best website for photographers 2020

Relying on just a website and social media accounts in today’s online climate is a mistake.

If you’re a photographer who is trying to find clients right now, using just a website (and social media accounts) then this episode is a must listen.

I’ll be sharing a better, faster, easier, and more effective alternative to convert prospects into clients – and why photographers should be focusing on that instead.

Here’s a preview of this podcast episode:
  • [03:58] – The biggest problem with relying on a website to find clients
  • [05:40] – The number one reason photographers think they need a website 
  • [07:13] – The sheer effort required to get someone to your website in the first place
  • [09:50] – You might get people click to your website, but do you know how many stick around?
  • [11:39] – Surviving in business in 2020 requires accounting for your potential customer’s buying psychology and behaviour 
  • [11:39] – How many sales a photographer can expect to get with just a website and 1000 Facebook fans on their page
  • [15:16] – The better, faster, easier and more effective alternative to convert prospects into clients
  • [16:59]  – The best news
  • [18:18] – $23,437 in her first 3 months in business without a website, using this alternative system
  • [19:10] 10 other reasons besides money to use this alternative to a website

Click here to listen!

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Podcast Episode Show Notes:

The most common thing I hear from photographers is that they “just are creating, finishing or or updating their website”. 

They believe that a website is the thing that will help them get more clients. And they believe that working on their website right now is the best use of their time, especially if they aren’t doing photoshoots due to COVID.

Today we’re covering why the amount of time, money, effort and energy required to create a website, is disproportionate to the impact and results of that time, money, effort and energy.

And I’ll be sharing a better, faster, easier and more effective alternative to convert prospects into clients – and why photographers should be focusing on that instead.

Before we dive in, I want to clarify the definition of a website. 

A website is a set of 4 or 5 static web pages with a home page and a menu bar with various options such as pricing, about you, contact, testimonials and a gallery or portfolio of your images. 

When photographers decide they need a website, what happens usually is this:

  • They spend days and weeks and months – asking in Facebook Groups and trying to decide which website platform is best for photographers – should they use Wix or WordPress or Squarespace or Weebly or Showit or something else?
  • Then they spend more days and weeks trying to choose a theme within their chosen platform…
  • Then more days and weeks choosing photos and sizing them correctly for the galleries and the headers and the pages…
  • Then more days and weeks coming up with what to actually say on the pages, too-ing and froing over whether to put their prices on the website or not and all the while fumbling their way through the backend tech…

Then when they FINALLY get the website live, they spend hours each week sharing their website link on their social media pages, on comments in Facebook groups and sliding into the DMs of those who have shown interest

— all the while HOPING and PRAYING that people will like what they see and book a photoshoot. 

At the beginning, there might be a flutter of interest from family and friends, and the approach DOES seem to work…

Maybe you’ve even had some luck with this approach.

But what usually happens soon after? — you drop your link to your website whenever and wherever you can… and you wait.

The problem with

this way of finding clients

– is that you have

zero control. 

You have no idea what goes on with them after you’ve dropped your website link in a comment or in a DM unless they come back to you with a response.

And nine times out of ten, you hear crickets — or worse, they tell you, that you’re too expensive.

It feels personal, emotional and exhausting.

This is what I call running your photography business on a HOPE and PRAY strategy…

And you start telling yourself stories like:

“Facebook is dead”

“My market is saturated”

“No-one will pay my prices”

“I can’t compete with the photographers in my area”

“I just attract price shoppers” 

“Noone is buying right now” 

If you’re listening and you are one of those photographers who has spent the last 3 or 6 or 9 months creating or updating your website

— or you’re been posting the link to your website on comments in Facebook groups…

— or you thought that creating a website would mean you would get more clients and you’ve just been feeling like it’s all too hard lately…

It’s not your fault! You’re just doing what everyone tells you to do

— and on the face of it, it DOES seem like the RIGHT thing to do..

I’m going to share with you 4 Reasons Photographers Don’t Need a Website, (especially when they are just starting out); why this traditional advice is flawed, outdated and no longer works in today’s online climate

— and I’ll be sharing an easier, faster and more effective way to find clients instead.

You might want to take some notes in this one! 

Ok let’s get started.

Reason #1 – You Don’t Get The Benefits of Organic SEO Unless You Update Your Website Content Regularly

The main reason photographers tell me that they want or need a website is for SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, so they can be found on Google organically.

However to rank in search engines, the search engines are looking for regular, updated, relevant content. And most photographers create their website, and then update it maybe once every year (or three!) 

So the first reason photographers don’t need a website is because they aren’t getting the benefit of the SEO anyway, if the content is not being updated regularly.

A blog on the other hand does give you the benefits of SEO, helping immensely with visibility, free traffic and being found on Google. 

Now – some website templates do have a blog attached to them – however when 90% of photographers are talking about creating a website, they don’t mean one with a blog – and the majority of photographers who DO have a blog attached to their website template, don’t use it so aren’t getting that benefit anyway.

If the reason you want a website is to be on Google when people look up your name, all you need is a $10 domain name and a free Google My Business account which you can create in 5 minutes. 

And – you can create a blog without the time, money and energy of also creating a website – and for free if you want to – to get the benefits of SEO. 

Reason #2 – You Don’t Own or Control Your Traffic

The second reason photographers don’t need a website is the sheer effort it takes to even GET people over to your website anymore.

Consider this. There has been a 21% increase in social media usage since March. So A LOT more noise to cut through for people to see your posts.

In fact, if you’re only relying on organic reach on Facebook — on average, only about 6% of your Facebook followers are even seeing your posts right now. There is a website called Barometer where you can actually see the exact percentage of your fans who have seen your last 50 posts – I just checked mine, and it’s just over 4%. 

So if 1000 people like your page, on average only 60 of them will be seeing your posts if your reach is 6%.

The next issue is a marketing concept called the Rule of 7.

The Rule of 7 states that a potential client or prospect needs to be exposed to your brand and “hear” your message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service. More recently updated studies on this rule have shown that given the sheer amount of information and choice online, this number is more like 18 times now. 

So if you are only using third party platforms like Facebook or Instagram, or even LinkedIn – you don’t own or control your traffic.

What this means is, because of their algorithms, you don’t know who out of the 1000 who like your page are seeing your posts. You have no control over which 6% of people see your posts – 60 people might see your first post, then 60 different people see your 2nd post and so on.

When you rely on organic posts on third party platforms to send traffic to your website, your odds of getting in front of the same people 7-18 times so that they click on the link to your website is pretty slim.

Reason #3 – 95% Of People Visiting Your Website For The First Time Will Never Return

The third reason photographers don’t need a website is that once you finally get people to your website, they don’t stick around!

A 2018 study found that the average human attention span is now eight seconds, less than that of the goldfish which is nine seconds!

So it’s no surprise then that on average you have 15 seconds to get someone’s attention on your website before they get distracted, drop off or just leave – and 95% of people who visit your website for the first time, will never return. 

It’s not surprising really, when you think about it.

Imagine this:

Someone who has never heard of you before randomly sees one of your beautiful photos in their social media feed. Their interest is piqued and they click through to your website.

They check out the photos and read the information on the page and then they have to figure out what to do next. There’s a myriad of choices – they could go to your testimonials, or about your pricing and packages or go to your contact page or view your galleries.

While they are deciding where to click next, their phone rings and it’s the school saying their child is sick and needs to be picked up. They shut down the page and spend the rest of the day dealing with whatever drama has unfolded with their child.

Because they just clicked through from social media, they don’t follow your page, your content is never put in front of them again and they forget completely about your business altogether — or worse, your beautiful photos plant the idea that they should have a photoshoot — and they go to the next photographer who pops up in their feed with an offer.

Reason #4 – A Website Doesn’t Take Into Account People’s Buying Psychology and Behaviour

And finally the fourth reason photographers don’t need a website is that a website doesn’t take into account people’s buying psychology and behaviour.

Let’s say you do create a website and you get people enquire through your pretty contact form. Yay! Your website works!

So you respond with a well thought out email with all of the information they need and a link to buy and book. And then you wait.

And guess what happens most of the time… 

CRICKETS.

You’ll probably take it personally and think there is something wrong with your pricing, your photos or your offer.

But more likely, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with people’s buying behaviour.

The facts are:

Now, throughout this episode I’ve just gone through a heap of numbers, so let’s run through an example so you can see this is action.

Let’s assume you have 1000 fans on your FB page.

Let’s say your fans are more engaged than the average 6% and you have 10% of your followers see your posts, which is 100 people.

Let’s also assume that you post at least 2-3 times per day so that the 10% of fans see your stuff between 7-18 times.

Let’s say you get 100 people to click on your website link (which is highly unlikely but I am being optimistic for you).

If all you have is a website:  

  • 95 out of the 100 people will leave and never return.
  • 3 others might come back but won’t ever buy
  • If you have an easy to find, compelling offer with an online buy now button, one will buy straight away, and one will likely wait up to three months to buy because of their buying personality
  • If they have to contact you to be able to buy, you’ll likely lose one of the sales if you don’t respond first (ie immediately) before the other five photographers they are contacting about a shoot respond to them.

These are NORMAL marketing and sales statistics.

As Denise Duffield-Thomas says,

I choose to find look at these numbers as liberating. Because you can celebrate and realise –

There is nothing wrong with your photos, your pricing or you.

Marketing metrics is just a maths equation.

So you can stop making it personal or emotional – how liberating is that!

Of course the next natural question is ok, but if I don’t need a website, what DO I need?

  • You need a way to get the SAME people to be exposed to your brand, 7-18 times;
  • You need a way to capture your potential client’s attention in 15 seconds or less;
  • You need a way to elegantly sell to the 1%-2% of people who WILL buy from you if you make them an offer;
  • You need a way to respond FIRST (ie immediately) to every enquiry;
  • You need a way to build trust, showcase your expertise and follow up the 80% of people who need 5-12 follow ups, over time.
  • You need a way to easily measure your marketing metrics so that you can make EDUCATED rather than EMOTIONAL decisions about your business;
  • You need a consistent and reliable way to find and attract leads, and convert them into sales; and
  • It must be at 90% automated, simply because you physically wouldn’t be able to have the 7-18 touch points over 12 months with every single prospect. Plus it would be so debilitating putting in this effort manually, knowing that 98% of those prospects won’t buy!

What you need is a Bookings on Autopilot System.

And here’s the best news. Are you ready?

Your Bookings on Autopilot system can be easily created in a day or two using a vehicle called a Funnel.

Funnels are a bit of a gimmicky word and photographers feel like funnels are really complicated…

A funnel is simply a series of webpages and automated emails that are shown in a specific order that help to guide your potential client into a buying decision. 

If you compare it to a traditional clothes shop for example – having a website is like walking into an outlet store you’ve never been to before, having to wade through racks and racks of clothes to find what you want and guess what size fits you. And no-one helps or answers your questions.

Having a funnel is like having a rockstar sales assistant who tells your potential customers what size, colour and shape would suit them just by looking at them. And without being pushy, shows them accessories that would be perfect too.

— Except it all happens online… automatically.

Your customer convinces themselves to buy not only the dress but also the belt and earrings – AND then raves about your store to their friends.

Here’s an example of the impact of using funnels in real life:

Rach came to me when she had just started her photography business – she literally registered her business name the day she signed up to my coaching program, the Photography Business Accelerator.

She had no website, had never done a paid shoot and didn’t even have enough photos for a portfolio! Instead of setting up a website, Rach created her Booking on Autopilot system, using a funnel.

She made $9200 in her first 4 weeks in business and went on to make $23,437 in her first 3 months. All without a website.

There are so many reasons to use a funnel compared to a website, but here are just a few:

  1. When you use a funnel, YOU own and control the traffic so you don’t need to rely on third party algorithms to be able to get your brand and expertise in front of your prospects 7-18 times 
  2. A funnel can be copied in 60 seconds, set up in a couple of hours and be making sales that same day, compared to the weeks and months agonising over the tech and design of a website
  3. You can customise a funnel so that it looks and feels like your website — but it has the functionality and effectiveness of a funnel – your clients won’t know the difference
  4. Your clients will spend more upfront, automatically
  5. When you use a funnel instead of a website, you are actually doing a favour for your potential clients. With a funnel, you share just one page, and on that one page is just one choice. They either want what that page offers and take the next step or they close down the page. With a website, your potential clients can find your website on any number of pages, and then they have to decide where they need to look next. Too many choices means too many opportunities for distraction or confusion. When you use a funnel instead of a website, you’re actually respecting your potential clients time, by only showing them exactly what they need in the order they need to see it.
  6. A funnel takes into consideration different buying personalities and learning styles, it makes your potential clients feel like you are a mind reader as you know exactly what they will want to know next — and it layers in trust, over time. With a website you have absolutely no control over what someone sees, and vital information that would have given your potential client the push they needed to get off the fence, that you think is obvious on your website, might be missed so both you and your client miss out.
  7. With a funnel, every potential client follows 7-18 clearly defined touchpoints and mental triggers over time, so if someone doesn’t buy, you don’t take it personally or make emotional assumptions about your photography. You know you’ve provided all the information someone needs to help them decide to work with you – so if they don’t buy, you can simply either assume that right now is not the right time for them– or that they are one of the 98% of people who won’t ever buy from you, and you don’t sweat it -it’s normal! 
  8. When you have a funnel, you can measure your traffic in one place, like how many people come to the top of the funnel, how many people have seen your offer, and how many people have purchased – and if your marketing metrics are not in line with the industry standards, you can easily see what the issue might be and solve it.  9 times out of 10, the issue is that not enough people have seen the offer, which has nothing to do with your pricing or photography..
  9. A funnel will increase your confidence much faster by validating your pricing and giving you the opportunity to perfect your photoshoot experience in real time, using real life clients, not hypothetical ones.
  10. When you use a funnel with your Facebook ads, you can calculate exactly how much you need to spend in order to make one sale – so you can confidently budget for ad spend based on your income and shoot goals each month as opposed to blindly paying for ads with no idea if they are working

The bottom line is this —

I hope you have enjoyed this episode.

I hope you feel liberated by the marketing numbers, and that when you have a Booking on Autopilot System using a funnel, you can accurately calculate how many people will buy when you make an offer.

If you haven’t created your website yet – stop – don’t bother! A funnel is a better, faster, easier and more effective way to find clients and should be your number one priority if you need more clients.

And if you want to get your hands on some of my best photography funnel templates, including the one that made Rach $23,437 in her first 3 months in business, you can do that here, right now!

Other Ways To Enjoy This Episode

  • Listen To This Episode on iTunes here
  • Download The Transcript To This Episode here

Resources Mentioned

Go Deeper

  • Watch the Bookings on Autopilot Training here
  • Join the Photography Business Accelerator here

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Clare xx

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