Knowing Your Target Client
Ok, so you’re entirely in love with the genre that you’re shooting in and everything that comes along with it; now you really need to be able to sell it. For this, you need to think like Beyoncé. What do we mean? Read on..
Selling. Ah, that word again. But whether you are a fine artist working in gigantic 60×60 squares or a wedding photographer whose lifelong dream is to be featured in Magnolia Rouge, we all share the same dream – to make a (preferably very comfortable) living from photography.
To do that, you need to understand your photography target client- and to know how to sell to them. Who exactly is it that you are trying to sell your work to?
Wedding photographers, your target client are engaged brides, fashion photographers your target clients are either fashion magazines or designers you’d like to shoot for.
But let’s think beyond that, (which is where we go back to what we said in this post).
Your target client is somebody like you. If you’re photographing something you love, your target client is most likely to be someone who shares similar interests or an outlook on life, just like your own.
If you’re a fine art wedding photographer you most likely love family, grand occasions (or perhaps intimate gatherings), beautiful details, perhaps travel, romance, daydreams, and of course gorgeous dresses – just like your clients.
If you have chosen to specialise in maternity, family and baby shots you most likely love children, whether that’s the sweetest newborn outfits right through to those magic moments that occur in the first few weeks when a newborn is in the world.
(Those sweeping statements above are extreme generalisations used for example’s sake)
Fashion? Editorial? Fine Art? Whatever you shoot your target client is somebody who shares the same worldview as you; they like similar things, think in similar ways.
When you know and understand your photography target client, creating a business that is successful and prosperous becomes much easier.
So here are two ways to attract your target clients.
1. Develop A Signature Style
Work within a signature style. When you have your own signature style (to be discussed in a later post), which is specifically what your target client wants to see, your work gets noticed, you gain clients, your business becomes successful.
It works because when visiting your site or viewing your work, people know what to expect. People like predictable, even if you work within the fine art / fashion genre.
It doesn’t mean your shots have to be predictable, just that your client knows when they visit your site, or one of your shows, what to expect. So if you target fine art wedding clients, when they visit your site or your blog or your social media, you want to be showing them YOUR version of fine art weddings, and nothing else. If your style is light bright pretty film weddings, show them light bright pretty film weddings! Because this is what they expect to see.
If you went to buy a beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos, and suddenly came across a pair of Ugg boots on the shelf instead, you’d feel pretty confused. It’s no different with your work.
If you shoot fine art film weddings that are light bright and pretty, and you suddenly throw a dark, moody fashion or editorial shoot in there, what do you think will happen? You confuse your clients.
The same as if you are a fashion photographer – do you really think it’s really a smart idea to post a wedding you attempted that weekend as your bread and butter money, while waiting for your fashion photography career to soar?
The same is true with your social media accounts. Photography clients are all over instagram right now- brides, galleries, magazines, journals, even news agencies. So do you really want your potential clients to see your dinner / dog / another sunset? Show them your work, with a little bit of you thrown in; not the other way around.
A confused client doesn’t buy. They look elsewhere.
2. Create A Recognisable Brand aka Think Like Beyoncé
Have a look at Beyoncé’s website. Whatever you think of the mega-star that is Beyoncé (and we love her) this girl and her team- have nailed her brand. Glam, high-octane, slightly wild, independent, feisty, hard-working super-rich girl (who knows her roots). Her website is the same. Beautiful, feminine, glam. So is her instagram. See what she did?
She created a consistent brand and ‘look’ that translates across all of her media channels – and in everything she creates and puts out into the world.
Well, that’s an easy strategy to follow.
It’s just letting your customers know exactly what to expect, throughout each element of your marketing- saying the exact same thing, giving the exact same message.
You know when you visit Beyoncé’s website that you’re not going to get a plain, white, classic style site. If Beyonce says she is going to fly you to one of her gigs (a girl can dream) you know you won’t be flying on budgetjet.com. Everything Beyoncé is, says, does, creates – is her brand.
To create a recognisable brand, you base every element of your marketing – from your blog post content to your logo design, from what you put on instagram, to what you tweet; your packaging to your email signature- around you and your signature style, so that it all works together as a cohesive whole; that your clients come to know and recognise.
When you create that recognisable brand, designed especially with your target clients in mind, you know exactly what your target client wants to see on facebook and instagram and in their inbox, and how to make them notice you.
You know whether they want linen wrapped prints with modern calligraphy cards sent to their office to make them notice you, or you know whether what they would treasure most (and make them recommend you) as a thank you for booking your packages is a mini-manicure (some much-needed down time for busy Mothers).
You know if they want a clean, chic site, or whether they want a hot, gorgeous, feminine, contemporary site like Beyoncé’s .
Because that’s what we can learn from the pop Queen. This is her kingdom, and we should follow her lead –
–create your recognisable style, base your branding around it, make sure everything you put out into the world fits your brand, and then flash that brand absolutely everywhere you can. Girl.
Tailor your signature style and your brand to what your client wants to see, and you make your selling easy. It’s not even selling. It’s smart marketing. All you are doing is making your clients feel comfortable and relaxed when they see your site (not literally, we mean psychologically) because you consistently show them similar work, in a similar style, within your recognisable brand, which persuades them that you are the photographer that they want.
Don’t take it from us;
My persuasion can build a nation – Beyoncé
What You Need to Know
You need to truly know your target client. We already know, it’s somebody like us, but we need to go much, much deeper than that.
So how do you get to know your target client inside out? Try this exercise. It’s long, and it takes a while to do. But it will build a solid foundation for your business success.
Write a list of 100 questions to ask your target client, followed by the answers. You want to know as much about your photography target client as physically possible – how old are they? What do they do? How much do they earn? Where do they live? How have they furnished their house? Where do they buy their groceries? What’s their favourite food? What designers do they love? Do they have children? How many? What are their names?
You need as much details as possible. When you have a list of 100 questions, go back and write 100 answers. Use this information to write out a target profile.
‘My target client is Felicity, aged 34. She is a busy woman who works in the city as a solicitor, specialising in commercial property. Her day starts at 8am when she wakes up in her penthouse apartment overlooking the river (opposite Bella, where she pops for espresso martinis after work on a Friday at around 8pm with her colleagues) she loves the view of the river and it relaxes her after a long day at work….’
Drawing up a target profile as specific as this put you streets ahead of those you are ‘supposed’ to include in traditional marketing / business plans.
‘My client is a woman aged 25-35 who works in the city as a lawyer earning XX per year’.
This type of information tells you very little. By creating a detailed profile that you can continually use + refer to when creating bodies of work, blog posts, social media posts, and indeed your entire brand you will always ensure your business presence is attractive and desirable to your target client.
To be a successful photographer, you need to be thorough, detail oriented, and have a deep understanding of your target client. The days of being ‘discovered’ are over. Everyone has a camera. Not everyone has the advantage of knowledge, or the courage to put these tips into action. Use this article and the others in the Marketing 101 series here to grow your business.
Thanks for the inspiration, Beyoncé.
we’re smart enough to make these millions – Beyoncé
SHOULD I SPECIALISE? – Coming Soon
THE EASIEST WAY TO BRAND YOUR BUSINESS – Coming Soon
BRILLIANT BLOGGING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS – Coming Soon