How to be recession proof
Paul Tansey, Managing Director of Web Design & Web Marketing Company at Intergage Limited, tells Professional Photographer his tips on how to navigate in a tough economic climate
1. What are your personal experiences with the recession hitting the photography world?
It’s not just the recession that’s affecting photographers but the growing ability of people using phones. It’s simpler for people to get easier results photo-wise as it’s all about having these accessible tools. Commercially the temptation is turning to people wanting to do it themselves. We have the double whammy now; they take 1,000 digital photos and get one right and there are now more amateur experts than ever before offering to teach stuff online for free.
2. What is the hardest thing about selling your business during this time?
The availability of budget, coupled with everything I mentioned before. It’s all part of one big hardship of having more technology around.
Every business has a reduced marketing budget at this time. You have to show fantastic Return On Investment as a photographer, such as selling multiple facets. If you have specialist areas it’s possible to set up a website to give the impression that you’re completely specialist. We have to become more specialist and niche and look for a narrower market appeal. Photographers should anticipate people’s needs and sign up to a monthly retainer. Wherever you provide a service you can sell a product.
3. What tips would you give other photographers who may be struggling during this time?
The time has come to embrace video as well as photography. People want video; online marketing is more and more about video now. Photography has always been a great asset but video is the most shared media online. Photographers need to be thinking about that.
4. What has been your greatest success?
Our web marketing business. It’s still possible to grow business and we’re up more than 20 per cent from last year and we have increased investment in customer relationships.
You need to work out what your customers think and want. Survey them regularly, at least once a year. NPS system is well worth a look and there’s a customer survey that only has two questions, the first being how likely are you to recommend my business to a friend or colleague and the second question they’re asked is why?
Photographers must have some mechanism in place for getting testimonials. We have more than 160 recommendations on our LinkedIn and Google+ sites. If your customer will also recommend you on Twitter, even better! You can give them a discount to provide testimonials on social networks.
Photographers should also watermark their great work and share it frequently. Build customer testimonials through video or through socials. You have to be building a word-of-mouth strategy.
5. Where do you see the future of photography going?
People who adapt to word-of-mouth and digital will be the kings and those who stay in tradition will fail.
Make sure you know who your happy customers are; put customer feedback into everything. The world is social and if you don’t adapt you’ll be a Darwinian brontosaurus.
If you have any tips or techniques on how to run a business in difficult times, post them below or share them on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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