Becoming a successful photographer takes more than talent. People need to be able to find you so you can get paid. And once they find you they need to be convinced to hire you. Most photographers really don’t want to be starving artists. Sure we love our work, but we also need to eat.
One of the techniques is perceived value. The Sleep Number bed uses this technique. You see the adjustment goes from 0 to 100. Sounds great, until you see that it doesn’t go by 1, but by 5. So in reality there are just 20 settings, which is actually plenty, but the perception given is that there are 100, as that is the maximum setting.
So how do we create a perceive value with photographer. Let’s say you want to do pet photography, but only want to shoot in you studio. You need to sell this. You would not say, sorry studio only. That is negative. How you might sell it is: We want your pet to be comfortable and safe to provide the most amazing photos. Our climate controlled studio is set up to make sure your pet is neither too hot nor too cold. No distractions make sure your pet will be the center of attention…
As you can see, you sell what some might see as a negative as a positive. We are not trying to deceive clients, we are just working to help them see the benefits you are providing.
Another technique is use by Apple. They are the king of marketing. For example they market Facetime as a feature on their products. Why do they call it Facetime, when it has been around forever as video chat. Well first of all so they can say they have and others can’t. Pesky trademarks. And since it is a new term, people assume it is something new and they have to get it. Then they will tout how it can be use on iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other Apple products. They don’t mention that it doesn’t work on Windows. Of course video chat with Skype works on the Apple platform and Windows, actually a better feature, but if you didn’t know, you would think only Apple could provide video chat. After all, they have Facetime and no one else does. You will want Facetime, it looks cool and they have it, so I need and iThingy so you can have it too. Sure Apple makes very good products, but not always the best or even first. But you wouldn’t know that from their marketing.
So how do you do that as a photographer. You need to tout what you do that is special. You are a great photographer, so how do you let potential clients know. If you are really good at jewelry photography you might use something like this: By specializing in photographing jewelry for the past 10 years, Acme Jewelry Photography has developed specialized techniques and custom tools that will make your jewelry photographs come to life…
You’ve educated your client and made it sound as if you want jewelry photographed, you are the only choice. And you should be, as you are great at it. 10 years have allowed you to become one of the best.
And then we can look at Guess. People will pay $40-$50 or more for a shirt with their name on it. Sure you can get a plain shirt for 1/2 to 1/3 that price. But the name has a value assigned. People want to have Guess clothing.
Can a photographer create this same value? Look at Annie Leibovitz. Not every thing she shoots is amazing. But she has a reputation, so even her average is given a premium price and a perceived value. She earned her reputation, and you need to do the same so your name is associated with great photography.
When some says they had their photos taken by you, you want people to say “Wow, I’ve heard they are great” or “I just love their work.” To achieve that you need to create great work, and you need to get it in front of people.
One of the key places to do that is on your website. But that is not enough. Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr are a few of the places that you may want to feature your photography. And better still, get your clients to post your work and their and then their friends will see it. Many photographers are now including a CD with low resolution photos for their clients to post online.
I may have picked a little on various companies, but in reality they all make fine products – heck I even own some of them. Why, because of the marketing.
These are just a few things to consider. Look at successful companies and how they get you to buy. Then think about their techniques and how you might apply them to your business.