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If the waves aren’t good in the afternoon, instead of surfing, I’ll opt to take a 4.5 mile walk to get out from behind the computer for awhile. Yesterday, the waves were not only bad, but totally non-existent. Off on my walk I went.
Out of habit, I walk the same line every time. I walk through the same field, I cross the street on the big hill so I can see out over the bay and to the ocean, I don’t cut across the dirt path shortcut by the school, (I don’t exactly remember why – some superstitious reason I’m sure).
As you can tell, I’m very locked into my routine.
What was interesting about yesterday’s walk was I noticed a gentleman walking his dog about 20 yards ahead of me. He walked up a long access ramp that I’ve seen a hundred or so times, he proceeded along a path on the embankment adjacent e to the sidewalk I was on. Despite the hundred or so times I’ve seen the ramp, I had no idea that path existed. His higher path eventually descended back down to the sidewalk.
This made me think about how oblivious I was to the possibilities of getting to where you want or need to go, while experiencing a new, possibly exciting route. I was also struck by the idea that if it weren’t for another person in my community, I would have never discovered that new path.
Not every discovery is a groundbreaking invention. Sometimes it’s just a new dirt walking path. For us photographers, maybe it’s a new way to mask out layers that we learned in a seminar, or a something you learned about SEO to promote your website. But until someone guides you to that discovery, it’s hidden from your view. Usually right there under your nose.
Now that the path is discovered, I think I’m going to go experience what it’s like to walk up there.
…Well, if the surf isn’t any good that is of course.
What new paths are you going to be on the look out for?
A recent Seth Godin blog post I read has been bouncing around in my mind since I read it last week. In it he mentioned the difference between Vendors and Artists. I thought it was quite relevant to the photography industry, especially wedding photographers who are often looked at as just another vendor.
Here’s an excerpt that really stood out for me, from the full post:
That’s the key economic argument for the distinction: if you treat an artist like a vendor, you’ll often get mediocre results in return. On the other hand, if you treat a vendor like an artist, you’ll waste time and money.
Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.
While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.
A key element of the distinction is that in addition to the varying output potential, vendors are easier to replace than talent is.
So how do you represent yourself to your clients? It would seem that all wedding vendors are artists themselves; the Photographer, Florist, Baker, Musician, Dress Maker, and Coordinator/Stylist all are at some level an Artist.
Yet we are stuck with the moniker of Vendor.
Just as in Seth Godin’s post I don’t really have any answers for you. But it does at least open the inquiry to how you present yourself and your wedding photography services to your clients. Are you just another vendor providing a service, or are you an artist? And are your clients aware of the distinction.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
I figured we would do a video blog post this week to touch on a great way to seek out clients. You can use this technique when things are slow, or you can have an assistant or intern working on this while you’re managing other aspects of your studio.
As always, feel free to add comments and questions below.
Hi everyone. This is William Bay from Flaunt Your Site.com
Today I’m going to help you find new clients by harnessing the power of Twitter with the program TweetDeck.
If you’re unfamiliar with TweetDeck, I highly suggest that you go to tweetdeck.com and check it out. The program comes in a desktop version which I use, as well as a web version, and mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
It’s a great program as it brings your social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles under one easy to use interface. It also allows you to manage multiple accounts. So if you have a personal Twitter account and a business account, you can manage them all from the same program.
What I’m going to share with you today is the power of the search columns and how that can be used to prospect for potential clients in your photography business.
In TweetDeck, you’ll find the “Add Column” button here. We’re going to click on that and the following dialog box will ask us which account you want to use. We’re going to use Twitter which is the default account already.
Then in the Search Bar we’re going to input a keyword that you think your potential customers may use while tweeting, so that we can target those people.
For example, I’m a Wedding Photographer in San Diego, so I’m looking for people that are getting married in San Diego. In this case I would use terms like San Diego Married, or San Diego Wedding, or even San Diego Engaged. You can have multiple search columns, which will payoff with more potential prospects.
The words don’t have to be in any particular order, and the great thing about this is that San Diego (or the city in which you’re searching) doesn’t have to be in the Tweet itself, but could be in the person’s Twitter profile which would create an even better target for you.
Now comes the process of sorting through the searches and finding good prospects to respond to. You’ll want to find good tweets that could be open to receiving some information from you. It’s important to not just bombard people with unwanted info about you and your services.
You can potentially have your account suspended if you are just spamming people.
You may find people that have announced that they have just been engaged. In this case you might respond with a message of congratulations and send them to something you’ve written about ‘selecting a wedding photographer’ or ‘ten things to know about planning your wedding’ on your website that they could read if they were interested.
Or you may find someone that is actually looking for recommendations of other vendors. You would definitely want to recommend the vendors you’ve worked with. The opportunity may present itself to let them know that you’re a photographer for hire as well, but remember social media is about sharing, and growing communities and relationships. If you were to refer a vendor, they may refer work back to you at some point too. There’s something to be said for internet karma.
Now can this work for other photographers? Of course. If you are a Maternity Photographer, you might look up phrases like “having a baby” or “I’m pregnant” if you are a Senior Photographer you can look up words like “graduate” or “senior.”
It’s really up to your creativity.
Why use TweetDeck over Twitter’s search:
- In my opinion TweetDeck’s interface is quite a bit more streamlined than Twitter’s and has more features.
- TweetDeck feeds are automatic, so I don’t have to refresh my browser screen when people send new tweets. It’s live, in real time.
- Since I can have as many search columns it’s just as simple as scrolling to the right of my most used columns to go through my lists.
- One of my favorite features is that you can assign an audible notification as the searches come in, so you don’t have to check every five minutes to see if you’re missing something new.
I hope now that you have a new way to obtain new clients. The bonus to this technique is that as you start spreading your content with other people, you may gain new followers, as well as having your links spread across the internet which will bring you more traffic, and increase your SEO.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me here at FlauntYourSite.com. We do specialize in SEO, and Social Marketing for photographers and can help you in your campaigns.
I’ve recently been looking at resumes of Web Engineers to expand the capabilities of Flaunt Your Site and grow it into the business I see it becoming. Through the process of looking through resumes online, I’ve been quite dumbfounded by the number of resumes that don’t provide contact information at all.
I’ve seen a number of talented and qualified people that I’ll never be able to contact!
That got me thinking about photographers with websites. Most pointedly the ones with Blu Domain websites that use a splash page on the main page. None of these sites provide contact information!
How do you expect clients to email you or call you to hire you? What if there was a wedding day emergency and all the client had was an iPhone? (They won’t be able to look at your Flash site from their mobile device).
The lesson here is that you should provide a method for contact that potential clients can reach from every page on you website. Whether that’s a link to a contact page, or footer information with your address and phone number at the bottom of every page.
Having a footer with your information at the bottom of the page has an added benefit for Local SEO optimization. When we do a Local Optimization Service, we modify the client’s website with the contact information in the correct microformat for Google to read it and associate it with your Google Places listing which helps boost that listing towards the top.
Don’t lose clients before you’ve even had a chance to meet them and impress them. Make sure they can contact you from the very beginning.
Thank you for all of you that came out to see me at WordCamp San Diego. I had a tremendous amount of fun with you all. I’m posting the slides here for you all to review. When the recording is available I will post that as well.
If you have any questions that aren’t in the slides feel free to drop me a line, or add a comment below.
And a huge thanks to the organizers and all the sponsors.
I’ve been performing web design and SEO services for mainly wedding photographers for a couple years now. I’ve always did it as a side gig along with continuing my own photographic endeavors and I have done great by word of mouth referals.
I’ve always felt a little strange when talking to new or potential clients though. I’ve always felt like I was some “guy off Craigslist, that just randomly does websites.”
In that vain, I’ve decided to actually put out a real business. For me at least, I think people would feel like they could trust someone with an actual business entity as well as the reputation from all of you who do refer me.
So to all of you who are and have been clients, for all of the people I have helped through your WordPress issues late at night, for all those that have helped me with questions I’ve had, and to all my future clients and people I hope to impact with their websites and online presence, to all of us! Thank you!
Flaunt Your Site is open for business!
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