4 steps to make sure that you get bookings this summer

Paul Mikhaylenko by on June 1, 2016

And now, the moment many photographers have been waiting for.

So far, we at PICR have been focusing our efforts on recruiting photographers in Portland. Now, we’re switching gears to concentrate on driving online traffic to our users’ profiles.

The goal: bookings! Or, as we sometimes call it, conversions.

In the world of marketing, conversions most commonly refers to how well a webpage is able to turn visitors into buyers. It’s a critical metric that every photographer needs to track.

Ask yourself: How well does your online profile convert? What percentage of your traffic results in paying clients?

Here are four critical steps to make sure that your profile converts as many visitors into bookings as possible:

1. Upload the best cover image for your specialty.

Your specialty cover image is perhaps the single most important factor influencing your profile views. When a potential client browses PICR, they’ll find your profile using our search page. The goal of the search page is to provide a high-altitude overview of all photographers, displaying only  your starting price, review stars, and the specialty cover image. The first two are clearly analytical; therefore, your only chance for to draw someone in emotively, is through your cover image.

In other words, your cover has to be good.

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Here are some tips on choosing the best cover image for your profile:

1. Upload your best work. Choose something beautiful, unusual, or compelling. Make sure to intrigue your clients. This image is your best chance to hook thousands of viewers to visit your profile and book your services.

2. Choose an image that best fits into the parameters so that our system doesn’t crop your image arbitrarily. If possible, crop your image in advance using a 16:9 aspect ratio. For example, if your image is 1600 pixels wide, crop the height to 900 pixels. (You can find a free ratio calculator online here.) This will allow you to control the cropping and position your image exactly how you would like others to see it.

3. Finally, test your images. When ad agencies run ads, they always try out many different images to determine which ones perform the best before investing the Benjamins into a marketing campaign.

2. Price yourself strategically.

As we’ve discussed here on the blog, knowing how to price yourself is a difficult subject for any small business owner. Some photographers tend to undervalue their services while others brazenly overprice. How you price yourself depends on how much you’re willing to work and what goals you have. The more projects you’re willing to take, the more people will talk about you, the more momentum your business has, and the more successfully you can increase your rates and stay in business.

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At the same time, increasing your rates prematurely can have a reverse effect and turn away those who might otherwise become avid evangelists for your business. Pricing is an art and a science. You’ll need to test different package prices and figure out how much value you offer, to what clientele, as well as what rates are sustainable for your business at this point.

When you create your packages, choose a pricing structure that is most practical to get you bookings. You need to build liquidity before you can start optimizing. In other words, once you get some momentum, you can start testing different prices to find your optimal rates. Be aware that if you overprice yourself initially, you won’t be able to conduct tests because you won’t have anything to test against.

3. Create a stellar showcase gallery.

Once your visitors land on your profile page, they’ll need to be able to quickly acquaint themselves with your work. This is why the showcase gallery exists.

How to make your gallery convert:

1. Be sure to upload 100–200 images, and make sure they are all good. If you only upload a few dozen images, clients may fear that you’ve picked only the cream of the crop; they have no guarantee that you can reproduce that kind of work consistently.

2. Your gallery can feature various past projects, but make sure that all of the images are related to your specialty. If a visitor sees unrelated images, the chances of them booking your services decreases exponentially.

3. Make sure that your showcase gallery accurately represents your work. If you upload only one project—something that’s an anomaly in relation to the rest of your work and style—you may find yourself with a disappointed client. Make sure your showcase gallery demonstrates your reproducible abilities.

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4. Ask for reviews in advance.

Reviews play a critical role in the world of online business. In 2016, we’ve grown accustomed to checking Yelp reviews before ordering food and TripAdvisor comments before traveling. People are normally skeptical of a service that doesn’t have many—or any—user reviews.

Think about it from the perspective of a client: Would you pay money upfront and hire a service for which you could not find any online reviews?

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This is why we’ve given our photographers the option to request reviews from previous clients. Your conversion metric will exponentially increase with every review you’re able to acquire in advance.

Finally, once your profile is ready for clients, share it on your social media networks and start tracking your conversions.

Don’t forget: you only have 24 hours to respond to a booking request, so be sure to download our iOS app and regularly check your inbox.

Happy booking, Portland photographers!

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