This week we’ve been talking about finding your *Why* — your deep-down reason for being a photographer. Now we’re going to take that, and talk about how it can help you become more awesome at marketing and selling yourself to your clients!
To do that, let’s take a moment to explore the concept of the USP a bit further.
A USP is a Unique Selling Proposition. This is a big concept in marketing. You need to figure out what unique benefit you are offering your customers — the thing that will make them choose you over your competitors.
Before you get all giddy and start yelling out all the awesome things you provide your customers, you need to pay attention to the most important word in that sentence…
People buy benefits, not features. That’s one of the most important ideas of marketing and sales, and the biggest mental shift that you can make when you start trying to sell yourself and your work.
Figuring Out Your Benefits
Since this is all so gosh darn important, let’s figure out your benefits. You need to sort out how each and every one of your products and services benefits your customer.
Here’s a step-by-step process to figure it out: (adapted from Copyblogger)
1. List out all the features of your product or service
2. Ask yourself why each feature is included
3. Take the “why” and ask “how” does this fulfill the desires of your customer
4. Finally, figure out how it benefits your customer at an emotional level
Here’s the deal. The most powerful benefits are about emotions. When you can connect what you do to emotions, you’ll win.
Let’s go through that exercise with an album for a wedding. You already know that you’re not selling your clients paper, but what are you selling them?
1. What are the features of the album?
- Custom designed
- 15 spreads
- 10×10 inches
- Image cover
- Archival quality printing
2. Why are these features included?
- Custom design: Properly designed and adapted for the unique photos of their wedding
- 15 Spreads: A starting size for a standard wedding
- 10×10 Inches: A starting size for a standard album
- Image Cover: Makes the album stand out with a strong cover image
- Archival quality printing: The album will last
3. How do these features fulfill the desires of the customer?
- Custom design: Their unique and personal wedding story is told in an album
- 15 Spreads: They will get their absolute favourite images in the book
- 10×10 Inches: A manageable size for their bookshelf or coffee table, easy to transport
- Image Cover: Will be able to show off their favourite image, their album will be picked up and looked at by friends and family
- Archival quality printing: The pictures won’t fade over time, and they’ll be able to look at it for years
4. How does this benefit the customer at an emotional level?
The album captures the full story of this once in a lifetime event, elegantly displaying the joy and happiness they felt throughout the entire day. They can re-experience the emotions of their wedding as they share the book with their friends and family. And they can look back on the album with their children and grandchildren for decades to come.
Do you see how it was only once we got to the emotional level that the album sounded appealing? Sure it’s a good size, and it’s nice that the photos won’t fade, or that there are enough pages to put in all their favourite photos, but why should they care? That’s where the emotional benefits come in.
So, let’s bring it back to our *Why* now. How does that relate to all this?
Well, let me share a few comments we got when we asked photographers to share their *Why*:
There is nothing more important for parents, or for children, than for children to feel rooted in the place where they live. And no physical thing can possibly achieve that more strongly than photographs of their stories that remind them every day that they are loved and that they are home. – David
I enjoy giving families a space to slow down and enjoy each other while focusing on the love that they have for each other. And, I love showing them what that love looks like – Dana
I shoot weddings so fine art isn’t always possible, but i’d like to blend them together as much as possible so that images from the wedding day evoke and challenge, and have a distinct feel and spirit to each image. – Stefanie
We’re able to freeze moments and interactions between family members, that really show who those people are. Their expressions, what they wore, how they looked when they laughed (or sometimes, how they cried). It’s so important to be able to look back on those moments, in the present and future as kiddos grow so quickly. – Mindy
There is nothing that changes faster than the dynamics of a family and the kids in them. To be able to freeze a moment in time, an interaction, a look and let people hold on to them is an honour I am so privileged to have! – Nikki
Do you hear the benefits in those statements? The way they all get to the emotional root of photography? We had a ton of brave photographers share their *Why* with us, and not a single one said “Because I like fancy cameras” or “Because I make money”. They all got to the feelings of their job. (P.S. Huge thanks to everyone who shared! You guys rock!!)
And the amazing thing is, when they describe why they are so passionate about what they do, they describe why their clients will benefit.
Your clients are not buying photographs. They aren’t buying your time. They aren’t buying albums, or canvases, or frames, or anything like that.
They are buying emotions, and feelings, and memories. Those are the things that benefit them. Not paper.
What You Need To Do
Ok, so, going forward, here’s what you need to do.
1. Get your *Why* figured out. Take your time. Figure out what really motivates you to shoot. We invite you to share it here with all these other amazing photographers!
(And hey, if you’re having trouble figuring it out, and missed Wednesday’s post, you might want to check that out for some lesson’s I’ve learned looking for my *Why*)
2. Take that *Why*, and see how it relates to the benefits for your customers. More often than not, you’ll see that the two are very closely linked.
3. Then start breaking down all the products and services you offer your customers, and figure out how they emotionally benefit.
4. Start using these benefits in your marketing and sales.
The best part about all this is that it isn’t salesey or gimmicky. This is truly just sorting out how you can help your customers. Doesn’t that make marketing and sales sound a WHOLE lot more awesome??