Today Bill Ramsey, a professional portrait photographer
His story is inspiring and also a good reminder that marketing doesn’t have to be complicated.
(Here are the highlights, but you can watch the full conversation below or listen to the episode on the Momentum podcast).
Sixteen years ago, Bill and his wife Sheree opened their photography studio.
Three years in, things weren’t going well.
They had no sessions on the calendar and no proof books out for print orders. Their credit cards were maxed out and they had no savings. The situation was dire.
One day, Sheree decided to pick up the phone and start calling anyone who had ever mentioned that they were interested in booking a session and then she moved on to calling clients they hadn’t seen in a while. It was a bold move and a desperate move and it worked.
That day, everything turned around and today, calling people is the backbone of their photography business and the main way that they market their business.
Bill admits that the first calls were hard to make but it’s gotten easier over time and at this point, they have people who have been on the call list for over a decade, so they expect and even look forward to the call. Over the years, they’ve perfected and fine-tuned the marketing tactic.
Many of their repeat clients now get texts from them about scheduling sessions and they require a $500 payment up front to get a session on their calendar.
Bill and Sheree do not cold call people. Everyone who receives a call from them has given them permission. If someone mentions that they are interested in having a session, they ask if it would be alright to call them to talk more about it.
They use Facebook ads to reach new clients and they always respond to comments on social media. The goal is to start a conversation with people so that they can ask for the phone conversation.
While the Ramsey’s make calls year round, they have found that calling their existing clients just before they send out a promotional email is very effective. By giving their clients the first chance to get on their calendar, clients feel valued.