When the COVID-19 crisis hit, you probably asked yourself this question: “What am I supposed to work on during this sudden off-season?”
This sudden change of pace is dizzying, and I think we all need a little help getting back on track.
So, I asked some experts.
I got in touch with a bunch of photographers from around the U.S. who we know are all running legitimately successful businesses – and we asked them TWO questions:
When it’s a typical wedding off season and it’s time to work ON your business and not IN your business, what 2-3 things do you work on to make sure your business stays healthy?
What have you decided to work on right now to get through this crisis?
Nearly every photographer we reached out to responded that they use the off-season to audit their client experience FIRST.
The First Step: Audit Your Client Experience
Three distinct items came up under the umbrella of “auditing client experience”:
- Updating their websites
- Getting better at educating and communicating with clients
- Finding creative ways to delight their clients
It makes perfect sense. The better the experience your clients have with you, the more they’ll refer you to their friends.
Successful photographers know this, so they use their valuable off-season time to get everything up-to-date so that their next set of clients (and their favorite vendors) have a seamless experience from start to finish.
And my friends, it all begins with your WEBSITE.
Take it from Abby Grace Photography, who immediately jumped into refreshing her wedding photography website when she was presented with a little extra time on her hands:
In the off-season, I work on website updates first. We just published a website refresh last Friday! – Abby Grace
We’re going to break up this one theme of “improving client experience” and separate it out into three different blog posts over the next several weeks.
Today, we’re starting with the first step of Auditing Your Client Experience:
Updating Your Website
Here’s How to Update Your Wedding Photography Website
Your website is one of the first things that your Dreamies will see after they’ve found your name on social media or heard about you from a friend, venue, or coordinator.
So, reality check:
Is your website communicating what you want it to say?
To begin your wedding photography website audit, start by completing a super helpful exercise by Davey and Krista Jones.
(Davey and Krista are expert brand strategists and web designers, so they really know what they’re talking about, my friends!)
According to Davey and Krista, there are two questions that your website needs to answer for your Dreamies that stand in the way of you and booking more business.
In order to win clients, you need to answer these two questions with your website:
- Are you good at what you do?
- Are you the best person to do that for someone like me?
Can you answer those two questions on EVERY single page of your website?
And you might be wondering… how in the world do I do that?
A website refresh isn’t ever easy, but let’s break it down into four steps that simplify this mystifying process.
Step 1: Start with your IMAGES.
Friends, if you can only manage to tackle one thing with your website, THIS IS IT.
Evaluate the images on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of your wedding photography website – your homepage, your portfolio, your about page, your services page… don’t leave any stone unturned!
As you’re updating your images, be really really picky with each image you choose to include. Your website should show off your best work – so ONLY the images that you’re most proud of and truly represent your current style and ability.
And here’s something Davey and Krista stress: it’s important to resist the urge to include images just for the sake of having MORE.
So that might mean a little spring-cleaning in your blog and portfolio – you should be getting rid of any images that don’t fit your current brand, are super out of date, or just don’t represent the dream clients you’re going after.
(Website: Duke Images)
Your goal? Each and every image should speak to your dream clients.
So channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask yourself:
“Does this image spark joy for me? Does it represent me well?”
And if not… thank that image for serving you up until now, and then get it OFF your website.
“In the off-season, I do a brand-audit. I make sure my mission statement, core beliefs, “why,” and bio are all accurate, up-to-date, and as truthful as possible. And then I take a hard look at my portfolio and hero images to check that they match. I add any new brand-perfect images from the previous wedding season, and remove any that no longer fit.” (Sarah Bradshaw)
Step 2: Audit Your Homepage
Do you remember when contestants on that old show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” could phone-a-friend when they needed a little help?
My friend, you now have permission to do just that! (From Regis Philbin and yours truly.)
Your homepage should communicate your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – exactly what makes hiring you above anyone else necessary
So grab a trusted friend, sit them down in front of your homepage, and ask them to answer honestly:
Does this homepage clearly communicate what my brand is all about?
When a prospective client comes to your homepage, they should easily be able to answer a few questions:
- Where do you do business? This one might seem really obvious or boring, but you would be surprised about how many photographers don’t list this information on the first page of their website! Don’t make your prospective clients need to go digging for this information – make it simple exactly where you’re located and where you do business. (And if you travel, make it super clear that you’re willing to do so!)
- Do you have your very BEST image displayed in your Hero Spot? This image should be a gut-punch for your brand, and for the right clients (your Dreamies!), this image will instantly speak to their hearts. By seeing this ONE image, anyone who visits your website should be able to get a sense of your style and begin to understand your brand RIGHT AWAY.
- Is the navigation simple? Make it easy on your clients and keep all navigation options from the homepage super simple. It should be extremely easy for prospective clients to know where to go for the information they need. Don’t overthink this one!
(Website: Sarah Bradshaw)
Step 3: Next, work on your About Page
First things first: Do they see you?
Do you have a big beautiful image of yourself on your About page where people can see your face?
If not, here’s your next to-do list item:
Have your headshots updated!
Ask a friend, ask a team member… but DO NOT DELAY in getting images of YOU on your website.
(Website: Abby Grace Photography)
Next up: Do they get to know you?
Do not underestimate the importance of endearing your clientele to who YOU are, not just your gorgeous work.
It’s an angle we wedding photographers LOVE to highlight to our clients – unlike any other vendor, we’re the lucky ones who get to hang out with our clients allllll day at their weddings!
So you need to tell your story – but in a way that is digestible and speaks directly to your Dreamies.
When you do this, ask yourself…
….Are you highlighting the aspects of your personality that support your UVP and your brand, and is that part of your personality the one that your Dreamies care about most?
(Website: Sarah Bradshaw)
One of my favorite examples of this comes from Davey Jones: He and his wife, Krista, get a McFlurry shake after every wedding. (Because honestly, what’s better than cold ice cream after shooting a 12 hour wedding day??)
But you wouldn’t find this information on their former wedding photography website’s About Page – because while it’s a fun post-wedding tradition, it didn’t totally align with their brand. If they wanted to attract their high paying clients, leading with their obsession for a post-wedding McDonald’s run wasn’t the smartest route.
So instead, they shared these fun post-wedding McDonald’s runs on their Instagram stories, where clients could indulge along with them after they had already fallen in love with them and their very high-end work.
….Is the copy on your About Page easily skimmable and readable?
This goes for any section of your website, but especially your About Page: Avoid blocks of paragraphs. Unfortunately, nobody really wants to read that!
Keep it simple but personal, succinct yet meaningful. Overall, highlight the pieces of you that matter MOST to your Dream clients as they’re getting to know you and your story.
If you want to include more fun facts about your story or personality, I recommend finding a sweet way to incorporate these in a fashion other than bulky paragraphs.
Looking for a few ideas?
- We love Sarah Bradshaw’s “Yes Please” & “No Thanks” section – it’s a super fun and quick way to draw in the right people and send away the not-so-Dreamies
- I adore the simplicity of Abby Grace’s About Page – she pulls out some fast facts in her “Things You Should Know About Abby” section!
- Davey & Krista keep it super streamlined and lovely with their slider here on their about page!
- KT Merry’s About Page is simply stunning – I love the rich language she uses to describe her and her partner’s personalities.
- And if you know us, you know we love podcasts… so Jeff and I have our very own mini-podcast on our About Page.
(Website: KT Merry)
STUCK ON COPYWRITING?
Listen to Creative Rising Episode 306: Copywriting with Rachel Greiman
Step 4: Dial in your Services Page
Last, but most certainly NOT least on your wedding photography website audit: Refine your Services Page.
This page will clearly outline your Client Experience and walk your Dreamies step-by-step through their experience with you as their photographer.
Not only should it provide clear, helpful information (that will hopefully answer many of their practical questions), but they’ll also walk away understanding the transformation they are going to experience.
Your Services Page serves to answer the question of HOW you will do the same thing for them that you’ve done for other people.
Because remember — prospective clients may love everything about your website, but still not be able to picture themselves in the shoes of your clients.
So it’s YOUR job to make sure they understand your unique process – from the booking process to the wedding day to what they can expect afterwards.
We call this our Proven Process, and we believe that every business should take the time to outline their own unique process.
(This concept comes from the book Traction, and this book has been a GAME CHANGER for our business.)
Building your Proven Process all begins internally, but it should also be able to be shared publicly with your clientele in some fashion.
For our team, our Proven Process looks like this:
We flesh out our unique proven process for our couples above at The Experience, and prospective #TYDreamies get the full picture of what their experience will look like when they work with Jeff and I.
So what does this look like for you? What should your clients expect when they work with you?
How can you draw them in to fall totally in love with this experience so that they simply have to have it?
Alright friends, it’s time to get started! Are you ready to give your wedding photography website a facelift?
Remember that this is the first place where many of your clients will fall in love with you… so don’t underestimate the importance of lovin’ on your website.
- Cleaning up your wedding photography website should be at the top of your priority list during any off-season.
- Your website should answer two questions for prospective clients:
- 1) Are you good at what you do?
- 2) Are you the best person to do that for someone like me?
- A total website re-do may not be possible or necessary, but there are four main steps to take when cleaning up your website during the off-season
- FIRST, refresh all of the images on your website with only the BEST – the most jaw-dropping images which are best suited to your current style.
- SECOND, dial in your Homepage so that your best work, your brand, and your location are front and center.
- THIRD, clean up your About Page and make sure your FACE and your STORY are clear.
- FOURTH, invite your client into your unique transformation process by dialing in your Services Page.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be walking through the next two most important steps when auditing your client experience:
- Getting better at educating and communicating with clients
- Finding creative ways to delight your clients
All of these steps taken during the off-season will make for a more seamless, successful busy season – so you’re definitely going to want to join us again for these next two posts!
We’ll see you then!