Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Taylor Swift and her team are marketing machines.
As photographers, we need to do the same. We need to market well if we want to make any sales at all. I’ve been jotting down notes since the release of Swift’s first single “Shake it Off.”
Here are 3 things that Taylor Swift can teach us about marketing to our photography clients.
1. Go above and beyond for VIP clients
Just like how Taylor Swift rewarded her fervent followers with The Secret Sessions, we need to do the same with our best clients. Every year, do something special for your VIP clients: the repeat clients, the clients that keep referring you to everyone, and the clients that are just dying to be photographed by you again.
You can send a gift or even a thoughtful card. I have found that sending thank you cards that include a discount to be applied towards a future session is not only appreciated, but it is also valuable to my VIP clients. The cards show them that I’m grateful for their support, and it entices them to book another session with me. A handful of VIP clients always book after receiving the discount, which is great, because I can count on those sales, and I get to work with wonderful clients again.
Simple suggestion: The holiday season and birthdays are a great time to send those cards. However, don’t forget to include an expiration date for your discounts. It creates the urgency to book.
2. Not everyone will like you, but it is important your market knows who you are
When clients search for photographers, they look at price, style, talent, testimonials, accolades, and these days, how many blog/print publications the photographer has been in. Anyone ready to make an investment in photography will thoroughly research of you before he or she makes an inquiry. You have to serve potential clients a big platter of Y-O-U so they have plenty to investigate.
Here’s why…Every client wants to trust their photographer. In order for them to trust you, they have to find common grounds to relate to you.
Swift does this so well. She is seen photographed with her cats often, and that resonates with cat lovers. She’s outspoken about shaking off haters, and that’s a message that anyone who’s ever been bullied can get behind. She loves New York, and so do a lot folks.
However, there are as many people who dislike Taylor Swift and her brand. Does that prevent her from selling 1.287 million albums in the first week? Not really. Swift’s sales come from her supporters. Her haters don’t add to her bottom line.
That’s why you shouldn’t focus on the people who may not be a good fit for your photography brand. Share your personality and personal interests on social media and website. Give potential clients a taste of who you are, so the right clients who are drawn to you can hire you, and the wrong clients don’t take up your time.
3. Surprises are the best advertisements
When I bought Swift’s 1989 Album from Target, I had no idea I would get 13 Polaroids with the CD. That was a good surprise.
Surprises are the very things that get clients talking to their friends, so go the extra mile.
Here’s an example: have you ever shown up to a session and given a client flowers? I have, and it completely changed the mood of our client interaction. This particular client felt slightly neglected during our client communications, and it was my fault. I was drowning in work during my busy season, and I didn’t spend as much time with her during the planning process of her photoshoot. In order to make up for it, I showed up early when she was getting her makeup done to give her a bouquet of flowers she could use for her session. It was my gesture of saying “I care.” Whether it was the beauty of the flowers or the surprise element of it all, her face immediately lit up with delight.
In the aftermath of the photoshoot, not only has this client referred many of her friends to me, she also purchased $2000+ worth of prints and products. A mere $15 surprise helped achieve that – so worth it!
Here’s what I know about the photography business. The photographs are important, but how you make someone feel is just as important, if not more important. An unhappy client who had a bad experience won’t buy from you no matter how much they love the photos you took of them. Even if they do buy, they buy begrudgingly. The little effort it takes to surprise someone is well worth it, and it is the best marketing for your photography business.
About the Artist: Ling Wang is a nationally-published senior portrait photographer and founder of Project Relaunch workshops based in Houston, TX.