Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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Thinking you need more marketing to get more clients? What you should be doing is building a system for your photography booking process that’s bringing in a steady stream of inquiries and qualified leads.
I talked with Annemie Tonken, a family photographer and business educator. And what she talks about is changing your mindset from “I need more clients” to “yes we all need more clients to run our businesses, but you need to work on your booking process.” Ask yourself what you are offering to people. And how are you conveying what you are offering in such a way that 7, 8, 9/10 people hire you? If you are getting a 60, 70, 80% booking rate then your need to market to the masses becomes much less pressing.
So if you think you have a marketing problem, first take a look at your booking process. It can be a hard thing to hear because it’s easy to think that the algorithm is messing you up and you feel like you have more work to do. But it can also be an empowering thing. If you can get to a place where both your booking and delivery is dialed in then when you do turn up the gas on your marketing efforts, you know that every single one of those leads has a higher potential to turn into a customer.
So take advantage of that long game of marketing. Because if you do then you’re going to be ready for it once those leads turn to customers. When things are slow, take the time to set yourself up for future success.
When setting up a booking process, working backwards can be beneficial. Think about the three systems in a business.
Many people look at that order and decide to start with marketing. They worry about booking them and serving them later. But start at the end and work your way back.
Spell it out for yourself. It’s great to have a solid checklist that you’re following every time you work with someone. This helps you give better service and you know things will be delivered on time because you know what you’re doing. Go through this checklist every single time and ask yourself what is the benefit to my client? Then talk about these benefits letting people know the reasons to work with you. Whatever your system is make sure you know what all the talking points are. Explain why working with you is great, different, and what they’ll encounter.
When someone reaches out how are you responding? How do you handle that inquiry? Many people will respond that they reply immediately with a beautiful PDF. This can be overwhelming to someone and cause them to feel like they now have a bunch of homework to do. Making them go through all of that reading material when they probably already have so much going on as it is makes it much less likely for them to get back to you and book with you.
So instead of sending someone all of your pricing and everything to sort through, ask them to get on the phone with you. This is something that can also help you stand out from the crowd. It’s giving you the chance to walk someone through the process quickly and highlighting what they need to know. Pricing PDFs and guides are great but when potential clients only receive all of this information to go through right away, it can cause them to be confused. They’ll think to themselves oh I’ll deal with this later, tomorrow, or not at all. So getting on the phone with them or even sending a video of you explaining the highlights is much more interesting than receiving a PDF to sift through.
Then make sure at the end of the call or video that you talk about next steps. Make the next part of your booking process super clear and easy.
If you get push back with talking on the phone or it’s not something you enjoy doing, just give it a try. It can be overwhelming at first but just try it and do it in a way that’s easy for you. And make this the number one easiest way to contact you. Have people filling out your contact form then sign up for a phone call with you.
One of the biggest mistakes Annemie explains that she sees in a photographer’s process is not putting parameters on time. When you send a gallery of images from a session if you’re not doing in person sales, make sure to put a timeline on it. For example, give people 24 hours to view their gallery and place their orders. After that 24 hour time period then the gallery is taken down. We know how busy people get so if we give them a timeframe it’s going to be something they do right away.
This not only protects your business but you’re also not having to follow up with people again and again. This is the only way people are going to order photos from you that they hired you for in the first place. Creating boundaries is the only way to protect your process and protecting your photography booking process is the best way to deliver what you do best.
When trying to reach more people who you are wanting to become clients, take a solid look at your booking process. Identify what your process is going to be and then turn it into a solid booking system that you use for every single client. Remember to put parameters on your time so everything flows and stays consistent. This will make it so much easier for every person you work with not only for them but for your business too!
If you’d like to dive a little deeper into a booking process for your photography business check out this post:
You can also get more information from Annemie and check out her podcast here.