I think we've all had the childhood experience of standing in line in gym class just waiting to be picked for one team or the other. It's nerve-wracking. You're putting yourself out there and just hoping that someone wants you to be part of the team they're building.
I remember getting butterflies in my stomach every time. Do you remember that too?
Marketing your business may not seem to have anything in common with elementary school gym class at first, but I still get those butterflies when I'm posting messages online. It's nerve-wracking to put yourself out there and hope someone likes what you have to say.
Pick me, pick me!
But here's a little secret: as was the case in gym class when you were a child, it's not really about your abilities. It's about your friends. Did you ever notice that the kid who was friends with everyone would always get picked first, even if there were better athletes in the class still standing in line?
Kids want to support their friends. No one wants to play baseball with a bunch of people they don't like. They want to have fun, so they pick people who will make the game the most fun.
In the adult world, we also want to support our friends. That's why we tend to do business with people we know, people we like, and people we trust.
Marketers have been talking about these three words for a long time: know, like, and trust. But what does it really mean?
Essentially, it means that we pick our friends, even if there are more talented athletes still standing in line, waiting to join a team.
My fool-proof boudoir marketing plan is all about getting people to know, like, and trust you. This is the foundation of every message I post online to bring clients into my business. I do the same thing when meeting someone face-to-face, but it's easier to make that connect with someone when you're actually talking to them. In the digital world, getting people to know, like, and trust you is a little hard.
Today, I'm breaking down some of my best tips. If you follow this step-by-step process, it will be much easier to build an online following of clients who want to book with you.
Step One: Know
Someone can't decide if they like you until they really know you. With everyone screaming for attention online, it can be hard to snag a few minutes so a potential client can get to know you. By far, I think the “know” part of this equation is the hardest.
You can help people know you by writing clear, concise copy on your website, in your social messages, and via email. If people are confused about what you're offering, they won't feel like they really know you.
Branding is super important in this step. What makes your boudoir business different from the studio down the street?
Boudoir is boudoir, right?
First take a look at a screenshot of my boudoir website's home page. It has a certain look and feel to it, which I do my best to draw through all of my interactions online. What are some words that come to your mind when you see this website?
Now take a look at my friend's boudoir website. We provide many of the same services, but it should be apparent to you that we are VERY different.
One isn't better or worse than the other. we're just portraying different images online in order to connect with the people who are our ideal clients.
So, as you are marketing your business online, I want you to keep one question in mind every time you are tempted to hit the publish button:
- Ask yourself: Is this message really me?
Every time someone reads something from you online, you want to reinforce that image of your business that's growing in their mind. You want them to know exactly who you are and what sets your boudoir offerings apart from the rest.
Step Two: Like
Once people know you, you can get them to like you!
Which is actually a silly thing to say, because you can't really get someone to like you. It's like being the clingy wanna-be girlfriend who is just so sad because…Oh honey, he's just not that into you.
You can't make people like you, but you can make sure that the people who will naturally like you are able to find you and realize that they like you.
You can do this by being authentic online.
Authenticity means different things to different people, but here's what it means to me:
- I will never pretend to be something I'm not just to make a sale.
- I don't sugar-coat or “hype” anything in order to reach a wider audience or sell to people who aren't my ideal customer.
- I tell a lot of stories and share pieces of myself, so I can better connect with people who have had similar experiences.
Being your authentic self online doesn't mean that you don't keep anything private. It's still about presenting yourself and business in the best possible light. Authenticity simply means that you don't put on a front or deceive people in order to make more money.
And there's one way to make sure that every message you read online is completely authentic:
- Ask yourself: Would my grandmother be proud to read this message from me?
Now, your grandmother might not know anything about boudoir photography. But we tend to be who we really are when we're around older relatives we love. Would your grandmother be surprised to read the message from you? Would she say that it doesn't sound like you? Would she be concerned that you are not being yourself? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you should reevaluate before posting online.
Step Three: Trust
Once someone starts to like you, the next natural step is “trust.” Online, trust is hard. There are so many scammers out there. More importantly, we haven't really developed to assess someone's trustworthiness without speaking to them face-to-face. It's much easier to spot a liar if you have an in-person conversation.
The best way to build trust online is to prove that your business is as awesome as you say it is.
Here's the thing: we can all say we are great. Who would ever say… “Yeah, my business kind of sucks.” (Even if it's true!) We all want to make money! So we talk about what we do well.
Unfortunately, we all have this built-in BS meter. When someone talks about how great they are, we don't really believe them.
BUT…when someone else talks about how great they are…well that makes us stop and listen!
You can do this through testimonials and case studies on your blog (i.e. examples of your work and how the client felt afterward – before/after sets are great for this). You're sharing “proof” that you are as good as you say you are.
Not everything you post online should be a testimonial or examples of your work. While this will help people learn to trust you, it isn't great for getting them to know and like you, unless they are SPECIFICALLY online to look for the perfect boudoir photographer. Most of the time, your messages are read by people who are just going about their days. Booking a boudoir shoot is in the back of their minds.
But there is one question you can ask before you hit the publish button, and this will help you build trust with your audience:
- Ask yourself: Am I showing instead of telling?
Whatever you post online needs to be backed up to be believable. Let's take a common boudoir message that I see online, as an example. A lot of boudoir photographers post that you should book because your husband will love to be surprised by a gift of beautiful, intimate pictures of you.
But that's just you TELLING your potential clients something that may or may not be true. Instead, how can you focus on SHOWING them that what you're saying is true?
Can you get quotes from past clients' husbands? Can you stage a “reveal” in your studio and capture the husband's reaction? Can you talk about special products you have that are perfect for gifts?
Just like you can't make someone like you, you also can't make someone trust you. However, if you show instead of tell, it's a lot easier to pave that road of trust.
And then, when someone knows, likes, and trusts you, they will book a session with you.
So, to review…
Every time you post a message online, ask yourself the following three questions:
- Is this message really me?
- Would my grandmother be proud to read this message from me?
- Am I showing instead of telling?
If you answer yes to each question, you know you have a winning marketing message on your hands!
Now, I want to invite you:
Leave a comment below with the link to a social update, blog post, or other marketing message that you believe really hits the nail on the head in terms of “know, like, trust” and why you are proud of it. I want to see your BEST work!