- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 11/16/2008
- Writing for the Web
Several months ago, I mentioned to someone at a networking event, “I need a photographer for some good head shots.” A few days later I got a call. “Hi. I’m Daphne and I am a photographer. I would be happy to work with you. My studio is in Smallville.” “Frankly, that’s a little far,” I said. “I live in the city without a car.” “No problem,” she said. “I get down to your neighborhood fairy often. I can drive you. But don’t wait too long. I am booking 30 days ahead. And I have to charge you for transportation.” Daphne sent a contradictory message. On the one hand, she says she’s got a full practice. On the other hand, she’s marketing to a client who is all wrong for her. What can we learn from this example? (1) Get clear on your ideal client. For Daphne, that means clients who come to her studio on their own power. She can promote herself geographically — a very powerful way to use pay per click and SEO to attract traffic. She needs clients who will be relaxed and happy when they arrive at her studio so she can do a great job and get wows and referrals.
Daphne can spell out these requirements in the Client
s and Services pages on her website. Prospects will self- select before they initiate the first contact. And she can send prospects to her website so she won’t have to waste time explaining her policies. (2) Focus on your professional skills. If you have to offer extras to get clients to come, you need to tighten the definition of your ideal client. Daphne is in the photography business, not the transportation business. (Technically you need a hack license to get paid for driving someone around, but that’s another story.) Daphne’s website needs to showcase her unique skills so she will fill her practice with the *right* clients. Her “Results” and “About” pages should showcase what she can do for her Ideal Clients. (3) Spell out your policies on your website. Don’t shy away from sharing your payment, appointment and cancellation policies. Daphne needs to say something like, “You must arrive in my studio at least 10 minutes before our appointment or I reserve the right to reschedule.” My own site includes a statement that I won’t tweak or touch up existing copy.
Once you spell out your requirements, you will find that you’ll get few temptations to say yes to the wrong client. That’s because only the *right* clients will make the call.