're going to talk in tomorrow's day about defining that target clients, but we want to think about, you know, who is who is best for this message that is my target client, so I want to be thinking about, you know, young families with children, uh, I most of my moms are working moms that are in my target clients and your target client as we go through it it's not gonna be the same for every single client, but we are going to know the market that we're after and who was the best suited for our message best suited for what we're doing in our business, and then how can I get in front of them and that's going to be marketing that's going to be networking? And we're going to think through uh as we go through your target client where where are they? And I have people that asked me that a lot, you know? Well, I don't even know how to find my target client, you know, or maybe you've been in business for a year or two years and you started photographing your friends and it was a hobby and fun and then that grew and grew and now you're busy and you you kind of feel like you're stuck with these people and, you know, you need to be reaching out to a new target target client, but you're just not even really sure where to find them and so, you know, think through that how can I get in front of them? This person that is best suited for our message and we'll go through that together as well, who am I most excited about working with? You know, sometimes we get ourselves into business where we really are kind of, you know, we're doing the sessions because we kind of got tio, but we know we're not going to enjoy the people that were photographing because either they're goingto be asking us for staff that we don't, you know, we're not strong enough to say no, I'm not giving you that for free, you know, or it's, you know, we all have those life sucking clients you know and so you know who are you excited about working with and that's the target market that we want to grow the people that fullfill s and at fulfill our vision for our business who do I identify with most and you know for that home schooling mom the and you know she loves family and loves her kids if you home school I promise you you are invested in your kids and I home schooled for several years of my older too and so you know, she's gonna other moms are going to be able to identify with her that are also home schooling and very invested in family and so think about who you can identify with most and you know, maybe you love fashion and you know are always dressed to kill and carry the latest handbags and high hill issue shooting high heel shoes I know how you do it but you know, maybe you're all into fashion and so you you can identify with other people who are into fashion and so you may want to turn your niche into something like that or you may want to provide you know, really fashionable experience with hair and makeup and wardrobe for high school seniors you know, you could apply that in many different ways who gives me positive feedback about what I do and that's going to relate back tio who you enjoy photographing who enjoys spending time with think about the different people that you're already doing business with that praise you for your work that love what you're doing and maybe when it comes time to raise prices they may not be able to come along into that next category but they're going to be a mouthpiece for you they're going to be those people who were so excited they love everything that you do and they're telling people about it and you know, some of those people we may want to keep working within certain ways plugging them into special events or doing something special for them at different times but we want to think about, you know, who's giving me great feedback and how can I breed those people you know, that's what marketing is that's what networking is and no word of mouth is all about breeding we want to you know, grow those same people that same full of people from the secret that says when you're interested you do what's convenient and when you're committed you do whatever it takes and to me this has a lot to do with finding that specialty in that niche that you love we're all interested in photography all of us you wouldn't be here if you were interested in photography and so you do it and you get by and maybe your profitable maybe or not maybe you're reaching out to the right people maybe or not but when you started start getting committed and to me commitment is, you know, in this category is finding that niche and finding that specialty, making sure that you're reaching out to the people that are going to be attracted to you that you want to work with that air giving you great feedback about your work and, you know, tying it all together and when you've got that commitment and you, you know, if you're choosing a specialty, your loving what you're doing because you're only taking care of those people that are all those things that are positive and that you're, you know, you're doing what you love, and when you're committed, you're going to do whatever it takes to make sure that you get to keep doing that. And so I love that quote when it comes to niches and really thinking about honing in on, you know, what it is that you want to be doing, and then we need to learn to communicate the value of our niche and that is ah, hard next step, you know, you may even be ableto get through your workbook and really think through, okay, I know I know what it is that I want my special to be what I want my niche to be and again wants you to find that it doesn't mean that you can't do the rest of it the rest of the stuff is gonna happen also you know you can be that try third trimester massage therapist that then recommends coming back with your new baby you know? So that doesn't mean that but we need to learn to communicate that specialty and the value of that specialty to our clients some of the things that you might be able to reach from some of the things that you might be able to make that us fear that niche is your background maybe you are somebody who went to college for photography market that there are not very many people who have that education anymore you know make sure that you're putting that out there is a part of your usp maybe it's a different camera technique or a different style you know and that usually can't last very long unless you're like any leibowitz but your marketing a certain camera technique and the style somebody else is going to be picking up on it and a little bit so you better be able to keep evolving and growing but it is for a time you know, right now for many years I only photographed in black and white I'm picking up some color now which you can see in some of these images but for probably thirteen years of my business black and white that was it and so that was a really unique and different specialty now that my I'm my specialty is welding core, you know, I am doing some color now because I am planning and designing with my clients I'm making suggestions for their clothing and where we're going to shoot and how we're going to shoot based on their decor style so it's all going to tie together and some shared some color and that's fun and that's okay, you know, but that that certain style can be something that you market, but you need to make sure that it is very different and it's unique to you, uh, framing and ready tio tio hang products that you're delivering to your client is certainly a usp these days, having a unique and different product line offering in a tier design service like I do, and I don't say it that way to my clients, but that is definitely what I'm doing. I am talking to them about the corps, style and lifestyle. What happens in the room that we're going to be designing for were I'm having them pull things together? If this was my client's home here, I wouldn't be actually having them. We're going for me, but we're going to design for this room. I would be having them lay their clothes out on this couch with these pillows to make sure everything ties together and it's going to look beautiful hanging in that room and so I'll walk you guys through all of that, but you know, it is kind of offering this little interior design service to them and my target client is someone who uses an interior designer no, they don't all use interior designer, but that is my target that's my best clients are ones that use interior designers they're used to being told put this rug here and that couch there, you know? So they love me telling them this is what's going to look amazing in this room and it's done, you know, so offering that unique or that interior design service is something that can set my business apart and be that specialty giving your client's excellent and unexpected customer service and you'll see this again when we talk about customer service but just good customer service isn't enough anymore it's got to be over the top and unexpected is a word that I like. I like to do things for my clients that they would never have expected and it can be, you know, from little things up tio you know, big things thatyou plan gifts and things, but that has to be part of your profitability as well, so we'll go through that offering delivery and installation we talked a little bit about that before, but being able teo offer to actually go to your client's homes and offer installation is a huge service a huge added value to them that you can communicate is something that is so different about your business than every other photographer up and down the street. And you may be like me and not want to actually dio and hang the portrait yourself. You know, I'm the type of person that behind all the pictures in my house, there's like, probably four holes because I'm not going to measure anything. I'm not gonna level anything. I'm just going in. Does that look good? Nope. Okay, let me move it down it so I really don't want to do it in my client's home either. But if you hire somebody that is a contractor or a home builder, you know, somebody that's got that type of business, they're insured for it already, and you can hire them to go do your installations. If you know somebody who's a homebuilder, then you know, they probably have ten people on their staff that could go into it at any time. And so, you know, think through those things in the way that you could really finish out that customer service for people. Ah, full day service is something that will talk a little bit more about, but these days, clients are very, very busy. And if you're like me and they're coming from far, far away or like kelly and they're coming from far far away then a lot of times they don't want to come back a week later to view their images and so we're offering a full day service we're all photographed them send himto lunch and then they come back and ve their images the same day but and that is also part of finding a yes answer for today's problems so we'll talk more about that but you know, little things that you can do going to your client's home and being all on location is a huge service and value to them you and johnny asked it up having the home studio and can I be profitable? Absolutely going to clients home if I honestly if I could write now do exactly what I wanted to do I would sell my building which my building is for sale but I really want to sell my building because I want to be back in my client's homes I make more money there, I love shooting there I love being there I don't need my studio but I'm stuck in my studio because it's got a big mortgage and so you know, thinking those things through and then communicating that value if I'm going to the client's home and I'm helping them with their clothing so selections and their props and their where we're going to shoot and how we're going to tie it all into their decor and I'm making the suggestions for them maybe even going back to their home to do the sale do do the order appointment just with my laptop I don't need to project anymore with great tools like preview where I can build all this for them and they're going to see it done and so you know all those things communicating that value to the client is so so important in a huge part of um you know, really thinking through how you're going to do business and what your uniqueness is and your specialty is location or props that on lee who you have access to is another thing that you could be marketing that could be something that's unique to you. So if you have a home studio and there's something unique about where you live maybe you live on a farm and you've got animals that the kids can be photographed with or you've got a cool barn on your property or an old car or a new car I mean it could be anything I actually know a photographer who bought a new corvette every year for many years and she photographed every single client at least one image with that corvette because that's the way that she was able to write it off as a prop so I thought then she also marketed it as a uniqueness, she had this, you know, brand new corvette that kids could get in and on and you know, all this one's out of high school seniors and so, you know, maybe they're maybe start a corvette, but you know, what do you have access to that you're the only one you know me with a studio? Of course that's something that I only have access to other photographers don't get to come shoot there and so that's something to mark it to my clients that it'll be unique and different to you there's not other photographers, but I walked out my back door many times and there's somebody shooting on my back porch, so you know, and it just happens, you know, if we're all on location shooting there's going to be other photographers that are shooting around, I do a lot in our park in our in our town and every time I'm at the park for a session, there is another photographer there at least one and so you know, you gotta think about those things and is there a certain place or certain crops that you have access to you could be marketing as your specialty learn to communicate the value of where and how you do business and you know, we've we've talked about that a little bit and hopefully you guys have started thinking about those things whether you're all on location and you can communicate those positive benefits to being going to your clients, no meeting them on their own turf or meeting them in a location that they select, you know, that's a huge value, communicate that value if you're there in their homes and you're able tio help them with those choices with clothing, and I tell my clients so many times don't go buy new clothes, we're going to work with what you guys have cause I want it to be about then and their personalities, and I want that to be a part of the image as well. And so why go on buy all new outfits? You know, this needs to be about how your kids are every day, how you see them, how they see each other in you and so we're gonna work and, you know, being in a client's home, you can do so much more that I just I'm gonna come, I'm gonna help you. I'm gonna go through your closets and pull stuff together, your pride never even thought of pulling together and you know we'll do this together. So it's a value it's a service that you can offer being in your home studio, I feel like there's, huge values there is well, and I had a home studio for many years and you know just learned to communicate to my clients when they would call you know you're going to feel very comfortable here we've got toys and snacks for the kids and I would ask them about what kind of snacks there kids could have and make sure that I had those there for them and their kids were you know, right at home if we needed to take a break everything's right there we're at home, you know, the other thing that I love is and I would tell my client to communicate to them is I'm gonna walk you through my house so that you can see and of course that meant I had to clean but you know, I'm gonna walk you through so you can see what I've done with the porches of my home and you know, I believe if you have a home studio you don't even need to have a bunch of samples of, you know, stuff of other other clients just show off your own family and the value that you place on photography and maybe it's just you and your dog you know that's okay, but show a beautiful portrait of your dog show a beautiful portrait of you and your dog and you know where maybe it's an extended family session where you've got your brothers and sisters and mom and dad or whatever but show off what's most important to you and how you would decker would decorate with portrait and that's a huge value to your clients, you know, and let them know they're going to be comfortable there and there, you know, I have everything right there that they're going to need so, um, value to all those different things, of course retail location, there's a lot of value there these days as faras communicating to your client because they're not a lot of people with retail locations, but like I said, you know, there's a huge value in those other ways of doing business, and so don't beat yourself up if you don't have a retail location, don't tell yourself I can't be profitable if I'm on location or if I have a home studio and, you know, it may be that if you have a home studio and it's, not the image that you want to project your clients, maybe you should be on location and you should be shooting in your client's home and, you know, projecting the image that you want to present there. So I know a photographer who actually rented a car for six months because she had a projections damn, and in six months she wouldn't be able to start making regular monthly paint put a down payment on a car. But for six months, she wanted to have the image that she wanted to project to her clients, and she rented a car so she could drive to the locations and meter clients and a decent car. So, you know, it can be done don't make those excuses for not being able teo do and project the what, you know what you need to be doing in defining that niche, really getting clear on it. And hopefully you've gotten some good ideas, and if you've got the workbook or work through that there's, some exercise is there for you to go through and really think about honing in on that niche. This is our download for day five it's our it's, my design packet is what I call it and, you know, one of the things that I believe is, you know, when you're defining your niche, it needs to be what you love, it needs to come from, you know, really what you want to be doing and what you love designing for the home is what I love. And so the marketing pieces that I have are going to be based around that we're going to make suggestions for different rooms in the home, we've got different ideas for there for them. And I'm just going to put in the card or give them the card that is you know pertains to their situation if they don't have a new morning I'm not gonna give in that card if they know this this on the right is dad's office and so and this is just you know I can sell for dad's office because I'm talking about I'm asking, you know, does he have a space in his office where he would want to show off what's most important to him you know, that's family and I'm selling it because I'm telling her he probably should put what's most important to him in his office right? And so I can throw that card in there you know? And so you're going to get all that on the bottom there there's a little gift card and the gift card is just for a home design consultation it's not for a session is not for product and when I very first started doing it the in home design consultations you know, it was kind of a debate should I charge for them? Should I not charge for them? And I decided not to charge for it because I know if I get to that client's home and I'm making specifics specific suggestions for their home I'm going to make more money happens every single time guaranteed and so I gave away gift cards that would say you get this free that, you know, who knows what the value is, they don't know, they just know you get this free. And so it was like my permission to be able to go and do these in home design consultations by giving these free cars to my target client, and so they're still investing in the session in the product, but they're just getting this extra added value service that I'm going to do free anyway, but by giving them the gift card that says, you know, hey, you're getting this is a gift, and it actually says you've been gifted and you know, and then give me the permission to go and do that, so you're going to get all of those things, they're all layered psd so you can go in and change things out on this one. I actually have these framed groupings laywer, too, so you can drop your images into these framed groupings and show him just like they are. Wow, that's really cool, just a reminder that all of these things as we've been going through then this is all covered in the this is all explained even better, with more space for you to answer these questions yourself in the work book this is the point is to be able to because this course is not here is a portrait studio plan this is how to design your own portrait studio and that's. What we love is that this is you are involved with it. And so it's, really something that you you are going to be able to do for yourself. So there is guided sections for youto answer all these questions for yourself as you go through it, if you do purchase the course. So quick question, I think before we head out danielle guider says, do you think it's important to define that niche at the start of your business? Or is it okay to discover that over time? Well, and I think a lot of us discover it over time, but the more clear you can get, the sooner you can get clear, the better it's going to be for your business. And so I do feel very strongly about, uh, you know, at least making sure that you are doing what you love, even in the portfolio building stages, and I'm gonna give you guys some of the ideas for during the portfolio portfolio building stages and how to attract the right clients during that period as well. But even during those stages, when you're first starting it's, so important to be attracting and reaching out to the right target client. Because otherwise, you get yourself into that trap of, you know, photographing all these people who don't want to pay anything, and then it's time to move out of that. And how do I do it? Because I'm just stuck myself. And I know many, many people watching are in that situation right now, and we will talk about moving out of it and how to tell your clients when the time comes that you're prices are different in how to present that to them, eh? So we'll go through that. But the answer long answer is yes. I feel like it's important, that the sooner you can get clear on it, the better.