Show your prospective customer how you solve their problems when you apply storytelling to your photography pricing guide.
Have your pricing guide tell a story that emphasizes the client’s experience
In modern marketing, your business takes the backseat. Instead, your client is the true star, and the services you provide are part of their story.
Use empathy to relate to your ideal client. Look past the superficial aspects of your customer profile and get to know who they are as people. Then speak directly to their needs.
Practical Application: Regardless of the type of photography that you offer, you want to create a pricing guide that answers these three questions:
- What services do you offer?
- How will these services make their lives better?
- How can they book you to be their photographer?
A quick tip: put your photo pricing guide online
Before you dig in and start creating a brand-new PDF (or, worse yet, crafting a beautifully long email your client will never read), consider creating a hidden webpage that contains all of this information.
Bonus: You don’t have to worry about anyone downloading a larger file when you present your pricing with a simple link!
As you and your business grow, your prices and offerings change. Gone are the days where you find yourself in the sticky position where an old inquiry pulls out a PDF of your pricing from three years ago! But remember to hide these pages from Google and WordPress to ensure they aren’t visible to anyone gifted with a search engine.
If you offer custom pricing for your clients, create a photography pricing guide template you can personalize for each proposal. Go the extra step of individualizing their experience by creating a private website that holds all of their information, including their personalized pricing guide.
Using your photography pricing guide to convert inquiries
Your photography pricing guide is about so much more than the total cost you present for your services. Stop focusing on what photographers can charge in your local market and start telling the story of your client’s transformation.
“Businesses that invite their customers into a heroic story grow. Businesses that don’t are forgotten.” – Donald Miller
Take a page out of the book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller and apply his StoryBrand 7 (SB7) framework to create a pricing guide that books.
Clarify your message with storytelling
In his book, Donald Miller outlines how to have a distinct message that will resonate with your target customer. It is simple, craft a story where you guide them to solving their problem.
The SB7 framework:
- A Hero
- Has a problem
- And meets a guide
- Who gives them a plan
- And calls them to action
- That helps them avoid failure
- And ends in a success
Applying Storybrand to your photography pricing guide
It’s immediately evident how you can put this framework to use in your captions or blog posts. But your pricing guide? You’re a professional photographer, not an author!
All you have to do is tweak the existing sections in your pricing guide, and you’re good to go!
#1 Welcome: introducing the hero and their pain points
Set your client up as the hero in the Welcome paragraph and identify their pain points with empathy. When you speak directly to your prospective customer, addressing their needs, you build a connection.
“Empathy fuels connection…. Empathy is a skill that can bring people together and make people feel included.” – Brene Brown.
The key is to define your audience’s problem. Focus not on what the hero needs but on why they need it. Make your client feel understood by speaking their language.
As you update your pricing structure regularly, make this section timely. Identify what problems they may currently face. Set yourself up as an expert by showing your clients that you see them.
Start thinking like your client, and you’ll quickly see the challenges they face at this moment in time. For example, 2020 canceled many photographic opportunities. How did that create problems for your potential clients?
#2 About: the hero and guide connect
The About section is your time to shine! But don’t forget, your client isn’t searching for a hero. You’re merely here as their guide.
There’s no room in your pricing guide for your whole photography story. A simple introduction will do.
Then, allow your client to see themselves working with you by finding ways that your stories merge.
Paint a picture of the photographer you! How do you stand out in your market? How do you capture them in a way they will cherish forever?
Show up in a professional branding picture or behind-the-scenes video. Give your clients space to envision you solving their problems, building their trust in you. Don’t just make verbal promises, visually show them how you make their lives better.
#3 The Process: a clear plan to success
You’ve invited your ideal client into the story by crafting a story they can relate to. You further drew them in when you recognized their pain points. You’re now the guide that can solve their problems.
Here’s the time to hook them with a step-by-step plan for success. Craft this section of your photography pricing guide with that one goal in mind!
Give your customers the roadmap to their success by describing the experience of working with you in four easy steps!
- How to book you as their photographer
- What it’s like to work with you
- How you deliver the solution to their problems
- A beautiful life with their problems solved
While your process may include over four components, make sure each step is an obvious part of this story.
This section is all about removing barriers to their overall success, providing the solution to their problems. Continue to build trust by focusing on their goals and identifying ways you’re the expert along the way.
#4 Pricing: the first call to action
Like every great story, the hero needs a little push to get moving. As the guide, it is your duty not just to show them how to solve their problem but to get them to spring into action!
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Revealing your pricing is the whole reason you’ve created your photography pricing guide. Whether you provide packages, price your day rates, or list your cost for digital files, you want to present your pricing in a straightforward manner. Plainly describe precisely what they will receive.
Don’t just list the number of images they will receive. You want to focus on the benefits instead of the features that you offer. Continue with the story by concentrating on how each offering solves your clients’ pain points.
#5 Portfolio: images of success
Your portfolio is visual proof you provide your clients with success. When people see others succeed, they are more motivated to apply the same solution to their own problems. Create galleries of your favorite images that represent the success your hero can find with you.
Emotive images tell engaging stories. Draw your hero further into your story by connecting to them emotionally. How will they feel after you solve their problems?
Include images that communicate these emotions, giving the hero concrete examples that allow them to visualize their happy ending.
#6 FAQ: overcome objections by helping the hero avoid failure
While frequently asked questions seem like the least sexy part of your photography pricing guide, this section is a crucial aspect of the SB7 framework. If framed correctly, these questions allow you to prime the hero on how they must think about your photography services.
“Treat objections as requests for further information.” – Brian Tracy
Highlight benefits to improve value by giving the hero a sneak peek of the consequences of not hiring you as their photographer. Pose questions that bring attention to the results you provide.
Consider any final doubts your customers may have and put your FAQ to use by reassuring your prospective client that your solution is the perfect choice for them!
#7 Testimonials: social proof of past clients’ successes
By featuring these reviews, you are welcoming your favorite former clients to coauthor this success story. Testimonials are yet another way to feature the transformative journey of working with you.
Including the entire quote is never necessary. Create a clear message by only singling out the phrases that contribute to the story you’re trying to tell.
Make ambassadors out of your past clients and get phenomenal quotes that specifically underscore their success by asking these few questions.
- You could have hired anyone else; why did you decide to book me as your photographer?
- What specific problem did I solve for you?
- What was your favorite part about working with me?
- How has your life changed since working with me?
- Why would you refer me to your best friend?
Bonus: Create an affiliate program that rewards clients every time you book someone they’ve referred to you.
#8 Next steps: the most compelling call to action
You’ve guided your prospective clients through the story, now is the ideal time to take action. Wrap up your photography pricing guide by distinctly explaining what they need to do to book your services.
“Having clear calls to action means customers aren’t confused about the actions they need to take to do business with you.” – Donald Miller
Remember that there is no relief from their pain points if the hero doesn’t take action! Make this section the guide’s final push to help the hero solve their problem. Clarify each step of what they must do next.
How can your potential client pay for your services? Explain your payment plan, contracts, and any additional steps required to book you. Also, include what you will do throughout this process. How and when will you send out questionnaires and take care of any pre-pro steps?
The buck doesn’t stop there
You’ve successfully told a story of how beautiful life looks once they’ve followed your plan. It’s easy to believe that now it’s all up to the client – the hero – if they want to book or not.
Start writing a sequel to your story by creating an email sequence that focuses on educating your prospective clients. Not only will this ensure you maintain a relationship with your inquiry, but providing them with free knowledge further reinforces your role as their guide.
However, with a business model that values connection, the guide is still there even if the hero isn’t ready to book right here and now. A transitional call to action pursues the relationship you’ve created with your prospective client. These options deepen your relationship and provide a less risky way to work with you.
Written by RACHAEL LAPORTE | Photographs by ALAINA FEINBERG PHOTOGRAPHY via Two Bright Lights