I think I might shock a lot of people with what I’m about to say... but I wanna talk about ghosting for a minute. Bear with me. I haven’t fully verbalized these thoughts before.
I don’t hate ghosting.
Yeah, you read that right. I don’t hate it at all.
Here’s the deal: I can’t tell you how many photographers I’ve heard say something along the lines of: “brides/clients, please tell us if you decide to go a different direction!” “it really hurts if you just vanish!” or “it’s common courtesy.”
And look, I get it to an extent. If I’ve had multiple, long conversations (maybe even a Skype call) with clients and they suddenly disappear, I do sometimes wonder what happened.
But at the same time, I disagree with telling clients they have to let us know if they’re going a different direction. I know my brides are busy as heck. They’re planning a wedding. And they still have a whole life on top of that. I don’t think it’s really necessary for them to email me if they’ve gone a different direction.
Here’s my angle: I rarely get ghosted anymore. Or at least, I never notice if I do.
And I think there are two reasons for that.
1. I work really hard to make my brand really solid. Clients see everything they need to see about me + my work long before they ever land in my inbox. They see me, my personality, my style, my work, my starting prices, etc etc etc. I have so much information on my social media + website that by the time they click over to my booking form to inquire with me, they should already know - basically beyond a shadow of a doubt - that I’m the photographer for them. The only hesitation is usually “am I available for their date?”
2. I get a lot of inquiries. (I don’t say that to brag at ALL, and it’s taken me a long time and a lot of hard work to get here.) But my inbox is pretty consistently receiving new emails. So if I get an inquiry from a client, and I shoot over a detailed response (including my 12-page pricing guide which answers just about every question they could ever have) and then I never hear back… I honestly never notice. And to me, that’s a good thing! We haven’t wasted anyone’s time in emailing back + forth, setting up Skype calls, etc, only to realize we’re not a good fit. The more “vetting” I can do for all of us beforehand, the better!
With all of that being said… here’s my bottom line:
I disagree with the big conversation on ghosting right now. I don’t think every client needs to tell us if they go a different direction. Is it kind? (Especially if we’ve had multiple emails about their event or shoot?) Yes, absolutely! But I don’t feel the least bit upset if they don’t. They’re busy. And I should be doing all the work on my end to make sure about 99% of the emails coming into my inbox are from clients who are READY to book.
Practically speaking, how can we make that happen?!
1. Solidify your brand. It should be so crystal clear - who you are, what you shoot, your vibe, your location, your travel options, your prices, what you offer…
Clients should know pretty much everything about you + your work long before they ever even inquire. Contrary to what your brain may be screaming at you… it’s not a bad thing if you’re deterring potential clients. Scare ‘em off, friend! You’re not going to be the photographer for everyone. There’s a sweet spot in your heart for a very specific vibe, style, or client group. And that, my friend, is where you create magic. The spark that happens between you and your clients in this sweet spot is indescribable. And that’s perfect for not only you, but your clients. They deserve a photographer who would die to be a part of telling their story, the same way you deserve clients who could cry they’re so happy you’re there. So with that being said…
2. Keep marketing yourself to your ideal clients. Know who they are. Narrow down your marketing area. Stop screaming from the rooftops into a big void for people to book you and start whispering directly into your clients’ ears. What sessions and shoots make your soul come alive?! What clients leave you walking on cloud nine, singing in the shower over the fact that this is your job?? Where have you found your creative soul exploding with new ideas, vision, and innovation?
Figure that out. And start talking directly to those clients and those sessions. That way, almost every single inquiry you’re getting is from a client who is already OVER THE MOON excited to work with you and ready to pay their deposit + book you within one or two emails. Trust me, it’s possible. It’s not a mythical magical fairytale land you dream of reaching in your business. It’s a real place.
But how can you get there??
3. Give your clients as much information as humanly possible before they ever even inquire. Your website should be chock-full of answers to questions they have. Where are you located? What are your starting prices? What have past clients said about you? What are you all about? What’s most important to you, as a photographer? Who even are you?! Where can they see more of your work? What’s the booking process like? If you travel, will you be coming near their area anytime soon??
(Okay, you get the picture.)
My goal is that by the time my clients are clicking over to my inquiry form, they’re already dead-set on me as their photographer. That way, I shoot them one email response with even more details and answers to questions, and BOOM. They’re booking.
I personally believe it’s the photographer’s responsibility - long before it’s ever the clients’ - to avoid ghosting. If you feel like you’re being ghosted left + right, maybe sit down and look over your brand, your website, and your client communication overall? What are you saying to them from the minute they stumble across your Instagram or open your website? When they inquire, what information are you giving them right off the bat? Or are you trying to string them along to hook them somehow?
Just a few questions for you to think about. Here’s my final encouragement: there are clients out there who are going to be absolutely ecstatic to find you + work with you. Just stop marketing to everyone, and start marketing to them.
You can totally do this. I fully believe in you.
What about you guys? Was this helpful?? Anyone have thoughts on this? Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Love you guys so much. Go kick some butt today!