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This week we sit down with Brooke Summer and discussed getting over the fear of raising your prices, speaking to your ideal client through your website, and booking more shoots.
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About Jenn Bruno Smith:
After leaving a successful career as a speech pathologist and clinical liaison, Jenn moved into pursuing her business full time. She has been shooting boudoir exclusively for 4 years and teaching marketing and business to the photography industry for the last two.
You can catch up with Jenn in her group The High Rollers Club- IPS, Business and Marketing for Boudoir photographers.
About the Brooke Summer:
Brooke Summer is a Colorado Based Boudoir Photographer
She’s also the founder of Business Straight Up, Photography business help and resources for professional photographers and small business owners to think differently and grow their businesses! Branding, marketing, web strategy, SEO for photographers, and more!
I moved into my studio, found out a week later that I was pregnant.
Surprise. And so when my daughter was born, I was then only working two days a week and I was like, why am I paying twenty five dollars month high or a studio that I’m at eight times in a month? That worked. That’s like $300 a day and makes me.
Hey, guys, Jen Rogers from the High Rollers Club I am here with Brooke summered from business straight up.
She is a podcast on your Web site, too. Is business straight out? Right. Yeah.
As a straight up dot com, there’s a ton of freebies and resources and all sorts of good stuff. Wonderful.
And you also have a studios here, full time boudoir photographer.
Right. Your summer photography for summer photography.
Yes. I’ve been specializing in DIDOR for 11 years now.
Now, that’s amazing. Where are you located?
I forget just outside of Denver, Colorado. So pretty out there. Yes. Although it’s cold right now. So it is. Yeah. Let’s see here. Let’s see. I know we haven’t had we haven’t had a winter at all. There has been zero snow here. So a little concerning, you know, like Logan working thing freaks me out a little bit, but he’s wearing shorts and a t shirt and shirt the beginning of March.
So yeah, especially cause I live in Flip. So that’s fine.
That sounds good, right. Yeah. So. Well we just each other at WPI. You were teaching there which is really exciting. How did that go.
It was wonderful. It’s so funny. It was my first year teaching Mara taught at other conferences. But that’s a BPP. And I tell my husband if only four people show up. But it was almost sold out. It was an amazing class on boudoir marketing. And it was so much fun.
Hats off. Isn’t that funny how we all worry? Like we had a meet and greet for the High Rollers Club and before Slocum baritone.
I think we like pulled over like three chairs you in this little tiny lake area. And I was like, I don’t know if anyone is going to come. Like if three or four people come will be pumped. And then she just kept coming and then we had to keep expanding. And I was so happy. It’s kind of like whenever you have a party or something, you’re like, oh, I don’t know, are people going to college? So it’s always a big relief when people actually end up coming.
It is. And you know what? In the end, if only three people show up and you just kick ass for those. Sorry. Can I.
Oh, yeah. Well, you know how you know my square. I mean, I don’t know. So this is also a podcast. Right. But we have this is on YouTube as well. Zuba videos. I’m actually at my makeup stand right now. And this is what I have beside my makeup stand. I love it. The people say on high caste. It says it’s like a cross stitch that I paid someone to do for me. I can’t cross stitch like I have time to cross stitch. But it is. I do not spew profanities. I enunciate them clearly like a fucking lady. Sounds right. I keep this beside my make up stands because as we do here. Right. OK. Well, what do you want to talk about today? I know we were talking briefly before, maybe like about Web sites because you are like the queen of business. And I I always love hearing what you have to say. You have so much, so many good things to talk about. But reasonable Web sites today, right? Yes.
Web sites. Web sites that converts what that actually means. So many people don’t know what that means. I think it’s important. And I know, Jim, you’re in the in the same boat to reach out to creatives and photographers and tell them how important the business side is.
Right. So many people forget about that. They focus on their creative side. And then they’re like, oh, my gosh, why can’t I buy dinner tonight? Oh, it’s because they don’t know how to run a business.
Right. I always tell my students, like, why are you buying a new light when you can’t afford to keep the lights on?
You’re right. You’re right. Absolutely. Why are you spending 30 minutes or four hours figuring out your logo whenever you don’t have an investment menu? That makes sense.
You know. People don’t care what your logo looks like. They just don’t care what they care about is the fact that they have good images and you deliver them in a timely fashion like that. Yes, absolutely. The business side is so important. Yes. So, OK. So let’s start with converting. What do you think the number one important thing is about a Web site to get to get potential clients to convert.
First and foremost, you need to know your ideal claim in and out. And it’s so funny to me when so many people talk about their ideal client. Oh, they drive this car. They make this much. They shop here. And that’s bullshit. Those things matter, but they’re not defining characteristics. Ultimately, you have to know what you’re claim fears, what they love, what excites them, what they value. Because when you can directly speak to that price is irrelevant. It’s so funny. So many people are like a church, $50. Give them all the images. I’m like, girl. Competing on price is a race to the bottom, right?
And I love animals, we say that louder for the people in the background. I have that in neon lights truck tattooed right here. Love that. See that again.
For everyone that may have missed it the first time, competing on price is a race to the bottom. I love that. That’s an unusual form unless you’re talking about like fun positions.
The bottom is not the best here. I love it.
It’s so important. No, your ideal client. So that you can speak to them. And when you know how to speak to them appropriately, you can set your Web site up in a way that makes them so eager to click on the contact button. You don’t even have to talk them into it. Right. Ultimately with a Web site. I think so many business owners don’t know what it means to convert. What does it mean to have a Web site that converts? Right. Well, first, you need to decide what the overall goal of your Web site is. What does a conversion look like for you? Because it’s different for everyone. One person may allow online booking, and so they want people to book on their Web site. And that would be a conversion for them. That’s not my style. Some people do it and that’s cool. I prefer to get them to contact me once I can get them to contact me once I can talk to them. Usually I can book them because good work especially requires that deeper level of trust. Like they need to know that I’m not a creeper in my grandma’s basement shooting first spank like material spelling errors. I’m to be very blunt.
No. You know what’s funny is if we were shooting in Bay, if we did like a model shoot, we were recording more content for our YouTube channel. Right. And then while I was shooting is also photographer.
And we’re talking about like different camera as in highlight maybe some or more old school than others. And I was like, yeah. And I think I may try this as we were comparing how like the basement shooters might use a certain brand over. Yes. And their motto is like, well, actually, shoot in my basement. And I was like, oh, no. So I didn’t tell you. Right. Well, I mean, we. But it’s fine as long as you’re not. You know, there’s a specific type of.
I actually I had a commercial space in downtown Denver. Sixteen hundred square feet, two bedrooms. This gorgeous loft. And I ultimately like there is a sense of legitimacy that comes with that. Right. Ultimately, I moved into my studio, found out a week later that I was pregnant.
Surprise. And so when my daughter was born, I was only working two days a week. And I was like, why am I paying twenty five dollars month high or a studio that I’m at eight times in a month? That worked out like $300 a day in my. Yeah. Custom built the studio in our new home. We built our house. Yeah. And it’s custom done. The floors were I mean everything was very meticulously done. So I am not knocking basement shooters, but we all know, especially with boudoir. Yes. There are so many creepers out there and it’s just what women to take off their clothes. And it’s super creepy. So I always ask my students, what are you doing on your Web site to make sure that they know that you are not one of them? Yeah. Because you can’t just say it. Right.
Right now. Like you. Either way, you have to definitely if you’re going to charge luxury prices, you have to have a luxury brand. It has to look luxury and feel luxury and speak luxury. And you have to speak to your client like you’re saying. So tell me more about you know, let’s start, I guess, with the landing page. Like, what are some tips that people should keep in mind? I guess even on land, because you only have, what, like 30 seconds, maybe less.
Oh, my gosh. I just looked this up earlier because it’s in one of my classes and I made a site for I think it’s point three seconds. Oh, wow. I was mean voice was I 0 5.
I was 9. It can blow a suit.
That is crazy. Our attention span is so small anymore.
We have a fraction of a second to capture someone’s attention. So on your home page, I would say that there are four must have home page elements. And I actually say five because one is kind of a bonus that it’s more SVO focus. So for home page must-haves, first you need to have a headline. Some people call the tagline no matter what you call it, you need to be able to explain what you do in one sentence. And they need to be clear. I hate it when people are like I empower women. OK. Well, what the fuck does that mean?
Right. So mine is Delaware’s number one. Wire photographer.
Yes. It says exactly what you do. Yes. And it says where you’re located, like it’s super clear.
That’s the number one question, right? The people, where are you? So that’s why my tagline is that because you see it, it’s right there.
So it eliminates the number one question that people have, which saves you time. Absolutely. Yeah. Lunchtime. Absolutely.
Yes. So many people say things like I empower women or my favorite is for wedding photographers. I love love. Really? It’s just too great. And you know what? To be fair, I did it, too. Yeah. Well, we did it. I know when you know better, you do better in your own row and you’ve learned. So first you need to have a headline or something in one sentence that says exactly what you do and in your case where which is ideal. Number two is you need to have a who and how. So your visitors should know how arms are, who you serve and how you serve them. Within five seconds of visiting your home page. So again, if you just say I empower women. Cool. I know that you serve women, but you serve all women. Do you serve 19 year olds? Do you serve seventy five year olds to use women who are a size 24? Do you serve women who are a size zero? You need to be very specific in sharing who you serve and how you serve them. What can be done with images that can be done with text? It can be done with any number of things. I even have. I was featured on the news and I have that video on my home page. Yes. Can like talk to me and get a sense of, oh, she is not a weirdo like saying to kids she keeps her normal five already.
I hope that’s always the diary. Whatever.
My husband and I really we’ve kept like three people alive for like six years. Doha’s met privately. Not only do you feed them, but they’re like somewhat behaved. They’re behaved. They’re they’re happy. I mean, most of the time. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s a pretty good goal to have. Most times keeping the little people alive free, keeping them alive.
And with another mom comes to your website. If she sees that she’s really OK, she understands my mom boobs, Riley, all of that, because she’s been through it. So she’s sharing who you serve is so important.
I love that. That’s really important. What’s number three?
Number three is social proof. You need to have at least one testimonial or rave from a past clients and keep it short and sweet. This is not a page of testimonials like this is your home page one or two sentences at the most. And ideally, it will be a testimonial that addresses the fears that someone might have when it comes to hiring someone that does what you do. That’s that’s great. I love that. So, for instance, for Gravois, most of my clients, they want I’m not models like the ragman on your Web site. And so many photographers are afraid to ask for those testimonials direct in asking questions. Ask someone, what was your biggest fear in hiring a boudoir photographer? Yes. They will tell you exactly what they were afraid of. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a testimonial to use likethat as well.
Right. Yeah. I love that. I send my every client gets a post session questionnaire. We turn that into blogs, into testimonials, into your e-mails.
It’s free content. You don’t have to write it. Absolutely. All right. Lutely.
Definitely. We actually have three possession e-mails. One is a request for reviews with all of the links that Google, Yelp, Facebook and other stuff so that they have the link and they can just do it quickly and easily. I even make the recommendation that they can copy and paste it. Yeah, copy it on one site. Go to the next. Leave it. And they love to do that. And it’s not a problem at all. Some people are free to ask. Right. And then the the second e-mail is the POSESSIONS survey, which is the questionnaire of what did you love or could we do better? What did he say? What did you say? All I could say. And then the third is our blog feature, your e-mail, which is 20, about 20 questions. And we answered the answer five because it writes my blog post for me. Yeah, Don, that’s great.
I know it’s if you can work smarter, why not?
So many people are afraid to ask. And these people just spent money with you. They loved their experience with you. Why would you not ask?
You know, I also ask them when they’re leaving my studio both times, like when they leave from the shoot. And then when they leave from the ordering deployment, because inevitably they will be like, this was amazing.
I feel so great. And then I’m just asking. OK. You know, you get a minute. Do you think you could write something in the group about your experience like it? It means so much time. Potential clients to see how. And that’s huge in most of the time they do it. Yeah.
I have to ask one thing that I’ve actually done and I forget to use these videos because video is just not my strength. But I will actually ask them if I can just take a quick phone video of their experience. And that’s appends with releases and stuff like that. Sometimes they’re not comfortable sharing their face or their images were just fine. But even if they’re not, do an audio. You can get over an image and make it a video on Instagram or elsewhere. Absolutely. Audio, because you lose so much in text that if you have a video or an audio of someone, it just has that much more bang.
Absolutely. And it’s it’s legitimate social proof.
You can’t get anymore, you know, a robust social proof. And someone that you actually know, it’s and because sometimes, you know, you read these websites and you’re like, oh, that’s nice. But did they make that up late?
Yes. You know, and on fiber, you can go and actually pay people for testimonials, which is like the shadiest thing ever. Oh, yeah.
Yeah, that is shadiest.
That’s super shady. No, but I mean it’s real. People are doing shady stuff and you have to show somehow within a very, very small amount of time that you are not one of those people. Right. So what’s number four friends and as a call to action? So this is so funny. I do Web site critiques every Web or every Wednesday website Wednesdays. And it is probably the number one piece of feedback that I give you is that you need to have a call to action. Ideally above the fold. And above the fold is just fancy website speak for before someone has to scroll. So it will depend on the device that they’re looking at your website on. But you want that call to action to be front and center right at the top before someone has to scroll, because you will have people that come to your Web site who have been referred to by their friends who have been there already ready to book with you. Are you going to make them go through five steps to find out how to contact you?
Right. Right. So how do you feel about Web sites that have lake navigation, like a landing page and then a dropdown menu verses like a platform like show it where you just scroll up and everything is there on one page.
How do you feel about. Like, is there one you prefer over the other or.
I don’t think that there is a benefit to having a one page site versus the other as far as the way that it looks, the way that it works. However, when it comes to FCL, you will get a lot more bang for your buck, so to speak, when you have multiple pages because you can keyword and optimize every single page of your web site. A lot of people don’t know that. They think I’m just gonna do SCA. Well, every single page of your site can be optimized, including every blog post, every calorie, all of that can be optimized. And that actually kind of leads us to the bonus number five of text. You need to have at least 300 words of text on every single page of your website. I know that as photographers, you wanted to think that everyone is hiring us because they’re pretty pictures, but it’s not true. Hey. And if we just have pictures on a page on our Web site, then we’re not addressing the robots that have to find us to get those people to us. You know, Google and being and Yahoo! And all of us say it matters.
And also the copy matters. FreightLink Like you need to know when you see copy and there’s grammatical errors and this is like people’s first introduction to you. And if you sound like you aren’t articulate, they might be less likely to book you.
Yes. And so much of that again, goes back to deal clients like if you have an ideal client, maybe you work with a lot of lawyers. They are going to look for those errors that are taught to look for those errors. Maybe you’re working with moms and see, you can do the whole Y with like 20 Y’s afterwards because to them that make sense. If it comes down to your ideal client and who you’re speaking to and a large part of that will be part of your brand as well. I am extremely conversational in everything that I say on my website because I want it to feel like someone’s just sitting down and having coffee with me and my friend that does corporate events does not speak that way because she’s dealing with large corporations. She has a very different ideal client than I do.
Right. So it’s important to speak to the clients that you’re trying to attract.
Yes, definitely. And if you want to attract the women who are over 50, then you need to speak to them that way. You need to speak to them knowing that they have more life experience than the 22 year old who just got her boobs done in her life. It’s a very different client experience and the way that you speak to them will be very different as well.
That’s some great information and that’s something that you typically think about. So I know what do you photographers waste the most time? I like when I’m talking to a new photographer. They’re either trying to fix their logo.
Re-branding are doing their Web site top three things all the time.
It is crazy to me to see so many people working on something and so many people ask me, well, can I just outsource? Yes, you absolutely can. But if you work through the information and main course or you figure out your re-brand upfront, you’re going to save yourself so much time and money because you’re gonna be able to hand this to a designer and say, these are the pages I want.
This is what I want on each page. And then they can go and make it pretty. If you don’t know that information, you’re walking into this blindly. And it’s the same with SEO. I have seen so many people get scammed by MCO and there’s so many I get emails every day trying to get me to buy MCO and they’re promising things that they can’t possibly control. You need to have that foundational understanding of what you’re doing in order to outsource. The answer is yes, you can outsource. But knowing what you’re doing first will save you time and money.
Yeah, that’s so true. You know. You can’t direct someone to do something. If you don’t know what you need them to do it, then. And I think that a lot of he will get, you know, maybe take in some times because they are just trusting someone to do the work when they obviously might not know what they’re doing either. And then, you know, you’re paying a lot of money for something that really probably won’t work so well. So, yeah.
And we’re talking to a lot of money. I’ve seen people this twelve to twenty thousand dollars for MCO like this is not just one hundred dollars here. This is a lot of money to invest in something that you have no idea what you need from. I mean that is kind of a recipe for disaster and anything like editing any technology or saying you need to be very clear about what you need.
Absolutely. So we talked with the landing page. We can’t charge about copy. Is there like any other main things that we need to think about when we’re trying to get someone to convert?
Your about page is something that is I always say these are the two most important pages on your website is your home page and are about page.
And that is something that so many people think just doesn’t really matter. It’s a Cales. Put a picture of me up and you’re about page minus the second most visited page on my Web site. And then either that through analytics, if you’re not using analytics, get on it because it’s so important to know where people are going on your Web site. What are they looking at? Your about page is crazy important. That is your handshake, your hey, this is me and this is what I do. This is why and here’s why you should hire me. It’s a way for you to demonstrate understanding for your ideal client and show that you know how to help them get to where they want to be. Because ultimately, as business owners, we are hired to help someone that can be a lot of different things. It can show up in a lot of different ways. But how are you going to help someone your about page as a nominal place to share that with your ideal plan?
Right. So how about the picture? Do you recommend that you use like one with your family or like one by yourself?
Is there is there a picture that might be better than others? I think it depends again on your ideal plan. If you want to reach moms, then you should probably show your kids right. If you want to reach corporations and you probably want a super professional headshot on a gray background or whatever type of background, yet you need to again consider that ideal client.
And I actually have my about pages masterclass because there are so many things that you really need to have on your website to show that you are not a weirdo and that you are completely capable of understanding who they are. They hire people, not businesses. And when you like we said, competing on price is a race to the bottom.
When you are adequate are accurately conveying your why and who you serve and how you serve them. They want to work with you. I’ve had a client say, yeah, I don’t care what your calendar looks like. You told me your date and I will make my whole life work around it because they want to work with me. And that’s what you want. Right?
Yeah. That’s great. We talked about landing page. We talked about the about. Are there any other major tips that you think people should know about? Let’s say to really help those like the top things?
That’s those are the top two pages, for sure, I think. But it’s also extremely important throughout your website, in your copy to speak to someone’s fears. And I don’t want someone to take this and run with it and be like CNN or MSNBC or whatever and use fear to market, because that doesn’t serve anyone.
And my fear is you’re not talking about like the Corona virus global. No, no, no, no.
Please relate to your business. Well, fears that are related to your business or to who you serve. So, for instance, my ideal client is typically facing a transformation in her life. Maybe her youngest is graduating high school and now she’s like, I’ve spent 18 years of my life with these little people. What do I do now? I can speak to that fear. I can speak to who you are now and who you were before they were born. Matters. And it’s okay to take care of yourself now instead of your kids. So fears like it that I’m not no, I’m not talking about coronavirus or whatever else. Like, what are your. They decide this month.
How do you want what has been? We’ve had some discussions about kurta virus.
I’ll be very honest. It’s real. My best friend’s husband is in Border Patrol and they’ve been getting all of these briefings and stuff. And it is real. But at the same time, like.
Are we going to live our lives in fear? No, I don’t. That’s right. Now we’re freaking out.
I definitely. And so great, Brooke. So tell me by your Web site, where can people find you? Can they find you on Instagram? What’s your Web site?
Tests by your cords. I am on Instagram, although admittedly, Instagram is not my strength. Some handles to. I try. I try that. It’s hard to be everywhere. Absolutely. Yeah.
My Web site is a business straight up dot com. All one word altogether. Yes. That is three S’s. Just business straight up dot com. My podcast is there as well. And I am launching my I keep looking at my calendar in the corner. I am launching my Web site course again. It was crazy. Well-received. It’s so funny. We had did open and then closed it down. And several of my students really need to know you have to open. My friend wants in, too. So that’s always good when the value is there. So the website first will be open again in May. It’s called Spiff Up Your Site.
Oh, that’s so cute. I love it. I love RJ is like the queen of naming things. And so I used her her little tool for that because there are so many things like Web site shame is real. And I always tell my students, never be okay with a half assed lips. I always use your full ass. I love it because it’s your handshake to the world, right? Right. So before your site launches again in May. And I would love to. Jen, do you have show notes with links and stuff? Yes, absolutely. Yes. So I will get you a link and we’ll get you a discount code.
That’s a hell of an issue.
We’ll give you a discount code because that Web site class is so important. And I know that all of us photographers like what we do matters. Yeah, I believe that. And we have to be able to convey that accurately on our Web site.
And so excited about the discount code because it’s almost like Christmas. Whenever people that I interview and like I’m going to give your listeners a discount, kind of like, oh, I love that stuff.
It’s like Oprah. Right. Like your code and get a coat. Yes, it’s perfect.
So thank you. And thank you so much for your time today. It’s always so good seeing you. So good talking. We’re always like on the same wavelength.
So talking to like minded photographers and business people. So it’s so nice to. It’s so funny. I was talking with Misty last week in Vegas. Yes. And we were talking about it’s so nice to be surrounded by people who understand. Yeah. Or absolutely the same on the same wavelength, the knowing and understanding that these things matter. So thank you so much for having me. I think a long side is important and you do an amazing job of conveying that and showing them things.
Q It’s so good seeing you. Thank you so much for joining us. You can follow Brooke. And what is your Instagram business straight up? No business straight up. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yep. And then your Web site, Speth, you’re actually busy.
Startup.com will be the easiest place. Right. Dot com. Perfect. But give up your site. Dot com does have a site that’s like the best Web site ever. I love you so much for joining ads. Internet next time. Bye. Wonderful day by.