Five Positive Steps to Keep Your Business Healthy

When business is quiet, it’s easy to panic. How long will this last? What am I doing wrong? Should I just give up?

And with panic comes the temptation to take drastic action. Maybe I should slash my prices? Or perhaps I could take on that job that’s not really my thing but would bring in some much-needed cash?

While there are times when this kind of action can help in the short-term, it also runs the risk of hurting your photography business. Both financially and reputationally.

Yes, gut feeling is helpful but using it alongside solid information will help you make better choices. Choices based on considered decision-making to get those client enquiries and bookings back up to speed.

Assess how your business is performing

Step one is to get a clear idea of how your photography business is really doing. Do the figures back up your feelings?

Light Blue can help here thanks to reporting tools which give you a clear overview of year-on-year and month-on-month performance. Keep reading to discover how you can add the “Business performance & opportunities” home screen to your own Light Blue account.

From this info, you can ask:

  • How are your bookings looking this year compared to this time last year?
  • How well is next month booked up? And how did the same month look in previous years?
  • How were your sales this month and how do they compare to last month, plus this time last year?

With the numbers in front of you, guesswork will be gone and replaced with meaningful measurements.

How to get bookings in the diary

So you’ve proved that the stats back up your suspicions and are left wondering why bookings are down. Perhaps your marketing plan has unintentionally taken a backseat or you’ve missed a few important trade shows.

Or maybe it’s something more out of your control, like pressures on people’s pockets during times of economic uncertainty.

Whatever the reason, here are five fundamental tactics to use consistently within your photography business to keep your diary looking healthy.

1. Focus on converting enquiries

Getting a new enquiry is always genuinely exciting. So pulling out all the stops to gently convert them into a fee-paying client is crucial:

  • Keep track of all your enquiries and the stage each one is at. You don’t want these precious leads slipping through the cracks and being forgotten about.
  • Make sure your email replies to your leads and prospects look amazing. They should include all the essential information your potential client will need and welcome and be delivered with warmth and professionalism.
  • Follow up important emails with a text message, just in case you’ve got the wrong email address or there’s something wrong with the client’s inbox. It’s always wise to cover your back.
  • If they’re not ready to book just yet, have a plan to nurture each lead so they keep you forefront of mind for when the time is right.

2. Work with loyal and ideal clients again

Repeat business is a rich source of work to tap into. Whether you’ve only done one job with them or dozens, get creative about how you can get them in front of your camera again.

Clients who’ve already booked a newborn shoot present you with a natural timeline to follow as their baby reaches different milestones. Six months on, you can offer to take photos of them sitting up. Twelve months on, it’s the perfect first birthday cake smash opportunity.

High-spending clients could well be happy to spend with you again. Using dedicated software like Light Blue allows you to create a ‘VIP list’ based on clients with a lifetime spend over a certain value. You can also follow up with portrait clients linked to more than a certain number of confirmed shoots, again using tags to create a dedicated list.

Take a look back at events you shot last year. The charity balls, the conferences, the corporate away days. Are they happening again? Get in touch with the client and offer your services. You did a great job last time and can do that again.

And recent wedding clients might now be ready to buy wall art or an album. A few months after the big day and their stretched post-wedding budget could easily be more flexible.

3. Nurture and build trust with clients

Your loyal clients work with you not just because they love the end result. They also appreciate your work ethos and value your relationship. So do all you can to nurture this.

Newborn photographer Mhari-Clare Green’s uses a nurture workflow on Light Blue to help her clients feel confident and comfortable working with her.

At key points, she’ll send emails covering areas such as FAQs about the nuances of newborn photography, client testimonials and even a hospital bag checklist. Helpful, personal touches that keep building trust and have proved to increase sales averages.

The same principle can be applied to other types of photography. For portrait sessions, share tips about ideal clothes to wear. For wedding shoots, give advice about planning group shots.

4. Offer payment plans to spread out the cost of a sale

If you suspect cashflow is an issue for your clients, there are ways to make your services more affordable. Being flexible here could convert them from a definite no to a possible yes.

Offering a payment plan, which breaks an invoice down into several smaller payments, makes it easier for clients to pay in more manageable instalments. And because projects therefore become more affordable, you may even make larger sales or get bookings more easily too.

Learn more about Light Blue’s payment schedules feature.

“The payment plan option is such a hit for my clients and so easy to set up!”Lucie Pouilly, Lucie AI Portraits

5. Keep marketing

Consistent marketing is crucial, whether you’re rushed off your feet or staring at a blank diary.

When work is quieter, it can be tempting to scale back on your marketing efforts. Perhaps because you don’t feel like you’ve got anything new to show or share. But this is when it’s more important than ever, so make sure you keep showing up.

You can repurpose existing content in new ways, or simply post something again. It’ll reach a different set of eyes the second time around, keeping you visible to both clients and prospects. And when they need a photographer, they’ll think of you.

Adding the “Business performance & opportunities” home screen to your own Light Blue account

To add the home screen layout that we’ve demonstrated in this article to your own Light Blue account, you can follow these steps:

  1. Download the home screen layout template from here.
  2. Open Light Blue’s home screen.
  3. Click in the options cog in the very top right hand corner of your home screen.
  4. Mouse over “Home Screen Layout Editing”.
  5. Choose “Import Home Screen Layout”.
  6. Select the file that you downloaded in step 1.

You can more about Light Blue’s customisable home screen layouts here.

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