At the turn of every season, I get an urge to have a clear out. I love sorting my office, decluttering my wardrobe and tidying the house from top to bottom!
In a similar way, I advise that you give your photography business a spring clean! A ‘spring clean’ is an opportunity to take stock of what’s been happening in your business in recent months. You can review what’s been working and what things need changing up in order to generate better results in the months ahead.
It’s a chance to declutter, reassess and plan for the future. Out with the old and in with the new!
How to spring clean your photography business
Some of the things you could consider when you give your photography business a spring clean are:
1) Business Performance
Keep track of your monthly, quarterly, and annual sales
How does revenue compare to last year’s figures, and against your monthly and annual income targets (notwithstanding the fact that we’re just starting to emerge from Covid-19 lockdown)?!
Which of your services has been most popular? Why do you think that is?
Which services are most profitable? Could you do more of this and less of the work which generates lower profit margins?
If you’ve had a quiet period, what could be the reason for this? Consider factors you can control (things you haven’t perhaps marketed so well) as well as those you can’t such as seasonality. Are there any new emerging trends impacting your industry or the economy in general?
How could you potentially boost income next quarter, and over the same time frame next year?
Are your business forecasts still accurate?
Have any costs you hadn’t anticipated affected your profitability so far this year? Do you need to allow for these costs in the future?
If you sell photo products and wall art to clients, which are your best and worst sellers? What products could you add to your range, or drop completely? What new products would help you to increase profits?
Is there anything in your business that you are doing repeatedly, and which could be automated to save time?
- For example, could you make better use of email templates? This would avoid you having to type out the same information time and time again when you receive an enquiry?
- Could you be using a CMS such as 17 Hats or LightBlue? Then you could automatically send information to clients rather than having to do everything manually?
- Could you be using a tool such as Zapier? Offering the ability to link one digital tool to another, you can use this to set up useful automations which reduce your admininstration tasks.
Without a doubt, automation presents lots of opportunities for improving productivity in your business!
Related reading: Eight habits to boost productivity
2) Your Photography Clients
How many clients have you served per month or per quarter? What was their average spend? How does this compare to the same quarter last year?
Where did your clients first hear about you? Through a Google search? Via Social media? Did they enter your world via paid advertising? Or, did a friend or previous photography client refer you?
If you don’t already, be sure to ask your clients this when they contact you to enquire or book a session.
Customer Lifetime Value
What proportion of your clients are repeat clients? If you run the type of photography business that can work with clients more than once, how could you increase repeat business in the future?
Are you building relationships with clients and prospects? Are you doing enough marketing to stay top-of-mind? Could you be keeping in touch with past clients and prospective clients more often (in Facebook groups, by email, in-person)?
Are you growing an email marketing list? Could you be doing more to get others to sign up? Are you emailing those on your list regularly?
How effective is your lead magnet (freebie) at generating new leads for your photography business?
Or, if you don’t have one already, what free resource could you create and offer in your marketing to entice people to join your mailing list? (Not sure? Think about what is a major challenge they have that you could help solve with your photography service and products.
What questions are your ideal clients regularly asking you about your services? Could you create content for your website and photography blog to address these better or more thoroughly?
3) Processes and Procedures
Do you have a weekly or daily action plan for your business? If so, have you been sticking to it? (I recommend setting yourself no more than three high-priority tasks per day and focusing only on them until complete. Any more than this and you’ll never get through your to-do list).
If admin tasks are taking too long, can you set a timer and limit yourself to a set amount of time to complete each task? (You could use the Pomodoro technique to become a productivity ninja! Complete tasks in 25-minute time slots followed by a 5-minute break).
If you were setting up your business again tomorrow, what would you do differently? What systems would you set up? What processes and procedures would make your business run more smoothly and more profitably? What would you do more of and less of?
What could you outsource to save time and free you up to do more of the work you love and make more money?
Related reading: Five reasons to outsource your photography marketing
Are your forms, policies, and other documents relevant and up to date?
Do you need to update your contracts or Terms and Conditions? Are you fully GDPR compliant?
Referrals and Recommendations
Are you asking for feedback and testimonials from clients as part of your workflow? Which clients could you reconnect with to request a testimonial if they haven’t already provided one?
Positive reviews, whether written or in video format, posted on your website and on your social media pages and on Google are powerful endorsements that will help you attract new clients. (Read some testimonials from my photography clients here!)
Is marketing a key focus?
Be honest. How much time did you dedicate each week to marketing your photography business this quarter? Are you really doing enough?
If you aren’t doing something to promote your business every day, then you probably need to be spending more time on marketing.
Related reading: The daily habit that will help you secure more photography clients
What’s working? What’s not working?
What marketing tactics worked well this quarter and attracted leads and sales to your business? What didn’t work so well?
If you’re not currently tracking lead generation, start today!
Marketing Content & Performance
Of the marketing content you created, what got the most views and engagement (likes, comments, and shares)? Can you spot any themes?
What content topics are resonating with your audience the most? What formats are proving most popular? (Blogs, videos, etc.)
Which blog posts got the most traffic? (see Google Analytics for this information) Which blogs didn’t work so well? Why might that be?
Did you guest blog on a relevant website? Did you pitch yourself to the media? Did you secure any press mentions for your business? What impact did that have?
Of the social media content you created and shared this quarter, what worked well? What didn’t work so well? What days and time of day seems best for engagement?
Is your website showcasing the very best of your work? Do your photography galleries feature only the work that you want to do more of?
Is your messaging clear? Can people find the information they need on your website? What site improvements do you need to make?
Is your email list growing? How many times did you send out an email to your list? What are the average open and click-through rates? Remember people signed up to your email list because they want to hear from you! Don’t be afraid to send emails to those on your list.
Based on the insights you’ve gained, what could you do more of in the future? What didn’t generate as much business as you would have liked, and why do you think that is?
5) Your Photography Studio (if you have one)
Signage & Directions
If you are a studio photographer, is the studio easy for your clients to find? Do you have sufficient signage? Do you offer comprehensive instructions to clients on how to find you? Do you provide helpful instructions on where to park?
Many photographers tell me that precious time can be lost when clients turn up late to appointments. This could be tardiness on the part of the client or it could have been because they hadn’t pre-planned their journey and couldn’t find the studio. Don’t let this happen to you! Tell your clients everything they need to know about how to find your photography studio.
Try to walk into your studio imagining it is your very first visit. What could you change to improve your client’s overall experience? Does it look clean and inviting? Does it need a tidy-up or declutter?! Perhaps a fresh lick of paint on the front door? Could you enhance the facilities in any way? Is the decor and style in keeping with your brand?
Remember, the first impression your client gets as they enter the studio is important. It will impact how they will perceive you and your work. These small details matter!
Service & Product upsells
Do you have an impressive display of wall art (with prices visible so it’s clear that these products are available to buy)? Or, could you do with updating your wall art displays? Are you showing your most recent or best work, and your most up-to-date product range?
Are you talking to clients about your products and pre-selling them the idea of buying wall art? Are you doing in-person sales?
Do you have up-to-date portfolios for clients to look through?
Do you have promotional leaflets and business cards around the studio for clients to take and share with friends? Do you have a client referral card, a thank you card, or perhaps a goody bag to present to clients as they leave?
Business admin will never go away, so implement systems and processes in your business to manage it better if this is currently proving a headache for you.
Are you maintaining effective systems?
Do your computer desktop and filing systems need tidying?
Are your backups up to date and stored safely?
Have you a backlog of editing that you need to get on top of? If yes, how could you prevent a backlog in the future? Could you outsource editing, perhaps?
Can you declutter your inbox by unsubscribing from emails that are no longer serving you? This alone will save you precious minutes each day and boost your overall productivity.
Can you better manage your time by batching certain tasks or allocating chunks of time for focused activity on similar things? For example, ‘Marketing Monday’, Finance Friday’ etc. Could you limit your social media time to a set period of time each day? We have all fallen into the trap of endless scrolling, but doing this regularly could lose you precious hours of your day!
Equipment & Expenses
Do you need to buy any new photography equipment?
Are you on top of your bookkeeping?
Will you give your photography business a spring clean?
I’d love to know if this post has inspired you to clear some time in your diary to conduct a quarterly review and give your photography business a spring clean!
Comment below to share what activities you’re going to be focusing on during yours!