We all know that if you don’t have your business working for you, then all the shooting talent in the world won’t help you get clients booked! So, today we are going to be giving some practical, take-away business advice that YOU, the photographer, can apply to what you are doing day in and day out. If you want the full scoop, then sign up for our photography newsletter for much, much more! :) We will soon be utilizing our newsletter for exclusive Tips & Tricks content, so if you want it all, make sure to sign up for it!
We’re not sure if it’s because photographers are typically artists and get bored easily, or because we don’t have a clear grasp of our marketing position (or marketing in general), but many shooters today suffer from the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It seems like it would be a great idea to offer all kinds of photography specialties from your studio to your perspective clients. Why not cater to anyone and everyone, right?
Here is the problem: Even though you may be really good at all of those types of shooting, you run the risk of diluting your message, your skill, what you do, and the potential client will go to someone else. A perspective bride or mom wanting her baby photographed, will have the impression that you are not specializing in anything specific, and therefore are not the best. So, because you shoot so many different styles and types of photography, she will more than likely not see the value in what you do (and will be all the more less willing to pay what you are asking). If you truly want to compete, then you need to do what Jay Levinson says to do in his book Guerilla Marketing: “The best way to compete is to narrow your niche… Don’t confuse your customer… (they) will go where services are clearly defined and executed.”
Now imagine for a moment if a company like Starbucks started offering their own brand of Soda? Would you want soda from a coffee company? How about if Harley Davidson came out with a hybrid sedan? Would you buy it just because Harley Makes great motorcycles? Definitely not! Starbucks and Harley stick with what they do best and don’t try and compete in areas that are not their specialty. That is why they are so successful because any biker knows that Harley bikes are a state of mind. That is all they do and they are the absolute best at it (at least that is the perception to their customers). You can look at countless great companies like IBM, Xerox, Coca-Cola and the list goes on and you will see a very specific trend. They all do one thing that they are the “best” at.
Take for example Gerber. Yeah, you know the baby food making company. Gerber is the best at baby food, and when we have a kid we’ll probably pay more for Gerber baby food because of the name and reputation they have. Well, in 1974 they had such a corner on the baby food market they thought they would branch out to adult food…
Talk about an idea that flopped BIG TIME. There were quite a few reasons Gerber Singles went to mush (pun fully intended) which of course had tons to do with the name, the packaging, and the marketing to name a few, but regardless, this serves for a great point – they specialized in baby food and were (and still are) deemed the experts at it. Not at adult food.
So, if the best way to compete is to narrow your niche, then is it enough to just shoot weddings, or just photograph kids? No way! Lots of people “just”do that, so we encourage you to narrow it down even further so that you can become a specialist in a very specific category. You need to shoot a specific type of weddings, then market yourself that way. You may ask, “Because I narrow down my niche, does that mean I am now going to lose out on the rest of the business that I do?” The answer is NO! When you niche down people see you as the specialist, are willing to pay more for your services, they hire you and of course fall in love with the experience you give, how you treat them – everything – and then they come to you for the rest of their photo needs.
So is that enough to just market and sell your particular niche of photography? With 100,000 new wedding photographers hitting the stage in the last 2 years, you are going to need a lot more than that. This is just the starting point. You have to offer something that no one else has to truly stand out. What is it? Tune in for the next business blog post to find out!
So, take away items for you are: Narrow your niche, make it simple and obvious to your perspective client exactly what you do and why YOU are the best at it. This will help you begin to stand out and help bring clarity to your perspective clients about what exactly you do.
Do you have some specific business questions that you want answered? Email us through our photographers inquiry page by clicking HERE and we may just do a blog about it!