1. Business

When Everyone Wants Digital Files What Are You Selling?

Intro by Skip Cohen

In the last few months, Sarah Petty on her Joy of Marketing blog started sharing short videos about marketing and business. At some point, each video becomes a transcript and shared as a blog post.

This gem I found in her archives is the perfect post for this time of year. Many of you are in the busy season and dealing with clients who you think only want digital files NOT artwork!

As usual Sarah shares outstanding advice and tips on addressing the demand for digital files and expanding the products and services you’re selling.

By Sarah Petty

What I want to talk to you about today is the thought that… GOSH, why would people buy products when all they want are digital files?

Are you scared to go from selling digital files to selling physical products?

Because this is a broken model over here where you’re just giving people digital files for money. We call that ‘SHOOT-and-BURN’. It’s kind of the Walmart of the industry.

Shoot-and Burn vs. Boutique

Compare the shoot-and-burn model to being a boutique photography business where you’re spending time with your clients – you’re high touch and you’re creating an amazing personal experience. And you’re sitting with them in person to talk about beautiful portraits for their home. Whether it’s of their pets, a boudoir photo, their grandkid, their baby or their wedding. Whatever it is: what we’re offering our clients if we’re going to be boutique is BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK for their home.

You’ll notice I won’t say picture or prints, I talk about artwork so we’re talking about home decorating.

What does that mean? We’re talking about artwork that gives you chills when you walk into your home and the same when your clients walk into their homes.

Look, when I first started I was very broken. I was giving people proofs because I was pre-digital, which was pretty equivalent to giving digital files today. I was simply hoping that they would buy wall portraits from me, It was then I realized my model was broken and I went into a system where I’m selling in-person,

It’s Not All About Selling Digital Files

And you know what? I’ve taught my clients and I’ve taught my market that it’s not all about buying and selling digital files.

Look, if you’re saying.. “Oh my gosh, there is so much competition”. Guys look up. We all have competition.

OK, If you want to make yourself irrelevant from competition then start talking about beautiful wall portraits; about books and albums. We do custom books for our clients that they can’t get anywhere else. That’s what makes us worth more. Just because clients ask for digital files doesn’t mean they’re saying, “I’m not coming to you if you don’t give me the high res. digital files”. Let’s face it we’re in a social media filled world.

People want to be able to gush about their kids, or their life, or their experiences on Facebook, on Instagram, on social media. So my answer when people ask if I give or offer sell media files. You know what, yes! I give you a digital file of everything you purchase for social media. Once they own it, it’s going to go out there on Facebook or social media,

So why not give them a small but high-quality version that represents your brand?

Then we can get down to the conversation of “What do you want for your home, to decorate your house and your walls?”

The thing is… I see a lot of photographers getting really scared of objections

“What if they say I’m too expensive?” or “What if they only want digital files?”

Most of the time they’re just questions. They’re just simply asking,

“Do I get digital files? Because I saw my neighbor got digital files”.

And once you learn how to explain what you do and why you’re priced the way you are, they will understand why you don’t sell high res. digital files.

Look, it’s not helping your brand or them to give them those files to try and go manage exposure or color balance at the lab. Your clients are not going to print them as well as you can – or that CD of high res. images are going to sit buried in a drawer full of junk somewhere and lost to time.

Alright so, I don’t want you to be afraid anymore of the digital file question.

It’s About Creating Artwork

For 20 years, I’ve been creating artwork for people, in the middle of a cornfield in central Illinois. I went from getting $75 per client to fixing my sales process and stopping my fear or being pushy or “salesy” because I created a really awesome system that serves my clients. My orders immediately jump to $1500 and keep going, And then I started creating this system and I started teaching it to photographers and their sales started hitting $1500 and higher and higher.

Imagine what that would feel like to actually sit with a client and have them love the images! Order them and put them on their walls. Or create books, albums or memories that last forever. It would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?