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.
When it comes to client communication, the humble text message can work wonders within your photography business.
Short but mighty, an SMS message wields the power to nurture relationships, boost your reputation and showcase your professionalism. Not bad for a bit of tech first used 30 years ago by a software programmer to wish his colleague Happy Christmas.
Here we explore how embracing the text functionality within your photography business CRM can create tailored, high-touch communication between you and your clients. Building rapport and trust to keep your diary nicely busy.
Why use text messages?
Text messages go direct to your client: to the device in their hand, on their desk or next to them on the sofa. Deliverability success rates are good and, when well-written, they can feel more personal than an email.
Choose the topic and timing of your text well, and they provide an immediacy that’s more difficult to ignore than an unopened email languishing low down in an inbox. An approach that can genuinely help to strengthen relationships.
“Photographers tend to obsess about the promotional image, the set that they’re using, the props they’re using. For your clients, I don’t think the actual image matters all that much.” – Amy Knowles, Slinky Photography
Increasing your average sale for every session that you shoot means reaching your business goals more quickly or by relying on a smaller number of clients. Newborn photographer Mhari-Clare of Flutterby Photography shared how she’s seen a 2.4x increase in average sales from her sessions with a few simple steps.
Keeping clients content while battling through the edit backlog is a challenge. The risk of burnout is real.
Let’s help you to get on top of the workload.
We’ll look at how you can buy yourself some breathing space by automatically managing your client’s expectations, and also get a clearer view of the work in the pipeline so you can prioritise your energy and spot the bottlenecks before they’re a problem.
As a professional photographer who understands the importance of clear client communication, you may already use a few email templates.
You know the kind: ‘Thanks for getting in touch. I’d be delighted to arrange a chat at a mutually convenient time.’ Or how about: ‘The big day is getting closer! So I thought it would be helpful to confirm a few details.’
But you could feel limited by your current system. Perhaps your set-up is sounding a little too much like a robot stuck in a Groundhog Day of stilted, formulaic replies?
Or maybe you don’t use any templates and spend increasing amounts of time churning out individual emails to clients, saying more or less the same thing?
Here we’re going to explore some of the email template tools available to photographers. And how the very best can deliver a highly personalised, automated and slick experience for both you and your clients.
To share or not to share. That is the question. Deciding whether to include a full price list on your website has been a long-standing conundrum for photographers.
Visit some of your fellow photographers’ websites and you’ll see some take the transparent route: they dedicate a page to detailing precise prices for specific services.
Others keep their charging cards closer to their chest: they simply share a ‘starting from’ price and invite prospects to get in touch for a bespoke quote.
But which approach, if either, is right? And which one will best suit your photography business? In this article, we explore the pros and cons which fuel this controversial decision, and share some ideas about how you can experiment to find the perfect solution for your business.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in a variety of ways. We’re a small company and the whole Light Blue team is either currently or previously a professional photographer, so we understand the difficulties that you are going through at the moment.
Being able to measure the impact that the pandemic has had on your business certainly isn’t something that you will want to do, however it is helpful if you are applying for some sort of financial assistance for your business.
This guide walks through how to get the details that could help you.
Using charts to get an overview
The benefit of managing your business with Light Blue is that your data’s all in one place, so the information that you need is already here. So you won’t need to spend ages analysing complicated spreadsheets to get an idea of where you stand.
The charts view is your friend, and here are a few different charts that you could load with a couple of clicks and then present as necessary evidence if required.
Note that I’ve got “cumulative totals” turned on and I’m comparing this year to previous years (feel free to go as far back as you feel is appropriate).
To change the data that your chart is displaying, just tweak the options at the top of the screen.
Enquiries by enquiry date,
As well as taking a look at how things have changed for your business this year, it could be useful for you to take a look at the road ahead so you can take appropriate action.
Identifying bookings at risk of postponement due to the latest restrictions
The lockdown restrictions and rules keep on changing, and in the UK we’ve recently been told that the current restrictions are likely to be in place for six months.
If you’re taking payments for sessions that haven’t happened yet but are at risk of cancelling, there’s a possibility that you may find ourself in a position whereby you need to return some of what’s been paid. We’re not in a position to offer legal advice so if you’re ever in doubt about what you should be doing with regards to cancellations, we recommend consulting an independent legal professional.
Creating custom reports in Light Blue can help to provide the necessary figures in order to manage the potential financial exposure to cancelations of future bookings. That’s a three step process:
1) Find the right records
Use the query tool to search for all of your shoots that are booked over the next 6 months (for example, you can choose another period if you wish).
2) View the list
Then view the results in the List View and customise that view (Window > Customise List View) to show the information that you’re most interested in.
3) Save a custom report
Finally, save the query and list view settings as a custom report so you can view the most up to date information again in the future with a few clicks.
Forecasting your potential income
Getting a clear picture of when you’re going to receive income is very important and helpful at the best of times, but during this unprecedented period of uncertainty your businesses ability to forecast its income is essential.
No forecasting model is going to be iron clad, but the ability for you to look ahead will allow you to remove some of the guesswork from this situation and help you to make some informed decisions.
The money coming in to your business is just one part of the equation and even with a reduction in work you will still encounter a certain amount of fixed costs necessary for keeping the business going.
If you’ve been recording your businesses expenditure within Light Blue then it’s fairly quick to get a picture of the fixed costs that you’ve incurred this year. It may also be helpful to look at the figures for last year in order to establish a trend.
Using the query tool, search for purchases that haven’t been linked to shoots and also haven’t been categorised in a way that indicates that they’re a cost of sales. The advanced options allow you to be more precise in your search.
Then you can customise the list view to show the columns that are most relevant to you, and group the purchases by year so that you can compare this years fixed costs to those of previous years.