We’ve been doing a “Make More Money with Photography” series. In last 3 weeks we’ve talked about:
- How to Create High Touch Client Experiences
- How to Make an Extra $2-$3k This Month with Photography, and
- How to Get Testimonials from Your Clients
And I said last week was the final episode but I know you guys have been loving this series, so we’re going to continue with today’s episode and then next week we’re talking about: The Power of Money Mindset for Photographers and How to Improve Your Money Mindset.
I hope you’re loving this series! If you are will you take a screen shot or a photo of you listening to this episode and tag me on IG? @_thebeautyinbirth_
Doing a Marketing and Business Audit is important, but it might not seem like it at first. The word audit tends to deter people, but a question I get often is…“Okay, I feel like I’m doing all the things and it’s not working.”
What we’re talking about today is actually really important but it might not seem like it at first. I’m going to share with you the steps I use (and also what I help my students use) to audit their marketing. This has helped me grow my own birth photography business from 0 clients to 6 figures a year. This has been one of the best things that I’ve done in my life & helped me retire my husband from his 9-5 so let’s get into it!
I was talking to one of my students inside Marketing School for Birth Photographers and she said she felt like she was doing everything “right”, but she just wasn’t getting the bookings she wanted. I think we can all relate to that right?
There is a really specific process I take my students through to analyze their marketing and do a full audit, so they can pinpoint exactly what’s going on in their business. Because there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer to “why isn’t my marketing working?”
Let’s forget for a quick moment about alll the moving parts when it comes to marketing like social media and content and networking and referrals… and I want to make it really, really simple.
The Funnel Example
Basically, when you get people to your website, the ideal situation is they fill out your contact form, schedule a consultation, and book you, right? BUT what often happens is we lose people along the way somewhere:
- Maybe they come to your website, but they don’t fill out the contact form, or
- They fill out the contact form, but they don’t schedule a consult
Look at your process and start to look where you are losing them. How can you fix it? Maybe some of you don’t have the consultation process and just expects people to fill out your contact form and book you. So that might where you’re losing people—losing out in the opportunity for them to get to know you and your business in a simple way like a consultation.
Think of it as funneling sand into a bottle. Each grain of sand is a person, a potential client.
For our example: When they make it from the top of the funnel into the bottle, they’re a booked client.
If you have holes in the funnel, the sand (aka your potential clients) will pour out before they make it into the bottle right? And you’ll have to have a LOT MORE sand at the top to fill your bottle because they keep coming out of the holes!
But what if you could plug up those holes in the funnel, so more people makes it into the bottle? The holes can be things like… something with your consultation process is keeping clients from booking you or they don’t even click over to your contact form so they never fill it out. You need to make sure that your first priority is fixing all the holes before you start filling it up!
A Few Reminders
We’re going to talk today about how to fix those holes so you can get birth photography clients consistently every month. Before we get to that, let’s talk about these two things:
Seasonality is Normal in Your Business
This is the first thing I talked to my student about. In late June or early July, she shared that inquiries have slowed down, people just don’t seem interested or not filling out my contact form. And I told her that this is totally normal.
Seasonality in your business is normal. A lot of times for birth, baby, or newborn photographers, we think that there is no seasonality when it comes to our industry compared to weddings (with the wedding season) and family fall season. BUT after a decade in business, I have noticed in the summer months, people are less likely to fill out my contact form and inquire. Come September, all inquiry starts pouring in!
The first year that this happened, I was like my student, thinking “What’s going on? What’s the problem?” But I tracked it and I realized that every year, for me personally, it’s usually July and August when things dramatically slow down, and the inquiries, bookings, and people visiting my contact form pick right back up like crazy in September.
Personally, I think the reason why this is happening is that my client are moms, they have families (9/10 they have kids), and so the kids are out of school. They’re travelling for the summer months and their headspace are in different summer activities. So typically, September is like January—people starts to recommit to what they are doing for the rest of the year, they get more systematized, and gets back to their normal routine, and that includes, “Oh, yeah I’m having a baby in March and I need to find a photographer!”
So if right now during the summer months and things are slowing down, that in and of itself could be what’s going on. So just take that with a grain of salt.
Confirm the Tech is Working!
The second thing before we talk about fixing the holes in your funnel is confirming that your tech is working. Is your website, contact form, or links working? Have someone try it or test it yourself and make sure it’s working.
There was one time in 2014 or 2015 that I haven’t got a single inquiry in about 2 months. So I went to fill out my contact form and I haven’t received a notification. And I went on the back end (I was using ProPhoto and WordPress back then) and all contact form responses were stuck somewhere in my website.
I was so sad with all the responses just sitting there and people must have been thinking that I am ignoring them. I’m pretty sure yours is working, but just make sure that your contact form, your website, and the links are functioning.
Fixing the Holes of Your Funnel
Determine your starting place.
Write down the following metrics:
- How many clients filled out your contact form last month? (You can also do last quarter—totally depends on you!)
- Of those clients, how many booked a consultation?
- And of those who you had the consultation with, how many clients booked your services?
I want to start to look at these numbers and if you haven’t written down these numbers before, start keeping track of this because it will help you look back and start to see trends and start to analyze what’s working well and what’s not.
Another metric that I haven’t included, which is more top of funnel here, is how many unique website visitors you had. Because then you can get an idea of how many percentage of website visitors filled out your contact form.
Once you have these percentages, you can start to figure out trends, what’s going well, and what’s not.
For us, personally, we book between 50-80% of our consultations, and that is actually pretty low. We actually usually book almost 100% of our consultations. So, I don’t know if that’s normal—you guys can tell me what’s normal for you, DM me on Instagram, let me know so that I know where you guys are, but for us, it’s typical that we book about 100% of the people who book consultation with us.
However, I will say they receive our full pricing PDF before they book a consultation. So for us, the consultation is really more of a formality. Where we tend to lose people is from when they fill out the contact form to actually booking the consultation. But I’m at a point in my business that I’m okay with that. If they see my prices and they’re not okay with them, I would rather not schedule a consultation and try to convince somebody and strong arm them into booking with us. I want them to have the information up front. However, I will say that I’ve been in business for 10 years, I built a reputation in my community, and so I have the ability to do that. Could I book more clients if maybe I give them a starting price and got them on a consultation and explained everything? Chances are yes, but we’re staying as ‘book as I want to stay’, and so we’re not going to do all that.
“People are filling out my contact form and they’re not booking a consultation”
If you’re sitting there saying, “Okay. People are filling out my contact form and they’re not booking a consultation,” let’s start to look at why and where are you losing them. Are you sending your full pricing and maybe you need to just give them a starting price and explain everything in person. There is definitely value in that. So start to analyze those pieces, look at those numbers, and keep track of them, week over week, month over month to see trends and improve things based on what’s working and what’s not.
I will say for my student—who I referred to earlier—she gave me her percentages and her percentages of people filling out the contact form from her website was low. The number of visitor in her website who transferred to filling out the contact form is at around 1%, which is low. And so then I start to look at her website (I do this with my students all the time in our coaching calls) and see what we can change with the photos, layout, or wordings to make it share more about your service and make it appeal a little bit more to people and get them to click over your contact form.
“My marketing is not working.”
Another thing that I want you to think about if you’re thinking like, “My marketing is not working.”
What does “not working” mean? Do you know your goal of the number of clients that you want to book per month? Are you hitting or exceeding that or not? When you’re saying that your marketing is not working, sometimes we base this off from feelings (feeling that you need more money for example).
1.Set Your Ideal # of Clients per Month
This is my starting point: look at how many clients you have booked and how many clients do you want to book. When doing a marketing analysis with my students, I ask them:
- How much money do you want to make per month?
- What’s the breakdown like? Is it 50% birth-50% portrait, 20% birth-80% portrait?
- How can we look at the number of clients you need to book per month to hit your revenue goals?
After knowing these things, work backwards:
Let’s say I need 3 clients a month to hit my revenue goals. And I know I book, let’s say 50% of my consultations. So I need to have 6 consultations every month. Then it’s like, how many people do you need to fill out your contact form in order to have 6 consultations a month? Then how many visitors in my website do I need inorder to get that many people to fill out my contact form in order to book 6 consultations a month to book 3 clients a month.
Hopefully you guys are hanging with me because that’s a lot of information. But I just want to say, let’s start with the end in mind. When you set the goal we can start working backwards to help you meet that goal and fill in the leaky funnel.
2. Determine How Many Consultations You Convert into Paying Clients
The biggest common problem when it comes to consultations is that people aren’t asking right then if their potential clients are ready to book. I know it feels scary, and I’ve talked about this in the podcast before, but if you just literally say, “My calendar fills up x number of months in advance and I only have x number of spots left for your month, my deposit to hold your spot is $350, that reserves your spot in my calendar. Would you like to go ahead and reserve your spot by paying your deposit today? I can take cheque, cash, or card,” then be quiet and wait for their response.
And their response could be “no” or “I need to think about it,” but 9 times out of 10, their response is actually “Yeah! This has been a nice conversation and I’m ready to book.”
Not asking for them to book is the biggest mistake I see photographers making and why they’re not scheduling clients at their consultations.
I actually made a Youtube video about the entire Consultation Process. If you go in Youtube and type in How to Get Hired as a Birth Photographer, you can see my video pop up or you can find my channel, The Beauty in Birth by Tavia Redburn on Youtube. In this video you and take a look and see if your Consultation Process is working to get me the clients that I need and want.
3. How Many People Fill Out Your Contact Form and Book a Consult?
I know that this might seem dorky to you, but I think really looking into the numbers is really fun and it just simplifies it in my brain: 3 clients a month means 6 consultations a month. Then it’s a matter of getting the right people who fill out your contact form.
How am I gonna find 6 people who are ideal clients to get those consulations booked?
- Do I have a brand and a business that appeals to my right ideal clients?
- Then it’s just a matter of getting traffic to my website, to my social media accounts, using past clients, using vendor partnerships, or paid advertisements to get those 6 (or less or more, depending on your business).
- Keep track of analytics to find where the holes are in your funnel. The key here is to keep track of all of these things. Set a recurring reminder for yourself once a month to fill in these metrics. How many people visited your websites, how many filled out your contact form, how many scheduled a consultation, and how many booked.
Once you’ve finished this process know exactly what’s going on with your business & where to make changes!
I’d love to know your biggest take away from this episode! Shoot me a DM on IG and tell me what you learned and what you are going to implement!
If you’re enjoying this podcast, please hit SUBSCRIBE wherever you’re listening and thank you so much for leaving the show a review on itunes! I read each and every one and it helps this podcast reach more people, so thank you!
My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!
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