How you can increase photography rates by targeting bigger clients

Photography businesses can benefit from targeting higher end businesses with their marketing. Photography rates can increase as does your opportunity to become a creative partner and have your contribution to their business more highly valued.

Photographers talk a lot about the challenges of attracting more clients, but how about looking at this in a different way, by setting your sights higher and thinking about how you would attract higher-end clients than you are doing now?

There are many benefits for photography businesses that can move up to working with bigger clients; better projects, higher profile, more creative input and potentially higher rates and earning opportunities.

One photographer we worked with who did just this, found that his new higher-end clients had a totally different mindsets. They had a greater appreciation of the value of the photography that he did, and were much more receptive to his ideas and suggestions, which in turn lead to them valuing his creative input to the point of not even trying to negotiate on his proposed costs, because they were so happy with the way he was supporting their business.

Whatever level of client you are working with now, there are clients within similar sectors and genres that operate further towards the high end of the market.

Depending on how ambitious you are, the sky’s the limit in terms of which level of client you go after, however as you go further up the client scale there are a few challenges you need to work out:

1. Finding names gets harder

2. Marketing messages need to be more creative to attract attention and replies

3. Lead times for conversion to client are longer

Finding names

When you target bigger companies you tend to have bigger departments to deal with which makes it harder to find the right people.

If you’re not sure who is the right contact than the best way is to hedge your bets and send something or try and contact all the people you think could be relevant. Often, if you send something that is very strong, but it goes to the wrong person, they will either reply to your email telling you who you should send it to, or they’ll forward it to the correct person and may even copy you in so that you find out who the right person is.

But how do you actually find the names? Use a combination of Google and Linked in, as well as the company website. Press releases can also contain names of senior people, so include those in your search too.

A call to the office and a chat with the receptionist may help you get the information that you want, or maybe the name and email of the PA of the person you want to speak to.

Getting in touch

When you have a name of someone who you think might be the right contact, then a good start is to send them an email. It’s very rare that someone in a larger organization will take a call from someone they’ve never spoken to before, so the strategy here is to try and break the ice using email.

If you haven’t got their address, then guess! Most emails follow one of a few formats;

Firstname.secondname@company.com (or a local domain name which is usually the same as their company website)

Firstname_secondname@company.com

FirstnameSecondname@company.com

Initial.secondname@company.com

There are a few other variations, but trying the above first will get you through probably 80% of the time. Just keep trying until you don’t get a bounceback!

What to send them

Emails are an effective way to get the attention of high-end clients, but to get past the competition – of which there will be lots – a really creative approach is needed.

If you have smallish list of high-end clients that you are targeting, then a mailchimp type email isn’t the right approach. Emails at this level need to be tailored specifically to the company that you are targeting, because it has to be of interest or of relevance to them. So link your email content into some research about that company or use it to show them an approach of idea that you think they would benefit from using, and explain why.

Instead of relying on a single email to get you in, think more along the lines of a mini-campaign, and you could also include something by post as part of this approach too.

With your tailored campaign you need to demonstrate some key attributes to the client you are targeting:-

  • Your creativity
  • Your potential value to them as a creative partner
  • Your understanding of their business, its issues and strategy

And this constitutes a very different approach to the one many photographers take, which is just showing their availability as a service provider. The approach that we suggest becomes much more interesting and compelling to the recipient, and makes you appear very different to the many more ‘service provider’ type messages that they’ll be used to recieving – and ignoring.

Getting in touch personally

When your campaign is complete, you need to start a follow up campaign, such as sending other emails asking for feedback. You should also ask to link in with them – a good sign is if they accept your request. Don’t forget to research networking opportunities, places where you might come into contact with them personally.

You then need to be persistent and stay creative, because higher-end clients, with bigger organizations and department structures take longer to make decisions or to get your approaches filtered through to the right people.

Following these steps will draw your attention to these new clients, and will raise your profile in their eyes, and if you can be creative enough in your approaches, you’ll get some good breaks in the end.

More inspiration

If you’d like more inspiration to help you develop better strategies for finding clients, our Essential Business Toolkit for Photographers contains many more ideas and examples to help you do this.

Click here for more information

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