Photography Investment Guides | Should You Use PDF’s or Subdomains?

Personally, I am still seeing Facebook ads for client investment guides and someone is selling the “golden solution” to making that client experience so much better. But is it really? Because a lot of these ads are selling PDF’s that you drop in your photos and change out the copy (the written word). And in my blog, I want to share with you today why PDFs are dead… and what I recommend you do instead with your photography investment guide.


Let’s start by discussing why photography investment guide PDFs are dead (and really just a terrible idea).

When someone inquires with you – it’s traditionally first through your website, right? From there, an autoresponder should get fired off to set the expectations about when they should expect a reply from you and to simply let them know that their message has been received. Don’t overthink your autoresponder.

But what comes next?

Next should be your initial inquiry response. And here is where it’s going to differ depending on your sales strategy. Do you focus on high-ticket experiences for luxury clients? Then you are probably going to want to create a template that’s based on getting them to schedule an in-person meeting with you, or a the very least, a phone chat.

But if you don’t serve a luxury segment of the audience or don’t focus on artwork sales, then your initial inquiry response can head straight into building excitement, driving the conversation, and sending over your investment guide.

Just don’t send that client investment guide as a PDF.

“But Kyle, why wouldn’t I? My clients love their client guides! And mine is so pretty! I took so much time designing it and putting it all together. I don’t want to just throw it away now. It’s been working for me!”

Okay, glad it’s been working for you. But what happens if you increase your conversion rate by even 10%? Would that result in $10,000 more in sales each year? Would it result in MORE than that? The exact number of the return on investment for you is going to differ depending on how many leads you’re currently getting. If you want to learn about how to improve your number of inquiries into bookings, I have a course that’s meant for exactly that. That course is also included in my Elevate Series bundle of courses.


Imagine what happens when they receive your PDF guide…

They see your email, they get told to check out the guide as a PDF attached to that email… then they go to try and open it.

Well, if they are on a desktop, that means they have to open it up in “Preview” or some other PDF viewer, then click page by page to try and find what they’re looking for. And in my personal opinion (as a coach who focuses on getting photographers & wedding pros more bookings), I don’t like that user experience.

And that user experience only gets worse when trying to view that PDF on their mobile phone. Because let’s be real, and let’s pay attention to the real-world data of how people are viewing your website and looking at your emails to them. Most of them are viewing your emails and communication from their phone.

Have you tried to look through a PDF on your phone? It’s a terrible experience. You have to pinch and zoom to try and see the smaller fonts/elements, and it’s just overall clunky. Not ideal in the slightest. Plus, you have to attach that PDF into an email, which results in a higher SPAM SCORE in their email inbox, so deliverability might be an issue.

As you can see here, the list goes on and on.


Here’s one more reason why I really don’t recommend photography investment guides as PDF’s (as if you need one more)

Let’s say that you’re on a preferred vendors list somewhere and they ask for your photography investment guide to keeping on file for when their clients want info on you. When you have a PDF, it’s common practice to say “Yes, no problem! That sounds great, here’s the info you’re looking for” and then simply attach your PDF guide for them.

Well, that’s actually a huge problem.

Because what happens when you improve your quality of photography, change your ideal client avatar over time, change your pricing, or your overall structure about how you do things? What happens when you slightly tweak your branding colors or design a new logo? What happens when ANYTHING changes?

Well, you will need to remember who has that PDF guide, design a new one, and send it to each and every one of them. Then send the new guide… every single time something big changes with your brand.

No. Stop it.


Here’s what I recommend you do instead

I highly recommend you get your photography investment guide (or your wedding investment guide) either on a subdomain of your website (like investment.example.com) or an unlisted (non-indexed) page of your website.

That way, all those people who have you listed as a preferred vendor or trusted source – all they need to do is have that one link on file. And you simply update that page design whenever you want. And you don’t even have to update your contacts about it. EASY! Just the way I like it.

In addition to that, the user experience is equal between looking at it on their phone or on their computer screen. PERFECT.

And you know what improves when that user experience is improved? Your lead-to-booking conversion rate goes up.

Personally, I’ve used a subdomain for my photography investment guide for the past 6 years or so and saw my conversions via email go way up. And over that time, I dialed in the structure of the investment guide page so much that it does all the heavy lifting for me.

And now, I created that design into a ShowIt investment guide template for all the ShowIt website users. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

You know I’m rooting for you.


Should you use a PDF or subdomain for your photography investment guide?


And since you’re here, you might also love to check out some of these other posts around my blog.

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I help photographers (of all types) as well as educators (course creators, consultants & coaches) make more money, work fewer hours per week, and improve their work-life balance. All without ads.

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