Over the past few weeks we have had one recurring thought… ‘How do mums find a family photographer?’. There are so many INCREDIBLE family photographers in Australia creating work that belongs on Pinterest boards around the world and seriously makes us wish our kids would cooperate for a few pics. BUT, if you are a mum (or dad) with no connections to the photography industry, how would you go about finding a photographer for your family photos?
We wanted to ask this question because if only we knew how parents were going about this, then surely it would make life so much easier for family photographers right? The answer would be simple, go where they are searching! So here at Style Pose Click we set about asking a huge group of Mummas from around Australia (who have no photographer friends) how THEY found their family photographer. And as it turns out, there was an overwhelmingly common response…
WORD OF MOUTH.
That’s right… every single one of them said they found their photographer by asking their friends for recommendations OR by seeing their friend’s photos on social media and contacting the photographer from there. Yup, not one of them said Google. (I hear the gasps- I was shocked too!) Actually, there was not one other response at all.
So, this got us thinking- if word of mouth is the best way to build and grow your family photography business- what should YOU be doing to make sure your future clients can find you? Here is our list of tips to get you started and gain those clients who will want to tell EVERYONE about you!
*Go where the families are…
Consider focusing your energy where your future clients are… the kids!
Advertise in local school newsletters– this can be affordable (our local does it for under $50) and school mums love to share a positive experience! If your local school runs a fete or another fund-raising effort, consider a voucher prize donation. They will shout your name from the roof tops, they will thank you on their social media and your business name will go home and be on the fridge of hundreds of families.
Advertise at local sports clubs– contact the local soccer club (or cricket club, or tennis club, or, swim club … well you get the idea!) and find out if you can sponsor a raffle, or even create a special package exclusively for club member families to use. This can be great as they often come from lots of different schools, so your potential word of mouth reach across the community is huge.
Create a feel-good family campaign– social media can be a powerful tool! Create an online campaign to gift a session to a family who might deserve it. People love something that makes them feel good and people love feeling like they are part of something that is helping others. Create a campaign that gives them all the happy feels, something they will want to share. Build trust, build rapport… be a happy story in the world. Kindness is everything.
Share a funny outtake on social media– the funny behind the scenes stuff is what makes social media so much fun. I personally am far more likely to engage in and share a post that is funny! And I think that is true for so many us. Tell your story- it’s what connects you to those around you.
Ask your friends to share your business– don’t be shy! The support of those around you can make all the difference in the world of small business.
Once you have clients, you can grow exponentially with their support. Create an amazing experience for them and their families. Then…
*Offer an incentive to your family photography clients to share your work with their friends
Consider how you can utilise your current client relationships in a mutually beneficial way.
Create an incentive program– use the power of social media. Offer incentives to your clients if they share your page, tag themselves in their photos on your business page or get more than a certain number of comments on an image. It can be as simple as a free print or a simple inexpensive upgrade, but the return could be worth it!
Create a referral program– create a reason for your clients to talk about you. Offer them a gift in return for every new client that books a session with you as a result of a client referral.
Stand out in the crowd– Go above and beyond your client’s expectations. Send your client a beautiful thank you gift for choosing you to be their photographer that is completely unrelated to their photos. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will often come as a surprise and people love to share that feeling with their friends. If you worked with a business and received a gorgeous bunch of flowers the next day or even a hand-written note and some chocolates, wouldn’t you be thrilled? This happened to me recently. I got a beautiful surprise bunch from a business I had engaged to do some work and it was such a simple but beautiful touch that I told EVERYONE about it. Hello- that went straight on the socials!
Keep in touch with your clients, for real – Not just to sell them more photography sessions! Check in now and then, ask them how they are going. Get them to send the latest iPhone snap of their little ones to you (prepare for photo spam). A simple Facebook message with a “Oh my gosh it’s been 2 years since we took those photos at the park – can you believe it! I bet he’s looking all grown up now” without a sales pitch attached can do wonders for your relationships!
*Ask for reviews
90% of people read reviews before they choose a business- ask your clients for a testimonial to share when they have loved their images or their experience with you. It’s something you can share on your website and on your facebook page. Reviews are like all your word of mouth rolled into one neat little summary and are essential for your business!
Our final tip? Word of mouth can work just as well negatively as it can positively. Make sure your clients are happy!
Do you have any tips for creating word of mouth buzz for family photographers? Anything that has worked well or not worked for you? We’d love to hear them!