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Helping photographers optimize their websites for high ranking search engine results — Effective SEO for Photographers Blog
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9 Irrational Human Behaviors to Consider for Photography Marketing - Part 1

September 20, 2009

Part 1 of 2

This post isn’t about SEO, but you might find it useful when considering how to market your photography services and products. Since SEO is one aspect of marketing (specifically Internet marketing) and doesn’t operate in a vacuum, I like to pass along other marketing tips, when used in conjunction with SEO, that will help your photography business.

The book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, written by Dan Ariely, focuses on the fact that human decision making is not often rational despite what we want to believe. The field of economics has always focused on perfect markets - meaning that both buyer and seller have perfect knowledge about the product or service they are exchanging between themselves.

According to Predictably Irrational these perfect markets don’t exist. Decision making in the real world is made on emotion, with imperfect information available, and for totally irrational reasons. Human reason says we’d never be foolish enough ourselves to fall prey to the kinds of irrational decision making discussed in Predictably Irrational. Looking closer, I know I’ve fallen prey to these decision making ruts and I bet your own clients do to.

You can use these concepts by applying them to the marketing and pricing of your photography services and products.

1. Your Prices and Products are Relative

Do you cater to high end clients? Are your photography services and products priced accordingly? An example from Williams-Sonoma on bread maker pricing, when applied to photography, could help you.

“When Williams-Sonoma introduced bread machines, sales were slow. When they added a “deluxe” version that was 50% more expensive, they started flying off the shelves; the first bread machine now appeared to be a bargain.”

Want your customers to purchase a specific level of product? Always offer products and services priced above it as the “deluxe” option.

Similar marketing wisdom says to place your target product or service offering in the middle of a product lineup. Consumers don’t want to be seen as stingy and purchase the lowest option, but also don’t want to overspend. The middle option is often seen as safe. Ever wonder why a Toyota Camery and Honda Accord are hot sellers (besides both offering great quality)? They aren’t on the bottom end (Corolla, Civic), nor are they on the upper end (Avalon). They are safely placed in the middle of the car lineup.

2. Supply and Demand is a Fallacy

“Savador Assael, the Pearl King, single-handedly created the market for black pearls, which were unknown in the industry before 1973. His first attempt to market the pearls was an utter failure; he didn’t sell a single pearl. So he went to his friend, Harry Winston, and had Winston put them in the window of his 5th Avenue store with an outrageous price tag attached. Then he ran full page ads in glossy magazines with black pearls next to diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Soon, black pearls were considered precious.”

Want to be the premium photographer in your market? Then charge a premium price. Set yourself squarely against the existing “premium” competitors in your market. Premium pricing is critical to the perception of premium value.

BMW cars do not have a higher quality record than the equivalent Toyota or Honda vehicles, yet they sell for a lot more. Why? Perception of a premium value based on their price and marketing themselves as a premium brand. You can position your photography in a similar way. Premium pricing alone often creates the perception of a premium product.

3. Free Doesn’t Mean Lost Sales

“In the real world, this effect was demonstrated by Amazon’s free shipping. After Super Saver shipping was introduced, Amazon saw sales increases everywhere except for France. It turned out that the French division offered 1 franc ($0.20) pricing instead of free pricing. When this was changed to free, France saw the same sales increases as elsewhere. Another real-world example: People will wait in line for absurdly long times to get something for free. Free is one of the most powerful ways to trigger behavior.”

Choose to give something away that will increase sales in general. Offer a free large print by ordering a print collection instead of selling a la carte. People will (often) order something to the point they get whatever is being given away free. Give them the incentive to do so.

4. Free and Feeling Good About It

“The AARP asked lawyers to participate in a program where they would offer their services to needy employees for a discounted price of $30/hour. No dice. When the program manager instead asked if they’d offer their services for free, the lawyers overwhelmingly said they would participate.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for a free referral from your best clients to their associates. Some photographers offer referral credits, but your best clients might feel awkward referring your services when there is something in it for them. More often they’ll be just as (or more) happy to do it for nothing. This is human nature.

5. Use Procrastination to Your Advantage

“Ariely conducted an experiment on his class. Students were required to write three papers. Ariely asked the first group to commit to dates by which they would turn in each paper. Late papers would be penalized 1% per day. There was no penalty for turning papers in early. The logical response is to commit to turning all three papers in on the last day of class. The second group was given no deadlines; all three papers were due in the last day of class. The third group was directed to turn their papers in on the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks.

The results? Group 3 (imposed deadlines) got the best grades. Group 2 (no deadlines) got the worst grades, and Group 1 (self-selected deadlines) finished in the middle. Allowing students to pre-commit to deadlines improved performance. Students who spaced out their commitments did well; students who did the logical thing and gave no commitments did badly.

These results suggest that although almost everyone has problems with procrastination, those who recognize and admit their weakness are in a better position to utilize available tools for precommitment and by doing so, help themselves overcome it.”

You should account for procrastination in your session booking, proof viewing and ordering processes. Know that people will take forever (or never) order if they take the proofs home with them or are given lots of time to order online? Don’t give them the time. Make sure you get an order and payment the same time they first see the prints. If not given the option, few clients will complain of an ordering process like this. And it solves the problem of procrastination.

Part 2 Coming Soon

This is just part 1 on this topic. Part 2 will cover 4 more irrational decision making aspects and how photographers can use them to their advantage in marketing their photography services and products.

Our Photographer SEO Guide teaches you how to get the most from your web site with specific actions to take to improve your web site’s rank in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing.

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New Release Now Available: 2008 Release 1.1

September 7, 2008

We just issued a new release of Effective SEO for Professional Photographers that corrects several typos in various places in the guide. In addition, two on-page SEO techniques have been updated as follows:

  • Chapter 8 (HTML Optimization Techniques), Technique 6: Added section Web Page Search Versus Image Search to add more detail about the usefulness of image file names when considering image search in your SEO efforts.
  • Chapter 8 (HTML Optimization Techniques), Technique 7: Corrected the references to IMG tag and ALT attribute to instead correctly refer to anchor tag and TITLE attribute.

All existing customers can log in using the username and password entered when the guide was originally purchased. The link allowing you to download the guide refers to the most recent version.

Existing customers will be receiving an email in the next few days informing them of the new SEO guide release.

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Why Your Photography Website Isn’t Ranking Highly in Search Engine Results - Introduction

August 25, 2008

So you spent a ton of time and money building the website for your professional photography business. And months later no one is finding it except those people you handed a business card to. Gone are the days where just building a website got you something. Today the website must be constructed correctly and there must be at least a small amount of intentional online promotion in order to get the major search engines to not just pick up the fact that you have a web site, but to go further by ranking it high enough to get noticed by people who would actually be potential customers of yours.

This post is an introduction to the reasons why your site may not ranking highly against the competition in search engines. Awareness is the first necessary action towards solving a problem. If you are aware of why search engines may not be ranking your site as highly as you would like (or high enough for potential customers to become aware of your photography business), then you can react appropriately.

Future posts in this series will cover specific reasons your photography web site is not ranking as highly as it could in search engine results compared to your competition.

The downloadable PDF guide, Effective SEO for Professional Photographers, contains specific techniques for both on-site optimization and online promotion to make the websites of professional photographers rank highly in search engine results. The SEO Guide is published by search engine optimization (SEO) experts Web Aware Media.

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SEO Guide for Professional Photographers Ready for Ordering

August 12, 2008

After many months of work, the first edition of our guide, Effective SEO for Professional Photographers, has been published. This guide is a PDF eBook that covers all aspects of making your web site ranking highly in search engine results. It covers both on-site and off-site SEO techniques. Everything is focused on the professional photographer - examples are tailored to photographers making this guide useful from the first day.

For a very limited time, we are offering Effective SEO for Professional Photographers for over 50% off - $147. Starting August 18, 2008, the price will go up to the standard retail price of $299. We are offering Effective SEO for Professional Photographers for an introductory offer of $95!

The ordering process is super simple - once you order the guide it is available immediately for download. You can log into our web site (choose the “Existing Customers” link) at any time after purchasing the guide to download the latest version.

Payment couldn’t be easier. We accept payments through PayPal, so you can transfer money from your PayPal account or pay using a credit card or debit card through PayPal.

Beyond just the guide itself, your purchase also gets you:

Updates for 1 year. The world of SEO is always changing as search engines refine how they rank sites against one another, so our SEO Guide changes along with the latest techniques as they become available. We plan roughly 4 updates per year (about 1 every 3 months). As soon as an update is available, you will be notified by email and can log in to our website to download the new version. After your year of updates is over, you may purchase additional updates for a significant discount.

Free Expert SEO Advice. Have a question about a specific aspect of search engine optimization after reading our SEO Guide? Through our web site, you can submit questions which our SEO experts will answer quickly and throughly. You can ask unlimited questions while your update subscription is active. And if you have more significant SEO goals, we offer SEO consulting services through Web Aware Media (the company which publishes Effective SEO for Professional Photographers).

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