I recently shared my top tips for converting email leads (check it out here and don't forget to take advantage of my free download!) but wanted to dive more into capturing and converting leads. This In-Depth Guide to Capturing and Converting Leads is perfect for photographers and small business owners in general who want to learn more about generating leads and turning them into paying clients! So, let's get started...
One of the most common questions I get when it comes to capturing and converting leads is, "Where do I even get leads?!" And I totally understand why. When you're starting out, it can be challenging and intimidating to identify leads for potential clients (trust me, I've been there). But don't stress, I've got your back!
Where do leads come from?
#1 - The People You Know
This one might be obvious, but one of the biggest and best sources of leads for small businesses is people you already know. It may seem weird to reach out or market yourself to people you know personally, but I promise this is one of the easiest ways to start getting clients. Jessi Casara Photography would not be what it is today without the support of friends and family who were some of my first clients! Don't be afraid to check in with your friends and family. Would they benefit from your services? Ask them! You don't have to get super sales-y - just be a real person. Be you! Ask the way you would want to be asked. Or maybe your friends and family have already gotten services from you - GREAT! Did you treat them right and offer them the best you have? Then get reviews! Positive (and honest!) reviews of your services are the best way to start earning trust from people that don't know you personally (yet). PRO TIP: You can also offer loyalty discounts and referral programs to spread the word beyond your network. (Comment or message me if want help setting this up!)
#2 - Your Website
The second place that leads come from is your website - there's no getting around it, you have to have a professional website where potential clients can learn more about you, what you offer, and what makes you special. There are tons of website platforms out there that make the process of designing an aesthetic and easy-to-navigate website a breeze (I use Wix), so take the time to do some research and find what works best for you. PRO TIP: Have an SEO specialist help you with search engine optimization to help get your website ranked on Google and other search engines. You need to know what keywords work best for your field and how to use them properly. ALSO: make sure you have a Lead Capture Form on your homepage (or somewhere easily accessible on your website) so that potential clients can easily contact you - I use 17hats for mine!
“A website is a window through which your business says hello to the world.” – Amit Kalantri
#3 - Social Media
Another game changer in the information age has been social media. Especially in creative fields like photography, it's really important to have a presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok so that you can share your work with the world. Post consistently so that people know you are active in your business and to increase exposure which means more followers and more potential clients! PRO TIP: Be genuine! People don't like to hire robots, they like to hire real people. So don't just post your work; post your face, and post the things you love, because those are what make you unique! People like to relate to others, and potential clients are more likely to hire you if they find you trustworthy and relatable.
How do I turn leads into clients?
Now that you have a better understanding of where leads come from, it's time to talk about how to turn those leads into clients. There's no magic formula for converting leads to clients, and a lot of it ties back to being patient, consistent, and true to yourself.
#1 - Be Organized
It's probably no surprise that the first thing you gotta have to "capture" leads is a lead-capturing form. I have these embedded on my website as a way to gather all of the most important information from a client so that I can figure out the best way to offer my services to them. But then where do these inquiries go? I use 17hats to help organize forms and streamline workflows (find more of my favorite small business tools here - including some discount codes to try them out yourself!) but there are tons of similar programs out there. Once the form has been submitted, each potential client automatically gets an email reply saying that I got their inquiry and I will be in touch soon with details. Then I'm able to view my new leads every day on an organized dashboard and send them a personal email responding to their inquiry. No lead is forgotten because I have a stored list with all of their contact info and inquiry details in one place! (And even if someone inquires on a platform other than my website, I can either direct them to my website, or I can manually enter them.) Want a free template to use for sending emails to potential clients? Check this out. PRO TIP: Set up a workflow or trigger that reminds you to follow up with each lead within 7 days of their inquiry. No lead left behind!
“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” — Orison Swett Marden
#2 - Be Professional
Another must for converting leads to clients is having a straightforward and professional pricing guide. This tool is something every small business owner should have because it acts as a one-stop shop for all the details on services you offer and how much they cost. Creating a personal and easy-to-understand pricing guide will keep things efficient on your end and give potential clients a clear picture of what to expect if they work with you. Plus, it allows you to level up your business - I mean, what looks more legit: a super long email detailing what you do with a big ole dollar sign at the end, or a beautiful PDF or landing page that showcases your work, proves your worth, and solidifies a potential client's decision to work with you? Easy choice, my friend. PRO TIP: Unless you happen to be a pro graphic designer, use Etsy or Canva to find gorgeous templates for pricing guides.
#3 - Be Yourself
My last piece of advice for turning leads into clients is probably the most important: be yourself! I know how corny it sounds, but being authentic to who you are is a must if you want to build up your client base and connect with new leads. Be human, be real, be you. There will always be competition out there - especially when it comes to small businesses - so you have to set yourself apart by being genuine and staying true to what makes you and your business unique. PRO TIP: You will attract the kinds of personalities that you exude. So if you want happy and kind clients, you have to be happy and kind! It honestly works.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
And there you have my In-Depth Guide to Capturing and Converting Leads! I hope this is a helpful resource for all my fellow small business owners out there. Make sure to drop a comment below or reach out to me on my website or social media if you have any questions!
If you or someone you know needs a photographer, I'd love to be considered. Let's get connected and make it happen: https://www.casaraphoto.com/services.
(c) Jessi Casara Photography
Jessi is a lifestyle documentary photographer based in southern Alabama, serving the Gulf Coast from Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta areas. She specializes in couple, wedding, maternity, newborn and family photography, and also enjoys commercial and creative portraiture. Available for travel worldwide. Find out more at www.casaraphoto.com
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