As a professional photographer you understand that you can’t be a photographer without shooting pictures and that you can’t build a successful photography business without focusing on and measuring the effectiveness of your business activities.
Providing great customer service, developing marketing campaigns and promoting yourself as a photographer through advertising will not be enough. Because in order to truly succeed you’re going to have to be proactive and become well informed about your business and the effectiveness of your efforts.
You’re going to have to measure
Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And it holds true not only for your photographs but also for determining your metrics.
SMART metrics measure specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based targets.
At the beginning of developing your business, you may find it difficult to set SMART metrics. But like photography, it’s a matter of focusing, practicing, setting benchmarks and learning from trial and error.
Right now, you may not have any idea about how many social media followers or shares you can expect; no benchmark for the number of leads your direct mail campaign will produce; neither do you know how many leads a single advertisement will create. But by the end of your first year in business (if not before), you’ll be able to look back on each of your activities and be able to measure your impact on social media as well as your conversion rates - that is how many and which activities have turned into paying photography jobs. These numbers, the ones that your activities generate, will give you an indication of how you’re doing and what changes need to be made in your plan.
They will also provide you with a benchmark by which to measure your future efforts and goals. And they are crucial for your success as a freelance photographer. Because not measuring your efforts will cost you. Time and money. And without figuring out what doesn’t work, you’ll continue to waste time and money and risk finding yourself in a perpetual cycle of loss.
What this means is that everything must be recorded. For example, your social media interaction (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), can be measured by the amount of followers or additional followers you amassed in a certain month, or the conversion rates of the those followers to clients. It’s really up to you. But the point is to measure activities that have an impact on sales.
You also may want to measure how much traffic was driven to your site, what specific activity drove the traffic to your site, the outcome of your direct mail campaign, customer referrals et al. You can never measure too much. In fact, being diligent in recording the different aspects of your business. It will pay off.
Measure the effectiveness of your business.
Make sure your metrics follow SMART criteria.
Record all actions related to your goals. After your first year in business go back and measure. How did you fare? What worked? What didn’t? Where should you invest more time and money? Where should you invest less?
Make an action plan for your next year based on the metrics of the previous year. This time don’t wait an entire year to measure. Measure at every quarter or six months. How did you fare? Repeat as above.
Buffer will help you schedule content and automatically post it to the channels you select. Its helpful dashboard will enable you to view what posts are getting the most attention.
Google Analytics is a powerful service that can generate detailed statistics about your site’s traffic and its conversion rate to sales.
Written by Liat Behr
Liat is a content wordsmith at WiseStamp and copywriter at Ink of Imagination. She delights in creating and sharing valuable tips and helping businesses craft effective content.
When she’s not writing content, she can be found in the world of fiction, embarking on adventures with her characters.