Marketing

7 Tips for Deciding Where to Put Your Marketing Efforts

There is so much talk these days about Instagram shadow bans, social media algorithms, and marketing. I remember when the social media trend was to talk about how Facebook is dying. Now we’re all talking about how Instagram is screwing us all over and all our hard work will be wasted. Like you, I’ve read a bunch of blog posts on these two topics. I’ve tried the different methods to try and boost engagement. I’ve fretted over it and let it keep me awake at night one too many times.

Here’s what I know about the world as it is today, right now, at this very moment. Social media is YOUNG. In a short amount of time, it’s changed the way we interact as human beings and market as business owners. And get this. It hasn’t just done that once; it’s done it over and over again as it grows. It’s an incredibly fast-growing tool. It’s constantly changing. Not only that, it’s dictating how we will interact with other humans in the future. For now though, just think of it like this. Facebook is a pre-teen. Instagram is learning it’s multiplication tables and still doing spelling bees. Snapchat hasn’t even started learning cursive yet (don’t get me started). They have big futures ahead of them and who knows how those will be.

Remember the days of tagging parties on Facebook? Our business pages would grow like crazy. Remember when everyone who liked your business page had to see the updates you put up? Remember when it was easy to get hundreds of likes on images and get found on Facebook? Yeah. I do too. Then there was all this talk about algorithms and now look at Facebook. Most of us aren’t getting the massive engagement we used to. In fact, social media has changed so fast that young millennials aren’t even using Facebook as their primary social media anymore. You guys, it’s nuts. I feel like all that hard work that went into building engagement on my business page was pretty much for nothing. What’s my business page doing for me now? Well, it’s just sitting there. If people happen to look at it, it’s there. But, I officially just automate it and put little to no effort into its engagement. If I did, I’d have to “pay to play.”

The marketing world has changed drastically in the past few years from when you decided to take your business to the next level and sometimes it seems impossible to keep up. So here’s the thing. With social media’s drastic impact on the marketing world for photographers, I’ve put together a few tips to help you get the most out of marketing and make sure you aren’t wasting time on methods that may not exist next year.

1. Put the most effort, time and money into marketing methods that you OWN. I know it’s easy to complain about Facebook’s algorithm and Instagram’s supposed “shadow-ban.” Here’s the reality though. They are allowed to do those things. We don’t own those companies, they’re businesses, and they do what they want. We need to be putting time, effort and money into marketing systems that we have full control over and not systems which can knock us out with one single algorithm change. You own things like your website, your SEO for that website, your blog, your email list.

2. Blogging is not dead. Far from it. It may look different than it used to, but it’s been here for roughly 20 years already, and it’s probably here to stay even though it may have subtle changes over time. I think long time bloggers like to say it’s dead because it is different than what it used to be. There’s no denying that. However, blogs are still a part of everyday internet use. Many popular websites are on blog systems, and you visit them every day (think Huffpost and Buzzfeed). The biggest change in blogging has come with content. As the world changes, so will the content. However, a blog is an excellent way to build your SEO (search engine optimization). The more content you post and write about, the easier it is to find you in search results, and I don’t think Google search is going anywhere anytime soon. They may change their algorithms, but at least blogging is something you own and can adapt to the changing times as you need to. My friend, Christine Tremoulet, who pretty much coined the term “WordPress” for the creators has been a long time blogger and still teaches about its success and importance in today’s marketing world. Check her out if you need more info!

3. SEO rocks your socks, and you can do it for free or very little investment. So not only can you put SEO into your blog posts, but you can also put it on your website. You can even optimize your Pinterest posts, so they’re better found in search results. Let’s not forget that Pinterest is not social and is, in fact, more of a search engine or discovery platform. Pinterest, blogging and my website are all places I work on building SEO so I can get found in various search engines. Don’t know what SEO is? Check out my friend, Get Found with Fuse. She has some awesome free online tools and lots of blog posts loaded with information on boosting your SEO.

4. If you must be on social media, automate it. While I don’t actively engage on my Facebook business page often, I do post there to have a consistent presence in case any stragglers still want to find me. However, it’s all automated. I don’t think Facebook marketing (if you’re not doing paid ads) is worth spending a ton of time on, so I automate it and let my robots create a consistent presence.

5. Build your email list. It’s something you can take with you wherever you go or whatever platform you end up. Let’s say Facebook completely dies one day. Like it’s just gone, and that’s the end of Facebook. Millions would obviously be devastated, because where would we keep in touch with all our cat memes? Though, if it was gone and you spent some quality time building an email list, then it would be easy for you to transfer those followers from Facebook to your email list and from your email list to whatever the latest and greatest social media is. An email list is something you own that goes with you wherever you go. If you’re not sure how to build one outside of creating a newsletter that just features your blog posts, consider having a free online class or ebook on what to wear to a session. Maybe write a guide that your clients could find useful and use it as a free incentive. If they sign up for your email list, then they get some useful, resourceful free download. In exchange, you get their email, and now you have access to directly market to them until they ask to remove their email from your list.

6. Don’t worry about being on ALL the social media platforms. Are you terrible at Twitter? Skip it. The only reason I have it is to see what ridiculous things a certain politician posts. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time. Pick the top two you find you love the most and then just focus on those. Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to have an active presence on all social media platforms.

7. Don’t let social media be your ONLY marketing. Get a website and use it as the center for your online presence, build out from there. If you made your marketing look like a bubble mind map thing (you know what I mean) your website would be the center with a big circle around it. From there, little lines would go off onto things like blogging or SEO and spread from there. Your social media would be smaller and on the very outside of your marketing mind map. I often see photographers using only social media for marketing, and they come into a Facebook group and talk about their struggles getting clients. Just remember that social media is the kind of scene nowadays where you have to pay to play, so it’s best to build a presence on your website first, which you control, and then outward from there.

When it comes to marketing, overall the most important thing you can do is try to look at the big picture and focus on marketing that is an effective use of your time and doesn’t detract from it. I hope these tips have helped you put some things in perspective for where and what to focus on most with your upcoming marketing efforts this year!

How about more awesomesauce?

Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could do in BlogStomp

blogstomp review, stompsoftware reviewWho needs BlogStomp anyway? You can just do all of the resizing and watermarking inside Lightroom, right? What’s the point? These are the questions I’ve often heard asked and even asked them myself. I was a user of BlogStomp a long time ago. Maybe around 2012 and let me tell you, its features were not always as robust as they are today. It was just convenient for creating collages for my blog, making the images smaller and putting my watermark on them because I was too lazy to bother dealing with it in Lightroom. Eventually, I strayed away from watermarking altogether and BlogStomp did not get used as much, if at all.

Something changed for me though. I had the opportunity to meet the faces behind BlogStomp at WPPI in February. I really liked them. I loved their commitment to providing an even better level of customer service. I also just loved their personalities. I thought, now these are the kind of people I want to invest my time and money in. Between BlogStomp and AlbumStomp (their companion album automation software) they really want to make their products affordable and accessible for photographers new or experienced. I love that being affordable AND amazing is something they want for their customers. I love it a lot. So I gave BlogStomp another go and let me tell you…I’ve totally been missing out all these years. In a nutshell. BlogStomp makes life easy. It is SO MUCH MORE than making collages and adding watermarks. Sure you could do all that in Lightroom, but what if you could prep images for multiple types of social media, blogging and even post those things on your social media or blog and do all that without even leaving the software program? This is amazing. Here are the 10 things a lot of us didn’t realize they could do inside BlogStomp.

Before you dive in, pay attention. If you use the coupon code: ONEDOESNOTSIMPLYSTOMPINTOMORDOR you can get 20% off any individual purchases in the StompSoftware store. If you purchase something that’s already bundled then it’s already discounted, but if you just want to pop in and buy BlogStomp, use the code!

  1. Write a blog post and publish it to your blog from right inside BlogStomp. Okay I’ll be honest here. I’m a blogger. I have been for years and years. It’s hard for me to write blog posts. I find going directly to WordPress incredibly distracting. I just open a new tab and peruse Facebook or get lost in Jimmy Fallon videos on YouTube. Then suddenly, three hours later I realized I’ve wasted half my work day. Since then I started using the software, Writeroom, a Mac app I downloaded. It just blows up and takes up the entire computer screen and I type. I can’t format anything I type and it’s completely plain looking. It is the only way I’ve been writing lately. It gets rid of all my distractions and temptations. But now? Now I can just type everything right inside BlogStomp, which is also a downloadable app that doesn’t make it easy for me to go shopping on Modcloth when I should be working. With BlogStomp you can connect your blog with a variety of different platforms, not just WordPress. Then you can start writing, add your pre-formated “stomped” images and either publish right now or upload it as a draft, where you can then log in and schedule for later. That’s the option for me since I’m one of those people who likes automating things and scheduling them in advance. This is so good!!
  2. Share albums directly to your Facebook. If you’re like me and you dread logging into Facebook because it’s such a huge distraction, you can just upload your freshly “stomped” photos from BlogStomp straight to your Facebook business page. That’s right, you won’t need to worry about logging into Facebook and seeing depressing political posts on your feed as you navigate over to your business page and wait for Facebook to slowly upload your photos. You can just do it all in BlogStomp and avoid Facebook like the plague it often feels like.
  3. Send tweets with the images you just prepped. Connect your Twitter account and start tweeting those pretty new photos! Who needs to actually send a photo to your phone and then upload it and write a tweet there, or log in from your desktop? Just do it straight from BlogStomp and don’t worry.
  4. Upload a gallery directly to Shootproof, Smugmug, Zenfolio, or Photoshelter. If you use one of these gallery software companies (Shootproof is my favorite), you can upload a gallery directly from BlogStomp. Just one more convenient feature making BlogStomp a program that does a lot more than just collages and watermarks. If you’re interested in Shootproof you can use my exclusive code: SWAILS25 to take 25% off any annual plan when you sign up. Seriously just do it. Shootproof has so many amazing features. You can find more information about Shootproof on the blog!
  5. Crop images for a Facebook timeline cover and upload directly inside of BlogStomp. I’m forever looking up the size of a timeline cover because I don’t change mine often. Instead of worrying about looking it up, opening Photoshop, which uses a lot of memory and slows down my computer I’m just going to do it in BlogStomp and make my life simple.
  6. Create collaged images with a colored box and text. Did you know you could basically use the collaged images to create invitations, marketing announcements, sales, and other fun stuff? You can make a collage where instead of it being all photos, one of the squares can have color, or maybe multiple do. Then you can drop in text with any font you have saved in your computer and make whatever you want. I can absolutely see using this to throw together blog post graphics, quick ads for social media when I have a sale, or anything I might need in this realm. It’s so freakin’ cool you guys! You can even pull colors from the images in your collage and make the boxes those colors. You’re not stuck with only primary colors, you can make things with an exact color match and it’s so easy!
  7. Save custom image frames to use again. Did you make a collage frame you love and may want to use in the future? That’s cool, just save it and use it again. Done.
  8. Prep images for Instagram and have them emailed to you. I love Instagram, but they do not make it easy to upload images, am I right? You have to email them to yourself, crop them…bleck. The whole process could be easier. Sometimes it’s hard for me to decide a good crop on my little phone screen too. Now I’m just going to use BlogStomp’s Instagram prep tool to make my square crops and have the software just automatically email the photos, and then I can upload from my phone without all the hassle. It’s simple and easy. It makes sense too. The images you are typically running through BlogStomp are the highlights from your sessions and weddings. These are the ones most likely to end up on social media anyway, so why not have these kinds of tools all in one place? You could prep a bunch of your highlight reel images and have them all emailed to you, then post them throughout the next week to boost consistency and engagement on your Instagram account.
  9. Put the software into day and night mode so it’s easy on your eyes. This is pretty cool. You can turn the “backdrop” black or white in BlogStomp, just to save your eyeballs from being overwhelmed. Day or night mode. LOVE IT!
  10. Add alt tags and title tags to images when you use blog with WordPress. Saving you tons of SEO time. If you’re a WordPress user, like many of us are, now you can add your alt tags and title tags to images when writing your posts inside of BlogStomp. Isn’t that crazy simple? It uploads with all your search engine optimization (SEO) ready to go for your images. Now you don’t have to go in and input your SEO one image at a time inside of WordPress.

Basically, BlogStomp is not just here to help you create cute little collages and watermark your images. It is now this hugely robust software with all kinds of gadgets to simplify your life and automate some processes that maybe you didn’t know about! I’m so glad I came back to BlogStomp and found out about all these cool features that I had missed out on. You know what else happened recently? I did a wedding expo and in the big move we had recently I lost my booth sign with my logo. I looked everywhere for it and felt completely frustrated. I had no time to get a new sign printed. I also didn’t want to make a crappy one on my printer or with poster board from a craft store. How lame woud that look? So I ran my imags through BlogStomp and did the “white tab” option for a frame, put my logo pretty large on that white tab and batched all the photos I was going to run in a slideshow on my iMac. Now I could just use my slideshow as my “sign.” Worked out perfectly and totally saved the day!

I am also diving into StompSoftware’s album designer, AlbumStomp. Looking forward to writing a post and telling all of you about it. If you want affordable album design software that has specs for all kinds of print labs built in, and even an automated design feature? You should just get the whole package of StompSoftware. Don’t forget the code for 20% off any non bundled purchases in the StompSoftware store: ONEDOESNOTSIMPLYSTOMPINTOMORDOR

How about more awesomesauce?

Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.

These 4 Tools Help You If You Hate Blogging, but Need to Do It for Business

This post that I am writing right now, which you are reading at some point in the future, was blog post number 5 I wrote in one day. At this early point in writing the blog post I had written 3,433 words exactly. None of these blog posts were checked yet for spelling and grammar. I just wrote.

You’re probably thinking, okay yeah it’d take me all friggin’ day to write five blog posts too, but here’s the kicker. I started writing at 6:38 pm on this day. As I write these very words, it’s 8:07 pm. In one and a half hours, I had written four blog posts and a portion of this one.

Some people who read Photography Awesomesauce think I’m a writer. People tell me all the time they could never do what I do and blog as much as I do. I own four businesses, and I’m supposed to be writing eight blog posts a week. Three blogs for my wedding photography business (one of them video), two blogs for Rock Your Weird, one blog for Made in the Lab, and two a week for Photography Awesomesauce. That’s a lot of writing.

The truth is, the last few months it has completely overwhelmed me and I’ve failed at it most of the time, but I know the importance of blogging, and I need to do it. So I’ve vowed to keep up with it in 2017. I knew I needed to re-evaluate what I was doing and find some new solutions to be prolific. That’s what I wanted to share with you guys today.

I know a lot of wedding photographers who know they’re supposed to blog, but they don’t because they hate writing. You wouldn’t be a photographer if you loved to write. Some people post blogs with just photos and no words because the writing part is THAT overwhelming. I’m with you. I’m not an original writer, and I’m pretty sure the past grammar mistakes and spelling errors all across this website can be a testament to that. What can I say? I’m not perfect, and I’m okay with that.

I believe anyone can write, though. You don’t need to be the next JK Rowling or JRR Tolkien (boy was he a master of words) to write for your business. What matters in blogging is the opportunity to be found by a search engine and a post with just photos and no words is a lot less likely to be found, just ask my friend Fuse over at Get Found with Fuse. She’s the best for search engine optimization (SEO) that I know. You can also join her Facebook group too! Anyway, your blog posts need to have words. It’s hard to write about our clients though and weddings without it all sounding the same. So here are a few tips for you. Also, I’d highly recommend downloading the 101 Blog Post Ideas for Wedding Photographers. These are in the format of titles, so you have something to work with right away, that’s easy to outline, and it’s written content that can blow your blog right out of the water and help you get found by wedding clients!

Here are a few tips that have completely changed how successful I am at getting my blogging done regularly, that I wanted to share with you.

1. Turn off your computer notifications. One of the best parts about living in this technological age is how connected all of our devices are to us, but also to each other. My iphone sends texts to my Mac, and they interrupt me all day long. Then there’s the email notifications, the ones from Slack from my business partners and all the other things the computer thinks I want to interrupt me. If you have notifications coming in on your computer, TURN THEM OFF RIGHT NOW. I mean it! You can get so much more work done without them. I don’t mean only blogging either. Think about how much faster you can edit without all those distractions too.

2. Download the $10 app Writeroom. I know for sure it’s available for Mac, but I can’t speak to other systems. This app is just a plain text area to type. Writeroom is where I type all my blog posts. It doesn’t spell check as I go, underline anything and it fills the entire computer screen. So all I see is my blog post. No distractions!

3. When it’s time to blog I recommend doing it in a couple of differnet phases. The first step is just writing; the second phase is copying and pasting into your blog platform, and the third phase is fixing the grammar. The best thing I’ve ever done for my blogging and writing is just to sit down, open WriteRoom and just write. Don’t think about spelling, don’t think about grammar. Don’t hit that delete or backspace button at all. Just sit down and write as if you were having a conversation with your bestie and see what comes out. Once you’ve said all you need to say, then you can worry about formatting it as a blog post and fixing all the errors. Writing without distractions gives me so much clarity while writing and helps me be insanely more prolific. It takes the stress and anxiety out of worrying about saying just the right thing at the right time. This technique is a little bit like the infamous “morning pages” technique, except I do it digitally. There’s an idea with morning pages if you sit down and just write in a notebook with no technology you’ll write more. The only reason I do it digitally in Writeroom is that I can write a lot faster and writing everything by hand makes my hand hurt, and I don’t want to spend the transcribing it to my computer later.

4. Grammarly. Yes. That’s all…just kidding. Grammarly is one of the best ways I’ve spent my money lately in blogging and just general business stuff. It’s an app that corrects both your spelling and your grammar like a boss. It’s so good. I am pretty sure it’s vastly improved my writing skills without me even knowing it. You can use it for free, or, if you want to pay for a year, it’s not that expensive. The extra features in the paid version are useful for grammar. I use them all the time!

With that said now I’ve written 4,478 words officially and need to stop writing, pat myself on the back for writing five blog posts and get them copied over to WordPress, formatted and then checked with Grammarly. For the record, it’s 8:22 pm and I hope you’ve found some useful information in here!

20 Things That Will Change Your Wedding Photography Business in 2017

Let’s talk 2017. It’s the third day of January and everyone is all, “OMG let’s be thinner” or “I vow to drink more water.” My social media news feeds are full of weight loss goals, detoxing and people are complaining about crowded gyms. Let’s get real, though. My resolution is to eat as much guacamole as I can because you never know where life will take you.

If avocados go extinct, I want to know that guacamole and I lived as loud as we possibly could. I also promised myself I would stop wearing all my old leggings with holes where my thigh gap could be. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let’s talk about some actions you can start doing right this very second to give your wedding photography a damn good business makeover this year.

Here’s why you need to stop what you’re doing right now and start thinking about changing your business. The truth is, photographers (like all creatives) don’t have a background in business stuff. Sure, there’s the odd photographer here or there with a business-related degree or other experience. But most of us are just flailing around trying to fake it until we make it and figuring shit out along the way. I’m pretty sure as a collective group, most of us are in this because we like the photography part and the business stuff we should just chuck in the nearest dumpster and light a fire in it. It’s easy to give up when that stuff is so foreign and, truth be told, as boring as watching water boil.

My biggest challenge for you this year is to challenge yourself. If you want your wedding photography business to be bigger, shine brighter and pay the bills you have to hustle. You can’t just sit around doing the same thing you always do. I’ve met a lot of photographers who see things in their business that aren’t working, but they put them all inside their safety net, tuck that away in their pocket and let it weigh them down by carrying it day in and day out. Owning a business is a constant risk, friends. I get it. I really do. It might not seem like it in the words of this blog post, but I’m a ridiculously cautious person. So careful my mom frequently mentions how surprised she is that I’m even stepping out and owning not just one business, but four. I can’t say for sure, but if I had grown up, put a gigantic bubble around my house and never came out it probably wouldn’t have surprised her at all. I guess I’m just one of those people that thrives on the hustle at the end of the day. I can put my concerns aside because the challenge of hustling every day ultimately brings out the best in me. Right now, if you’re in your safety bubble all you have to do is pop it, and you’re out and exposed. Once you’re exposed, that’s where you can start challenging yourself to be the best business owner you can be.

Make it your motto to try new things this year. Try new marketing. Think about your business from a different perspective. Throw out the crap that’s not working and problem solve to replace it with a system that does work. One thing creatives are good at is problem-solving. Today I’m giving you 20 solutions for various business problems in our industry. If you’re brave enough to try something new this year, one of these things might just be the awesomesauce that turns your business around.

Let’s do this.

Disclaimer: I’ve thrown in some affiliate links in here. That means if you click something to purchase or sign up I may get a kickback. Since this blog is full of free awesome advice, it’s always super appreciated to get these little kickbacks if this helped you in any way.

  1. Let go of perfection. Life is not perfect. Your business is never going to be perfect. You are never going to be perfect. And that’s ok. The world needs less perfection. Messy is what makes us stronger and turns us into the best version of ourselves.
  2. Automate your client emails. It is impossible to keep up consistently with all your wedding clients sometimes. Before doing automated emails, I’m pretty sure not all my clients received the same customer service experience. Now my automated email system is filled with reminders, tips, and helpful info for all my clients as they go through the planning process. I use Pixifi to automate my emails. I highly recommend Pixifi. Their customer service is just so good. I also teach a class on automation (for my other business Rock Your Weird) that includes my email templates and a lot of other fun, excellent automation stuff.
  3. Create an annual marketing plan. Marketing works best well thought out and planned in advance. Sometimes we run late when it comes to planning a marketing opportunity, and we lose out on revenue by not being organized. Make a 2017 marketing plan with all the holidays, sales, and significant events you’re at to help point potential clients in your direction.
  4. Write goals for your business and give each goal 3 action steps you can do to make sure each of those things happens. Writing down clear goals is great, but you will get nowhere achieving them if you don’t have ideas for how to reach these goals also written down.
  5. Update your website portfolio. It’s easy to create a website and then forget about it. You should be updating it frequently with your new portfolio images.  Updating your site regularly helps keep it on Google’s search engine radar too!
  6. Rebrand! Don’t just create a new logo, though. Spend time building a brand people connect with on an emotional level, a brand with lots of personality! Rock Your Weird has blog posts on doing just that.
  7. Remember you don’t need to do business the way everyone else does. There are hundreds of ways to accomplish the same results when you’re a business owner. It’s up to you to create a business model that works for you.
  8. Be willing to break the rules. You’ve probably heard rules about adjusting your aperture based on how many people are in a photo. Or maybe you know rules about how many images you’re allowed to have on your website portfolio. Maybe there’s a rule about editing photos you follow. Break the rules and do what inspires you instead.
  9. Re-evaluate business expenses from last year and adjust your pricing to reflect your current finances accurately.
  10. Add your location to your website. It’s easy to forget to put where you’re at on your site. If you forgot, now is the time to take 5 minutes and add it so you can automatically increase your chances of booking.
  11. Start using Pinterest for marketing. Pinterest is where clients are at finding inspiration for their weddings. It’s the ideal place to find new wedding clients. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out. My friend, Fuse, has a business called Get Found with Fuse where she teaches SEO (search engine optimization) for creatives. She offers an excellent Pinterest SEO class to help you get found on Pinterest!
  12. Blog about tips that help your potential clients. Knowing what to blog about is hard, but the more resourceful you are for customers, the better your chances are of booking clients this way. Don’t know where to get started? You can download my 101 blog post ideas for wedding photographers for free! That’s enough blog post ideas to last you a couple of years if you post once a week!
  13. Automate your social media to create a consistent presence. Nothing is more freeing than knowing you’ve got your social media posting for you while you sit back and drink more wine and watch more Netflix. Plus all that free time means you can spend it accomplishing other marketing ideas.
  14. Reuse sneak peek images on social media. I spent years posting each photo I took of a client as a sneak peek and then never touching them again. I felt dumb when I realized I could keep posting them each year and gain new customers.
  15. Set business hours and keep them. Just do it this year. I need to do better at this.
  16. Create an editing workflow that helps you edit faster and get things done.
  17. If you’re one of those people who has a hard time being themselves in business, it’s time to take that wall down and practice being a little more vulnerable with your clients. Customers love honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. However, it’s natural to act super formal in your business and forget to be yourself. The one truly unique thing you have going for you compared to other wedding photographers is your personality.
  18. Read Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman. Best business marketing book ever. If you want to know how to make your clients turn into walking talking billboards for you, this book will teach you just that.
  19. Find one editing style you like and stick with it. Consistency creates trust. Trust is everything in marketing.
  20. Only you get to define what success looks like for yourself. Figure out what success looks like for you and life your life according to your rules.

If just one of these 20 things stands out to you, do it. Remember to challenge yourself in business.

How about more awesomesauce?

Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.

 

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5 Tips for Relocating Your Photography Business

5 Tips for Relocating Your Photography BusinessI’m knee-deep in what seems like endless to-do lists for the next two months. We’re moving. 5 hours away from the Denver area to one of the most remote spots in the state. It’s a small town. When I say small. I mean small. I know it can be hard to comprehend, but let me tell you…the only grocery store is also an Ace Hardware. At first my thought was, “well at least there’s a grocery store.” However, after my first visit to the grocery store…I’m preparing to shop for groceries at the nearest town, which is an hour away and also in Utah (it’s also still ridiculously small). The produce section had about one of a handful of veggies. You may have been able to get a small broccoli crown for $5 each. There was only one on sale at the time I was there.

Basically…it’s small. I think the thing I’m most sad about is no movie theater. I’ve been a movie-goer for as long as I can remember. The nearest towns to where we’ll be going are all about an hour and a half away. They’re still pretty small too. I’m moving at the end of this August and the biggest question I’ve received is, “Oh no! What will you do about your business?!” Then they quickly answer their own question and say, “Oh well you can just shoot weddings there.” Um yeah…because a town of 2,000 people without a real grocery store is such a hot spot for weddings.

So here are a few things I’m learning along the way. This will be the first time I’ve moved my business a long distance and hopefully I can follow up this post with more info as I go through it all.

Raise your prices right away.

As soon as I knew we were relocating I raised my prices. I still plan on shooting anywhere in the state of Colorado. That means my plan is to simply increase my pricing to include the cost of travel for all weddings inside state lines. That way pricing is simple and easy for people to understand. I did this a couple months ago when we got news of the move and it hasn’t stopped booking at all. Since I’m lucky enough to still be in driving distance of where I photograph a lot of weddings it may seem like much hasn’t changed, but it is a lot more difficult to balance double header weekends if they have different locations, find a place for the dogs and do everything else.

Change your locations online.

I’ll be moving to the “Western Slope” as we like to call it in Colorado. So it gives me a whole new list of mountain towns and wedding locations I can incorporate into my website wording. By listing those locations on my website, I’m opening up my search engine optimization (SEO) so I have a better chance of being found in a Google search for new locations. Make it clear to readers where you’re at and where you’ll be available. If you’re living in a small town one of the best things you can do is use nearby larger towns to anchor your locations to a larger audience. You might have to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to travel too. I’m still keeping my Denver stuff on my website so I can shoot anywhere. I’ll just make my audience larger by expanding to all new towns.

Be OCD about planning.

This. So much this. I can’t even tell you. I run 4 businesses so photography is just one of them. While the other ones aren’t location sensitive, the wedding photography is. Between doing most of the paperwork and packing myself and everything else I will admit I’m totally overwhelmed. Knowing that I still have to photograph about 15 weddings in the month before and after I move means that I have to become a time management goddess. I sat down with a calendar and wrote down which days I have weddings and where they are. Then I had to plan for the first month after I move where I get to drive back down to Denver every weekend for double (and triple) header weddings. So I marked off the weddings, the driving days and looked at what was left. Just enough time to keep up on editing. I have a very tight calendar with days marked off for packing now too. The best thing you can do so you don’t lose momentum or fall behind on editing for your clients is to plan which days you’re going to do it all – and then STICK TO IT.

Decide how to let your clients know.

I’m not one for announcing price changes or big things on social media. I don’t feel its necessary, but I understand why other business owners do. I just made my price change and started handing out those prices to all my inquiries after that date. I also won’t be making a big announcement about moving in the midst of one of the busiest parts of wedding season either. No need to panic my clients. I’m just going to keep on with how things are going because I know I’ve got my plan, my strict schedule and that I’ve got this. Moving isn’t allowed to be an excuse for neglecting my clients.

Prioritize.

With as many projects and businesses as I’ve got going on prioritizing is key. There are big things I’ve been wanting to work on, but I’m learning they have to wait. Right now my priority is to simply stay on top of things for my clients first and foremost. My to-do list for all businesses is left to blogging, social media, and editing. With a bit of client communication, wedding timeline building and things like that thrown in. Updating my website, making new online classes, and any other big projects are not happening. During the move itself I’m just going to keep up with the bare minimum of things needed to keep the business running and in Winter when wedding season is done and I’m living in the middle of nowhere (with no movie theater to distract me), I’ll have tons of projects and things to work on. It’s important to not burn yourself out and ensure you’ve got your clients and customer service at the top of your list during stressful times. If your clients see you handling things like a boss when they know you’ve got a lot on your plate, they’ll love you even more.

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