Think all a farmer has to do is wait until fall to harvest truckloads of delicious tomatoes or corn or squash? Think again! That farmer has worked hard all year long to prepare for that week or two of reward.
He prepared the ground following last year’s harvest.
He planted seeds in the spring.
He watered and fertilized and protected his fragile crops from pests and drought and poor weather.
And finally, after months of work, he enjoys the results.
Your photography business works the same way, and if you take a page from the farmer’s playbook, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards, too.
Preparing the Ground
This is your brand, your voice, your very presence in your market. If you’re just starting out—like that farmer after his harvest—you’ll spend your time simply becoming known.
Hang out with other photographers inside and outside your niche. Join organizations where your ideal clients spend their time. Spend time where your ideal clients spend time (Think community groups, social clubs, networking groups, churches, moms clubs, etc.) Build a website and start your mailing list. This is the prep work that will form the foundation of a solid business in the future.
Planting the Seeds
Your seeds are your content, photography services, and products. With each blog post you write, every session your photograph, and product you create, you’re planting a seed you can harvest later. But unlike the farmer, your seeds will produce over and over again, endlessly.
In fact, you’ll likely find that blog posts you wrote years ago will continue to bring in new clients year after year, with no further help from you. Products can be sold over and over again, or reworked into new offers. Images that you took in the past can be re-shared at a later time. Content you create, whether it is in written, visual, audio, or video format, all continue to work for you, month after month, year after year.
When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see that planting seeds is a critical part of every business.
Nurturing Your Crop
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just “set it and forget it”? Unfortunately, that style of business rarely works.
Instead, you must spend time nurturing.
- Stay in touch with your email list
- Update old blog posts with new ideas and images
- Study your stats to improve your traffic and conversions
- Improve your products, services, and overall client experience
It doesn’t take much effort to update your blog posts or tweak your products, and the rewards can be fantastic. And using automated systems can help you take this level of customer service up a level.
We use 17hats for all of our follow-up with clients and prospects. The workflows we have set up allow us to be reminded when someone should be reached out to. This can be very helpful as your business grows, so there are no gaps of communication when trying to nurture relationships.
Of course, being a farmer is a long-term investment. The work you do today may not pay off for weeks or months to come. But with a strong history of consistent “farming” in your photography business, you’ll soon see that those long-term rewards are paying off consistently as well.