So, the title of this blog post might not make any sense, but I promise it will after you read!! As a photographer or small business owner, one of the most complex parts of our job is to market ourselves. How on earth do we create marketing that represents our business well, is cost-efficient + that WORKS to bring in new clients!? Well, here’s a little secret: I have NEVER paid for marketing in my business. Outside of “boosting” an occasional Facebook post, all of my marketing is organic and is done through word-of-mouth among my clients. That’s it! That may sound like it is too good to be true, but there are ways that you can make this happen in your business, too! It didn’t just happen to me because of luck or coincidence, it happened through intentional marketing strategy and SERVING my clients well.
Here’s where the worker bees come in. When I think about my clients as a whole, I think of them as worker bees. As a business owner, I want all of my clients to help my create BUZZ for my business. I want them to be so thrilled with their experience that they can’t HELP but to talk about it, tell their friends + post about it online. But, the thing about having worker bees is that you have to give them TOOLS to help your business. In order to have worker bees that create buzz for you, you have to give them ways to do it. If you are loving on your clients, serving them well AND giving them tools to be worker bees…you will NEVER have to pay for marketing again! Here are some ways that I do this in my business:
- Under Promise, Over Deliver: I feel like this is a concept that is very prevalent in most business workshops + conferences, but it is a HUGE one! In every aspect of my business, I want to intentionally set low expectations and then exceed them. For example, my senior photography packages include 60 edited images, but on average my clients received upwards of 80 images. I do this in multiple areas: email response time, the number of images received, the amount of time spent shooting, turnaround time for editing + client gifts. In doing this, you are making your clients feel loved + appreciated while purposely creating an experience WAY better than they expected! Not only is it a way to LOVE your clients, it’s a way to grow your business! (TIP: If you are planning to deliver client gifts, be sure to work that fee into your pricing. Your clients will have no idea it’s coming, but then you aren’t paying out-of-pocket for gifts!)
- Give them something TANGIBLE: As a Shoot & Share photographer, I do not offer tangible products as a part of my packages or experience. However, starting this year, I began gifting my seniors t-shirts on the day of their session + custom magazines after their galleries are delivered. I have adorable “Instagram It” cards made by my sweet friend at Twila & Co. that I include in the packaging, and it gives my clients a TOOL to help spread the word about my business. Not only do they typically post pictures of their gifts on social media, it’s a way for them to show off their images in a unique way!
- Love Them Genuinely: This is a BIG one! At workshops and mentoring sessions, I always encourage other business owners to be a PERSON first and a business owner second. This doesn’t apply to every situation (there are obviously times we have to be tough to protect our businesses!), but there are definitely situations that require us to think with out hearts + be compassionate. In situations where a client has to reschedule due to tragedy or personal reason, be loving and reassuring. In a situation where they need to pay a few days late because their paycheck hasn’t come in, extend their deadline. You may be a business owner, but being a real person first and genuinely loving people around you will help you grow as both.
- Bonus Tip! Be Present on Social Media: I blog A LOT about Instagram (read a few of the posts HERE, HERE and HERE) but social media can be used to grow your business in more ways than I can count! When a senior or bride books with me, one of the first things that I do is friend them on Facebook and/or follow them on Instagram. Some people may think this is creepy…and that’s okay! But I LOVE being a part of my clients’ lives and loving on them in this way. When my brides share about their bridal showers, I love to comment along and tell her how gorgeous she looks. When my seniors get into their dream schools, I want to be able to celebrate alongside them. Taking steps to go above and beyond what “normal businesses” do will create worker bees that create buzz for you EVERYWHERE they go!
I hope this post was helpful!! If it was, be sure to share it with someone who might benefit from it!! XOXO!