The Fortune Is In the Follow Up
So, you've just got your first website up and running. Good for you!
Time to sit back and relax? You can. But only for awhile. Then it's time to prepare for the next stage of having your own site.
The answer to your getting repeat visitors -- who will turn into repeat customers -- is to regularly enter new content into your site, plus have a plan to notify your mailing list.
Your site is like a storefront window, and you want to make sure you have new, fresh content and products there all the time. Getting new photos uploaded, adding new content and periodically culling out the old, are great ways to entice visitors to come back often.
You are making sure that visitors to your site can consistently look forward to seeing new and different material. You are showing everyone your up-to-date work and that you continually have fresh photos to offer.
Remember, because your website and your specialized content areas match the focus interest areas of the targeted photobuyers on your mailing list, you are guaranteeing return visitors. If you published only generic (generalized--all across the board) photos on your site, you would create no burning desire for the photobuyers on your mailing list to return.
Each time you add new photographs to your site, you can send a short email to the select number of the specialized photobuyers on your contact list, and alert them that you have recently made changes to your site. Because your photos match the photo needs of the names on your list of photobuyers, they will be genuinely interested in your site and your photography. Your marketing strategy of “following up” will eventually pay off in sales.
TWO MAILING LISTS
Personally, I have a list of some 50 photobuyers that I know are constantly looking for the kind of photos I make. These people get emails from me quite often with news about what I have to offer. I have another list of about 300 photobuyers that I know occasionally need my kind of images, and the people on this list get an email once every quarter or when I have made a major change on my site.
Be sure to mention your upcoming travel, both foreign and domestic!
My specialty is law enforcement. In the "New" section of my website, I put a few words about what images I will be producing in the near future. For instance, when I know I will be photographing traffic police, I let my photobuyers know this. That way the buyers who are planning something involving images of traffic police will make a note to contact me.
This tactic also can work to create new assignments, and here's how: by sharing what I plan to do, it sometimes will spur my regular buyers to consider producing articles or other works on those same subject areas.
Here’s another way to follow-up with your buyers: Offer a feedback form and/or contact form to make it easy for buyers and people to get in touch with you. Again, if you email to your lists regularly, they’ll remember you and your photo specialty. “The fortune is in the follow-up.”
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SPICE UP YOUR WEBSITE TO ATTRACT MORE VISITORS
If yours is not a "generalized" website attempting to appeal to the universe of photobuyers, you can take advantage of your specialization (nursing, aviation, wildflowers, astronomy, architecture, etc.) by offering specialized information to your repeat visitors.
Magazine and book publishers gravitate to websites that are useful to them specifically. Provide "extras" for your visitors and you'll experience repeat visitors and customers. Here are typical features you can include on your site, depending on your specialization; they're all free for the asking:
CALCULATOR. Engineers, architecture, farming, etc. http://www.bankrate.com/coinfo/licensedCalc_intro.asp www.csalculatro.com
WEATHER. Aviation, fishing industry, gardening. www.accuweather.com/
MAP. Visitors can use special maps to find the geographic location of their photo need. www.nemi.org/newsroom/Articles/Japan_paper.pdf ; www.lead-free.org
ASSOCIATIONS. Provide conference and convention dates of associations in fields your specialized clients would find of interest. www.ipl.org/div/aon/
GRANTS. Your visitors will want to know about government and corporate grants that they might qualify for. www.grantsnet.org ; www.nsf.gov/home/grants.htm
CURRENCY CONVERTER. Will your client be traveling to a foreign country? Here's a help feature for them. www.xe.com
HISTORY. Provide specialized historical info ranging from technology history to crime history. Law enforcement, education, corporate, etc. www.historychannel.com
FREE ITEMS. Several sites offer free items. In a major search engine, type in your specialization and the word FREE. Feature a useful free item each week.
DISCOUNTS. You'll find a range of discount websites ranging from travel to hotels, from senior citizen to dental discounts. www.redtagdeals.com
STATS. And don't forget to assemble all of your website traffic stats, hits, visitor profiles and tracking into a monthly statistical report that will help guide you in the direction you want your website to go. www.freestats.com/
SEARCH ENGINE. Visitors will want to search for specific subjects. You can offer a search engine. www.atomz.com/
BULLETIN BOARD. Establish a moderated chat group where clients and photographers can discuss their specialized interest areas. www.quicktopic.com/
GUESTBOOK. Keep a record of your visitors by offering a guest book where they can register and make comments. htmlgear.lycos.com/specs/book.html ; www.dreambook.com/
And finally, for general information on how to add value to your website, check out http://www.ehow.com/home/home.jsp.
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