12 Reasons You May Not Be Booking Enough Births (HINT: It's NOT Your Pricing)
Pricing yourself profitably is a big struggle for new birth photographers. The cycle goes something like this… You begin shooting births right at or below the market standard in order to build up a clientele. Everything is going great, you love your job, in fact - you can’t get enough of it! A few months go by, maybe even a year, and you begin to feel the first signs of burnout. You’re feeling anxious about missing a birth because you’ve got some overlap in due dates. You’re having a hard time setting up consultations with NEW clients due to time constraints and/or fatigue. You feel unorganized, forgetful. You have a backlog of editing. You’re tired and miss your family. You know you need time off but you’re on call for another few months. Everyone tells you - raise your prices! And you finally, FINALLY work up the nerve to do it. And there are crickets. Weeks go by. You begin questioning your work. You begin wondering if you went too high. You doubt yourself and your abilities more and more with each passing day that new inquiries do not come in. You begin to fear that you are actually losing clients now. One by one. There they go! So you decide to lower your prices back down.
HOLD UP! Take a deep breath, sister friend. DO NOT let yourself fall into this trap. For some reason, we ONLY think of pricing as a way to get and lose clients. When there are so many other factors to consider.
Here are 12 things to look at BESIDES pricing that might be cause for low bookings:
Are you giving your clients an outstanding experience? Here are a few ideas for providing better client satisfaction to your birth photography clients:
Communication - do you meet with all potential clients in person? Do you limit your communication to email and text only or do you get on the phone with them as well?
Responsiveness - Do you respond to their questions within a reasonable amount of time? Typically 24 hours is ideal.
Reliability - Do you show up to your consultations on time? Do you follow through on your promises? For example, a client wants to see more examples of birth stories… do you promptly send them their way?
Bedside manner and presence at births - Does your energy at births add to or take away from everyone else’s? Are you a positive presence? Do you insert yourself unnecessarily? Do you present yourself professionally (even if its the middle of the night)? Do other birth professionals want to refer their clients to you?
•Product delivery (time and quality) - Do you deliver images and products in the time frame you’ve agreed to? Do your clients feel well taken care of? Does the quality of your work and/or products meet their expectations? Do you pamper them with extra goodies? Do you send thank you notes?
•Are you connecting with your birth community? Nurses, OBs, midwives, doulas, even chiropractors, prenatal massage therapists and acupuncturists that work with pregnant mothers?
•Do the top recommended OBs/birth centers/midwives/doulas have samples of your work, or brochures and business information on hand?
•Are you blogging regularly? The important thing to note here is that even blogging once a month can help you. Don’t make it a chore or create a goal you can’t keep. And don’t pressure yourself into writing paragraphs of eloquent birth stories. Ask your client to supply some thoughts and feelings and go from there.
•Do you know how to properly optimize your blogs? Image descriptions, metadata, keywords and phrases, titles?
•Do you have a good relationship with your colleagues? Not just birth photographers, but newborn and maternity as well? Exchanging referrals is a great way to increase bookings!
•Do you have at least a starting price on your website? Think of how many leads you could miss thinking that clients will bother asking what you charge, versus scrolling down to the next recommendation. It goes without saying, that today people want as much information at their fingertips as possible.
More often than not, our success does not hinge on our pricing. Yet we place SO MUCH importance on it and spend SO MUCH time worrying about it. Hopefully these ideas will help you look at your business as a whole more carefully, and you will spot something that could use a little more effort.
In the meantime, stick to your price increases. Remember, You deserve a living wage!