EP 51: The end of the year is a great time to thank your clients for the projects and jobs you've collaborated on. How you show that appreciation can be done in many ways. Today I'm going over 3 methods that I think help creatives stand out and build stronger client relationships.Cradoc Foto Software
Michael Der 0:02
You're listening to Artrepreneurs, a podcast that inspires photographers and visual artists to live their best creative lives. My name is Michael der and I am a full time photographer with nearly 10 years of experience in the freelancing world. And I'm sitting down with an amazing community of visual artists to talk about process, business, and the lessons that have helped them grow. So let's get to it. Artrepreneurs starts right now.
All right, thank you so much for tuning into the program, we are at the very near end of the year of 2021, which means we're close to being two years removed from the start of the 2020 pandemic, which just blows my absolute mind. I feel like I'm still stuck in 2020 mode, still, to some degree, and the world is too. But that was damn near two years ago. So I'm just flabbergasted by how fast time is flying by.
Now one quick little reminder, we have a brand new Facebook page. Thanks for that show of confidence. Now, you might be asking yourself, what does that actually mean? Why do I even care? Well, the reason why I say that Facebook is important is that you can actually listen to the latest episodes of entrepreneurs directly through your Facebook page on your mobile device. Now, I am not sure why Facebook does not show the episodes on the actual desktop version. That seems a little bit stupid to me. But hey, it is what it is. For now just enjoy the fact that it is on your mobile device. And you don't even have to leave the Facebook page.
Now the point of today's episode is to show your clients who have been such a big part of your year, just a little bit of thanks, just a little bit of appreciation. And I think acknowledgement can go a long way in client retention and network building. On top of that, it's just going to make you feel better. Now I started thinking about this topic after I read a blog article from Robert Knoll, who's a photographer and the VP at Sprout studio, who on his blog said that satisfactory service does not create loyalty. And I just love that sentiment. So let that sink in. Folks, I'm going to repeat that one more time, satisfactory service does not create loyalty. So what does that really mean? Obviously, if we want to create customer loyalty or client loyalty, we have to provide outstanding service, we can't just maintain the status quo. And this is something that I think b2c photographers like wedding shooters and senior photographers and family photographers are so inherently good at, they understand how important that customer development is the little nuances of generating an outstanding photographic experience for the people they work for. Because more often than not, the client and the assignment are one in the same. Now b2b creators. On the other hand, if I'm being honest, can occasionally lose sight of that, because the subjects you're photographing may not always be the same people cutting you the check. And so when that happens, it's relatively easy to lose sight of client satisfaction. After all your mind is on the assignment and not the client, which might be actually the right thing to do to be present to be focused on doing your job to the best of your abilities. But right now, as you're gearing up for the holidays, getting ready to wind down on the year, maybe it's a good time to acknowledge the people who sent you on that assignment in the first place. So here are three ways to think your client at year's end to hopefully create some loyalty,
video or audio messages. So if your goal is to stand out to your client among all the other creatives competing with you, you should find ways to leave more memorable thank yous an email or text, while very convenient, can also be somewhat impersonal. So consider leaving a video or audio message to your client thanking them for the collaborative year that you had. This is going to leave a greater impact than any other standard method like email or text. Now you can do this in a couple of different ways. One way that I've done is to use a program called bonjoro, which allows you to record video messages and email it to people free of charge. Now a bunch of other claims that the average email open rate is about 21%, which is pretty low, while Manjaro customers who leverage video messaging average over 60% open rate you can also opt in for their paid plans to access more features that will help you convert, retain and grow your customers with delightful personal messages. Another way to send video or audio messages is to DM them directly if you follow each other on social media. Now Pat Flynn has been notorious at doing this, he's created tremendous loyalty with his super fans. By doing this each time one of his podcast listeners would write a comment on his page, he'd respond by sending out a 22nd video thanking the listener and showing his appreciation. Now, not only did this make his audience feel heard and respected, but it also converted on Pat's call to actions with far greater success. He said it was far easier to get an apple review by simply asking a person directly over a video message, as opposed to blasting it out over email to 1000s. Who might ignore it. So consider this as a gateway thank you to building loyalty with your clients. A genuine audio or video message can leave a lasting mark with a client letting them know that they're not just a paycheck. This works for b2b and b2c creators alike.
Client gifts. So if you have a small number of clients that amount to a large portion of income, a thoughtful client gift is a great way to show appreciation. Now, I wouldn't recommend doing this to every person who paid you for a $200 headshot, you're just going to burn out of your profit. And if you're shooting a lot of people, you can't keep up with that volume. Now instead consider which clients will really contribute to the bulk of your year. Maybe it's every client who paid you over $5,000 Maybe it's every client who paid you at least 1000 or 10,000. It doesn't really matter. Maybe it's more of a feeling that you have based on the enjoyment that you had working with them. If it was fulfilling. Maybe that's your qualifier, and that's the method that I adopt.
I really just go by feel. So I've sent my clients cookies for the last several years and they all look forward to them come Christmas times. It's one of my staples now. And this year I upgraded from Mrs. Fields cookies, and I ordered Honolulu cookie company cookies and sent those out already to which I've already received amazing responses. So I'm very excited about that. Now one of my favorite examples of client gifting comes from one of my favorite photographers clay cook. His gift presentation is truly impressive. In a blog article for F stoppers, he writes the following, I landed on an idea of a custom barnwood box packed with a series of special souvenirs from my home state of Kentucky. The box was designed with the intent to simply send a bottle of my favorite bourbon, but I wanted to supplement the bottle with a few other items to show off the state such as horseshoes, and teach John classes, antique farm tools, and local spices and sauces. I drew out the measurements and consulted with a company that constructed these custom branded slide top boxes. The handwritten letter with a wax seal stamp accompany the gifts and to leave behind promotional cards were hidden in the hay and provided a soft cushion for the items. Every single box was unique. Alright, so talk about leaving a mark when I saw the pictures that accompanied that blog article, I was blown away with the production quality. Now do I recommend that you follow suit? No, not really. Clay Cooke is a very successful commercial advertising photographer. And if you don't have substantial budget to accommodate high paying clients, I wouldn't worry about it too much. But I wanted you to visualize how seriously some photographers prioritize their relationships, you should take that part of the process and apply it to your business,
coffee, lunch or dinner. Alright, so this part is pretty difficult to accomplish. If you haven't hit it off with your client. Sometimes it's an age difference. Sometimes it's a personality difference. But you're not always going to be besties with the people who hire you, that does not mean that you can't offer to treat them to lunch, or coffee or even a dinner. It's actually one of the best ways to network. And I don't mean that in some sleazy way, like you're just trying to get more work out of them. I legitimately mean it in a sincere way. Don't you want to connect with your client, but you want to know more about the company and its goals, what their creative direction is, whether it's changing or whether they have any ideas that they haven't informed you of yet, wouldn't you like to know your client just a little bit better to pick up on how he or she likes to work, that knowledge allows you to provide better value and service to your client without them having to tell you what's on their mind. So I think it's a great way to develop creative chemistry with a client and stand out from the competitive crowd. Now, there are many other ways to show your clients appreciation and gratitude. And I'm sure you might have ideas of your own that I just haven't thought of yet. And if you do hit us up on the show and let us know what has worked for you in the past. But if you haven't thought of any of this before today, that's okay as well I hope you just do going forward. Now I think about these things well before the new year even gets here because I'm always trying to deliver a good experience, whether it's for the people in front of my camera, or for the person signing my checks. So if you want repeat work if you want better assignments if you want your clients to recommend you to another agency. Hell if you simply want more clarity and communication with your current employer, consider how you can stand out and build a stronger relationship. And so if I can leave you with one final thought expanded on from Robert Knoll, whom I cited earlier when talking about breaking the status quo with your clients. He says it's not enough to meet expectations. If you want clients for life satisfactory service does not great loyalty, it is going that extra mile each and every time that's going to enable you to enjoy loyal clients and referrals that allow for a sustainable business career.
Hey, everybody, this is Michael der thank you so much for making it all the way to the end of the episode. I hope you'll follow tag and engage with us on our Instagram account at Artrepreneurspod. We've also launched our website Artrepreneurspod.com. It is the central hub where you can sign up for our newsletter, read our blog posts, send us voicemails, and even access discounts from our amazing affiliates. It's also the perfect spot to shout out Artrepreneurs with what would be an immensely appreciated five star rating and review. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can even make a small donation that's really going to help accelerate the growth of this podcast. But no matter what you do, folks, I just want to say thank you so much for supporting this program. There are a lot of great photography podcasts out there and I am just grateful to have gained your trust even for our mom, take care of you will see you next week.
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