Don’t you just love a good story?
When you read a great story, it has to have certain things in place.
A great beginning, middle and end. If any of those pieces drag on, aren’t well thought out, or are left to chance, you end up wanting more. It may be an “okay” story, but it will never be great.
Conflict and resolution. There is always something in the story that the main character has to deal with or fight off. Even in a great Disney movie for kids, there will always be a reason the main character has to look within to discover more about him or herself.
A lot of detail. This is Alex. Alex was a recent high school graduate, looking forward to a bright future. Both of these sentences introduce you to Alex. But one begins painting a much more detailed picture. You can start to see who Alex is. You know how old he is and potentially the direction he is heading in life.
As human beings, we care about the story. No one exists in life without a story. That’s why you see stories wherever you go.
Think about the Olympics. Michael Phelps is a household name because they tell his story over and over again. In his third Olympic run, he beat the long time record of total medals held when he swam to his 22nd win. We all rooted for him because we knew his story, have watched him win time after time, and are right there with him as the announcers scream in excitement as he touched the side.
Think about what you read or watch every day. If you have a favorite show, it’s because you are into the story. The Voice, for example, allows us a peek into every day lives of people trying to find that one lucky break. Before every one of the contestants gets up on stage to sing, we spend a few moments learning about who they really are. They grew up bullied. They were different in high school. They’ve been singing in small town bars for years looking for the “big break”. Their mom’s died of cancer. They spent their last dime on a plane ticket for this audition. Whatever the story, you are pulled in and are right there with them, rooting them on and hoping they do well.
It’s because that’s how we are wired. That’s how humans make connections and move around in this world.
We need connection. We need to feel like we are a part of something bigger.
And that’s where some photographers succeed … and some photographers fail.
In order to sell your business, sell your photography, sell yourself, you need to tell a story. You need to bring people in with a great beginning, fill it with wonderful content in the middle, and end it appropriately.
Are you using stories in your marketing?
Your website/blog isn’t a place to showcase your images; it’s a place to tell your story. What makes you special? Why should people use you over the other photographers they’ve come in contact with? Images are great, but its your story that will truly bring them in. Add content [LOTS of content] to your home page, your about us page, your services page, and yes your images. An image is great. But most people have no idea what a certain photograph means. Paint them a picture with your words to truly make the image pop in their minds.
The best place to see how ineffective photographers truly are is to head to your local bridal guide. In it you’ll see page after page of advertisements for photographers, and most ads will begin to look the same. It’ll be an image (or two or three) with a clever tagline, a logo, and contact information. That’s it. Sure that might work if there are only one or two photographers in the book. But the last time I looked, there were dozens of ads and they all looked the same. Telling a story can make you memorable and stand out from the crowd.
Yep, once again I see photographers sending out images to try and persuade their audience to buy from them. Why did you choose that image? What does it mean to you? What did it mean to your clients? Maybe you photographed an engagement portrait in the very place the groom to be popped the question. Paint the picture and tell why it’s meaningful. That will come through to all the other engaged couples you are reaching out to, motivating them to use you to tell their own stories.
Sitting at home in an office behind a computer every day is difficult. Humans need interaction, which is why working from home can be so difficult. Its also the reason social sites have risen in popularity. Instead of hanging out by the water cooler, sharing stories from the night before, we now fill up our newsfeeds with similar content. Tell the story, then add the image. Your “oohhhs and aahhhs” will be much greater in your comment sections.
Want to know how we booked our biggest clients? Nope, it wasn’t by bringing them in and talking to them. We brought them in, sat them down on a coach and showed them a 10 minute presentation. Set to today’s popular music, we went through image after image, all regulated according to the words and the beat of the music. We had tissues near by for when they started to cry. We had gourmet chocolates for them to enjoy. The lights were low. We left the room. Yep, we put them into their own world. Then we showed them albums. Not “the best of” albums. Complete multi volume sets from specific clients. And we told their story. Did we go into prices? Yes, maybe a minute or two at the end. But we really didn’t have to. They were into our story and they wanted to buy.
Yep, business is one big story – your story.
If you tell it, you’ll be more successful with your prospects and clients.
If you hold back, thinking they will be bored with who you are, you’ll lose.
Life is one big story. And because we are photographers, we have a distinct advantage over everyone else. We not only can tell the story, we can show visuals along the way.
The more senses you can trigger, the more successful you will be.
Still trying to figure out your marketing strategy? Don’t know where to begin or what to do next? With the basics in place, your creativity can soar. I just released a brand new program, Five Figure Photographer, that works to give you the mindset, tools and resources you need to build up a successful photography business. Go here now to watch the video. And take a look at the special bonus … it won’t last long.