Whether you’ve figured out her hobbies, favorite movies and go-to junk foods or you just know that she is nice and likes dogs, we’ve all got an idea — no matter how vague — of who our ideal client is.
Of course, the more specific you can be, the better. I mean, if I know my ideal client loves Kate Spade, hates cold weather and blasts Taylor Swift every time she gets in the car, I can build an instant friendship with her so quickly it’ll blow your mind.
But we aren’t here to talk about building connections today. We are actually out here to break a few.
This may seem harsh or cruel, but we’ve all got to face the fact that not everyone is going to like us. No matter how sunny your personality or how jaw droppingly gorgeous your galleries, you aren’t a piece of chocolate to be loved and adored by everyone. And, hell…there are even some weirdos out there who hate chocolate!
To really have a style and a unique approach to photography, you’re going to have to wholeheartedly embrace some things and reject others. And that includes pushing away the people who love what you don’t provide.
In order to have a fulfilling, life-giving experience with your business, as well as build confidence in your brand, it’s vitally important that you decide who your ideal client is and find ways to send away the people you aren’t keen on working with. That can be a CRAZY hard thing to do. We all want to book a billion clients and make beaucoup bucks, right?
Actually, I think many of you would agree that some clients just aren’t worth the money they pay. And that isn’t necessarily because they are terrible people or because you need to change. It’s just because y’all weren’t the right fit.
They asked you if you could edit their photos in a different style. They complained about the mud on their gown from the hike up a hill. They spent every conversation you had stressing about cost. They wanted you to airbrush away every imperfection (real or imagined) in every single picture.
These aren’t just “difficult clients,” although it’s easy to write them off that way. They are just clients who chose the wrong the photographer.
So, how can we avoid those upset, disappointed clients who probably should have chosen another photographer from day one without sounding like a jerk? I mean, no one wants to work with a person who has “IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY STYLE, DON’T BOOK ME!” written on their contact form.
Sure, two negative poles on a magnet repel each other, but two positives push away equally as hard!
Let me introduce you to my dear, dear friend, positive repelling. This is a way you can single to non-ideal clients that it might be in BOTH of your best interests for them to choose another photographer while still maintaining a positive, friendly vibe.
But how does it work? Here are four of my go-to tactics to introduce positive repelling into client web copy.
1. Express a passion for something your non-ideal client would, well, hate
One of the surest ways to repel someone who you probably wouldn’t work well with is to express love for something your ideal client would enjoy.
If you only want to work with clients who have a killer sense of humor, express your love for comedies. If you want to work with nerdy couples, gush about your love of comic books, Harry Potter and Star Wars. If you want to work with high-end brides, use flowery language to talk about shopping at Chanel. If you adore taking pictures of couples in the rain, talk about your love for playing in thunderstorms! This will draw in your ideal client while signally to someone who isn’t about those things that you may not connect well.
2. Emphasize an aspect of your experience that isn’t for everyone
Whether you’re an adventure elopement photographer or a fairly run-of-the-mill family photographer, there’s SOMETHING about your process that is unique to your ideal client. Identify it and shout it from the rooftops.
If your shtick is camping outside with your clients the night before a sunrise session, make that abundantly clear so that those who aren’t down with ground sleeping and bugs will know to stay away. If you firmly believe in the power of unretouched authenticity, emphasize your natural approach to primarily-candid photography and color-correction-only editing.
Whatever that little something-something is, take pride in it, share why you do it and what makes you so excited about it! That will indicate to non-ideal clients that they should look elsewhere.
3. Directly address the qualities of your ideal client
Complimenting the most distinctive qualities of your ideal client is a sure way to capture the hearts of your ideal clients while letting others know they aren’t what you’re looking for.
If your ideal client is an adventure seeker who loves to dive headfirst into new experiences, say that you are “excited to meet each and every bold, adventurous couple” you have the opportunity to work with. Looking for more upscale, sophisticated brides to work with? Share that you are “inspired by opulent, elegant gowns that seem to go on for miles, highlighting the luminous beauty of the softly smiling bride on her wedding day.”
If a potential client is reading your website and can clearly tell that you are describing someone they are NOT, then they are more likely to move along on their own.
4. Speak with a clear voice
Lastly but not leastly, a great way to distance a client you wouldn’t prefer to work with is to speak with a distinct, clear tone that appeals directly to your ideal client.
Are you looking to work with fun clients with a little edge to them? Drop a curse word or two here and there. How can you earn the trust of a fancy-shmancy bride who wants to drop the big bucks? Go for a more floaty, romantic tone that drips with elegance and professionalism.
By doing this, the first photographer will send Becky-No-Cuss running for the hills and the second photographer will make a blue-collar bride roll her eyes.
And. That. Is. Okay!
There are plenty of photographers out there who will enjoy working with them, and there are plenty of clients out there who will enjoy working with you!
You don’t have to be negative to show clients that you aren’t the photographer for them. You simply have to be bold and honest about who you are, who your ideal client is, and what you have to offer.
I’d love to hear about the ways you’ve worked positive repelling into your website! Share them with me in the comments!