In the good old days, when businesses flourished, customers were put on a pedestal and seen as the greatest source of learning. If there is one field where customers are still viewed in a somewhat similar manner, it’d be in the photography industry. For one, without a healthy client relationship, photography as a profession would hold little meaning.
Running a photography business, here’s what you can do more on your part to build a relationship that is not only professional, but professional with something worth remembering and valuing. Make this professional journey one where you not only make friends but also come across as a warm person.
1. Be Passionate Enough Yourself. First.
Work is Worship. If you don’t love your work, and are a photographer for reasons other than the mere love for the medium, you should seriously give it another thought. The love for the camera and your subjects, and the ability to build happiness around your work is primary. A dispassionate photographer cannot bring life to his/her photographs. It’s important for your clients to know that you are a passionate professional.
2. Get Organized. Prioritize.
As a photography business in its early stage, or a photographer aiming to truly connect with audiences, you’d want to be organized yourself first. Begin with creating a database of clients that are invaluable to you, besides having a general client list. Separate those with whom you had an unpleasant experience – and if errors can be rectified. An angry client is the last thing you’d want to give yourself.
3. Click Over Coffee. Go Beyond the Lens.
Coffee is known to be a great conversation-starter! Informally meeting client and bonding with them is a great way to get to know more about them. It can be a great opportunity to ask open-ended questions, particularly if it’s your first meeting with them. The answers to these can help you build beautiful, personalized stories around the individuals, or other subjects. It’s wise to keep these meetings shot, crisp and spaced out yet as and when you feel you feel the need to personally meet and touch base.
4. Use Client Relationship-building Tools.
Newsletters are tools of e-business that help photographers stay in touch with clients, besides updating them about latest offers, information on new/added services, reviews etc. Pick a weekly theme, choose the periodicity, and share things you know your clients will love to hear! Allow anyone visiting your website to subscribe to the newsletter. This will also help build a potential customer database. Sites like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor can help you make beautiful newsletters in a few easy clicks.
Another tool are personalized mailers that work wonders on almost all clients. Celebratory, their tone can be formal or informal. Offer freebies, run offers, contests and promotions. These can help build a loyal community that loves to hear from you. See if you can offer special perks to premium clients. This will go a long way in showing you care.
Testimonials too, have the potential to make clients feel privileged and that they contributed to your success. For example, you’ve shot some stunning frames for a real estate developer. They’ve loved your work, and given you due credits. Seize this opportunity to ask them for how the experience was like! Tell them how special they are and what it means to have them put a few good words on record on you.
5. Efficient Communication
Responsive, two-way and honest communication is the basis for any working relationship. So if you’re unable to deliver to the client their shots within the prescribed time-frame, letting them know about the delay with a sincere apology is the right way.
In an opposite scenario, well done is better than well said. Now that you have proved your worth, and the client’s happy, its always a good idea to remain in touch. Occasions like birthdays and anniversaries can be good times to send in a personalized mail, wishing your clients. This is sure to help you garner more clients via references as well, and add to the ‘word-of-mouth’ phenomenon.
6. Join the Conversation
Be a part of communities and events – JOIN in the where the conversations are about you. Have a website that is interactive and information giving. Ensure you reply and respond as soon as you can to mails, query and requests or comments on your site, particularly if they are from your clients. Respond humbly to appreciation and constructively to criticism. Make the extra effort to truly serve the customer – we guarantee, the ‘promptness’ aspect will get noticed.
7. Get Growing on Social Media
How can anyone ever negate this aspect of the web! For photographers, this can be a daunting task, however scheduling updates and limiting your presence to a handful of sites such as Facebook and Twitter is ideal. You can follow your clients, they can communicate over the web more often with you and provide great support on these platforms.
Connecting with your clients, doesn’t always mean business. Take a genuine interest in people – not just for the business you do with them, but also for who they are. Only then your heart-warming services and the way you present your products will make so much more sense and produce more fruition than just any other photography service.