How To Succeed With Your Photography Business During Coronavirus

How To Succeed With Your Business During COVID (Without Ads)

Many photographers around the world have felt the financial impact during coronavirus. That said, not ALL photographers have. Why is that? Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you what those things are that they’re doing so it helps you get a leg up with some clarity about what you should be doing as you move forward.

 

Don’t let the coronavirus win.

By that, I mean that it can be easy to let it become more of an obstacle than it really is. (This isn’t a political post or stance here one way or the other, so just stick with me and I’ll explain – I promise.)

When COVID19 hit the United States in late winter 2020, I noticed a pretty rapid shift in the number of quality leads that hit my inbox. And right when I felt that shift, I wrote a blog post about it. You can read that post here. That was written March 3, 2020… before the shutdown.

And ever since then, states (and countries) have been in this rollercoaster ride of changing regulations, shutdowns, phases rolling in and out, and customer/buyer behavior patterns. (That last one is why your bank account might not look super normal at the moment).

 

The buyer behavior of luxury service (photography) during coronavirus is like a wild rollercoaster.

Some people think COVID is a joke. Others think it’s the end of the world. But no matter your personal political stance, photography is a luxury. It’s not a necessity. And with photography, in particular, it’s a very emotional-based type of selling.

After all, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’re being chosen to document one of the biggest days of their entire life, and it’s (ideally) only going to happen once in their entire life.

If you’re a portrait photographer, you’re photographing intimate family moments, newborn babies, births, maternity bumps, kids growing up and all their milestones, and so many other precious memories.

Bottom line – what we do is emotional.

And the better we can capture those emotions, the more you can sell – and at higher price points.

But all of that means nothing if you aren’t getting visible.

And because of the coronavirus, your website traffic might be less than what it used to be. (Refer to your Google Analytics account dashboard to see your exact data here).

 

So, how do you make money and book more clients during the coronavirus?

 

 

STEP 1: First, you absolutely must come from an abundance mindset.

That’s the absolute foundation.

Without an abundance mindset, you will create excuses about why you aren’t booking clients and you’ll blame everything on COVID19.

I’m not saying to live in a land of fairytales and unicorns, but I am saying to come from a place of very real data and facts. And the facts are that there are THOUSANDS of people who still want those precious memories documented.

And as we have seen even during full lockdowns where it’s technically illegal to work – families still want their photo taken, weddings are still happening, people are still getting pregnant, and newborns are still being born.

Photographers are still making money.

Period.

And since that is the very real case here, it’s not only COVID that making you feel that your business has taken a bit of a hit one way or the other.

The real issue may be coming from somewhere within your very business. So, it’s now on you to identify what that issue is (or many issues, depending on what’s really happening).

And that brings us to Step 2.

 

 

STEP 2: Do a proper website audit (or build a better, higher-converting website).

This is really difficult to do yourself, too. After all, you live inside the fishbowl. You may not be aware of what’s broken – or not necessarily broken, but at the very least – not optimized.

And why start here before all the other thousand pieces in your business?

It’s your absolute most important marketing tool you have in your entire business.

And it’s because you already have it up and running. You already have some form of website traffic (even if it may be low), and this is your QUICKEST area that can be fixed in even just a few hours to capture more of that website traffic you have already worked so hard to obtain.

So if you are the type to want quick wins and quick results… this is it.

Start here.

So, you have a couple of options here.

Option 1: Slowest & free. Post your website into a few different photographer-hosted Facebook groups (like mine) and get peer feedback. That said, it can be tough to determine who actually knows what they are talking about and who’s just pretending. So, if you go this free route, take advice with a grain of salt unless you REALLY trust the source(s).

Option 2: Inexpensive & fast. Hire me to do a website audit for you. I’ll go through each main page and check out your SEO structure, your website user experience, user interface, content, copywriting, branding, personal brand, and see how well everything ties together. And through the audit, I will give you actionable feedback about what to change on your website so it gets closer and closer to becoming that optimized, smooth-running website you’ve always dreamed about.

Option 3: More expensive & fastest. Hire me (or someone else you trust) to work on your current website as a done-for-you service. Personally, I do this for ShowIt based websites only. If you have one, awesome. If not, no worries – but get a pro who specializes in that platform so they can work efficiently.

Option 4: Most expensive, bit slower, but ultimately the best option for some people who need an overhaul. Build an entirely new custom website or get a ShowIt website template that is already known to convert website traffic well. (Please don’t buy a template out there just because it’s “pretty” and think it will convert well. You need a website that’s more than just “pretty” – trust me.)

No matter which route you go – get outside the fishbowl. And the path you go depends on your budget and how fast you want results.

If you’re not sure what you need, contact me through my website or message me personally on Facebook or just ask a question inside of my Facebook community.

 

 

STEP 3: Do your SEO research.

Don’t get overwhelmed with this.

Just saying “SEO” can make some people panic.

But SEO (Search Engine Optimization) doesn’t need to be that way.

In fact, it’s really quite simple when thinking about the foundation that needs to be completed.

Start with this…

You can use free and/or cheap tools like UberSuggest or Keywords Everywhere to do your basic research to identify the estimated monthly volume, cost per click, and competition of keywords.

Then you can simply make a Google search and it’ll just spit out the approximate data of what you just searched for.

 

 

NOTE: Volume = rough monthly search volume. CPC = Estimated Cost Per Click for a Google ad to that keyword. Competition = Rough difficulty to rank for that keyword ranked out of 100. (Lower the competition, the easier to rank – normally speaking).

Obviously, you won’t be Googling for “keywords everywhere” like the above screenshot shows, but you will be getting in the head of your ideal client and put yourself in their shoes.

Think about what your ideal clients are Googling for.

I promise you it’s WAY more than just __(area)__(job title)__. (HINT: That’s what 90%+ of photographers try to rank for in each given area, and that’s why it’s notoriously so difficult to get on page 1 for those keywords.)

There’s lots, lots, lots more keywords out there that you can create content around. And in every market, it’s going to be slightly different. Otherwise, I could just drop a link or provide you a list as to what those keywords are!

Think about your client’s journey.

Think about their buyers journey.

Think about what they want answers to and why they are going into Google and typing for things.

What do they want answers to?

What are they researching?

Test your theories by using these tools I mentioned to see the very real data that comes back.

Thankfully, these tools also help you brainstorm by giving you “suggested” keywords to get your mind moving in the right direction. Take your time with it. It’s well worth it when you have a proper research sheet put together.

Or just hire me to just do your SEO research FOR YOU. (I always like to provide an option for you that just GETS IT DONE rather than giving you yet another task you need to learn and complete).

 

 

STEP 4: Create content on your website around what’s found in your SEO research.

Where, you may ask?

Personally, I love blogging for this, but you can also create content as “pages” so you can control more of the overall design. That said, you can absolutely do whatever you like. Just do what is easiest for you at scale as your business and brand grows with time… because the goal is here is to create a LOT of content to drive in a LOT of targeted traffic.

And as you will find with proper SEO research in Step 4, you will find keyword data that I like to refer as ‘low hanging fruit.’

These are the keywords that are quite easy to rank on Page 1 for. As an example, keywords with a competition of 1-5 out of 100. (0.01-0.05 as a data point).

I’ve made HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS going after low hanging fruit and not being so concerned about the high competition keywords.

Sure, those high competition keywords work for some people – but why change what’s not broken, am I right?

So…

Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog.

But blog with INTENTION.

Don’t just randomly blog about what you think your ideal client is going to find valuable. That’s a fallacy when in a vacuum. Instead, blog with value about content ideas that you find very real data within your SEO research.

 

 

STEP 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4.

Over and over again, repeat Steps 3 & 4. They are truly worth their weight in gold when done right.

I say this because I’ve personally written blog posts many years ago that are STILL on page 1 on Google organically and they are STILL providing me thousands of dollars worth of leads every single year … without spending a single penny maintaining that quality traffic.

 

 

STEP 6: Ensure both your on-page and off-page SEO is optimized.

Sure, you can do this before your SEO research and your blogging, but that (in my opinion) is putting the cart before the horse with this strategy.

Why?

Because it’s also about breaking habits and getting rid of the “analysis paralysis” cycle that a lot of us entrepreneurs catch ourselves in. We all want to make things perfect before moving onto the thing that can actually help move the needle forward.

And that’s again why I really love creating content around low-hanging fruit and not the super competitive keywords.

Moreover, at this point at Step 6 – you will have that SEO research completed. And since it’s already completed, you know with full certainty about which of those high-competition keywords that you should actually be attempting to rank for. (I can’t tell you how many photography websites I’ve audited where they are trying to rank for something on their home page that actually has ZERO search volume behind it – making it completely worthless.)

Thankfully, that SEO research will give you absolute clarity about knowing what to do for your on-page SEO and your off-page SEO anchor text profiles.

 

As a couple of super quick tips regarding your on-page SEO:

  • Ensure that you only have one H1 tag per page/post on your website
  • Your H2’s should be related/supporting your H1 tag
  • Your H3’s should be supporting/related to your above H2’s.
  • You should sprinkle in your exact-match keyword/keyphrase into the copywriting of your article/page authentically without keyword stuffing or over-optimizing.
  • You should include your target keyword in your title and meta description (and sometimes your permalink, but there are different strategies here depending on the content piece).
  • Your images on each page/post should be optimized in size and ‘weight’ to not slow down the load time of that page/post for SEO. Check out this blog post for a plugin to help you with that.
  • Interlink related pages/posts to help strengthen your website spiderweb and to decrease your bounce rate throughout your website (my photography site right now at the time of this article is a historic low of only 2% – but that’s not an industry standard by any means).

 

And a couple of off-page SEO quick tips:

  • Get high-quality & relevant backlinks pointing back to your website.
  • Build basic business citations.
  • Try to control your anchor text whenever possible, but vary the anchor text so you don’t over-optimize. (Example: Don’t use (area + job title) in every single anchor text.
  • Do your best to get high DA (domain authority) website links whenever possible.
  • If you’re not sure what sort of links to get or where to start, check out your competitor’s backlinks. (Don’t reinvent the wheel, just work smarter.)

 

 

STEP 7: Optimize your personal brand.

At this stage, you are ideally getting more targeted website traffic and you are breaking habits … but now you have to make sure that YOU resonate with your own brand.

After all, marketing is just a perception.

Do you reflect what you are trying to put out into the world? What do your own headshots say about you? What does your outfit in your photos say about you? What does the location in that photo(s) say about you?

Everything in your business is done with intention. Everything.

Don’t overlook the importance of your personal brand.

Make sure it looks like you value photography.

Make sure your personal brand reflects what you are wanting to grow into.

Do you want some feedback of your own headshots to see if your personal brand needs a refresh? Post in my free Facebook community and ask for feedback. It’s really that simple. Just make sure you include some detail about your ideal client avatar so that we can guide you in the right direction.

 

 

STEP 8: Optimize your sales & communication process.

If you know me, you know I book photography clients via email.

I don’t do phone calls, zoom calls, Skype sessions, and I definitely don’t meet face-to-face.

Why?

Well, why would you waste time with those things if you don’t HAVE to?

Here’s where I get pushback from people saying that I’m probably not vetting my leads and just taking on whoever says yes.

Nope. No way.

I vet my leads, and I only work with people who I truly feel like we are a great match. And all of that can be done via email. And yes, even with higher budget clients who are spending many thousands per booked job.

If you don’t believe that, I can show you how.

All step-by-step.

And this is where it comes back to that audit… but just a different kind… a business audit (step 9). But here are some quick tips about how to book more clients via email:

  • Use a properly structured and intentional contact form
  • Include a personal brand photo next to it (remember, they are wanting to work with you – not some random business since it’s such an emotional sale)
  • Have a strategic thank-you page and autoresponder that gets sent out
  • Don’t be afraid to send a text message to get their attention
  • Resonate with them on a personal level and don’t just chat business the entire time
  • Lead them through the sales process – don’t wait for them to ask for a quote & agreement
  • Ask open-ended questions to engage in conversation (questions that don’t end in a simple yes or no)
  • Follow up strategically using email & text
  • Follow up more.

 

 

STEP 9: Get a business audit done.

And this takes a 1:1 call.

And this is what I am offering for FREE right now during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not a super long 1:1 coaching session, but it is a way where I can help you identify things in your business that you might otherwise be blind to. And on these calls, I can give you direction about the path you should be following to achieve higher results.

Higher results for some people = more money.

For other people, it could be a better work-life balance.

For others, it’s streamlined efficiencies at every angle.

But no matter what, it’s so you can have a more stable business without relying on ads or directory listings. And you can be spending more time at home with your family.

You don’t have to hustle, hustle, hustle.

You don’t have to go-go-go.

You don’t have to rely on taking yet another course and not truly getting the help you need.

You can actually talk to a human who can help you.

And if you want my help further after our call, great. We can talk about what that looks like. But if not, no worries.

It just takes a quick application to see if you’re ready for that audit and if you’re truly in the right headspace for getting help. Send me an email to chat and mention this blog post when you do.

 

 

In conclusion, these are the core steps to focus on when wanting more clients during COVID19:

  1. First, you absolutely must come from an abundance mindset.
  2. Do a proper website audit (or build a higher-converting website).
  3. Do your SEO research.
  4. Create content on your website around what’s found in your SEO research.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4.
  6. Ensure your on-page and off-page SEO is optimized.
  7. Optimize your personal brand.
  8. Optimize your sales & communication process.
  9. A business audit.
  10. Chat with me if you want my direct help.

 

Obviously, there’s a lot more to consider than just these 9 steps – and each of these steps has a lot of steps within them… but within one article, I hope this has been helpful. I truly hope it’s been able to give you some clarity about what you need to be focusing in on, learning about, getting help with, and moving forward with.

Stop spinning your wheels.

Stop worrying about money.

Start spending more time with your family.

Put ego to the side and optimize everything.

You have the time. (If you don’t feel that way, learn how to MAKE the time).

You have the resources.

You have the drive.

Now it’s up to you to take action.

 

Have questions?

Pop them in my Facebook community.

Or if you want my direct help, email me, and let’s hop on a Zoom call.

Want more blogs like this or want a blog written about a specific topic? Just let me know.

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