Building Your Family Portrait Business

Lesson 26/41 - How To Use Your Website For Marketing

 

Building Your Family Portrait Business

 

Lesson Info

How To Use Your Website For Marketing

How do you maximize your website for optimal marketing? Is your website built to attract customers? Have you thought about that when you put up a website? Start there. You have a website; you're not gonna build it from scratch unless you wanna be a developer. You're going to launch something. You're going to customize it to be you. By the way if you have a website, and it is not doing all these things, start fresh. Start right back to the beginning and modify and update, don't feel like, (groans) "Missed that window, that's not how I did it." (chuckles) Go back and start fresh. Think about, how do you set up a website that is marketing to the people you wanna draw in, and are you inviting them to make the choices you want them to make when they come to your website? Are you converting browsers into customers? Here are some ways you can consider utilizing your website to maximize your marketing. Number one; you're gonna hear this a million times from me; it's the number one piece of adv...

ice I give to people who are doing branding and marketing: be consistent, be consistent, be consistent, be consistent, be consistent. Don't break from that, people get confused. They don't know who you are. Be consistent with your message and how you lay things out. Make sure your website, your design and layout is consistent with your branding. In our three day portrait workshops, I will sit there and do this very long exercise with everybody there, where they're gonna run through all these words and ideas and concepts to be able to boil it down to the multiple words that best define them, their style and their brand. So when all is said and done, their brand resonates who they are, what they wanna do, and what they're excited about. And the way they wanna show it. Then we take that and we say do me a favor, pull up your website, and tell me if your website connects with this brand that really is you. It's amazing how often it does not. It's nothing like it. I had this one photographer, who I've asked her if I can tell her story and she said yes. This photographer who came to one of my workshops in London. This woman who's a photographer, I kind of got the background. She said I run a studio in London. I've got people who work for me, I've got a manager and we have a really clear system in place of the work we do. We have people come in and they follow the system we have set up, we take these poses, these pictures. It's this pricing, here's your shots. As she's saying it, you can just read her energy that she doesn't sound remotely enthusiastic about this business. She just does it, and you can see that right when you meet people and you say, "Tell me what you do," and they're like, (sighs heavily) "I take photographs for people." I mean I said the same words as when you said, "Tell me what you do." (gasps) I take photographs for people! Those are the same words, but the way I express it, the way I show my body language, the way I employ my enthusiasm to get you excited about what I do is night and day. Her enthusiasm was practically non-existent. So we went through this exercise, where you talk about who you are, what you do, what your style is and really boiling it down to getting at the root of it and it takes awhile to do, but at the end of it, you've got a really good idea of what you should be doing and how you should be representing yourself. We took that and we compared it to her website and there's nothing in common whatsoever. It could not have been farther away from the truth of who she was. She had very dark, very edgy, was very into motorbikes. Michelle if you're watching right now, you know what I'm saying. Very into motorbikes and wanted to make a living out of photographing motorcycles, and kind of really cool night sleep shots and this and that but you went to her website and it was you know, white seamless background, three kids, this pose, this pose, this pose, done. They were very far apart and when she showed me her work with motorcycles I was like, "You're so good at that! "You're so good at that." So she ended up doing this whole life transition and she updated her website, she updated her look, she literally moved, she changed her whole practice and it took awhile, like another good year or something to get up to speed there, but she is so much happier. She has so much more excitement about her work. It shows, her work gets better and better, she gets cooler clients. She landed a couple clients in the last year that she's thrilled about. It's the idea of just, you have to figure out that your brand resonates with you in a way that you are naturally so excited to do it, and share it, and improve upon it, and then it shows here in your website. So on your website, you wanna make sure that all those things you feel about your excitement with what you do are resonating with your website. Right away when people go to your website, what do they see? Are those first couple images connected to the energy you feel about your work? If you are crazy excited about photographing frogs, or hedgehogs. (chuckles) If you're crazy excited about photographing hedgehogs and I go to your website and the first thing I see is a picture of a gorilla, I'm confused. And you see this all the time. The first impression does not at all match what you want people to feel and know about you when they go to your website. So make sure your design and layout is consistent with your branding. Make sure, in addition, that your design and layout actually appeals to your target market. That's different, that's different than that first point. That first point is, is it consistent with you and what you do? The other one is, does it appeal to them? So now you're looking at it from a whole different perspective; who is your target market? Who are you trying to reach? I can tell you one major thread that exists among all my clients. They are busy. They are busy, busy, busy. I am reaching a market that is either working a lot, or working on multiple things or volunteering heavily, or racing 15 kids around to 15 locations all the time. They do not have the luxury of a whole lot of time. So they get to my website, and it's slow and it's sloggy and it takes x amount of time to actually get to the information they're looking for. I will lose them. It may be awesome for me, but it's not gonna appeal to them. And I have to keep that in mind. So is it appealing to your target market? Current, staying current. This is a tough one for a lot of people because there's so many elements of this job that you've gotta stay on top of. Is your website current? Is it who you are today? I often will sit down, I do mentor sessions. Like sit down for 90 minutes with someone, mentor session end to end, and I pull up the website and the first thing they say is, "I'm sorry, this is out of date. "That's when I took those photos, "this is well before I've taken the photos "that I've taken recently, so don't judge me by that." But everybody will judge you by that. That's all they have to go on. They don't know what you've done recently that's sitting on your hard drive that's awesome. They only know what they see when they get there and it's something I have to consistently remind myself. Because I do work I love, but I'm also busy and I'm doing a lot of shooting, and when somebody asks for some publicity photos from me, like here on Creative Live to market me, I'll go through and I'll show them some cool stuff that I recently shot and I liked and a couple old favorites and put it all together and then they choose what they want. But when I go to my website oh, my God, none of those images are on there 'cause I haven't updated the damn site in a week or two weeks, or a year. Whatever it is, and sometimes it can be years. Anybody here set up a website a very long time ago and not touch it since then? That's a good percentage of you. It's not uncommon. Responsive; your website must be responsive to devices, now more than ever. I said this a year ago, I said this two years ago, I said this seven years ago. But now it's just up and up and up that the only way, not just one of the ways. The only way the majority of the time that people are seeing you for the first time is on a mobile device. You have to be responsive in terms of the way, when they see your website, it looks for them. How it pulls up on their mobile device. I'm blown away by how many sites still have Flash. You open it up and it says, must download Flash browser or not supported. Well then, nobody's gonna support you. You have to have that all set up so people can find you. Again, the statistic right now is over 90% of people access social media on their mobile device. That's the only way they're having that interaction. So if they're clicking through and going to your website because you just posted something and said, "Come to my website, "check out my blog. "See more of these images from the shoot." and they can't actually see it with having to zoom out and zoom in and try to move the screen over and try to open up to read the text. You're not gonna get that person excited about you. They're gonna be annoyed with you. They want frustration-free packaging. You are frustrating. It's frustrating. How do you feel when you go to a website and you really wanna see it and you're on your phone and you can't freaking get the information you want? You are frustrated. You wanna be frustration-free packaging. I just came up with that. (laughter) That's so good. You're packaging your work, make sure it's not frustrating. Somebody do a book on that. That was so good. Maybe I should. This idea, this natural word of mouth. People are talking about you, you're getting buzz, you're doing a great job sharing work that people love, you're doing a great job with the client experience. People loved working with you and they tell their friends. They go to the website, it sucks. You lose them. Keep keeping that in mind. As of this talk I'm giving right here and right now on this day, because as we know, SCA, SEO and algorithms change all the time. But as of now, mobile friendliness is an SEO factor. So when Google tells people yeah, go to this site, and you are not mobile-friendly, they're going to do that less about you. They're gonna share less about your work if when they push people to you, and they know that people are looking on a mobile device, 'cause Google knows everything. Like seriously, I think they know everything in the world. Google, like their reach is bigger than most countries. Like they could be their own government. Just throwing that out there, it's really crazy. But mobile friendliness is now an SEO factor. How do you know if your site is mobile-friendly? Luckily, there's a website for that on Google. You can go to this website: search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If you want to take a photo of that, or a screenshot, 'cause I know that's not an easy one to remember. But you can go there and test to see if your website is friendly, and what are some of the things they're looking for? They're looking for not only a site that expands or contracts based on screen size, but how much texts you have. How big or small your images are, how easy it is to scroll up and down and navigate through menus. These are a lot of things they're thinking about. So I pulled the website for my non-profit, beautifultogether.org, put it in there and this is what I got. I went to that website, I typed in that website, and it said congratulations, your page is mobile-friendly. This page is easy to use on a mobile device. Great. I am done. I do not have to stress and worry and wonder, I think it's friendly. I don't know, is it not friendly to you? I think it's friendly. So things like, think about your font sizes. If you don't already have it worked out then you have a website theme that is already mobile-friendly. Again, don't become a developer if you don't have to. Go to a great resource that already has the themes. I know for instance that Imagely does have the theme set up, and they do have it so that you can quickly know that all your sites are mobile-friendly. Why bother yourself when it's already done for you? They'll look at things like, are your buttons too close together, so that when the size shrinks down, you can actually navigate through it. We've all been to a website where you're like, "I can't actually push that button." That's what that is. You've got readable content because of your font size. So, strongly consider that. SEO friendly, we talked yesterday about great SEO plug-ins. I just posted this morning, about my new book that is available for pre-sale on my blog and I went into SEO Yoast and I watched myself do everything I told you guys yesterday to do. I looked at the red buttons, I looked at the green and the yellow and I said okay, what do I need to do? I need more words than this. I need to make sure my alt words and key words are maxed out. I need to make sure my snippet at the bottom, my meta-description is detailed so when people post the link, they see the information. I need to make sure my words are readable. I need to make sure the link to this post isn't too long. That the slug is readable. A lot of stuff that I don't know on my own. I don't sit there on a Tuesday at 2 o'clock thinking I wonder what my slug is like. It just walks me step by step by step. It says nope, you gotta put your key word in your first paragraph. I go up, I add it. (snaps fingers) Your red light now just went green. It just hit one, two, three. It's such a great resource for SEO. So you need to make sure you have that. You need to actively promote your bookings with the studio. Do you have something on your website that when people go to it, if they wanna quickly just book you; they already saw what they wanted. Can they do that quickly? Is that something they can jump to right away? Or am I gonna have to go through 14 screens, send an email in, wait to see if you respond, make a call. Or can I just really quickly book with you? You know what, I'm gonna go out of order. This is crazy. I'm gonna jump right to this. Be prepared. Then I'm gonna back to point number three. But blog posts that showcase like-minded businesses. What I'm talking about there, is people will sit there and say, "I don't know what to blog about. "I don't know what to post about. "I don't know what my target market wants." So if you know who your target market is. On our hot seat yesterday with money, we discussed the fact that you looked at your friend group and thought I don't think they're gonna buy it this way and I don't think they're gonna spend it this way. Then I asked you, is your target market for sure your friend group? There's a moment there when you have to think, is it? I don't know, I'm just assuming 'cause that's how they do it, maybe that's how people buy but you're just talking about this market. Not necessarily this market, this market, or this market. So accordingly, if you have step back and said, "I'm not gonna look what people around me "are doing or what my neighbor does "or what I would do. "I'm going to think, who do I want to sell to, "and where do they go. "Where do they shop? "What do they like, what do they read? "Where do their kids go to school?" Basically become a stalker. (laughs) If you know this about them, you know what like-minded businesses are. So it's not just, "I'm a photographer student. "I'm trying to reach you," but they also go to that really cute upscale kid's haircutting place and they buy their clothes at this boutique, and their kids go to this school, and they go out to these shows and these restaurants. Because of that, I'm gonna profile things they like and are looking for anyway. I'm gonna tie that positive feeling about the things they love to me. By sharing my experience of going to these places. Do I have to love the restaurant they're going to to talk about it? No. I'm sure there's always good things I can say. I don't eat meat, but at steakhouses they have great vegetable plates. I can talk about how amazing their broccoli is there. So, those are things to keep in mind when I'm talking about showcasing like-minded businesses, I'm saying have that on your website link out to them, share with them that you just linked out to them, and most likely they'll share the post. You are now extrapolating on this original content and you're getting more and more kickbacks, and more and more SEO. Having an active blog with posts that appeal to the target market. So accordingly, if it's not necessarily just like-minded businesses, but also the things that they love to do and experience and ways that your work can work with that. Small example; in our coffee shop, in our cafe, Coco Bean, if you're in Chapel Hill, which apparently nobody was watching from Chapel Hill 'cause we couldn't get one shout-out. But if you are in our coffee shop, we are now doing events because we broke up the space next door and we've opened it up and because we're now doing events, we can also offer photography of those events with this great studio we know five steps away. Looking for opportunities like that to go ahead and mix in the things that you love. If my clients love events, how can I have a great event photography thing that I talk about? And share images with, and make sure they know about. Again it doesn't matter what you do if you can't share it and bring in people to have you do that. That's what all of this is. Simple sharing options, I notice a big uptake in, and my blogging kind of thing has come a long way. It used to be where you'd share, you'd blog and there'd be a million comments on that one post. Then it became everybody swapped over to Facebook. They'd link out to you then come back and share those comments on Facebook. Now it seems to be pretty scattered. It's not the way it once was in my experience and in the experience of many other creatives. But, if I write something up and I love it and people wanna quickly share it on Facebook, it's so easy to click a button. Like click a share link, and I'll show you an example of that if you don't know what I mean. But let them share it right away. Which again gives traction to my posts. It's not about whether I had 100 people read that post top to bottom. I just want 100 people to say, "Oh I like some of this "and I'm gonna share it." Then my images are out there and they're tracking back to my website. Promote and opt-in email for a newsletter. I talked yesterday about how your own targeted email list is gold. It's so imperative being able to constantly market to the people who want to hear from you. That's a win-win right there. It's much easier to keep great clients, and keep them happy than go out and keep finding new ones. Because the relationship's already there. They know you work, they trust you, and you wanna be able to have an opt-in email for anybody who goes to your website based on what you're trying to reach them for. So on our website, if you go to tamaralackey.com and you click on blog, what you'll see right there is, at the top, and I think I actually show it in a little bit but you'll see an opt-in email newsletter, not just generic, but if you're a client, you're in this bucket. If you're a photographer, professional photographer, if you're an amateur/hobbyist, and we tailor the content accordingly. As a photographer, you don't necessarily wanna know about this great shoot I just did and how I have sessions coming up. Well you might, but. Generally speaking you're not gonna respond to that as a client in my market. Maximize your website for optimal marketing. What does that mean? Well, do you have any sort of mobile app option that can connect to your work? There's a number of sites that do this now. I think StickyAlbums is a big one that, where basically you can allow people to get either all your images or just the top images they love, or just the images they bought on an app on their phone that looks like it's your brand. It looks like a custom mobile app, but they can share the whole app with other people and quickly share your work and the work they love and it links back to you. That's one way to use marketing. You can have a multimedia intro when people come to your site right away, instead of just having static images everywhere. Maybe they come right into a video about who you are and what you do and what you're about. That can be shared and shared and shared. You can have testimonials. We talked yesterday about having people say things about you that are kind, 'cause you're sitting next to them in a sales session and you get to hear it, how nice that feels and asking them, "Do you mind if I record this," either audio or video, based on how you're feeling about this today. You can have that and put that up on your website as comments and feedback and kind things that people said about you. Kind things that people said about you; you should also do kind things. That is a big plus, over just having the written words, or nothing at all. By the way, this seems like a lot I'm going through 'cause it probably does. Don't do it all right now. Build an option for you to climb there. This last part about testimonials, we just removed our old testimonials from our website, because we're building something fresh and I felt that going to that website with those testimonials looked so dated that I'd rather just remove them altogether and then add in the ones I want later, which is what we're doing, and that's okay. You don't have to do it all at once. Start, have a direction, have a plan and just knock the steps out one by one. But keep these things in mind as you're going through the process.

Class Description

You love photography. Now what? How do you transform your passion or hobby into a career? Nikon® Ambassador and children's portrait photographer Tamara Lackey will provide the steps and the courage to build your own portrait photography studio. She’ll cover the basics of developing a business plan, website essentials and creating a marketing plan.

You’ll learn:

  • How to set your business structure with considerations for legal, insurance and taxes
  • Social media and online marketing techniques
  • How to understand and manage finances and sales
  • Steps for building your own studio from scratch

Overcome the "I don't knows" with this incredible course that will give you the confidence to build and create your family portrait photography business.

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

This course was fantastic. I learned more on what I need to improve and change in my business. I especially liked learning how she balances all the things in her life. She is a fantastic teacher who keeps you engaged throughout the course. Thank you creativelive and Tamara for producing such a great course!

user-5731db
 

I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Tamara Lackey is an amazing individual and trainer! I loved what she said about not letting ourselves be diminished by someone else's narrow view... This class touches on many business related topics, I had many "aha" moments and feel excited and committed to tackle various aspects of my business in small steps!! Thanks for sharing so much of you!!!

Dewitt Hardee
 

This is a great class. Tamara is such a great instructor and the subject matter is relevant and useful. Tamara is really the key, her personality seems like a ray of sunshine.