How to compete against cheap photographers

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00:00 Hey guys, Matt Hoagland here. Hey, I was asked a question the other day and I wanted to share it with you and the question was how do I compete with cheaper photographers? And so the sub question of it, it’s like how do I stand out or convinced potential clients to go with me and not a cheaper photographer and so this is something else and I have dealt with for years and years and our market and here’s some of the techniques that we’ve used in the past to compete with cheaper photographers. So the first thing you want to do is to identify how you can differentiate yourself from those cheaper photographer. So sometimes we have to do that by offering different products in their offering. Sometimes we can differentiate ourselves from from a cheaper photographer just by offering better service. And then sometimes we literally just outspend photographers. I’m cheaper photographers because they’re so cheap that they can afford to do the marketing that we can do and so we can just outspend them and just keep market share until they just decided they can’t compete with us anymore.

00:52 And then they typically just go away. Um, let me go into each one of those in a little bit more depth so I can explain exactly what I mean. And hopefully this helps you on. So with some of the photographers in town that we’ve competed with are cheaper than us. We just had an offer offer different products. So if you’re just offering a usb full of images and your competitors offer you usb full of images, typically the client is going to go with a cheaper person because it’s like buying to apples, right? If there’s no difference between the apple, why wouldn’t you buy the cheaper apple? And so what you need to do is figure out how to differentiate yourself. So most cheap photographers don’t offer printed products. So just by offering printed products, whether it’s printed prints, it’s albums, it’s a stuff for the wall, it’s boxes.

01:35 Any of that stuff that you can offer will differentiate you and really make a huge difference with you to the client. So Allison, I go to conferences every single year and the number one reason we go to photography conferences is not to listen to the speakers on stage, but we comb the expo with all the new products so every year we try to offer a three to four new products. Some of them were just testing and they don’t ever make it, you know, because nobody orders them and other times you know, they really take off and are huge. So for example, one thing that we did a couple of years ago is that we offered a albums to all of our clients as well. Some of our competitors did. So we went and looked for a better album. So we went and found that Miller had started offering their signature albums, which was way better than what we’re currently using.

02:22 And we started offering that. So we had a premium album to offer our clients and it just differentiated us and helped us stand out against our competition. The other thing that we’ve done over the years is we’ve specialized in Walmart. So when you come into our studio, you see these huge clusters of metals and canvases and different things hanging on the wall and that helps us specialize in. Let people know that this is what we do is we do, we do all our and we’re a one stop shop. So when you come to us that you purchase these things for your home, you decorate your home with them and this is what you do, which is totally different than the cheaper photographer that’s just offering a usb full of images. So that’s something that you can do is to specialize and Walmart and I have a class all about how to build that and how to start selling a wall clusters and Walmart and I’ll link it below.

03:08 But the whole concept of this is that you just need to differentiate your product differently than them. You just can’t compete doing the exact same thing. So offer something different that they can’t offer typically because they’re. They’re so cheap that they can’t even order samples of albums or they can’t even justify justify spending $250 to order an album from somebody. But if you’re charging a thousand dollars for it, it’s awesome. The other thing that’s really important here is from the customer’s standpoint, when you sell a Usb to them and they have to go do additional work with those images, right? They still have to go to walgreens or Walmart or go online to order prints and it’s just more work that they don’t necessarily understand how to do. And that’s not a full complete service. And so make sure that you’re offering them a one stop shop.

03:52 It’s like, well, when you come to us and you order your pictures, when you pick them up at you’re completely done. For example, you could hang the wall art form so they don’t have to go home and hang the wall art. You just do. You help them do that as well. So there’s lots of things that you can do to offer different products and some of those things lead into the next thing with some of our competition, we just have to offer a better service. So we offer hanging, hanging their prints in their house and you know, things like that. But the two main ones that really have made a big difference with us and our competition is faster turnaround times. So that’s another reason why we use Miller’s is because they do overnight shipping to us. So that shaves off lots of time and we can turn around their product much, much faster than our competition.

04:33 And then the other one that has really helped us a lot, especially when we first got to our market, is that we called people back right away. So we said we’re gonna call everybody back within one day and now we tried to call everybody back within four hours. And it was huge because one of the complaints that we heard when we first got here is that yeah, I called a bunch of photographers. I haven’t heard back from any of them yet. It was taking photographers like three days to call somebody back, which is just like, to me crazy. So we said we’re going to call everybody back in a day. And we made it a goal and we did that and was amazing is we typically were the first person to call them back. And so therefore we got the booking, so if you’re struggling just to make sure that you’re calling people back as fast as possible.

05:10 Few other things that we did to offer better service, we offer better retouching in one year. We actually hired somebody as on staff to come in and do all of our retouching so that we could offer head swaps and different, you know, things stray hair removal, we could offer all these different things where a lot of the cheaper photographers, we’re just doing a global edit in lightroom, burn it onto a USB and being done. And so it allowed us to offer additional services that they couldn’t get anywhere else and differentiated as we also offered late night pickups. So there was a couple nights a week that we stay at our studio to 8:00 so that when people get off work at five, they have a couple of hours to come get the, um, their products from us. And so think about doing that. You don’t have to do it five nights a week or six nights a week.

05:50 You can just do it a couple of nights a week, maybe on Tuesdays and Thursdays you stay late and you allow people to pick up stuff after work, which was really good service. The other thing that’s kind of subtle as you can also offer an intern program for middle schoolers or high school kids or college kids and that helps you connect with the community. It also helps you influence the interns a circle of influence and so if you. If you’re trying to photograph high school seniors, having a high school senior intern helps a lot because then they help advocate for your business and that’s just a service that you can offer to the community but then also helps you grow your business. So those are some ideas. So sometimes you just have to offer better service than your competitors. And then the last one is kind of a slippery slope, but we’ve done it before.

06:31 Sometimes you just have to outspend it. A cheap photographer, so have a cheap photographer, just doesn’t. They’re doing a super cheap and they just don’t have a lot, lot of money for advertising. Just make sure that you’re running ads, you’re being seen all the time and a lot of times you can get in their head where if they’re seeing if the competitor is senior ads all the time as well, they’re just like, man, I just can’t compete with these guys. They’re just everywhere all the time. And so by outspending them with advertisements and marketing, sometimes that works as well. The other thing you can do is you can actually do a session sessions that are over the top, right? So like if you’re doing high school seniors, you can do destination sessions with them. You can travel to, um, like with our high school seniors, we traveled to Moab and to the sand dunes every year.

07:12 And then those pictures are amazing and they get spread around because they’re very unique. And so people share them all the time with your brides. You could also do a day after sessions where you offer, you know, like the day after their wedding you can offer to go to, you know, maybe after the desert or you can go into the city or something like that. And offer a really cool unique pictures of just the bride and groom. So there’s this things like that session is like that, that you can do that are over the top, that’ll be special, that will resonate with your marketing more and resonate with your clients more, um, and just do things like that. So sometimes you can just now spend cheaper photographers. So those are kind of my tips of what we’ve done in the years past. Hopefully that helps you. I’ll link below. You’ll see some additional questions below as well as a, so links to like my, you know, my wall cluster class and some things like that that hopefully can help you. But hopefully that helps guys talk to you soon.