More work means more opportunities to polish your photography skills, the chance to add quality images to your portfolio and the cash to invest in better equipment.
But often, instead of working, it can feel like you're spending all your time chasing down even the vaguest hint of a lead.
Here's how you can use modern web-based apps to create a sales funnel that will help you attract leads and make sales without cold calling or aimlessly chasing word-of-mouth sales.
Social media is a great way to get your work out there, but when it comes to generating leads, nothing beats a website.
If you don't already have one, use a website builder tool to create a new one. There are a few out there, but people working in the creative industries tend to opt for Squarespace. Sign up (you can use a free trial if you want to try it out first), pick a template and start building your new website.
Start by creating the basic content of your website, including a homepage, an "about me" page, a "contact me" page and that all-important portfolio page.
If you have an existing website, make sure it still meets your needs. You might need to update some content, or you may even need to move to a more modern platform to make sure you can use the latest web-based apps. You can learn how to move an existing website to Squarespace in this guide.
You'll want to create a landing page for each type of photography service you offer. If you specialize in just one area, such as wedding photography, then you'll only need one sales landing page. If you offer multiple services, create a landing page for each one.
A good landing page should include:
A strong headline.
Full details of the service you're trying to sell.
An explanation of why your service is right for potential customers.
Example photographs from previous projects in the same field.
Testimonials from happy customers.
Full pricing information for the main service and add-ons (see below).
A strong call to action.
If you're just starting out, you may not have testimonials, but you can always add them later. What's important is that prospective customers can easily understand the service you provide and see that you're able to produce quality photos.
Next, you need to make sure it's as easy as possible for prospects to get a quote for your services and as easy as possible for you to turn their interest into a sale.
Adding a quote generator to your landing pages makes it easy for your prospective customers to work out how much the services they're considering will cost.
ConvertCalculator allows you to create a comprehensive quote generator that's tailored to your business's individual needs.
For example, a wedding photographer might want to create a photography price calculator/quote generator that lets people see the cost of a half-day or a full-day shoot, plus any extras they offer.
With a quote generator powered by ConvertCalculator, prospects can add an extra to their quote with a couple of clicks. Otherwise, prospects will have to work out the cost themselves, adding friction to the process and increasing the chances they'll look elsewhere.
The quote generator can also send your prospects an attractive pdf quote and your contact details, so you can follow up and convert the lead into a sale.
Including a photography pricing calculator on each of your landing pages will make it easier to generate quality leads.
Now you need to get people to your landing pages so they can use that handy quote generator. To do this, you need to build a sales funnel that attracts traffic to your landing pages.
Your sales funnel will have four parts:
Awareness - A prospect learns about your business, for example, through social media.
Interest - A prospect researches your business (and similar ones) to see what you can do for them.
Decision - The prospect is ready to buy and has a shortlist of businesses they might use.
Action - The prospect becomes a customer. Your customer.
The good news is that by creating landing pages for your services, you've already set up one of the most important parts of your funnel. With quality photos and testimonials on your landing pages, you'll be able to do a great job of standing out in the interest stage of the funnel.
The even better news is that by including a quote generator powered by ConvertCalculator, you'll be in a great position to turn interest in your services into sales. The pdf quote generated by our tool will help you stand out in the decision phase, and the opportunity to follow up with a sales call will boost your chances of moving from the decision to the action phase.
What you really need to do now is to work on how you'll attract people in the awareness phase.
Some ideas are:
Social media: Sharing your best shots on social media can help you attract attention and potential customers. Include a link to the most relevant landing page when you share an image.
Paid advertising: Paid ads either in search engines or on social media can help you attract attention. The trick is making sure you earn more in sales from the ads than you're paying for them. You can learn more about getting started with paid advertising in this guide.
Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO can be a great way to generate awareness of your business, but it takes time, but it's worth the effort. You can learn about getting started with SEO for a photography business here.
Whatever method you decide to use to attract people to your landing pages, make sure that you do so in a cost-effective manner. If you're spending money on ads, you can use a simple formula to calculate your return on investment (ROI): (Revenue-Cost)/Cost x 100 = ROI.
Finally, when someone fills in your quote generator, they may not be quite ready to buy. Although you'll be following up with a sales call, you should also consider creating an email marketing list.
This way, you can send prospects who aren't ready to buy follow-up emails, keeping your business in the front of their mind. You can build email marketing campaigns with a tool like MailChimp. ConvertCalculator integrates with MailChimp, making it easy to add people who request a quote to your mailing list.
It might feel like you're done with selling your services to a prospect once you've landed a job, but your sales funnel should extend beyond that first sale.
For example, a wedding photograph might try to upsell extra albums after the big day. A product photographer should think of ways they can land repeat business when a past client launches new products.
Again, email marketing can help you do this. In the case of the wedding photographer, sending a follow-up sales email offering extra albums three months after completing the original order could bring in extra sales. For the product photographer, creating a newsletter that offers tips for showcase products could bring in repeat business.
People who are just starting out in photography are likely to charge as little as $10 per photo, while an experienced wedding photograph can charge $4,500 (or more) for a full day's work.
What you charge for photography will depend on your experience, the type of photography you specialize in and your location.
Experience, a strong portfolio and a good sales funnel will all help you earn more through your photography.
You should price your photography services based on your business expenses, your market value and the profit you want to make. cost of doing business
These expenses are the basic cost of doing business, such as equipment, studio rent, travel, insurance, taxes and any other expenditure that keeps your business running. Your market value depends on your experience, the type of photography you do and what local competitors charge.
By working out your overheads for a year and the profit you want to make, you can then calculate how much revenue you need to generate in one year. From this, you can work out a per-project rate.
For example, if a wedding photographer has total costs of $50,000 a year and a desired profit of $30,000 then they need an annual revenue of $80,000. If they plan on working 48 weeks a year, they need to make around $1,667 a week to hit their target revenue. If they plan on doing one wedding a week, that would be their price. Of course, if they adjust their income goals, they'll need to adjust their pricing.
You can easily make your own photography website by using a website builder tool like the one offered by Squarespace.
Simply sign up for a free trial, choose a template you like and add your content to your website. Once you're ready to go live, you can sign up for a paid plan and start using your website to sell your services.