This week, the rain and 50-degree temperatures hit West Michigan. While it was a nice change from the 80 and 90-degree temps we had in late September, it was a sign that a new stage of the year is under way.
The fourth quarter.
In years past, I’ve taken time in this three-month period to focus on some business and marketing strategy. Once November hits, I’m usually not as busy with photo shoots for corporate clients, so it’s a time for me to reflect on the past year to see where and how I can improve.
Make Communication with Your Clients
For me, it’s always important to stay in-tune with your clients. Whether to communicate staff changes, upcoming events or check in on their needs, it’s important for me to consistently reach out to my client contacts.
One of the ways I do this is, every December, I send out some holiday cards. You probably do this too, especially for your larger, more consistent clients. I’ve tried a number of different strategies with this. Last year it was a simple postcard with a greeting and offer for a discount in the next few months.
But what I’ve realized is, people aren’t going to book you based on discounted rates. They’re going to book you because your work is good and because you care about them. This year, I’ll be sending a simple, personalized, card to my clients.
Refresh Your Website
I’ve discussed keeping your website up-to-date a lot here, but I can’t help but hone in on it again. When there is downtime, think about how to refresh your website. It might mean updating some of the photos, or it might mean something more drastic like a complete design change.
Regardless, it’s important that the information you present is up-to-date and appealing to your current and potential clients.
Look Back then Set Goals
Any entrepreneur should take the time towards the end of the year to sit down and look at the books. Did you reach your goals for the past year? Did you exceed them? What could you have done differently?
Not only that, but it’s important to look ahead and see what 2018 will hold. For me, I like to make a month-by-month list of gigs that I’m pretty sure I’ll get again, based on the past year. A lot of the corporate events I shoot happen annually, so I can somewhat rely on them coming in every year.
For wedding and family photographers, this might be a little more challenging, and it can still be done. Look back on the past year or two to know when the most-booked weekends and months are. You can probably count on being booked during that time.
From there, I like to set goals, especially in those times where I see I have not been as busy. For me that means concentrating on January, March, and December.
Finally, I set monetary goals for myself. What’s a realistic goal for me to reach? What’s a goal that will take some work to get to?
Knowing what my goals are, I come up with a plan on how to build my workload to get to those goals. This often involves looking at the slower months then seeing how I can increase my business.
This year, I’ll be pushing video production, especially in those slower months. Offering new services like this can help to boost your mission to reach that higher goal figure.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.