When setting out to become a professional photographer, you focus a lot about lenses and lights. What may not have been on your radar is marketing, proposal writing and what it takes to operate and grow a business. Photography is a creative pursuit, and when you make it your career, it’s also your livelihood.
Photographers often overlook the language, or lingo, that they use in marketing to attract the ideal clients you’d prefer to work with. Those words need to be more than just a clever headline; they need to speak to prospective clients in a way that resonates with them at the core.
Tether Tools spoke with Jeffrey Shaw, whose best-selling book, LINGO, provides the insight and approach you need to make sure your lingo will attract more of the clients you want. His advice is sound, as he just so happened to apply it when building his own successful portraiture business.
Who is Your Ideal Client?
Jeffrey Shaw pointed out that everyone’s ideal client is different. If you’ve focused your business on corporate headshots, you need to appeal to a much different client than if you are focused on fashion photography. For every photographer though, their ideal client should be those buyers who are seeking the exact photography service you offer. If you’re clear on who that is for your business and focus on those prospective clients in all your efforts, then growing your business becomes much easier. Plus, because growth becomes easier, it will be much more enjoyable too!
Why Do You Need to Speak the Lingo of Your Ideal Client?
Speaking to prospective clients in their own words will demonstrate that your services align with the type of photography they are seeking. It means that you are clear on what you offer, how those clients can purchase and what it means to work with you. That clarity makes it easier for that ideal client to discern they are in the right place and working with the right photographer for what they need. In short, it makes commissioning you for their photography a much easier decision.
How Do You Discover Your Ideal Client and Set Up Messaging That Resonates?
According to Jeffrey Shaw, the first step in discovering your ideal client is understanding your own unique perspective. Being clear on who you are as a photographer and the type of work you want to do will help you determine how you need to create your service offer to attract those who will want to pay you for that work.
Beyond understanding your own unique perspective, the author went on to share his five-step strategy for uncovering the secret language of your ideal clients:
1.) Know their perspective. Likely your perspective will mirror that of your ideal clients. For Jeffrey Shaw, he envisioned his business and style of portraiture as an upscale, luxury offering. To understand the perspective of his ideal client, he spent time researching and interacting with other luxury offerings this type of group engaged in.
2.) Create familiarity. Using the lingo of your ideal client means that they see themselves in what you have to offer. Jeffrey Shaw noted how high-end department stores his ideal clients frequented did not have highly visible cash register counters. The transaction was not as important as the experience. Observations like that need to be addressed when crafting your marketing.
3.) Present your business in their style. Of course, this means more than just words. Appealing to your ideal client will mean a combination of words and images. This may mean allowing them to configure their session because they are used to buying goods and services that are ‘custom.’ Or, it may mean choosing a package from a handful of options because your ideal client is short on time.
4.) Attract them with the right price. The right price is never the cheapest price. It’s always about what your audience is willing to pay for the service they value most. For Jeffrey Shaw, this mean rounding off prices to the nearest whole number. For others, it might mean using a pricing strategy that is specific down to the penny.
5.) Choose the right words. When you’ve taken all the steps above, the right words will fall into place. Those words will act as a conversation that starts before your clients engage with you directly.
Taking steps to hone in on the lingo of your clients can pay off dividends in your business. Want to hear more about what Jeffrey Shaw had to say? Watch the full interview.