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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Marketing doesn’t come natural to many of us, especially when we have to consider strategies that will convert. In today’s episode, Fiona Margo joins us to share how thoughtful marketing strategies that will create connection and trust with your audience, while allowing you to market with confidence! Listen in as she share’s her hot take on ideal customers, how early you should start marketing for a project, and how often you should be posting!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
Since 2011, I have been providing family and newborn photography to fun-loving, adventurous and snuggly families in Seattle and beyond. I have loved running my photography business full-time for the past seven years. Over the last several years, I have become obsessed with marketing and productivity so that I can spend more of my time doing the parts of my business that I love, and love helping other family photographers do the same. I teach through the unraveled academy, have my own podcast The Family Photographer Marketing Podcast + accompaning Instagram subscription called Mini Marketing School. I live on Bainbridge Island near Seattle with my firefighter husband, two daughters and very fluffy puppy.
Here are the highlights…
[:24] Meet Fiona
[2:10] Understanding Marketing for Business
[4:29] Marketing & Posting Frequency (7-10 Times)
[7:18] Breaking Content into Categories: Inspirational, Educational, and Motivational
[9:35] Building Trust with Your Audience
[11:50] Find Ways to Connect with Your Clients
[15:32] Conversions of Fiona’s Playdate Strategy
[18:40] Disregard Ideal Clients and Identify Commonalities in Your Clients
[24:25] What You Should Do Today for Your Marketing
[26:06] Marketing Seasonal Sessions
[29:44] Marketing Channels
[33:45] Marketing with Confidence
[38:01] Biggest Fuck Up
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Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Business First Creatives podcast. I have a marketing guru in the house today. Fiona, welcome to my podcast. How are you this morning?
Fiona: Thank you so much for having me. I am doing well. How are you?
Colie: I’m great. I am gonna let Fiona tell you guys what she does besides tell people all of the marketing tips and where she’s located and all that good jazz.
Fiona: Okay, so I’m Fiona. I own a Fiona Margo Photography. So I’ve been a photographer for about 10 years. About five years ago I transitioned into Adventure Family. So I work a lot in the mountains. I’m constantly in my car, but I get to work in the most beautiful places ever. And then a couple years ago, I found myself.
Very, very interested in the marketing side of this business, which I feel like is kind of under talked about. I would go to workshops and other educational opportunities and find that marketing wasn’t mentioned at all, which I found was interesting. So I kind of turned that passion into education and I started a podcast and I’ve been really talking about it now for about three to four years.
And I would love to transition my business to. Drive a little less and do a little more education, uh, around marketing for photographers. So that’s where I am right now.
Colie: Ah, awesome. I mean, that sounds very similar to me and you know, becoming an educator in terms of systems for photographers, because I don’t do adventure though, Fiona, I’m sure you know this, but I don’t go outside. I do all of my sessions inside. But I do think that your work is beautiful. I envy all of that car time that you get alone with nothing to do, but listen to podcasts.
So I am a little jealous. But I 100% agree with you. People do not talk about marketing enough, and if they talk about marketing, I feel like people really focus on two areas, at least for photography. They focus on. Posting to your social media nonstop. They also focus on paid ads, and it’s like they don’t have any idea what general marketing is or like what else they should be doing to market their business besides those two avenues.
Fiona: Yeah, totally. And the issue with posting just on social media over and over and over again with no strategy is, first of all, it just destroys your self-confidence because then you decide that every like or not like, or every post that fails is a direct correlation to your work and how you are as an artist.
And in terms of paid ads, I feel like what people end up doing is not fully understanding the paid ad side. And then they do things like randomly boost a post. And then Facebook has no data about their audience. So those posts end up kind of being a waste of money. So on the paid ad side, I do recommend people run a very, very, very low cost ad on their, audience all the time.
That way if you do have something you wanna say, Facebook and Instagram ha have all of this data so they can actually target people really well. But unfortunately for us, most of the marketing work is actually in our mind because there’s all this messaging that we have about, we can’t be annoying, our voices are annoying.
We shouldn’t talk that way. We we’re posting too much, we’re posting too little. So with marketing, it’s all about strategy. And once you have a strategy, if you can stick to it, then you actually can. Reach your marketing goals. So that’s kind of the way I’ve tried to help people see it. Instead of, oh, you posted, no one saw it.
Now you’re a failure. You have to dig out of that hole, work up the courage and try again, which is exhausting.
Colie: I mean, it is all about what happens when you fail and come back. I, that’s 100% true. And guys, I did not pay her to use the word strategy that many times. I think. I just think that Fiona is someone that agrees with me in that if you are working really hard in this business and you’re doing it without any plan or any strategy behind it, Most of the time it’s going to fail.
And so that is legitimately why I asked her to come on this podcast, guys. But you mentioned something really interesting, Fiona, you mentioned that almost all of us think that we are talking to our audience too much. Like I post something and I’m like, no, I can’t post it because I already posted that last week.
So let’s just address this first. How many times. Do you think is appropriate to talk about your offer? Let’s focus first on social media. How many times a week do you think is appropriate to talk about your offers on social media?
Fiona: So I like to market seasonally because if I look at my whole year, I get really overwhelmed. Plus there’s tons of different types of sessions that I have per season. So I break it down from those session types, and I know from reading the actual scientific data about consumers that people need to see things seven to 10 times.
Before they actually see them. And if you look back at your own consumer behavior, you know that that’s true. Like the first maybe a product you recently saw on Instagram caught your attention. How many times did you see that thing before you actually click through the website? It wasn’t probably the first time.
So we as photographers can take what we know about consumer behavior and apply it to our own marketing. So let’s say I have spring sessions coming up. And I know the date of those sessions, then I can work backwards, maybe three months out and know that, to talk about that thing seven to 10 times, I’m gonna have to talk about it at least once a week.
And the crazy thing is, is I see photographers now who use this kind of, my favorite booking strategy for photographers is simple. It’s just scarcity. You just talk about what’s available and you constantly remind people, um, and they will post that. Three to four times a week, and I never, in my mind am I’m like, oh my gosh, it’s so annoying.
Their business. I’m following their business. I wanna know more about their business. So the jumping over, this fear of being annoying or being too pushy or being too salesy is really the first step in actually booking out the things you wanna book out.
Colie: And the one thing that I wanna say, because Fiona didn’t jump, didn’t jump on the opportunity to like tell me I told you so, but the one thing that really irks me about when we decide how many times it’s appropriate to talk about your offer, guys, I just wanna make sure that I am being crystal clear. I am not talking about sharing your work.
It’s great that you’re sharing your work and the pictures that you love, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Sharing your actual offer. So it’s really great if you’re like posting like 20 images from the session, but how many times did you actually ask for the sale? How many times did you give them a call to action?
How many times did you remind them? That. Hey, if you want pictures like this, please reach out to get additional information about pricing, availability, my process, all of that good stuff, because I feel like even when I talk to people and I say, okay, well when’s the last time that you asked for the sale?
They’re like, oh, I posted a session last week. And I’m like, yeah, but like what was the copy? The images are gonna get their attention, but people are also reading your captions. They’re also clicking where appropriate, where you’re telling them to. So if you’re just sharing images and you’re saying that you loved it so much because Suzy Q was awesome, that’s not telling me to take an action.
That’s not telling me to hire you.
Fiona: Right. I like to break down what I share on social media into categories. So the first one is just inspirational content, and that sounds like, oh, I just won a race. That’s not really what I’m talking about. What it is, is you’re inspirationally consistent, so somebody who’s drawn into your brand, if they keep seeing those same images, Types of images that builds trust because the consumer’s main fear is that they’re gonna hire you and get something that’s completely different of what the type of art that they fell in love with.
The second type is educational content. That’s where you identify your client pain points and you create educational content around that. And then the third one I call motivational, which is basically like a little shove in the back to actually go to your website. Su su super aggressive, but it just, I don’t like the word.
Artists and photographers get very worried about the word sales. So if you think about like creating content that is motivational to actually take the step to book, you need to make sure that you have that content as well as the other types of content. And then of course, repurposing all of this to actually get it off of social media because we can’t.
Just rely on Instagram anymore. The algorithms have definitely changed a little bit. The economy has changed a little bit. Anybody that says marketing now is the same as marketing in 2022 is somebody who is just booked out already and they’re not actually in this market and it is different. So we need to d differentiate a bit, but that’s okay because we’re all the experts of our own brands.
Colie: Yeah, and I mean, that does bring up a really good point. I have talked with other photographers in the last few months about the recession, how to prepare for the recession, what’s different. And so it’s one of the things that I love that you’re talking about is even if you were successful in 2022 and 2021 and 2020 before the pandemic, what you were doing before.
Even if it was super successful, just might not work this year. We are in a different place. And even if you are not comfortable using the word recession, even if it is not currently affecting like your household and the people around you, it is affecting others. And so how is marketing in a recession different than those previous years?
Like what should we be aware of while we are trying to build a marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond?
Fiona: So I think focusing on building as much trust as possible because. When you think about what peop, what makes people nervous to buy in a recession, it’s just fear. So if you can identify that you are someone that they can trust and that these images are still necessary, no matter what is going on with the economy, that is super helpful.
I started my business in a recession back in 2010. And it’s really going to transition. I think every photo photographer needs to have a way that they’re actually in front of other people in their community on a semi consistent basis. So that means you are actually talking to people face to face about your business and what you do.
So, For my adventure side of my business, the way I book that out is I do a Black Friday sale every year, and I usually book out about 70% of my year on one day. That strategy, of course, took time to, for people to look forward to. It’s a, it’s a whole process in itself. Then I opened a studio here on the island where I lived.
So even though I was known for the outdoor work, I didn’t have high trust in my studio work. So I was back in the beginning stages of gaining trust in that business. So one of the things I do is every two weeks I host a free play date in my studio for local moms. So they can come in and their babies can socialize and they can meet each other, and I’m, I’m there and I’m friendly and I’m fun.
I’m not talking about photography, I’m just. Providing a space, and that has been a really, really great way for people to find out about my studio. And I’ve booked quite a few sessions from that. So that’s time that I’m putting in with people in my actual community. They go out, talk to their friends.
That’s what that’s gonna be so much more efficient. Than just posting endlessly on Instagram at this time. So those are the types of opportunities that I want clients to look for. I have a, I do marketing reviews and I, one of my photographers made this amazing idea, I hope she doesn’t mind that I share it, but she started a Facebook group about mom friends, and they meet up, she hosts it.
Through her photography business and people come and they meet each other and she facilitates events and she’s not selling at those, but she’s top of mind. So those are the types of things that I think bring you through a recession cuz they’re so high. Trust.
Colie: Okay, so I’m gonna jump
Colie: because I don’t know if you know this, but I only have one kid and she’s 12. So I am definitely out of like the playtime, toddler playgroups, and I know that there are many family photographers who either don’t have young children as well, or they don’t have children, period. So when you started hosting these play dates at your studio, was it as like a fellow parent or was it strictly as a business person?
Fiona: So my kids are 13 and 11, so I, I don’t have any babies either. So what I did is I found a local mom who has a, I think she’s five months now, so I have like a, I, my studio targets babies under one, so that’s why I picked that group. So she’s my co-host for all the events. So she comes in there, she’s there every time.
Her motivation is that she wants to meet her daughter to be social. Of course, we know before the pandemic, these types of play dates were really common, and they’ve really fallen by the wayside and they’re not really available. So I’m stepping in to truly fulfill a need in the community. And then I feel like it would be a little awkward if I was like, hi, I have no babies, but please come into the baby play date.
So having her as a co-host really helps. So there’s definitely ways around that. She’s been wonderful and she loves being there, and her daughter is literally the social baby director of the whole crew, so it’s worked out really well. So I think even if you’re not. We can really get, that’s where this idea of the ideal client gets people really stuck because it often becomes a mirror and they think like, I have to be in the exact same boat as my ideal client to connect with them.
And instead of that, it’s that you want to have people. Trust you to produce the type of work that they fell in love with. Those are the people, the trusting people, the super first, the super clients. Those people can’t be identified in any one particular way, except they trust you as the artist. So you wanna lean into that trust building relationship.
Colie: Yeah, I mean, I’m so happy that you told us that you have a 13 and 11 year old, cuz I’m telling you like when, when people throw marketing ideas out, no matter what the source is, I feel like all I see is entrepreneurs immediately saying, this won’t work for me and this is why. And like they don’t kind of focus on how they could pivot it to make it work for them.
And so I just wanna say like, if I was gonna do what Fiona said, guys, at this point in my career, you guys all know I don’t have a studio, but let’s say Coley just popped up with a studio and I’m like, I wanna do this. I would probably pop into my local mom groups. I mean, I’m in several here in the Boulder area, and I would probably post in there, you know, Play dates or playgroups that already exist, or if a mom posted that she was interested in finding a playgroup, I might respond and say, Hey, if you guys are looking for a space, I have my studio, I’d be happy to provide it to you guys on a weekly basis.
No, no cost, or you know, however it is that you wanna. Uh, manage it. And I might even make a joke at this point that says something like, you know, I’ve got a 12 year old and so I’ve gotta get my baby fixed somewhere. I mean, that makes you seem like less of a creep, guys. It’s literally the reason that I still take newborn sessions.
I need a baby fix. And so if you are not in the same space as the clients that you are seeking, Find a way to make it work. And so Fiona, I mean, I would love to know numbers, but I didn’t ask you to prepare numbers, so you probably don’t know. But, if you guys decided to do this, first of all, how long did it take you hosting these events before you saw any kind of bookings come from that particular group of women who were coming to the playgroup?
Fiona: Well, so the first one, I, what’s great about Facebook and Facebook is, you know, people have lots of thoughts about Facebook. I keep an eye on Facebook all the time because I do feel like what it is become is a great. Community source. So it’s less about the individual, more about the group like you were saying.
So what’s really great about Facebook is you can create events and then share them easily to groups. So that’s how I got the word out. I shared it to about five local mom groups, and because it’s free, they allowed the event to go on the page. So the first play date, we had nine babies, which was great. I know it was crazy and I booked two sessions from the first one, so I was like,
Colie: girl. Shut
Fiona: it was amazing.
Colie: I was going with this to be like, guys, you might need to be a little patient.
Fiona: But then it’s, it’s slowed down from that first one, cuz obviously now we have repeat people. But then, like I just got an email today and this woman was like, Hey, my friend came to your baby playgroup. My baby’s a little bit too, too old for that, but I looked at your website and loved to book an outdoor session.
So it’s not nec, it’s, there’s also these like spidering out of connections and you know, my island, it’s a kind of a unique, I live on this island near Seattle and so it’s a very, You know, insulated community, but I have not physically been on this island for the last 10 years cuz I’ve been up in the mountains.
So I’m still building my presence. And then what’s cool about putting yourself out there like that is you discover more things that you never would’ve known that maybe you like to do. Like I’ve been doing these head headshot sessions for these like, Older creative women, and it’s been so fun. So if you don’t ever try to put yourself out there and make connections, then you also lose out on potential new avenues of creativity.
So that’s been the other really fun thing about the studio.
Colie: I mean, Fiona, I didn’t really think we were gonna talk about experimentation, but let’s go there. I feel like. Because I, when people ask me if I’m a commercial photographer, I say no, but I do have commercial clients and when they say, I don’t get it, I’m like, well, there was this one time where this man left me a voice message and wanted to hire me to shoot in a dental practice.
And legitimately I ignored him.
Colie: And then two days later, he sent me an email to follow up, and so I ended up responding to him. I ended up chatting with him and it ended up being one of my most lucrative clients in 2021 when they came back around and asked me to do some more work for them. But in all, I have shot and rebranded both of their dental practice brands and each one of them has like 20, 20 locations.
I mean, this is not a small client. I also went to Mexico with them to document a humanitarian trip. But if I had kind of stayed in my bubble and the moment that I saw this commercial job and I was like, uh, yeah, I don’t do that. So I love that you are now experimenting now that you have your studio and I feel like.
What you said about the ideal client, let’s talk about that. Fiona, what do you think is misunderstood about identifying your ideal client for your business?
Fiona: So whenever I hear that people say like, the first thing you would need to do is identify your ideal client. I remember trying to do that. Like I had taken this marketing workshop this couple years ago and they, I had like a spreadsheet and I’m like, trying to think of the people that hire ’em every year.
And I’m like, what is, it’s like what kind of car do they drive?
Colie: Where do they shop?
Fiona: We, they drive cars. They, they don’t, they don’t all have the same purse. They don’t all go to the same place. So I realize that like if I were to sit five of my, ideal clients, which to me is someone who trusts me enough to book a session without asking me 47,000 questions without having any pushback on my policies.
All of those things, people high trust, they love their galleries, they refer, that’s ideal to me. Those five women for the most part, cuz that’s mostly who hires me. Have literally nothing in common. There’s like a firefighter stay-at-home wife who saves all year to hire me. There’s a high-powered Amazon attorney.
Like these women would be sit at the table and have really not much in common except that they know, like, and trust me. So I’m the common. Denominator there. And so my job is to create more of that type of art that I love to create and that these individuals love to consume per se. And that is how my business grows.
But when we file in line behind this ideal customer who. Oftentimes looks kind of the same. It’s a very, there’s parts of it that are very not great. If you think about who we’re all chasing, then we all start marketing the same way. Our messaging becomes very similar. We’re all chasing the same ideal instead of leaning into our true artistry and building trust around that.
So for me, it’s the ideal situation is finding opportunities to create and share your ideal art. And it really has nothing to do with the client per se. So that’s how I shift it in my mind.
Colie: And see that’s so interesting because I have also never been a big fan of, oh, let me tell you where they shop. Because if I sat down five of my ideal clients that have hired me for, you know, multiple years, they don’t have anything in common except for, I will say there’s one thing that they have in common.
All of my clients love to hang their pictures all over the wall, whether they are pictures that they took with their cell phone or they’re pictures that they hired me to take, or in some cases that they hired someone else to take if they, you know, had a previous photographer. Like that was the one thing that I could identify that all my clients had in common.
The second thing that I identified was that, I had a few exceptions, like I have had a handful of stay-at-home moms or single income households hire me. But for the most part, everyone who hires me is like a dual income household, and so I do feel like I. They have discretionary funds that are different.
They’re spending their money different. But the third thing that I identified is that all of my clients are obsessed with eliminating the stress in their life. That has nothing to do with photos, guys, but it translates into photos because what do most people think of? When they think of photos, they’re like, oh my gosh, what are we gonna wear?
How clean is my house need to be? Is my husband nor my partner gonna do what they’re supposed to do? Are my kids gonna throw a tantrum? I mean, it automatically brings up stress in everyone. And so if I can limit that to the best of my ability, that is what I talk about in my marketing messaging, the fact that I will provide the least amount of stress to your life if you hire me for these photos.
And of course, you’ll get these amazing photos on the other side, but, None of my clients have anything in common in terms of where they shop, what their job is like. None of that
Fiona: Right, exactly. And so if you can figure out from there kind of what those, the pain points are of those people and then handhold them through the booking process, then you just build trust even higher. But I’ve just watched people try to create this, you know, that was called like a customer avatar. Yes.
And then it almost always looks sort of like the same woman, and I’m like, But like we don’t all wanna be chasing her. That’s not gonna work out. You know, you do wanna lean into what makes you different. And even with my adventure stuff, I do have clients who are like avid hikers, and I also have clients who have never been in the mountains before.
So I would lose those clients who hadn’t been in the mountains before if I decided to say everyone who hires me is a hiker. So you have to be really careful that you’re not also boxing your clients out of your messaging when they don’t need to be boxed out of it.
Colie: Girl, you would 100% lose me if you talked about hiking. In fact, I’ve only been on a hike. I live in Colorado, so it’s just as beautiful as where you live. But in my 10 plus years of business, I have only been on a hike one time. And that was because it was covid and these particular clients refused to let me in their house. So we went on a hike on like this trail. And when I took a few selfies and I posted them, my Instagram blew up. People were like, are you actually on a hiking trail? Like, is that you? And I’m like, yes. And it is 32 degrees out here. But I am sweating. I mean, I went on a three mile hike and I’m not a hiker, so I get it.
I get what you’re saying. Like you would definitely lose me if you tried to like box in to be like, I only, you know, only hikers want adventure sessions. That would, yeah.
Colie: So let’s talk about, there’s this one thing that you have mentioned a few times, like in your Instagram, on your website, in Facebook groups that we are in in common.
And that is having like a long-term marketing strategy. Cause I know that you said that you like to plan it out for the year. But like if you, if, if a listener wanted to start doing this today and we’re already in, Q2 of 2023, how would they start to plan out their seasonal marketing for like, the rest of the year?
Like what’s two things that they should sit down and do today?
Fiona: Well, first I would actually have them look back at last year and see the data. I’m a big data person about what worked and what didn’t. Because we wanna lean into that data. Emotions are not exactly a good teacher when it comes to marketing. So the first step would be to look back, and then the next step would be to look forward about six weeks to three months.
That would be the timeframe, because again, if we go back to how often people are gonna need to see things, to build trust around that offer, to actually look into it, you need time to be able to talk. Those things. So the first step would be what worked last year? So you know what you can lean into and then what are you trying to book?
What happens in this industry because it is so focused, we get so focused on what other photographers are doing that photographers will be marketing Spring right now. And we feel that sense of fomo cuz we actually didn’t talk about
Colie: spring now.
Fiona: exactly. So then they’ll try to throw a session out there and then feel extremely disappointed when nobody books it.
But nobody’s had time enough to build trust around that offer. So it’s really about, I love to break it up into seasons and then I think. Two to three session types per season is about enough that you need. And then just building content and strategy around those. So if you also look back over the course of the last year, you can see where your income gaps were.
So a lot of photographers, when they first come into the industry, their fall is like heavy, heavy, heavy, and they may feel extremely overwhelmed about that. So if you wanna spread people out through summer and spring, that work does not happen. In May.
Fiona: So you need to know where you wanna go, and you need to know what worked in the past.
Colie: I mean, I feel like, I don’t know if it’s true in Washington, but I feel like here, I hear from so many outdoor family photographers that they’re like, I just wish people would book sessions in summer instead of fall, because by the time we get to fall here, like we have a lot of wind
and you know, It could snow and then all of the trees will be dead.
There will be no green like fall exists here for like literally a day and a half and then it’s gone. But in summer, everything is so green and so lush and so beautiful, and so I often see people trying to post in May to get summer sessions and I’m like, are you kidding me? Everybody’s made their summer vacation.
Like everybody is already thinking a fall. So the likelihood that you’re gonna be able to convince people to book a summer session now in May is pretty slim. But if you take some sessions this year, And you get images that show the green, and next year you start posting those in January, February, March, when everyone is freezing their ass off and just wants to be outside in summer, they’re gonna be like, oh my gosh, that is so amazing.
I should think about a summer session because why do I need to wait until fall? I can still use those summer family photos for my Christmas card. Like, I think that people just don’t understand you have to do it earlier than what you think. Like if you think you should be marketing in May, start doing it in March.
Just automatically move it 60 days earlier so that you can try to build that. No, like trust that Fiona was talking about for these sessions that you wanna sell out.
Fiona: totally. And the thing is, is it takes time for clients to adjust to changes in your business. So, you know, with my Black Friday sale, the first one was a massive flop, like five people took advantage of it. I was like, oh, this really sucks. And then a couple years later, I had 70 sessions book in one day.
So, So it’s like about just training and teaching. And I started talking about that in August and this, the, the date was, you know, November. So you have to give people time to get used to your policies. And I always hear this too, like people say, well, my clients won’t, won’t do that. They don’t wanna book summer, or I hear this one a lot, like photographers are trying desperately to get their weekends back.
And they’re like, but nobody will book weekdays. And I’m like, mm-hmm. Because I haven’t booked.
Colie: aren’t an option,
Fiona: I haven’t booked weekends in like five years, so it’s all about just being, sometimes if we are confident in our policies, that then translate to the client because they’re like, oh, I will trust her because she knows what she’s talking about.
So if you have something that you wanna try, if you wanna convince more of your fall people to go. To summer, it is going to take some work on your part. The good thing though, is that once you create that seasonal content and then you just put it in your marketing buckets, you can just repurpose it every year.
So the work in the beginning is heavy, but then you have a marketing strategy moving forward. So that’s the part that’s really nice about actually putting in the work.
Colie: Yeah, and I mean, you said earlier about the urgency and I, I would say scarcity as well, like. If you are trying to push people to summer, maybe you don’t offer 25 sessions in fall like you did last year. Maybe you limit it to 15 and you tell people starting in April or May, Hey, I’m only gonna have these 15 sessions in the fall, or whatever your number is.
If you wanna book one, book one now, otherwise, I’ve got these slots open in summer. But you’re gonna have to adjust your messaging to match what it is that you want to book and why.
Fiona: Yes, and talk about it a lot because what’ll happen so often is people say, well, see, I told them and they ignored me. I’m like, you told them one time in one story and then you disappeared into the wind. So that does not count.
Colie: Let’s talk about marketing channels, Fiona. I mean, that is like the perfect segue. It’s like you’re in my brain. So usually people only focus on social media as their marketing channel. What other marketing channels do you want to see photographers take advantage of?
Fiona: So I love Pinterest and I did not realize how powerful Pinterest was until my own website got hacked by this thing called the Japanese character hack, where I could see my website and it looked normal. But Google just saw that I was selling knockoff. Like Prada purses. It was so weird. So I lost my ranking and SEO is very important to me.
So I was on page one, and my website went completely away, but my Pinterest boards were showing up on Google, so that was my first indication. I was like, okay, Pinterest is more powerful as an SEO tool than I knew. And then I had three mountain sessions. In a row, find me off Pinterest because they were researching their trip to the national park and saw my work.
So I love Pinterest. I think it’s, I think the wedding people have figured it out and the family photographers have not. So I think there’s definitely a place for us there. And you doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Every Friday I just pin everything I created that week. So it’s very simple. Um, I still like Instagram, but I’m trying to transition to thinking about Instagram as a place to nurture my clients instead of grow.
Um, just because it’s so hard. I mean, reaches down, views are down. And then I just, obviously everyone should have an email list and if you haven’t started one yet, I would just say. Make it simple. You can send one email out per season to get started until you really get going, but I think it’s really important to be able to reach people there.
And then of course, I do think that everybody needs at least one. In-person way that they’re meeting new people. And if you’re really uncomfortable meeting new people, you can just make, keep it small. That can be even reaching out to past clients or super refers and say, Hey, I’m really in growth mode. I would love your help because that is a face-to-face interaction that’s not online.
So those would kind of be the ones that I should focus on or anyone should focus on in myself in growth mode from my own studio. Those are the things that I’m focusing on.
Colie: I mean, all of that was amazing information. Fiona and I really, you know, you are probably the fourth guest that I’ve had on this podcast this year that has started to talk about Instagram as a nurturing tool and not a growth tool. And I feel like at least two of them use those specific words. As a systems person, I want to quickly get everybody and anybody into my systems, my booking funnel, if you will, as quickly as possible.
So I don’t really wanna, you know, talk about money in the dms or do that kind of stuff. But what I am finding is that. If you nurture the people in your Instagrams on your dms, in the comments, there will be a natural progression where when they are ready to actually start talking about hiring you, then you can move them to whatever tool you use to book them.
But I think that, at least in my case, Like my sense of how long that nurture timeframe needs to be has certainly gotten a lot longer recently, cuz I used to wanna push people, you know, into my C R M just as quickly as possible. And now I’m just realizing that if you are just natural and you interact with people, I mean, when they are ready to take advantage of your services, you are going to be the first person that they think of.
Fiona: Right, and it helps to build confidence. I mean, the first thing that I always talk about with marketing is if you don’t fix your brain, Because that’s gonna be your biggest roadblock, then you won’t do anything because you’ll judge the hell out of yourself and you will think all of these negative thoughts and you will be the one who holds yourself back.
So when I see photographers really blossoming into confident marketers, I know that that is going to serve them so well no matter what happens. And Instagram is the perfect place to do that. So I love to see people trying new things on there.
Colie: You guys can’t see my face if you’re listening to the podcast, but I think all of you know that I get really excited when my guest gives me the title for this episode. It is going to be marketing with confidence because you know what? It ju I just realized this, Fiona, I. I talk a lot about building confidence in your pricing and building confidence in your offers, and then by default, building confidence in like your systems and your automations to know that they’re gonna work like they should.
I have legitimately never thought about building confidence in your marketing. It’s, it’s rare that someone gives me something that I’ve just never thought of, but like it really is. The whole aspect of talking about your offer too much. That is because in some level, you don’t feel confident that what you’re offering is something that someone wants.
Because if they want it, they’re gonna wanna hear about it over and over again. But I feel like if you don’t have the confidence to talk about your offer to, you know, give your value in that way, you’re gonna struggle with your marketing. That’s brilliant. Fiona. Sorry, I’m just having a little conversation with myself here.
Fiona: okay. Yeah, I mean, I think that it’s good to recognize that women especially have had a lot of negative messaging around their voices, their appearance. We have a lot of roadblocks in the way, so anytime that you push all of that aside and show up on stories and talk about what you, what you like, I think of that as like a radical act because you were saying, I am no longer going to be confined by this, and I’m going to step over that fear and speak.
Anyway, I just, I think it’s really, really powerful. So it’s, if you wanna, if people wanna practice, one of the things that I love to do, Because I’ve talked to a lot of people about this, the voice, the people hearing, the sound of their own voice will hold them back. So if you have a tool like Voxer, you can just speak into it and play it back in your earbuds to the point where you desensitize yourself to the sound of your own voice.
And you can do the same thing with your, your video, like seeing yourself on video. The more you do it, you train your brain to realize that it’s perfectly normal and you can become desensitized to yourself, which then allows you to say anything you want, anywhere you want, which is very freeing.
Colie: Yeah. I mean, and I say the same thing about writing emails, but your marketing is the same thing. When people tell me that they struggle to write marketing emails or they struggle to write their website copy or any of those things, I’m like, but how would you talk about it with a friend? I. Can you talk to your friend and record yourself so that you can get those little nuggets so that you can use them, and that would be something really great to use in your marketing and your messaging as well.
Fiona: Mm-hmm. Totally.
Colie: Fiona, this conversation has been absolutely amazing. I am gonna have all of your links in the show notes, but tell the listening audience where they can find you and learn more about your educational offers, and those adventure sessions if they happen to be in the Pacific Northwest.
Fiona: Yes. So the adventure sessions are pretty much booked out from the Black Friday sale, but I do have occasional openings and then local sessions as well. And then I have my own podcast, the Family Photographer Marketing podcast. And then I recently started an Instagram subscription, which is where we take, we talk about in the podcast and dive further in.
And then I’m also hosting a four week workshop through Unraveled. On marketing planning, so that is really what’s coming up for me over the next couple months.
Colie: Yeah, I mean, and so lemme just ask you one clarifying question cuz I feel like I’ve had several content planners on the, on the podcast. What would you see as the main difference between planning for your marketing and planning for your content? Because they overlap, but they are not the same.
Fiona: Sure. So I mean, I like the idea of content pillars because it helps you to consistently say things. If you are only in that mindset of focusing on just posting images, like you said, you can often forget to actually speak about what you’re offering, a call to action, getting people to your website.
So content is just whatever it is you’re posting. Marketing is the strategy. That’s how I would see the, the differences there.
Colie: All right. Fiona. In order to close this episode out, I’m actually gonna ask you what I ask all of my guests who come on the podcast, tell me about the biggest fuck up that you had in business, what you learned from it, and how you grew from it.
Fiona: So the worst thing that ever happened to me was that I was sitting on my couch and I got a text from a client saying, we’re here. And I was not there obviously cuz I was sitting on my couch and that was before I implemented systems in my business at all. So I was kind of relying on my email and hoping that those e.
Appointments would make it into my phone. So I promised myself that E, even though it took a lot of work to implement a new system, that I would never be in that position again because it was the worst feeling ever. So I got my business on acuity scheduling, and now everybody is. Under the same system and everyone gets reminder emails because not only does it build trust within the booking process, but I just never want to leave a client all dressed up looking beautiful in the middle of Pike’s Place.
That’s where this particular session happened and me be sitting on my couch. So I think in those sorts of instances, it’s okay to forgive yourself and then change for the better. And that is growth and that’s beautiful, and that happens to every single. Person who’s out there trying to run a business. So that is my biggest one.
Colie: Oh yeah. I mean this has happened to many people. I think you are literally the fourth person to say that was your biggest fuck up on this podcast. I know in particular, cuz I’m gonna be talking with Lisa soon. Lisa from the Art and Soul Show. Back then she had a studio at our house and the client showed up at her house and she was in the bathroom.
Fiona: Oh my gosh.
Colie: So, I mean, it definitely happens. At least she was then able to, you know, put clothes on and. Do all that kind of stuff. Fiona, thank you so much for coming on the Business First Creative Podcast. It was a blast.
Fiona: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I loved it.
Colie: All right guys. That’s it for this episode. See you next time.