The surprising reasons why some wedding photographer's websites are successful and other's are not.
And when I say successful, I mean websites that work to book more of your ideal clients while saving you time.
Why is it that people struggle with getting their true or authentic selves across online or on their websites?
Most people find it easier to speak one-on-one with people either about themselves or about their businesses. I know that’s true for me. The problem arises when you need to sit down and try to write about yourself. People usually fall into 1 of 3 categories:
1. The Essay writer
2. The Vague ‘blend-in-with-the-crowd’ writer
3. The Cutesy casual writer
Can you tell us more about these three categories, so our readers can see if they fall into one or the other?
Absolutely. Before I describe each, know that doing any of these things is not necessarily bad. The message is that, you could be doing more to build a deeper more relatable connection with your visitors.
- The Essay writers, write more a formal piece. The text sounds more like something they’re going to hand into their professor, than something their clientele can relate to. It often comes off as cold and technical. These writers may also use terms, specific to their industry, that their website visitors may not understand or be familiar with.
- The Vague ‘blend-in-with-the-crowd’ writers, tend to state general information and not elaborate a great deal. For example, these writers will state they are a husband and wife team, their style is photojournalistic and they’ve won XYZ award and been published in XYZ magazine. The end.
- The Cutesy Casual Writers will try to be cute, funny and keep things light. For example, they talk about how much they love their little fur ball named Kenny (their kitten/family member). Their favourite colour is blue, favourite food is sushi, and they like long walks on the beach.
I know we’ve spoken a lot about writing so far. But you teach that there are many additional factors involved in projecting your authentic self online. Could you mention a few?
Yes, there are factors in addition to the text on your website that can also make a huge difference in whether your visitors will know, like, trust and ultimately want to buy from you.
Your use of photos, which photos you use, how many photos you use and how your photos are presented are a factor.
Also, does your website have a deliberate flow that purposefully guides your visitors through to booking you?
How easy or confusing does your website appear?
And how long are you able to keep people engaged on your website? These are just some of the other factors involved.
Using this knowledge, you booked yourself solid (year after year) only using your website, while you lived on another continent. Is that correct?
Yes! My husband’s career had us move our family all over Europe for spans of 6-9 months out of the year… every year. When I returned home, I’d have my schedule booked solid for the 3-6 months.
While away, I couldn’t meet clients face to face. And it was often difficult to talk to them because of the time differences between countries.
So, I designed my website to handle the heavy lifting in selling ME and why I would be a great match for them. My website essentially turned my visitors into clients. When they contacted me, they were already ready to book. I know these concepts work and they work well! My website is like my second employee or an extension of myself who works for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To the untrained eye, many people may not notice when websites have any of these elements in place. How did you learn or acquire this knowledge?
I’ve pulled much of this information together from my formal education, work experience, and good ‘ol trial and error. I have my Hon B.Sc. degree in Psychology and I did my postGraduate university studies in E-commerce and Web design. That coupled with 10 years of experience working for advertising agencies in Canada and Europe with high profile clients such as Mastercard, Eurocard, Kraft, Opel, Thomas Cook travel to name a few.
There really is a method to the madness, for every brand, behind the scenes. This is what makes us feel a certain way when we see the final product, brand or person.
Why is it, do you think, that most websites don’t stand out or don’t work?
Most people focus on doing the same the thing their competitors are doing online. Most websites tell the same or a similar stories. The thought process is - well it must be working for them, so it should work for me too. Or people think they’re boring and they don’t have anything special to tell. That is, they don’t tell their unique story. (I teach you how to find this voice and your unique story in the E-course).
The reality is that most brides begin their search for their photographer and other vendors online. You won’t stand out, and you won’t be memorable, if you’re trying to be like or sound like everyone else.
I know your E-course guides your students to stand out online, in every way, but could you share a few tips with us today?
So one easy tip is, how you are using your website’s “About” page. The About page is one of the most underutilized pages!
Did you know that About pages are generally one of the top 3 pages your visitors will view? Yet, many of us waste this page with generic useless information - some examples of this I mentioned earlier. So one tip would be, to use your About page to answer those burning questions your clients always have. You know the ones. Those questions every client asks you that you’re tired of answering. Providing answers to these questions on your About page does 3 important things:
- Makes your visitor feel like you're both are in-sync. You’re reading her mind and you’re both on the same wave length.
- You’re not just talking about yourself, you’re talking about how you can help her solve her problem and how your services can benefit her.
- You save your valuable time and hers. When this client contacts you, she’s less likely to still be in the research phase and more likely to be in the booking phase.
Will content in your e-course become dated, obsolete or break if Google decides to change it’s algorithm again?
Oh no! The concepts you learn are definitely not ways to cheat Google! They are authentic, smart, and best online practices. They have nothing to do with Google’s algorithm. These changes are grounded in best online practices, from how to make your website load faster, to how to sell yourself and your services honestly without yucky sales-y techniques. This training is not about trendy SEO hacks!
Who will benefit from taking this course?
Wedding photographers, wedding florists, wedding venues, wedding DJs, wedding videographers. Anyone in the wedding industry who wants to increase their number of clients while doing less work will benefit from this E-course.
Could you give us some specifics on how will this E-course benefit us?
This E-course will get you more “ready to book” inquires from your ideal clients. Often times, the clients contacting you are simply inquiring to priceshop you. That is, they will pick the least expensive vendor who can do the same job. If you present yourself like everyone else, you’ve turned yourself into a commodity - someone who can do the same job, the same way as someone else. And this is why you’ll get clients who will select you purely on price.
The main benefit of this course, is that you’ll be positioning yourself away from competing on price. You’ll be changing the conversation and attracting inquires simply because YOU are a great match for THEM.
I know some people are wondering, do you need to be “techy” to apply what you learn in this E-course?
Not at all. The steps I lay out anyone can do. You just need a website, such as a Squarespace website or a Wordpress site, and the ability to login and make changes to get started.
If someone is just starting out, and they want to take your E-course, but they don’t have a website yet, are there some website companies you would recommend they check out?
Well, I haven’t tried all of the website companies out there. But, of the ones I use, I would highly recommend Squarespace (very easy to setup and use) and Flothemes or Prophoto for Wordpress. Again, the how-to of setting up a website is outside of the scope of this E-course. Coming into the course, you should have an existing website, or be in the process of setting one up.
To wrap up - what will be the biggest take-away for people who take your E-course?
If you apply the concepts taught in the E-course, you will stand out and be perceived as the go-to leader in your industry. You’ll save time by educating your visitors ahead of time dispelling any skepticism or objections they may have. Your visitors will feel as though you’re both in-sync from their first impression of you online. And lastly, you’ll inspire them to book and buy from you.
Is there anything else you’d like to leave us with today?
A study done by Dane Sanders (his book the Fast Track Photographer) found that 60% of photographers give up their businesses within the first year. Then of those 40% still standing, another 25% will drop off within the 2nd year of business. That leaves only 15% still operating in their 3rd year.
That is a distressingly small percentage. Some of the main factors (among other issues) involved in the demise of these photographers, in my opinion, are a lack of visibility or standing out from the crowd, a lack of sales, and pricing that isn’t sustainable.