This is a guest blog post from Kayleigh Ashworth of Kayleigh Ashworth Photography regarding growing your client base for your photography business.
Kayleigh Ashworth is a Maternity, Newborn & Baby Photographer located in Murrieta, California. She’s been in the photography business for 10 years and has spent the past 6 years specializing in newborn photography. She is an accredited newborn photographer and recognized as one the best in the Inland Empire. As a multi award winning APNPI Photographer, she’s been published in local magazines, worked with sports celebrities and new families from all over the world. Kayleigh absolutely loves capturing the magic of this very important, and fleeting, time in her clients life by providing a memorable experience they will cherish years to come.
Thank you for joining me here today, I’m so honored the Iris Works team asked me to be a featured artist here to talk about how to increase your client base! I’ll start with a short introduction, I’m Kayleigh and I have been a business owner since 2015. My brick and mortar studio is located in a small, yet charming, part of Southern California, in Old Town Murrieta. I’m a multi-award winning Photographer, having worked with sports celebrities and families from all over the world, my work has been featured on a local news channel and a fun fact about me is I’ve been featured on The Try Guys! Oh, did I mention that I specialize in Maternity, Newborn & Baby Photography?!
Now that you know a little about me, I want to know about you! We’re all going through crazy and somewhat uncertain times but what we all seem to have a lot of is time. So, what are you doing with yours?
Maybe you’re already back to work, whether it be your day job or photography business? Or are you simply trying to survive through your child’s virtual school all the while looking forward to that 5 o’clock decompression beer or spiked seltzer? Is your personal and photography career life going the way you expected it, in 2020?
Like many, 2020 was going to be my year! My year to raise my photography pricing, to make big changes but now everything’s changed and in ways I didn’t really expect.
I don’t know about you but the pandemic has really put a lot into perspective for me. I really had to consider what was most valuable in my life. And while I absolutely love my photography business and know how important it is, I had to admit, it isn’t the most valuable thing in my life.
So what took its place as the most valuable, you might ask? That’s an easy answer… my time.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that before but time truly is our most valuable asset. When a person starts a photography business, time (for anything other than business) can easily take a back seat as they hurl their way toward increasing their client base and creating a successful business. I know, I’ve been there!
Sometimes as a business owner, determined to make it work no matter what, we have to make sacrifices, that’s true, but at what point will you draw the line?
One thing I didn’t mention is that I’ve been married for 12 years and have a 7 year old. There comes a time in your business life where your personal life catches up to you and you realize you’ve missed out on a lot. That time with your loved ones is not something you can get back. And this, my friends, is why your time is so valuable!
Ok so how do we get our time back?
First, there is no quick fix to “getting” your valuable time back. You can, however, find a balance and that will come from finding the right clients who are willing to pay what you need to make your time away from your family worth it. The best thing you can do to increase your client base and balance personal life is to get started on these tips immediately! If you do, you can expect to see results from your hard work within 3-6 months… SO. DO. NOT. WASTE. TIME.
1. Know where your inquiries and client bookings come from
This will help you know where to invest your marketing and where to stay away from in order to increase your client base. Use a client referral sheet, whether it be on a white board or excel sheet. List all the different sources you get your bookings from and how many you’ve had from each throughout the year. Don’t waste your time or money…invest in those places you see the most bookings.
2. Form Relationships with Past Clients
If you provide them with an amazing experience, your past clients will be the easiest bookings to get into your studio. These clients already know you and what service to expect. Send them a personalized snail mail note that their baby’s milestone is approaching and they should celebrate by coming back to you for a session! Post is way better than an email, a handwritten letter or a postcard is so much more personal and will make each client feel special.
3. Work with Local Businesses to Gain Clients
What local, like minded businesses are nearby? Have you paid them a visit yet to tell them about your amazing service? Don’t forget to bring your flyers, a small gift for potential clients and most importantly warm your cold call visit with some delicious goodies… never arrive at a prospective partner empty handed!
4. Invest in a Client Management System
Unlike the three above, this last tip is something you can change immediately! You need a client management system that works for YOU to increase your client base! We’ve established your time is extremely valuable. You do not want to miss out on important family time or an amazing business opportunity because you’re too busy organizing clients, emailing invoices, reminders, contracts, questionnaires, prep and follow up emails! Using Iris Works has really freed me up so I can focus on things like growing my business beyond photography. For example; Newborn Photography mentoring, creating an online shop where photographers have access to my latest photoshop actions and overlays and brushes. It’s also allowed me to regain my love for photography by taking on more personal projects and most importantly spending more time with my family! Iris is not only a great place for me to keep track of everything client related but also a great place for my employees to keep track of clients, upcoming sessions, To-Do lists and archive old inquiries & clients.
Remember, it’s about client quality and not quantity. Meaning, not every inquiry will be the “right” client. Do not take it personally, simply wish them the best and move on… your time is too valuable to negotiate!
So we’ve already established you more than likely have some extra time on your hands during all this madness, so get to it! You can still make 2020 “your year” to make your photography business better, make it run smoother, make it work for you and not you for it.
Thank you so much for your time and attention and I hope you take away something positive from this blog. I’d love it if you join me in my online facebook community HERE and sign up to my newsletter to receive my ‘5 Tips to Newborn Soothing Success’ for free HERE!