Marketing 101. It’s not: “Look what I can do for you! Want in?” Instead, it’s identifying your clients’ needs and saying: “This is how you will benefit.”
Yet what I see is photographers promoting their services + what’s included in their packages through text-heavy marketing boards and Facebook ads… and calling this marketing.
But marketing isn’t about promoting your services. In fact, great marketing isn’t about you at all. Great marketing is about your clients or customers. The strongest marketing campaigns begin with identifying the deeper needs of your potential clients. Once you define how you are helping them (beyond providing pictures), you can develop content that will make your dream clients feel like you’re speaking directly to their truest needs. This is far more effective than a marketing board that says, “This is what’s included in my package. Book now!”
BONUS: You’ll find more of your best clients AND since you are serving their true needs, you are providing better service. #win
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Here are 5 Ways to Define Your Dream Clients
Applying what you know about your clients into strong, reliable marketing content begins with defining who your dream client is to begin with. You may have several different types of clients and that’s ok. For this exercise, you’ll want to go deep with ONE client type at a time. Later, you can identify the commonalities to develop marketing communication that speaks to more than one client type at a time, but for now, keep it simple.
1. Get clear on their fears, hesitations, “problems,” and mis-truths.
Understanding fears or problems goes without saying. But mis-truths? What are those? From recent Mastery Moment-Seekers students, we’ve learned that many non-photographer potential clients didn’t actually understand what a documentary session was. Their assumptions were all wrong. Some thought the idea felt scary (like having Barbara Walters come into your home and revealing your deepest secrets). Others thought it was “oh, Lifestyle stuff.” Meaning, they expected the photographer to come into their home and tell them how to ‘act’ or ‘appear’ candid in front of the camera. For the record, this isn’t about defining documentary sessions, this is about what your potential clients think you actually do.
2. Get clear on the positive things: their motivators, gains, and desires.
People may be focused on something for the sole purpose of a positive gain (happiness, joy, etc.). However, often these can be the same things as their problems or fears, but flipping them into a positive light. For example, if someone is afraid of change and forgetting what life is like today, they may be compelled to book a documentary photo session as a way to solve that fear. On the flip side, they may be less worried about change and forgetfulness. Instead, they may be over the moon because they are gaining whatever their positive perspective of the benefit of having photos. Make sense?
3. Understand the short term + long term benefits of your service and deliverables
We aren’t selling pictures, we’re selling something that speaks to a greater emotional need. When you look into why behind your own photography voice and start talking about photography benefits in a way your dream clients can understand, potential clients are going to hear less about photos and MORE about gaining or solving something that is important to them. What you’re selling is some kind of transformation – which will vary depending on your marketing messages. So what are you really providing for your clients? How will this affect them short term and long term?
4. Be aware of other common interests and core values in your clients’ lives
As photographers, we are a personal brand. Part of our job as a business owner is to develop the know, like, and trust in us with our clients. This begins with being personable. Can you imagine if one of your girlfriends only talked about ONE subject? Yikes. Being able to make connections with your clients without constantly talking about photography keeps you human – not just another sales person. If you can bridge other topics they care about to photography, even better!
5. Know the path of your client’s journey from pre-potential client to booked client
This is one of my all-time favorite topics (#geekalert). Thinking about #1, there are people that have no idea what a documentary session is. Imagine what their journey to becoming a booked client. They go through stages, such as discovering what these sessions are and the availability to them as a consumer. They go through a stage of realizing a need. Break these down into stages so you know how to speak to someone in a particular stage. Why is this so important? I forever see photographers promoting their services! They are only speaking to people who are on the fence with booking a photo session. What about the people who would be your dream clients… they just don’t understand your offer yet? This is where knowing the client journey is pure freakin’ gold.
And speaking of gold, I have a template to help you map out your client’s journey.
You’re welcome. This is a sneak peek into one of our exercise worksheets inside of Mastery Moment-Seekers.
After filling out your Client Journey template, comment below. Tell me how YOU are going to start connecting better with your pre-potential clients to booked clients to past clients and serve them in a greater way!