Word of mouth advertising has always been, and will continue to be, the most powerful factor in how new clients choose you.
In his book Purple Cow, marketing expert Seth Godin explains something remarkable is “something worth making a remark about.”
Something has to really grab you so that you feel compelled to comment on it—to pass it on, to share it, to bring it to someone else’s attention.
As the number of marketing messages your potential clients receive increases – not only from your competition, but from every aspect of their lives – it is only getting more difficult to get that level of their attention.
The number of choices our customers have is increasing exponentially, while simultaneously – the choices they make are more rushed than ever before.
Think about the last time you went shopping for something relatively expensive like a washing machine or a computer. How did you make your decision? How long did it take you to research online? Did that really help – or did you just end up feeling more overwhelmed with all of the information?
So many messages, so many choices, so little time. Now more than ever – we want just want the advice of someone we trust. How much easier is it to just call up your tech friend and ask them what computer to buy? Or to go over to your neighbor’s house and ask them how they like their new washing machine? Your clients are choosing you as their photographer in the same way.
Your clients are choosing you as their photographer in the same way.
As a professional photographer, I was getting frustrated with mediocre results from doing what everyone else was doing. I was making custom business cards and sometimes even small custom books for my clients to share with their friends and family. It was working alright, but the cost to create and print them was cutting into my profit. Plus I was still struggling to find a way to increase how much each client invested.
I won’t bore you with the technical details, but after a lot of research and hard work, I figured out a way to create digital photo album – mobile apps – for each of my clients. Something they could save to their phones and share with their friends and family. Creating each album took me the same amount of time as making business cards or a small book, but because it was all digital my clients never lost them, and better yet, they never ran out of them.
This whole thing wouldn’t work without the success of mobile in the last few years. The iPhone and iPad are already huge conversation starters, and they’re great tools for sharing pictures. Combining these strengths just makes sense. It was great to sit back and watch my custom albums go viral. Based on the success I had – it was an obvious next step to provide other photographers a simple way to provide the same thing to each of their clients. So I started Sticky Albums
HTML 5 vs the Appstore
We chose to build stickyalbums with HTML5 instead of the appstore for several reasons. Here are three of the most important:
- Simple for you: The founding principle was to make it simple and fast enough that you can build one for each of your clients – HTML 5 lets us do that.
- Simple for your clients: All your clients have to do is click on a link. This not only makes it easy for them to access – but more importantly it makes it easy for them to share.
- Device compatibility: Even though we optimized for iOS (iphones and iPads) – by using HTML 5 – stickyalbums can at least be viewed on other mobile devices.
Know your primary objective
When deciding how to invest your time and money on marketing, it’s important to first get crystal clear on your primary objective. Is your objective to just get more clients? What type of clients? The more generic your marketing message – the more it blends in with all the other noise – and the less it gets heard.
Whether your goal is to grow your referrals and get more clients – or if it’s to increase the amount of money each of your clients invest with you – stickyalbums can help. But getting clear on what your goal is from the start will help guide you on how to use stickyalbums most effectively.
If you need to fill your schedule with more shoots – start by giving a “lite” stickyalbum away to each of your clients with only a few of the best shots. You can then charge a premium for a complete album with 20-30 images they choose.
If you already have a full shooting calendar then use stickyalbums to increase per client revenue by selling them at a premium a la carte, or only including them in your premium print packages.
Know your Target Market
Finally, some of the best lessons happen by accident. While it’s great that stickyalbums can be viewed on non-Apple devices – there are some great benefits to targeting customers who DO have Apple devices.
Think back to all of the clients you had in the last year. Now as best as you know, split them into two groups: clients who have an iPhone or and iPad, and the clients who don’t. Which group invested more money with you?
This is not as simple as saying people who have iPhones have more money. Maybe Apple users in general have a unique set of values. Apple customers value visual arts, clean design, photography, and simplicity. And last but not least, apple customers love showing off their devices. If you had to choose a target market to sell your photography to – Apple customers sounds like a good one to me.