This awesome branding advice is a favorite of marketing experts.
But creative entrepreneurs really struggle to discover the connection between what they offer and their clients' problems. It's the biggest stumbling block my clients have when telling their brand story.
"I take photos, I don't really solve any problems," is something I hear a lot.
So let’s tackle this, shall we? Let’s identify some real life problems and ways photographers offer the solution.
High School Juniors have a few things on their plate. School, extra curricular activities, college applications, friends, home responsibilities, and more! Moms of these kiddos are pretty frazzled too. Work, family responsibilities, a hectic schedule, not to mention the stress of a child ready to leave the nest and testing independence.
There’s lots of problems nestled into this scenario. Let’s look at just one.
The Problem: Mom and daughter don’t see eye to eye on fashion choices. Mom wants photos she can send to friends and family. Daughter does not want to sacrifice her signature look to appease her mother.
The Solution: You are a Senior Photo Expert. You offer a pre-session appointment to get inside your client's head and envision their final photos. In this situation you negotiate outfit changes and poses to strike a balance between what mom and daughter want.
The Story: On your About Page and in your marketing materials, you emphasis your strengths in the field of child/parent negotiations. Your prices might be higher because of your pre-session meeting, but your clients will consider it worth it to them to avoid confrontation during what should be a fun and happy photo shoot.
The Problem: Bride and Groom are getting married in a vaulted ceiling church. They want the light and open look to their photos that are easily captured in outdoor weddings but the lighting in the church is unlikely to cooperate.
The Solution: You are skilled in studio photography. You have the equipment, the staff and the experience to ensure that their pictures will turn out beautifully.
The Story: If this is part of your specialty, reach out to indoor wedding venues to get on their vendor list. Talk about your expertise on your website and create galleries that showcase your work.
The Problem: Mom wants wall portraits that say, “Our family loves each other.” But she has 2 unwilling photo subjects that pull faces and punch each other during sessions. She’s already gone through a session that was total junk. She still wants the portraits but is a weary of trying again.
The Solution: You! You are a child whisperer. You are easy going and kids want to look at the camera for you. You have tamed many a wild family, you’ve even coaxed a genuine smile out of a 9-year old boy.
The Story: Talk about your photo sessions. Talk about how you work with families. Talk about how you got that smile from that boy (any mom who’s had a 9-year old will instantly know you are a miracle worker!).
These examples might not be your niche. They might not be the problems you’re your clients face. But there’s a simple outline you can follow to identify problems:
- Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Imagine all the different scenarios people bring to your photo sessions.
- Identify problems. Don’t stay with just one – flesh it out – what are all the possible issues that arise? Sometimes it might be problems getting to the point they are ready to book. Sometimes the session itself creates problems. You can even ask your clients – what makes photo shoots hard?
- Find ways you provide the solution. What are your special skills? What areas of expertise transform you into the best possible photographer for your clients? What extra steps do you take to be a cut about the other photographers in your niche?
When you know what your Problem to Solution formula is you are instantly rewarded two must have marketing gems:
1. A way to instantly connect emotionally with your clients.
People make purchasing decisions based on emotion. Can you make your clients feel nostalgic or happy or relief? Can you inspire them with beauty, truth and reality? You don’t have to hit those exact emotions, just the ones that are right for your clients.
2. Words and phrases to elevate your branding and marketing.
When you identify your solutions, you uncover the things that make you stand out from the crowded marketplace. Take those phrases and work them into sales conversations, your introductions at networking meetings and into the copy on your website.
If you want to dive deeper into brand development, download the free guide, Don’t be Bland, Be a Brand. It’s half e-course, half workbook and will bring you full circle into the best way to present your photography business.