Somehow, we’re halfway through January already – hopefully by now you’re feeling a little more rested, your 2021 galleries are delivered and your taxes are filed, so you’re looking forward to the year. ahead. I don’t want to panic you but potentially there has never been a bigger year for your business.
A few months back, I shot a wedding at a pretty church in Berkshire where the vicar was also the father of the bride. He was utterly charming and clearly relishing his role as host for the day. The reception was next door in his vicarage garden. When chatting to him, he said that I might recognise the church as it was used as the location for Elton John’s 1984 wedding in the film Rocket Man. As it transpired the vicar was also recruited for that role in the film.
Elton was very far from the only person to marry that year. In fact, 1984 was a bumper year for weddings in the UK with 350,000 couples tying the knot. Predictions are that 2022 will see the most amount of weddings since then. Hardly surprising as many are still planning a wedding postponed from 2020, then add to that all the newly engaged.
What have you been doing to prepare for this influx? Have you got a marketing plan in place? Don’t stress if you don’t as I’m here to help with some tips on what you can do now to ready yourself and your business.
Review Your Pricing
Do any adjustments need to happen in your rates? I am putting mine up as I’m comfortable with the number of bookings that I have. In addition, I’m altering my package from giving them a photo book to giving them Pic-Time store credit instead. Couples can self-design albums and products in Pic-Time so this takes the onus off me for designing their books, freeing up some more of my sweet and precious time.
Check Your Brochure
Is all the content still relevant and up to date? This is a great time to also do a review of how you are presenting your rates. Do the images need an update or could your messaging be clearer? Remember couples might be looking at a fair few pricing guides at once, not just for photography but for all their wedding services. So don’t put barriers in the way of giving them the information that they need.
Similarly, is your portfolio painting you in the very best light possible? If you struggle to curate your work or don’t feel that your website is working well for you, a fresh perspective could be just what you need to help customers connect. I’m now offering tailored Website and Portfolio review sessions, and the start of the year is the perfect time to give this a look over.
Update Your Email Responses
This is one part of our business that nearly always needs improving when I work with my mentoring students. This vital part of the process is not where you want to be blending in with the crowd or using generic language. This is where you need to work even harder to be creating a connection with potential customers. I have mine semi-automated through the CRM Studio Ninja (get 50% off a year with code FARM), again this saves me time but allows me to deliver a personal response when couples get in touch. For more secrets to my enquiry response strategy, check out my Three Magic Emails workshop.
Refresh Your Studio Samples
Have you got nice fresh images of any new albums or products that you have introduced over the last year? Don’t panic if you don’t as companies often have some stock ones that you can use. Both Folio and Wooden Banana have this or you can grab them from your online gallery. If you are using Pic-Time, they will even be populated with your own images thanks to an algorithm in the online store.
Check Your Enquiry Form
We tend to create these and not revisit them but yours might benefit from a refresh. Does it have space for both of their names? Does it ask how they found you? This is our best tool for monitoring which parts of our marketing are working. Does it encourage a personal connection to be made? Does it have an autoresponder that lets them know that it’s gone through OK? This is super easy to set up in Studio Ninja and other CRMs. What does it say? This doesn’t have to just be practical, it can be another point of connection in your process.
Yes, it can feel like we are subscribing to many services in order to run our businesses but trust me, I’m all about making my business work for me – not the other way around. Having a studio management system in place like Studio Ninja means that all those lovely new enquiries coming in are added to my calendar and tracked so that I won’t be double booking myself.
Then using the online gallery provider Pic-Time means that the post-delivery sales part of my business is taken care of through automations too. This generates more income for me and most importantly, it frees up time so that I can work on my well-being.
The biggest lesson of the last year in business may well be that we should never neglect this part. As we move into what is potentially your busiest year ever, please don’t forget to make time for yourself. Your mental health is as important as your physical health if you are going to make the best of this exciting time.