5 Ways I More Than Doubled my Inquiries in One Year
2018 has been the year I've been the most intentional about growth than any other year of running my business. In the past, I was just trying to stay afloat and book weddings. Nearing the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, however, I realized that true growth wouldn't happen unless I became really intentional about what I put out there...not only that, but making sure there was true value in everything I put out. Fast forward to a couple months ago, now that we are nearing the end of the year, I was curious as to whether or not my efforts had paid off. So I decided to go back and count the difference in inquiries. I knew for a fact that my income had almost doubled in a year; but was I really reaching more people intentionally? The answer is YES! In 2017 I received a whopping total of 43 inquiries in my inbox for weddings. In 2018, I received 103. Because of this growth, I was able to bring on my first ever lead associate photographer (something I'd been wanting to do for a while); and considering that this growth is continual, I look forward to so many more opportunities for my business in 2019.
But; let's get back to the post. If you're curious to know how I've doubled my inquires in one year, keep on reading. These tips just might help you double your inquiries as well!
1. BLOGGING, BLOGGING, BLOGGING!
They say that blogging is a lost cause....but I disagree. While social media has opened up the door to micro-blogging and fewer people are leaving social platforms to check out links, blogging is crucial for those who want a bigger peek into your business and what you do. In order to be successful at this, you have to start thinking of social media as the hand shake into your business. Your website, however, is a closer look for the people who either:
1. Simply want to know more, or 2. Are ready to book you!
If you don't have current content up on your sight, I encourage you to make that a goal for 2019. Current content will make you relevant and will also boost your SEO so you can get found easier. I blogged 44 times in 2018, which is an average of 3.5 blog posts each month, for 2019, we already have 23 drafted posts, but honestly, if you can even get 1-2 blog posts out each month, you're on the right track.
2. Connecting with my audience online
I used to think I was really good at connecting with my audience; however, I realized that while I was good at responding to comments, or liking their posts, I wasn't really serving them because I never asked them what THEY wanted to see more of. Once you get a better idea of who you're talking to and what they like to see, you can serve your audience with intention. When you serve your audience, you're giving them a better reason to feel connected to you, so that when it's time to reach out, they've already made their decision about working with you.
3. Connecting with Vendors in real life
It's really hard (at least for me) to connect with other vendors in real life...yet I knew it was something I had to get better at. So I decided that instead of cold emailing vendors I'd like to potentially work with, a better option would be to ask my clients who their vendors were, and wow the vendors I would already be working with before and after the wedding. This includes things like emailing the vendors before the wedding to introduce myself, let them know how and when they can share the images from the wedding day, and giving the images freely. You guys, this worked SO well for me that I instantly became a preferred vendor with the venues, planners, etc, that I worked with...even to the point that an owner of a venue who was on a permanent leave of absence reached out to me to let me know that she had never seen this level of care before in a photographer and to keep up the good work.
4. Creating the best experience for my clients....ever
Your current clients are your best clients. They're the ones you always want to wow no matter what. Your clients that you currently have on the calendar are the ones who will help steer the upward trajectory of your business if you cater to them WELL and with intention.
Some ways you can create an amazing experience for your clients: Implement client gifts (these don't have to be expensive; even something as small as a $10 Starbucks card can go a very long way), under promise and over deliver, be happy and excited FOR them, truly get to know them (outside of the services that they've inquired for), offer to make their lives easier (i.e. build a draft photographer timeline, advise them on what might look best, help them pick out their engagement session outfits, etc)...they hired you and your professionalism for a reason! Remember to say THANK YOU...it really goes a long way. You really need to make sure you're intentional with the clients you already have because if you leave a lasting impression on them, they will then become the evangelists for your business.
5. I Got better at telling stories
People buy stories more than they buy things. You might offer the best thing on the planet, but if you can't tell your story, or your client's stories, you might have a really hard time selling your product or service. Stories are what brings people together and FEEL when they buy from you. Don't know how to tell stories? Here's a few ideas: share your client's reviews. Have them fill out a questionnaire that tells you about them so that later when you go to share a photo, or blog, they've practically written your blog post for you. Share YOUR story (this gives your clients a way to feel connected to you). Ask your clients how they found you, or why they chose to book you...and then share that.
You guys, you will NEVER see me share a photo on Instagram of a couple I worked with and captioning it, "I'm so #blessed I got to work with this amazing couple." There is ALWAYS a story and a purpose behind every image I post...I want to go ahead and challenge you to start doing the same.
If you really struggle with story telling in your business, let me be the first to tell you that you're not alone! Here's some great resources I love that have helped me get better at story telling:
Building a StoryBrand book by Donald Miller (the book is currently $15.00 on Amazon, and, in my opinion, would be one of the best investments you could make into your business)
Well guys, there you have it. The 5 ways I've more than doubled my inquires in 2018. I would love to know if you start using these tips in your business! I can't wait to see how it helps you grow with intention!
Have a question you'd like me to answer for you? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I just might dedicate a blog post to you.
Have a great weekend...and I hope you guys enjoy your Christmas!