You know?

The one rushing through questions nobody is interested in, in the first place, just to get to the point where you leave the bar together.

Except, you can clearly see through it. And that’s why it feels gross.

Or like a ridiculous waste of time if, after all, you would not mind being asked out.

But what’s this got to do with marketing?

What makes marketing feel gross – like some dates – is not having an “agenda” (getting the sale), but trying to hide it.

WHEN HATING MARKETING IS INEVITABLE

What’s even worse, is that we don’t realise how this approach makes marketing feel gross not only for our clients… but also for ourselves.

Marketing with a hidden agenda is that feeling you get when you tell a lead “I only have two spaces left, make sure you don’t miss out” when the only appointment in your diary is your best friend’s birthday.

Is that “I hate writing” you feel in your core, when writing for marketing is reduced to “what can I write that’s gonna get me likes and enquiries right away so I don’t feel totally invisible?”.

At the core of this, there is the idea that being good means convincing people. Means getting them to say yes.

Yes, book me in. I don’t really know if you are the right one but I don’t want to miss out.

Yes, I’ll buy wall art. That new phone. That car. That course. I’ll regret it, but there we go – you have convinced me.

And it makes sense, because “yes” feels good. It feels like a win. It feels like money.

“No”, on the other hand, feels like… rejection. 

A GOOD FIT? 

Here’s the thing.

In business, same as in your personal life, going out with the wrong person has consequences. 

If you are lucky, you’ll only end up hating your dinner and how uncomfortable, even awkward, the evening felt.

But even if that’s not the case, rest assured you’ll regret that yes. Maybe even months down the line.

Maybe, you won’t even be aware of the consequences. 

A bad review (for your studio, that is), or simply a bunch of clients who “would not really recommend” you.

So what if marketing was not about getting people to say yes, but about making it easy for people to decide whether we are a “yes” or a “no” to them? 

What if marketing was not about finding our ideal client, but about making sure who we are is so clear that it’s easy for them to recognise us? (More on the relation between “who you are” and your brand here).

FILTERING vs CONVERTING

Ok, but that’s just theory – how do we put all of this into practice?

Let’s start with a simple excercise: let’s write something that will resonate with your ideal client, and repel your “nightmare” client

STEP 1 – YOUR “HELL NO”

Think about enquiries and questions you have received in the last few months.

Think about those that raise all of your alarm bells.

Could be people sending you a one line email that looks like “hi i’m interested in a baby session can you give me prices tx”. You know the one.

Could be someone sending you 30 images of babies in props, asking if you can do the same, when not a trace of a prop can be found on your pages.

Or maybe, simply, you don’t want to deal with any more “oh we are just looking for a few digitals”. To the point where reading that sentence would make you go “I’m fully booked”.

Choose one of these alarm-bell-raising questions and write it down.

STEP 2 – THE MUST-HAVES

Now think about something that for you is a non-negotiable, something that must be true for a client to be a good fit.

Could be… liking deep, rich colours.

Or liking posed images because you don’t do lifestyle.

Again, choose one non-negotiable and write it down.

STEP 3 – LET’S WRITE

Now, the easy part.

  1. Take your “must-have” and turn it into a sentence that sounds like: If you love [must have] you will love a session with me.

For example: 

If you love a rich, deep colour over any “baby pink”, you will love a session at [studio name].

If you love the idea of natural, unposed images of your newborn baby, a session with me is exactly what you are looking for.

  1. Take your “hell no” and list it in a “we might not be a good fit if” sentence.

For example: 

If you are only looking for a couple of digital images, we might not be a good fit. Although there is no obligation to purchase when you come for your viewing appointment, from the moment you enquire we will work to create a stunning gallery of minimum 20 images of your baby and most of my packages offer the best savings when you buy all of them.

STEP 4 – PRACTICE!

Use these sentences on your homepage or first reply to an enquiry.

FEELING SCARED?

If you have followed me until here, you probably felt good about the “if you love” sentence.

And terrified by the “hell no” one, because that will make people say no.

And “no” means losing a sale.

No means rejection.

But in the end, it all comes down to this: creating a business we love and that feels beautiful requires awareness of who we are, and what we want, and the courage of leaving behind whatever is not gonna get there.


Hi, I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but it’s written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.

I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.

Feeling on the brink of burnout? Read our guide “Photographers on the brink of burnout

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

Online advertising can be quite complicated… and launching campaigns without knowing the rules can be quite costly! Not to mention that you might not getting the results you were expecting.

To help you get started, we have created a simple 5-step guide. FAR from being a comprehensive guide to advertising for Newborn Photographers, this should help you avoid some of the most common mistakes… such as launching ONE CAMPAIGN with ONE AD and running it without tracking results.


Almost everybody has had this experience.

You go to a store to buy something. A pair of trousers, for example.
So your trip is purposed, you are leaving your house to go and buy something you need.

You enter the store, the customer assistant comes to you and asks “Can I help you?”

“No, I am just looking”.

In fact, this is our conditioned response to almost anything that can get us into a “sales process”.

We say no because we don’t want to be pressured into buying something.
We say no because we don’t want to have to explain WHY we don’t want to buy those trousers that apparently fits us perfectly and look good.


We say no because we want to be free to “think about it”.

You know why?

Because we’re supposed to.

Starting from childhood, we’re taught to be wary of people we don’t know and to never make a fast decision when it comes to buying something.

We aren’t supposed to buy at first. We’re taught not to do it.

So to expect our prospects to go against the very habits and beliefs is foolish.

Still, this is what most photographers and businesses in general try to do when it comes to promoting their services over the internet. And especially when it comes to paid ads.

We expect an immediate return, we expect “instant bookings”. For some reason, we are happy to spend hundreds of pounds or dollars in activities that don’t generate any return, but the moment we invest £10 in Facebook Ads or Google Ads we want to see bookings flocking in.

And for this reason, we mostly put out campaigns, ads and posts that sound more or less like:
“Give me X amount of money NOW to get Y”.

The bad news is that this message is exclusively designed to focus on the tiny percentage of prospects who defy human nature and buy quickly, and it ignores (and usually irritates) everyone else.

The good news is that there are massive opportunities for studios and photographers who do things differently.

You can start today by booking a free business and marketing strategy session below.


Expensive new car. Check ✔️.

Designer clothes. Check ✔️.

Apple watch for both mom and dad ✔️. Check

New phones. Aaaand check ✔️.

Ever had in the studio someone who checked all of the “HIGH spender” boxes… and ended up buying a bunch of digitals?

Or the opposite, a totally unexpected BIG sale.

So… if targeting “high spenders” or “ideal clients” is not as easy as targeting more affluent people, how can we ensure we get “the right” people in the studio?

Who are these “high spenders”?

Why people buy

Despite what most of us believe, very rarely clients are happy to pay a higher price because “they value your time or talent more” than others do.

Why? Because the motivation to buy comes from within the buyer. In other words, it’s never about YOU.

Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you went on a workshop.

“Well, actually I chose my trainer because she was the best one… and I know quality comes at a cost. So I was happy to pay more!”

Sure. But you probably picked that trainer because…

  • You had a “painful problem” you wanted to solve. Maybe lighting, or wrapping, or maybe the idea that creating better images would get you more (or better) clients
  • You wanted their name on your curriculung (prestige)
  • It was an easy and safe decision, as you trained with them before
  • You wanted results quickly, and training with “the best” was a guarantee of results

This is why you were happy to pay more.

The same applies to your clients.

They spend more because they believe you offer a better, quicker or more prestigious solution to their wants and needs.

In light of this, virtually almost everybody who can afford your sessions can become a high spender – if you put enough work into uncovering their wants and needs.

Or, better, their motivation for buying.

QUALIFY AND NURTURE YOUR LEADS – TOP TIPS

The reality is, though, that you won’t be able to turn every client into a high spender. We don’t have infinite time to understand everyone’s motivations and triggers for buying.

Additionally, you are a photographer… not a professional sales-woman!

“Ok cool, but I still don’t want to have in the studio people who are just looking for a bargain and will make my life a nightmare!”

This is where your marketing and pricing strategy really make all the difference.

Here are 5 tips:

1 – Choose a pricing structure aligned with your business goals. Are you a new photography trying to get market shares? An established photographer looking to increase the average spend for your newborn sessions?

2 – Align your marketing to your business and pricing. If you want people to stop talking about prices… stop focusing on price! You just cannot market yourself around price (Read this for inspiration). Divide your content in two: use some to “nurture” your leads (make them “hotter”) and some to qualify them.

Make clear who you are and what you stand for – so your content will only resonate with people who understand it and appreciate it.

3 – To understand your prospects’ motivations you need to… TALK TO THEM. So figure out a script for your Messenger and Email conversation that will help you do just that.

4 – Identify 3 to 5 key questions that can help you understand who is in front of you. Have they had a session before? Have they already thought about ways of displaying their images?

5 – GET MORE LEADS! It is almost impossible to understand trends, to perfect your scripts and really charge WHAT YOU DESERVE if your business depends on a handful of leads and bookings.

TO RECAP

Almost every client who can afford one of your newborn session has the potential to become… a high spenders.

  1. Ensure your pricing and marketing qualify your leads. Use your content to make it crystal clear who your clients are and what you stand for.
  2. Remember that what makes this possible (and sustainable) is generating enough leads and enquiries.
  3. Understand what motivates your people to book a session… and buy!

If you have found this article helpful but need some help to put together an action plan to help you get MORE of THE RIGHT clients, book a free business and marketing coaching call below.


So someone sends you an enquiry in reaction to your latest post.

You reply – they book a shoot almost immediately.

What is your first reaction?
“Now THAT’s my ideal client!”

But are they really? Or are they just “easy”?

WHEN PEOPLE BUY

One of the biggest traps when defining your “ideal customer” is to confuse them with the ones that are ready to buy now and then to put all your marketing efforts into reaching as many of them as possible.

Imagine you were running a restaurant.

As you are about to open, a couple is waiting to enter. They are hungry and have heard about your restaurant and have looked at your menu online. They come in, sit down, order within 5 minutes.

Then another couple: they are hungry and are looking for a nice restaurant, but they haven’t heard about you and are on the opposite side of town. Chances are, they will be eating somewhere else tonight.

Now imagine a couple who have just had dinner, or who is on a diet right now. They surely will be hungry or eating out at some point, but not now. Not today.

So, saying that your ideal customer is the one who books NOW equals saying that your ideal client is ONLY the couple that’s hungry RIGHT NOW, knows they want to eat at your restaurant, and knows what they want immediately.

Although your business certainly needs this kind of clients, and benefits from them, why would you target only them? They are, in fact, already your client.

THE THEORY

At any given time, your audience is divided into 3 big groups:

  • The “Now Buyers”
  • The “Future Buyers”
  • The “Never Buyers”

The Now Buyers, or active buyers, are people who have a need and are actively shopping for vendors. These are effectively “sales leads”, they might have already heard about you, are more receptive to your offers…. and only account for 3% of the marketplace.

The Future Buyers audience is made of two subgroups: first, those people who intend to change their supplier. They might have had a shoot with another photographer and didn’t like their style, or are simply looking for something different. These people account for 7% of the marketplace. They have a need for your product, but aren’t proactively searching for options. This means they can easily be turned into a client or a sale if they engage with a well timed marketing campaign – or engage with YOU!

And now, at the core of the Future Buyers group, please welcome your biggest opportunity: a  whole big 60% of the marketplace that either has a need not big enough to act on it  right now, or does not have a need… yet. It might be a couple that is thinking about having a baby in the near future, or might be one that just got the news that they are pregnant. Their priority right now is to enjoy the moment and excitement, not to book a photoshoot.

This group will not buy from you today, and for this reason is not targeted by your competitors as heavily as the Now Buyers: here is where you plant the seeds for your future success: engage with this 60% of the market the right way and be assured that when the moment comes for them to buy… they will come to you.

This is why I always suggest to create strategies aimed at reaching both the Now Buyers, to increase bookings quickly, and the Future Buyers, to secure your long term profitability.

In other words: at any point in time you roughly have a top 10% of your audience who has a need for your services, however only 3% of this group is actively searching for a provider.

Then you have another 60% of your audience who doesn’t have a need for your services today, but will in the next few months. 

The remaining 30% of the marketplace (the Never Buyers) is never going to choose you. They may be loyal to the competition, or may just never have the need for your services.

WHERE THINGS START GOING WRONG

Here are two common mistakes that we must avoid at all costs: 

1- Focus exclusively on the 3% of people ready to buy now

Why is this a mistake? At the end of the day, 3% might still be a lot of people. 

It is, but… firstly, you have to share this 3% with all your competitors. 

Whenever you see a “Get Offer”, “Book Now”, “Offer valid for the next 24 hours”, “Limited Time Offer”, “Limited Availability” call to action, that speaks to this audience. Which means, this audience is more likely to engage with another offer before you get to them, or to ignore offers in general as too heavily targeted.

To make matters worse, with photography being a “luxury” purchase, your competitors are not only other photographers. A holiday, a SPA break, a home theatre, these are all purchases that could potentially compete with a Newborn Session and related products.

2- The second trap to avoid is to use the same message for everybody in our audience, no matter if they are or aren’t ready to buy, and expect the same reaction from everybody

This is why traditional websites only work for a few photographers… and adverts in general work for even fewer of them.

The “This is my offer, click here to book now” message will never work with a future buyer… simply because at this moment in time they are not interested in what you have to offer.

Engaging with Future Buyers is only possible if you create content that brings some value to their life and it is not attached to an offer, so that you can establish a relationship and create trust before they are ready to buy.

If you invest into creating content that makes people know you and trust you before they have a need, they will skip right over your competitor and call you first when that need arises.

This is the best place for your business to be in. This is where you build a future of growth and profitability.

WRAPPING UP

If you reached 100 people today, chances are that less than 3 are very likely to book (competition, remember?) and, if the offer is compelling enough, 7 might switch to your services in the near future. Of the remaining 90, 60 people are the ones you should be investing on to build your future success and win the competition.

If you want to know more book a free coaching session for your studio using the form below.