If you’re one of the many photographers uploading client images to online proofing galleries then you might feel some frustration when it comes to how long it can take to get some of those orders in. Today I’m giving you a strategy to get quicker, easier and higher online photography orders!
There’s a blog post under the video if you prefer to read 😉
You’ll know that I’m a big lover of in-person sales if you want to give your clients a more high-end experience and sell more wall art and albums. But that’s not going to be right for everyone and there are still way more photographers doing online sales than IPS.
Before I moved to IPS I’d been using online galleries for two years to sell digital files and prints to my clients. In my first year one of the things that used to drive me crazy was when I had to wait until the last minute for my clients to place their order. Or, even worse, when I had to chase them up to place their order! I remember thinking, ‘Don’t they know I need this money?’ It’s so frustrating having to chase someone up to make a decision so that you can be paid for work you’ve already done.
But as always, let’s put ourselves in our client’s shoes.
Do you sometimes put stuff like this off? I know I do! Especially if it involves decision-making! If someone sends me a simple bill I’ll strike whilst the iron’s hot and I’ll pay it before I forget. But if someone sends me a whole load of decisions to make then I’m going to to leave that task until I have time to give it the attention it needs and deserves. And if I’m super busy that might not happen for a week or two. Or worse, I might forget about it altogether!
As the photographer you’re sitting at home thinking;
‘I haven’t heard from Sally since she got her online gallery login details and my bank account is looking pretty terrifying. I wish Sally would hurry up and order already so I can pay my share of the mortgage!’
But Sally is at home thinking;
‘God I really must find a quiet hour with John to look through those gorgeous images properly and decide what we’re going to order.’
Sally’s got a head full of stuff she needs to do and places she needs to be and, just like us, she’s trying to prioritise her hectic life. Can you really blame her if she puts off this task that will require time and headspace? Can you blame her if, after a week or two, she even forgets?
When it comes to situations like this, there are two types of photographers.
Photographers who put the blame on rude, inconsiderate Sally and photographers who take full responsibility and problem-solve how they can make this process as easy and quick as possible for clients like Sally.
Hopefully you’re that second photographer. I doubt you’d be watching this video if you weren’t. You’re the photographer who wants to help Sally. And, in turn, help yourself too.
So here’s what to do if you want quick orders from your online proofing galleries. This is how I handled online sales in the year before moving to IPS.
Only give clients a 24 hour window to place their order.
But . . .
Let them choose the 24 hour window.
Now you might be thinking;
‘24 hours??? I give my clients 2 weeks and they still can’t get an order in on time. How can I reduce it to 24 hours?’
But that’s because the more time you give someone to do something, the more time they’ll take to do it! Not only that, the more chance there is that they’ll forget or it gets pushed down the priority list.
If my accountant calls me and says she wants my accounts signed and back within 2 weeks then I’ll probably wait 2 weeks to do it. If she tells me she needs them within 24 hours I’ll get them to her within 24 hours. It doesn’t take me 2 weeks to sign and post my accounts. It takes ten minutes. But I’ll put it off.
And it doesn’t take your client 2 weeks to view their images and place an order. It takes them an hour or so at most. But they’ll put it off. Whether you give them 24 hours or 2 weeks, the actual task itself takes the same amount of time.
You’re just pushing them to do it sooner rather than later.
So how might this play out with a client?
First of all, cull, edit and upload the final images to a gallery as quickly as possible. Within the week or quicker. The longer Sally has to wait to see her images, the less excited she is about seeing them. Her chaotic life has taken over.
Once they’re ready, give Sally a call or send her a text. Say something like . . .
“Hey Sally, I have great news! Your images are all fully finished and ready for you to view. You’re going to love them! I know that you’ll be desperate to see them but remember the online gallery only goes live for 24 hours. So all you need to do is tell me when you’re going to have some time and space to look through them with John and place your order. I’ll publish your gallery to coincide with that and I’ll send you over the login details.”
Now this will NOT be a surprise to Sally. You’ll have explained this to her very clearly during the pre-shoot consultation and you’ll have reminded her of the process straight after the shoot. It will also be in the information you sent out to her and in the contract she signed.
You’ve told Sally that you work this way because it saves your clients agonising over decisions and they get their products in a timely fashion. But also explain that it helps you too because you no longer have to chase people up and annoy them. If you’ve made this abundantly clear from the very beginning then Sally is perfectly happy.
Not only is she happy, you’ve also saved her from having yet another thing hanging over her head that she’s putting off. You’re making her take action. People like Sally appreciate that.
Believe me because . . . I’m Sally!
I love nothing more than someone making it easier for me to make a quick decision, take action and move on with my life. The less things I have on my ‘to do’ list, the better.
If Sally complains about this process then it’s simply because you have not communicated it well from the very beginning.
Sally is desperate to see these images. So she’s now actively looking at her diary and texting John to see if they could spend an hour together this evening to view the images and decide on their order. If not this evening, then at least over the next couple of days.
She sends you a message telling you how excited she is about seeing them and they’re making time to do this thing TONIGHT so can you just go ahead and send over the details?
When you send over the login details to Sally you again remind her that the gallery will only be live for 24 hours. Personally I’d want to help them with their decision via Skype or phone at but it’s not essential. But you do want to let her know that you’re there for her if she needs any help or has any questions.
If that order doesn’t come in that night then I’d be surprised but all you need is a quick reminder email or text telling them that there’s just a few hours left to order.
Will some clients still mess you around?
Sometimes, yes! But you can guarantee it won’t happen much if your communication is as clear as day.
If you want to add an extra level to this you could even craft your pricing to allow clients who order within their 24 hour window to make a saving of some kind. You can incorporate all of this into your cost of doing business so that it doesn’t affect your profits.
When I used this strategy I didn’t find that I needed to do that. My clients just chose their 24 hour window and placed their order. I also found that sales went up because they were actually making time to choose rather than just rushing in an order at the last minute. They respected the process and I reaped the rewards.
If sales is something you struggle with and you’re ready to really step it up a gear then definitely check out our Togs in Business membership. We’re a community of photographers committed to raising the bar and taking action towards becoming profitable business owners. If that sounds like you too then apply to join us. I love getting to know our members and seeing the progress they’re making. I’d love to connect with you inside there too.
So is this an online sales strategy you think you could implement? Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or you’re going to give it a try!