Okay, I think we can all agree that 2020 felt like a decade instead of a year. I know it wasn’t what any of us expected this year to be, but we know life is not going to be like this forever. That’s why we need to focus on planning for 2021, right now. We’ve put together a list of things you should be doing to make next year profitable and it starts with preparation.
Pre-plan your year's calendar
Nothing is more helpful than having a plan (and a back up plan). Carve out time now to plan your schedule of sessions and events to put your business on the right track to be busy and profitable in 2021. Make sure to also plan time for yourself, which is critical. Look I know you want to stay busy all the time, but it’s also wise to know when you need rest. Burn out can kill your creativity and make your work suffer. As you plan your sessions and projects, make sure your life is balanced. And, don’t take on more than you can chew (or be prepared to grow your team so you can balance it).
Winter - spring 2021
The fourth quarter of each year is a time when a lot of people prepare new content and book events for spring and even summer.
As a wedding and event photographer, this is the core time for you to pursue upcoming engagement or couple sessions, (hello Valentine’s Day), and then start booking weddings through 2021 and into 2022. Let customers know through your website and social media how they can book your services. You can use our Scheduler tool or create a registration form to pre-book events and even mini-sessions.
For portrait photographers, school, seniors, children, and family portraits will begin with the start of spring. You can grab Valentine and Easter sessions for families and individuals during this time, so having your spring sessions available for booking now is a smart way to fill your calendar. Mini-sessions will be your friend during this time, try to maximize your time by getting more sessions and customers.
Summer - fall 2021
Most photographers are in full swing shooting sessions and events during summer and fall.
For wedding and event photographers, you’ll be engulfed in the prime wedding season till it winds down in late November. During this time, you’ll have your hands full with events, editing, and more. Within this time, it is great to be active on social media, sharing photos from events to drive people to your website. This allows people to see those specific sessions and it’s a way for you to market to potential couples who may want your services.
Then prepping for the next year begins again, so make sure you have your tools setup to allow people to book you and that you are showcasing your best new content on your website.
For portrait photographers, you’ll be busy finishing up senior sessions and preparing for the school year. It’s also a time to fill up your calendar with sessions such as newborn, family, or individual sessions, not focused on holidays. It’s important to stay flexible during this time.
Keep thinking of future sessions too. As you move through summer and into fall, You can start planning Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other holiday events. This is where having your PhotoBiz Scheduler ready for private sessions and events or forms for mini-sessions will come in handy to easily fill up your calendar.
Need help setting up these tools? Check out our guides:
As you jump into planning for 2021 and plan your events and specials, you can plan your social media marketing strategy in conjunction with your email marketing campaigns. Each PhotoBiz account comes with Marketing tools for creating email marketing campaigns. You can send up to 2,000 emails each month, and the ability to segment your contact list so that you can target the right customer versus just sending everything to everyone.
Email marketing is a great way to send branded content that can tell a story, drive a promotion, or sell services or products. So if you have a list of sales leads, you can segment or target clients who you know will be interested in specific aspects of your business.
For wedding and event photographers, email marketing can be tricky. Going to wedding promotion events is a great starting point. This is where you can show off your services, consult with potential couples and also get their details. When you get their contact information, make sure you get their email! You can enter their details into the Contacts tool of your control panel.
You can then use tags to add them to different email segments and organize your contacts. For example, you can tag them as engaged, wedding leads, etc., however you like. Then, when you have an email prepped to go, you can choose to send it to everyone with a certain tag (such as all the people you met at the wedding promotion events), and you can send out campaigns for booking your available dates.
What’s nice about PhotoBiz’s email marketing is it’s a branded experience that makes you look professional and the included metrics let you see if potential clients opened and clicked through to find out more details. When you see someone who clicks a link but doesn’t book, you can use that as an opportunity to follow up with a more personalized message and keep the conversation going.
For portrait photographers, marketing is a little easier, since nearly anyone not getting married is a potential client. You can use the same strategy above to create targeted email marketing campaigns and share similar information on your social media channels.
Tagging is key, regardless of your speciality. Tags let you keep track of clients in different categories so that you can send them information of interest. And you can review your tags and update them based on life changes, such as getting married or having a baby. Here’s how I recommend looking at it:
People you’ve tagged engagement will turn into a wedding couple which you can then present with personalized offers for different types of services.
Potentially people who you've tagged weddings may have children, which then will be great to send maternity campaigns.
Those who got a maternity tag will turn into newborns and then family tags.
Your lists and tags will change as each customer grows with your business. And the tags will help you send the right campaigns to the right leads each time. One of the important parts of your job is to follow up with clients or keep an eye out for big life event moments, and update those tags when necessary.
Listen, I know at the core we’re a website platform. But really, we are so much more. We want to make sure you look and perform your best online at all times. That’s why our websites come with a whole suite of sales tools like Ecommerce, Proofing, Forms, and Invoices. Our Passionate Support team is here to help you with each and everyone of our tools.
When it comes to your website, we recommend you make sure it is current and up to date at all times. Your website is a reflection of the current state of your business. If you don’t keep it up to date, people are likely to say something like:
“They haven’t blogged since 2017, maybe they don’t shoot anymore.”
“These photos look dated, maybe they aren’t in business anymore.”
“This website looks old, I want a photographer that is more up to date.”
Your website may be someone’s first impression of you. People judge books by their covers and all, and in this analogy your website is the cover. Your website is like a pamphlet to sell your services and products, it should look fresh and new at all times.
If you have to pick one part of your website to focus on, I suggest you make sure your galleries and the images on your homepage are showcasing your best, most current work.
Sure you might have one cool shot from 2015 you want to keep but you’ve grown as an artist too, so let people see that growth.
If it’s been more than 3 years since you selected your website template, it’s time for a refresh. One of the beautiful things about PhotoBiz is that you can refresh your website template, and style it to match your brand, with just a few clicks. Not all platforms do that. Many make you start from scratch if you want a new template. But not with PhotoBiz.
Explore our library of website templates and learn how to change your template with just a few clicks.
If you’re getting bookings online, setting up your tools to accept payments is key. Make sure your E-commerce and Proofing tools are set up so you can sell online. This is more important today in 2020 than ever before. Your website never sleeps and can be there to support your clients while you are shooting a session or late at night after you’ve gone to bed.
Need help setting up your Ecommerce or Proofing tools, check out these videos and articles.
People like to talk about SEO and try to make the perfect metadata to drive their website to page one of search results — people think it’s magical. But there is a really easy ingredient that most overlook when trying to score high on search results and that’s blogging. “A blog!? I can’t write”, you say. Yes, a blog. It’s a very powerful tool and you have one in your PhotoBiz control panel.
Writing may seem scary but I promise a blog post with a paragraph or two plus a few images goes a long way. Your blog content can help you cast a bigger net. Not everyone stumbles across your well-made homepage, many businesses are found through blog posts. This can be particularly helpful when people search based on location, such as “photographers close to me”. If you shoot on location, you can blog about different places you have held sessions and therefore have location details organically in your blog post as well as in your metadata.
You can plan out your blogs based on upcoming events, or feature previous events. People love stories and your pictures tell some really great stories. So let people know what you’re doing by blogging about it. Having an active blog also shows that your business is active.
Need help starting your blog? Check out these resources to get you started:
Don't panic if there are cancellations or people reschedule
Cancellations happen. Work with your clients to reschedule. And try not to freak out. Flexibility is key and people appreciate and remember when you are there for them, so be that person if they need it. Use the PhotoBiz Scheduler to help your clients find alternate times to work together and grow your relationship.
We are excited to ring in 2021 and we hope these tips can help you get started planning (if you haven’t started already). Make time to plan your year, refresh your website, tell your story through blogs, and before you know it, it’ll be 2023 and you’ll be wondering where the time went.
Need help getting started with planning your online strategy for 2021? Give our Passionate Support® team a call at 866.463.7620. We’d be happy to help you!