How does your business stand out from the crowd?
There are a lot of professional photographers out there, and as I’ve mentioned before, you need to find ways of getting potential clients to see you as being of value to them.
I’ve recently looked at how you should look to show your value to clients and covered some principles of marketing a photography business, but how do you really make your offering stand out. Why should someone pick you?
So, looking at your photography business as a potential new client, what is different about you? What differentiates you from all the rest?
This is a message that needs to be got over very quickly, it’s one of those things that can make a client decide to look further at what you do.
Remember that most pro photographers have good photos on their site – if you were thinking that clients are going to spend a while browsing your site and contact you because of it, then you are likely to be disappointed. Yes, they may eventually have a good look through your galleries, but you need to give them reasons.
How FAB is your marketing?
Most clients don’t actually care about the things that matter to you. Like most people buying services, they are inherently selfish.
The attitude you need to confront and turn to your advantage is ‘What’s in it for me’.
One way of looking at what’s in it, for your client, is FAB: Features, Advantages and Benefits.
First of all, create a list of all the features of what you offer – think of lots of different aspects of what it is you do and for different markets.
Then match these up with a list of advantages and benefits that these offer your clients.
As an example, I use my Canon TS-E17mm shift lens for some of my industrial photos taken in available light. My use of a shift lens is a feature of little interest to most clients, it gives me an advantage in being able to offer a wider variety of shots, whilst the client has the benefit of me not needing to set up lighting in a busy factory.
You can see that just because something is import to me (the sorts of shots a 17mm shift lens allows) doesn’t mean it’s important to your client.
Are you really different?
It takes a while to build up that list. If you are not used to this sort of stuff, then keep a pad of paper on your desk to jot things down as they occur to you. After a while you’ll have quite a big list – probably with several crossings out as you move what you initially thought were benefits into features.
Now it’s time to create a diagram (all ‘good business stuff’ has such matrices I’m told)
Put each feature benefit pairing into one of four categories:
- A: Unique & Important
- B: Standard & Important
- C: Unique & Unimportant
- D: Standard & Unimportant
Uniqueness is a measure of how many of your competitors offer this feature/benefit. Importance is only from your customer’s point of view (why not ask some of them? )
What if a pairing goes into one category for one type of client, but a different category for another? Split it into two, and realise that potential clients in different areas might need a different approach to marketing.
An obvious difference here would come if you do wedding photography and architectural photography – not many architects want a presentation box for their photos.
This is the point where you may well realise that some of your cherished marketing features are what just about anyone in this market offers. Even worse, you have a unique benefit, that turns out to be of no interest to the customers.
I write quite a bit about colour management and offer advice to clients – unfortunately not many realise this is important when first looking at our photography services. It may be unique, but potentially only becomes important once we develop an ongoing relationship with the client (added value).
The key is to look for those items that fall into the unique and important category – these are ones to set you apart from the rest.
Once you’ve come up with the real gems, look to extend your marketing into the important, but standard category. Make sure you mention them, lest someone be looking for just this particular aspect of your business.
If you are short of important and unique items, then do look at making your offering stand out with a few unique but unimportant features – these can help make you more memorable.
Now you’ve gone through that exercise, why not have a look at some of the offerings from your competitors? Perhaps you can find some hidden benefits in what you do?
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