[00:00:00] Hey, are you in a rut? Are you finding it hard to bring in new clients and you’re wondering what to do right now? Today’s episode will be perfect for you. I’m talking about the three ways to increase your bookings, and as simple as they are, they might surprise you. Head over to your coffee maker, brew a cup, or maybe two, and let’s dive into this episode.
[00:00:23] You are listening to the Cameras and Coffee podcast with Kara Hanes , a light and airy conversation about everyday life so you can listen and learn from entrepreneurs. Here’s your host, photographer, educator, and mentor, Kara Hanes .
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[00:01:19] This probably isn’t a new concept for you, but if you increase word of mouth instead of screaming to the masses, you’re more likely to receive a return. Something I’ve implemented in my photography business was to create a purpose. I didn’t want it to be a money-making machine. I wanted it to be intentional in my relationships. And I think the reason I’ve been so successful is because I market to those that are already in my circle. I love them well, I’m organic, and in return, they rave about me because I created a relationship that goes beyond the camera.
[00:01:53] So today I wanna share with you three ways to increase your bookings. Some of these may have been on your radar before, [00:02:00] but it might be worth going back and revamping a bit. So, the first way is to have a stellar client experience. It’s interesting because I’ve been doing this for a long time. I find that a lot of times , especially photographers who are young are those that thrive on social media. They look at what everyone else is doing, and then they try to mimic that. They might be doing the next big fad. They might be sending a style guide or gifts to their clients when they book or after their sessions. That’s all amazing. In fact, I’ve done that too . But then they don’t do anything else after or speak to their clients until said, clients decide to book another session with them one, two or more years later down the road.
[00:02:41] And then they’re wondering why they’re hitting a rut with getting new bookings. And honestly, it’s because they need to revisit or revamp their client experience. Something that we need to think about is what is going to make us stand out from the rest, not just blend in. So think about ways that you can level up a bit. Do things a bit different [00:03:00] so that your returning clients aren’t starting to expect these things, and then they truly feel the value that you care about them. Some ideas could be, maybe a book you found helpful on how to have the perfect marriage for a wedding client or maybe how to be a successful adult for your senior ones.
[00:03:18] You could send them a package of all your favorite things that you think that maybe they’ll like too. For your wedding clients, you could send them a fun date night idea that maybe is outside the box a little bit, but you love doing it and think they should try it. Just be unexpected. The idea of this is to make sure it’s catered to you and what you want for your ideal client so that when they share about this, they can talk about you. Anyone can just send a gift, but what about the things that make you stand out? Check out the ways to analyze your client experience and find ways that you can level this up.
[00:03:53] The second way to increase bookings is one I’ve been doing for a while, and I think it’s a huge reason why I receive rave[00:04:00] reviews. I spend time loving and serving other vendors really well. This often gets overlooked because as photographers, we’re spending so much time trying to serve our clients well. We wanna make everything perfect just for them, and then we have these blinders on. I think we can debate on this because serving our clients well is very important, but I do think there is something to be said about serving vendors as well, and not just the client.
[00:04:27] A lot of times most couples will book their venues, then their planners, and then their photographers. So if you go out of your way to love those vendors, well, they may end up using you as a preferred vendor on their list, and then they can send you more business. So find ways that you can over-deliver, show up, and love these vendors in a genuine and intentional way.
[00:04:49] Ways that I do that sometimes is I’ll take photos of them in action so they can share it on their social media. I’ll also be really helpful on a wedding day too. Say if they need something, I’ll run and get it [00:05:00] for ’em if I have a moment. But some of the ways that I work to create a vendor experience is threefold:
[00:05:06] 1. before I even show up to a wedding day, I’ll collect their social media, handles, their links, and then I’ll start following. I get all this information from my couples in a questionnaire that I have them fill out prior to their wedding. I do the same thing for my seniors when planning their hair and makeup and clothing too.
[00:05:24] 2. I then deliver sneak peek images to them. Within 24 hours of that event, I’ll send them to my client and then I CC the vendors. So not only is the client sharing those images, but their vendors are too. the last thing I do is credit my vendors. When I share in social media the night or day of the session with a sneak peek, I tag the vendors or if I’m publishing a blog post, I’ll include the links. So everyone who helped make that an amazing experience also gets featured. This not only gets in front of future client eyes on social, but all the back links on my blog will [00:06:00] help the SEO bring more clients to my website when searching for their vendors online. I also submit these vendors when I submit work for publication because I want them to get the credit and be excited to work with me again in the future. This is the same way I would expect for them when using my images, so I’d want them to credit me, and that just creates a relationship to support one another by paving the way.
[00:06:24] 3. So other than specific sessions or weddings, you can be genuine with these vendors too, instead of making everything a marketing experience, you could send them cards or notes of encouragement to vendors. You could bring them lunch for them and their staff. Get to know them as a person. This really goes a long way. This is especially important because if, let’s say you bring them lunch and then you start talking about business and you want them to promote you, they’re gonna see that as an ulterior motive.
[00:06:52] Now, a lot of these things can sound like an ulterior motive, but honestly, it just creates relationships with these vendors. Don’t be fake because you want their [00:07:00] business to share about you and give you leads, but honestly, be a human and create honest relationships.
[00:07:06] Are you loving the episode so far? I hope so. Would you do me a huge favor? Would you take a second to leave a review? Just head over to your listening platform and click those stars. Tell me what you are enjoying most. I would be so grateful, and I’d also love to feature you and other listeners about your experience. It only takes a couple minutes and it would mean a lot. Okay. Enough about me. Let’s get to the rest of the episode.
– BACK TO THE SHOW-
[00:07:32] And lastly, my third way for increasing bookings is to make yourself appear to be in demand. Concept and strategy of appearing busier than you ultimately are, make you seem busy and in demand. You want to make yourself appear busier than you are appearing in demand. Appearing in demand makes you in demand, and success attracts. Have you ever looked at someone’s social account and nothing’s been posted for months? This then makes you wonder if [00:08:00] they’re still in business, if they’re struggling, or our minds can go to the worst case scenario. Does something happen that they aren’t booking?
[00:08:07] So you might be wondering, Kara, I don’t have any business right now. What should I be doing? If you’re someone who doesn’t share on social media, unless you have work to share, get out there and create content, like free sessions, post old stuff you’ve had, repeat content in your stories. Make it Reel I know we all hate getting in front of the camera sometimes, but another idea is you could post about what you’re working on in your business to make a successful year.
[00:08:29] Let me tell you, you can definitely post these all by creating content and then scheduling them out. You don’t have to be doing this every day, and especially during the downtime of your season. Do this more than not because it’s gonna make you seem in demand, even in your slowest times, and keep that momentum going, and plus,
[00:08:49] ” Constantly showing up for your current and potential clients will build trust. Trust will build to credibility, and credibility will build your value to attract new clients”
[00:08:58] So there you have it. Three [00:09:00] ways to increase your bookings if you’re someone that is ready to do. I’d love for you to jump into our private Facebook group so we can hear how these changes are making an impact for you.
[00:09:09] Until then, I hope that caffeine buzz doesn’t wear off and you can tackle some of these big things. Until next time, cheers. Friends. Thanks for listening to the cameras and Coffee podcast. Check out the show notes for this firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcast. That’s karahanesphotography.com/podcast.
[00:09:29] Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time. Cheers my friends!