The pandemic has changed everything in our lives over the last two years. But hunkering down is about your health – NOT about your business. Your website is more important than ever before, as is your blog and presence in social media.

Maintaining customer contact has never been more critical – or had more potential to create additional sales/revenue. Your website and Facebook presence make up your storefront, and your blog should be the gateway via your heart to the products and services you offer.

I’ve shared dozens of posts over the years about your website and blog, so I’m just going to give you a limited check-off list in today’s post. Right now, it’s the “slow season,” but for the most part, that’s only about revenue – not about what you should be doing to set up the year ahead to be one of your best!

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Get rid of the clutter on your website.  Hook clients with extraordinary images in your galleries, which should be the first tab. Next should come your “About” page and then everything else. Don’t bury them in policies and procedures that would scare an IRS agent. Save the policies for the contract discussion when they hire you.​
  • Does your website function the way you want it to?  A visit to your website by a potential client should be an experience. So, it’s up to you – is it a good experience like Nordstroms, or is it Walmart the day after Christmas?
  • Don’t assume everything is working the way you want it.  Check your website every day on different platforms as well as desktop vs. mobile.
  • Can consumers find what’s most important to them, or do have they have to mine for what you’d like them to see first?
  • Stop showing average images on your galleries.  If it’s not a “wow” print, take it down. A “wow” print is an image so good; it’s the only one you’d have to show to get hired.
  • Update your About page: Write in the first person. Unless you won a Pulitzer, don’t bother to talk about your awards. Scoring a 95 in WPPI Print Competition or hanging an image at IUSA means nothing to most clients. For most of you, your target is “Mom” – she wants to know why you’re a photographer and whether or not she can trust you to capture the kind of images she wants.
  • Add a Marketing Video: Your video doesn’t have to win an Oscar for production values, but it does need to convey your enthusiasm and love for the craft. Make it a hybrid presentation with a combination of short video clips, still images, and great music.
  • Be accessible!  Set your website up so that you’re notified the minute anybody has a question. I’m tired of artists who have contact forms but only respond when there’s a full moon! There’s no such thing as too quick a response or too much contact information! Give them your phone number and email address. If you work out of your home and don’t want to share the address, that’s fine, but be set up to give instant fulfillment when they contact you.
  • Stop putting rocks to sleep!  Too many of you have been offering the same products and services since you started, and they’ve become boring, especially since many of your competitors offer the same things. It’s time for something new. Check out Marathon’s complete Bella line – beautiful prints, stunning albums, multiple papers to choose from, and all helping you establish stronger profitability.
  • Are you building brand awareness in the community?  This is the perfect time to establish yourself as the leader in support of photography in your community. Teach a class for adults or kids about imaging – if you’re uncomfortable doing a live program, then utilize Zoom. You’ve got to be involved in your community and relevant to your visitors/readers. JUST BE HELPFUL!​
  • How clean is your database?  Your greatest marketing tool is relationship building. Well, you can’t build relationships if you never talk to anybody! Create a list of your last 100 clients and look for ways to keep in touch all year long, but especially during the slow time right now. You don’t have to be selling anything; just pick up the phone and call to find out how they’re doing!
  • The Renewed Sense of Family: I’ve written about this so many times before, but the once good thing to come out of the pandemic is a renewed sense of family. You’ve got an opportunity to help your clients create new memories with updated portraits of the kids along with generational family portraits. Think about it – What’s grandma missed the most over the last couple of years? Her family! Now’s the time to build on those relationships! We might be in the slow season, but Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation are all around the corner.

We’re in a “you snooze – you lose” scenario. But, there’s an opportunity for you to be a leader in your community. And based on what I’ve been hearing from a lot of different photographers around the country, this year has the potential to be outstanding.

Now is the time to start planning!