Real estate photographers: do you typically have a quiet winter in your business?
What do you do if you want to keep working through that time because you can’t afford for things to go quiet?
That's what I addressed in episode 4 of The Build A Photography Business show, with four steps (plus one optional one) that will help you in your real estate photography business.
Real estate photographers: be prepared for the quiet season.
Do you typically have a quiet winter in your business? I know that in some places during winter, especially when there is snow around, the whole real estate industry slows down and there just isn’t a lot of activity happening.
Or maybe your slow season is at another time of year when, for whatever reason, very few homes are hitting the market or new building projects just aren’t ready or appropriate to shoot.
So what do you do if you want to keep working through that time because 2020 has already been a terrible year and you can’t afford for things to go quiet?
Identify your opportunities
The first thing you need to do is to identify your opportunities. What industries and services are open for you during that quiet season?
Now this is going to be different in every little market, so it’s up to you to know your market inside out and identify what’s open and what’s not open.
For example, real estate might stop but perhaps restaurants are still busy and perhaps they would be good to target. Or perhaps you need to move away from still photography and look at video services during winter because you find that businesses are still getting videos in December and January, even when there’s 5 feet of snow on the ground, because it’s something they can do inside for their company or as a marketing tool.
So step 1 is to look at your market, and go deep to find what you could do.
The second thing to do is to plan ahead, and to start preparing your tools and resources now even if the quiet season doesn’t kick off for another two months. Some of these things might take you a few weeks just to get together, so this isn’t something you want to leave to the last minute. That might have worked for you when submitting your homework in high school, but it’s not something you want to be doing as a business owner.
So how do you do it? I would plan exactly what you want to be doing, and then set deadlines for individual actions so that you get things done with time to spare. So for example, if you need to complete something large, such as a multistep marketing campaign that you’ll send to local businesses, then break it all down to small steps and write down when you will complete each little step.
Let me give you an example – I’ve got a friend called Luke who is planning to run his first ever marathon later this year. In preparing for this marathon he created a plan for how fast he wanted to run by the end of each month, and he’s got this graph and each month he’s tracking his time over a certain distance. He’s doing it this way so he knows if he is on target to reach his goal of completing the marathon in a particular time.
That’s the kind of thing that you might want to do to plan for your quiet season. Identify what you want to complete by a certain date, and then everything will come together for you when you need it.
Prepare your tools and resources
The third thing to do is actually get everything together. My recommendation would be to have a range of tools and options up your sleeve, rather than bank everything on one option but be left in a hole if it doesn’t come off.
So you might want to create a variety of online marketing tools and a variety of offline marketing sequences as well. For example, you might look to use email, social media, flyers, letters, phone calls and office visits as different ways of getting in touch with companies and individuals that you want to work with. And what you might want to do is to build a sequence so you have multiple touch points through multiple channels.
For example, some people will respond well to an email, but others might never look at their emails and the only way to reach them is with a phone call. So somewhere in that sequence you might want to include a phone call so that you can be sure your message wasn’t missed just because it didn’t arrive in a medium which that particular individual prefers to use.
Does that make sense? So diversify your messaging, and create a sequence rather than just putting all of your chips on one roll of the dice.
Start your marketing campaigns before the quiet season gets under way
The next thing you’ll want to do is to actually start your marketing campaigns before the quiet season gets under way, and that’s because it can take time for your dream clients to trust you and it takes time to get your stuff together to do these photo shoots or videos or whatever service you’re offering. If you wait until your business has been quiet for a few weeks in December then that’s probably too late.
There’s this concept in sales called The 90 Day Sales Rule and it says that the new sales you make today are a result of the marketing you’ve been doing for the past 90 days.
So if you aren’t doing anything now, and you don’t do anything for the rest of this year, then it’s going to be difficult for you to make new sales in January if you haven’t been doing any marketing in that past 90 days.
Let me help you - real estate photography coaching
Finally, if you like the sound of all of this but you just don’t know what to do, then I have a wide range of pre-written marketing tools in my coaching program so get in touch with me if you'd like some details about that.
So in summary the four things, or maybe the five things you want to be doing to help your business get through the quiet season are:
1. Identify your opportunities.
2. Start planning now.
3. Prepare all of your tools and resources so you’ve got a range of options.
4. Start marketing before the quiet season gets under way.
5. Reach out to me if you’d like a helping hand.