Building Your Family Portrait Business

 

Lesson Info

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing, it's really important to know what you want people to know about you when you market to them, and what you want them to do. What do you want them to do? Do you want to say, "Hi, I am John Frederickson, and I love puppies", come see my website? I don't know. That didn't really move me, much, right? And I'm, not even that, not come see my website. I love puppies, www.johnfrederickson.com. That's a really common internet ad. It's a really common marketing piece. Those are like promo cards and stuff. What do you want people to do with that? Just know that you exist, or do you want to bring them in, do you want to sell to them, do you want to photograph their family, do you want them to tell other people about you? Do you want to communicate a holiday special, some sort of mini-session shoot? Think about what you want them to do when they see that, and build that into the ad or the post or the promo card or any way you're trying to reach your audience. We do a video of s...

omething, so not that long ago, I created a Animoto video, which I'll be stepping through tomorrow, but I created an Animoto video where, it was just about my travel photography, because I was doing a photo track, and I wanted to invite people through that type of medium, very different than children and family, and I marketed to those people differently. And when I put it out there at the very end, here's some great photos shot all over the world, 80 seconds or something it was, and at the very end, I said, "Join us." "Go to this website to join us." I uploaded that video to the native, on Facebook, so I uploaded to the native video for Facebook, 'cause it gets more reach than Facebook will give a YouTube link, a lot more reach. Then I put in the post, here's da-da-da. Here's what we're doing next, I hope you can join us. Here's a link to start. A little more verbiage about it and then I ended it with, "Here's the link to start." So I put it in multiple ways. Here's a call to action, it's in the video, it's at the top of the post, it's at the bottom of the post. There's three ways that actually read pretty naturally, that tell you what I want you to do and how you can do it. But to just upload a video saying, "I love travel photography", great, that's fine, but what do you want people to do? Email lists. So, e-mail lists have come in and out of popularity. A targeted e-mail list is just gold for marketing. It's amazing. E-mail lists, when I first started, I was like, okay, this is the way I want to build this up, I want to get it going. And it was fine, and then I kinda, gosh, social media is here, why even bother with e-mail? This is where you want to be, 'cause this is where the eyes are. No one wants one more e-mail. I'm gonna go to social media and put all my attention there. And so just would put out an e-mail every so often, but quite rarely. The thing about social media that I discovered is a couple things. They can drop you at any time. You can build up the best following ever, but if they decide to block you, or someone reports you, or the company goes under, almost every day there's some headline about how Twitter's in trouble, or Facebook is maxed out, or nobody goes to this any more. It's a constantly evolving thing, and not always for the better. So, to put all your marketing eggs in this one basket that's not yours, that can tell you you can't come in any more, that can go away in a week, is foolish. So having a targeted e-mail list, and I mean you're only e-mailing to the people that you want to reach who are interested in hearing from you, is massive. I talked earlier about having a repeat client who I so appreciate, I do my very best for them. I treat the relationship like the gold it is, and they're gonna keep coming back time and time. How valuable a client like that is, and why I will go to a lot of extra effort to make sure they keep working with me. If I can reach that person again and again, and they have their friends join up, and other clients join up, this list becomes something where my odds of actually giving a call to action and having a return on that are significantly higher than anything I can do on social media. Anything at all. It's where you convert people. And it's not necessarily about reaching out to them, it's about reaching out to them with a message that they respond to, and then you convert them, and then you do business with them. And then you watch your expenses, and then you make money. Right? If you are not already doing something like this on your website, we're gonna do a whole section of websites. I'm gonna show you exactly what I do on my website to try to invite people in. It should be something that you're actively doing, trying to invite people in. Not beating them over the head with it, but inviting them in. Referral credits. Every single time we have somebody come into our studio for something that's not portrait and family sessions, we do a lot of head shots. So, I have several associates, so studio director also does a lot of head shots, so people will come in for those shots. I don't do that many head shots, but when they come through, they see all the family photographs, and the portraits we have, and the pet photographs we have and all that sort of stuff, and what we'll say is, "Hey, if you're here for your marketing head shot, we work with multiple companies who bring multiple people in, like just this morning, I know that my studio director, Sarah, was photographing a group of six, part of a new wave that came in with the marketing company. And so they'll come through and the conversation can naturally stem ... they usually bring it up. "Oh my god, I love these photographs." "Oh, my kids were that age just like eight minutes ago." etc, etc. That very naturally transitions to, "If you'd like to come back in for a family photograph, I'm happy to give you a credit towards your next one." Or you can even say, "The amount of money you're paying for this head shot will credit for your next one." Whatever you want. You can hand them a $50.00 credit, $100.00 credit, it doesn't matter. The session fee, back to that logic of where your money comes in, it's not the session fee. Session fee is where you get them to secure the work with you. They're gonna put money down; you've secured the work. But that's not, that shouldn't be where your revenue comes from. Your revenue should be your sale, that last 10%. You getting them in the door is what matters, and whatever the referral credit is that does that, it's a win for you. And this can be a sticky point for people. I did a session a few years ago where I had two associates who, associate photographers who were doing portrait and family sessions with our studio, and they both found, and we do a lot of auctions, so we'll do a charity auction and we'll give away our session fee and a print, for instance. And so, when that client comes in, we've had some great experience with those clients. But these two associate photographers who would join us felt like those were "free sessions" on them, and found it frustrating, and they would talk to each other about how frustrated they were. And so they were like, "Why do I have to do another free session?" I'm like, okay, this person's been qualified, they're associated with this, they already have this great feeling about our brand, here's our success rate with people who have come in this way, it's pretty great generally speaking, but having the mentality that you are doing this work for free, you are completely ignoring the fact that you now have an opportunity to have these people in front of you, you can show them what you can do, you can have a great client experience, you can show them not only the work that you do and provide for them, but what they're gonna show everybody else, 'cause every new client brings in seven more if they have good things to say about you. You have a great opportunity now to lock a client down for life, and everybody they know in the future maybe. Why is that a free thing? That's an invitation to be awesome. I'm just gonna end on that note, invitation to be awesome. All right, real quick, let's talk about a couple more things. Contests, this is just a fun graphic I found about a recent contest. There are 47 different ways to apply contests to your business, but not 48, only 47. One, a contest, any contest you can think of, and you can come up with a million ideas, it generates buzz. People are excited to enter whatever it is. Maybe your contest is looking for a child for my next marketing campaign. Everybody submit your thing, and the child who wins, I'll do a free session for you and your family. Okay, you put a contest out there. That's just a random idea, but you put it on Facebook, you create a little graphic for it. You ask people to share it. You ask them to enter, and you get buzz going. You start standing out, people are interacting with you. This is a contest I do with Nations Photo Lab. They're my lab and we just did a contest for fun a few years ago where we said, "We're looking for the best emerging photographer." And we put it out everywhere and then everyone got excited, like, "That's me! I'm the best." 'Cause you title it in a way that people want that title. They want to respond to that. My child's a cover model. My child is the face of this brand. I'm the emerging photographer, the best one. And people go ahead and enter their work, and it gets buzz and they share it with other people. Tommy, you should do this, you know? People who aren't photographers share it with their photographer friends, on and on. It keeps going. You can run your own contest. You can work with a local vendor. You can go to the local spa, or the local whatever, and say, "Hey, let's do a contest together." Contests work, and they've stood the test of time because people respond. It's an invitation to people. Look at almost every reality TV show there is. It's contests. Who has the best voice, who has the best body, who has the best ruse, on and on and on. Contests work. They're just packaged differently. But that, at the root of them, is what they are. I did a contest, I photographed, I offered to a child magazine, to photograph their contest cover, for free, in exchange for them running an ad about my business in their completely targeted market magazine. Then I had this whole thing where I photographed the four contestants that made it to the top, and we chose one from there. So I had four sessions with four really great kids that I love, and four opportunities to sell all those photographs that weren't chosen to the parents. And that went on for several years. It's just like free work, but it's not. You're basically using this as an opportunity to market yourself, gain new clients, and photograph more and more of that target market you were trying to go after. Internet marketing: set your expectations. There are trolls out there, and they are scary. They are very, very scary. One of the things that it's very helpful to recognize is that it's never about you. And it sounds like, now, go in setting the expectation. As soon as I put myself out there in any way, they are there. But just know that, so you're not so shocked by it. If you Google my name, Tamara Lackey, and handling criticism, I did a whole impassioned plea at the end of one of my classes, I think it was Sale, Sale, Sales, but at the end of it, I kind of talked about how this is so significant and a great way to manage it. And the reason I said that is because the number one thing I was hearing back from everybody, by and large, was, "But if I try that and people hate it..." That just kept coming up in 80 different ways. So start out by saying, "Some people are probably gonna hate this." They're gonna hate the work I do, they're gonna hate the way I sell, they're gonna hate whatever you want to say. Just go in with that expectation. I had a photographer call me once, in tears, sobbing, that she'd put out a blog post, shared it on social media, and the first comment that went out was just like, "You suck, why are you even doing this." That was the first comment, and it was one of the first times she really put herself out there, and she was devastated. And she called me and I'm like, "First of all, I hear you. That hurts. You put yourself out there, you put a lot of work in, and then someone just, you put all that effort in and they just slapped you back. That sucks. Let's take a moment to sit with that." In addition, it's not about you. They probably went from your site, to the next, to the next to the next, to the next, thinking that somehow that was gonna make them feel better about where they are. Whatever that might be. If you think of it that way, that you're just one of the many, and you are. There's very few trolls out there that just latch onto one person they've never seen before and decide to say something ugly, it does, it minimizes the sting. But if you look at that as the way to hold you back from doing any of this stuff, then you'd come inconsistent with the way you share your message, you become inconsistent with the work you show, because you're a little hesitant to do it. That's probably a great recipe to never be able to market well, 'cause you're not being consistent. Which brings us to this: stick with it. Know what your target is, and stay consistent about how you put it out there. Back to that runner, Jo Ann Flannigan. She kept with it. She stuck with it race after race after race after race. Patience paid off, and the best rise to the top. If I had quit at three years, I would have never known this. I would have never know what it could be to be a successful working photographer, 'cause I would have told you right here and right now, it's not working, it hasn't worked this year, it hasn't worked last year, it hasn't worked the last year. Why would I keep putting myself through this misery. It won't work for me. Why wouldn't that make all the sense in the world? That was what I was informed of, that was all my history, was telling me that, that this was not gonna work out for me. Being patient, targeting my market, staying consistent, you realize over time, the best rise to the top, but you have to stick with it. And also, it helps to remember this: Star Wars was beaten at the box office by Smokey and The Bandit. It really was. Did you guys know that? That's crazy. It was, though. So, just know that sometimes these things take time.

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

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • This was a fantastic class. Tamara is a fantastic teacher and really cares about conveying all the information that she is so passionate about. I found myself hanging off her every word and being so inspired to put her lessons into action. Buy this course - it will pay dividends in your business.