You took the dive and picked out a great real estate photography camera. Now, you just have to turn it into a money-making machine. While you probably have a strong idea of what you were doing when you picked out the camera, but it’s natural to be less sure about your plan for your business. Here are some essential tips for every stage of starting up your business to help you be successful right off the bat, and to make money as a photographer
Researching Your Market
Your first step in your business venture should be to determine who your ideal customer is and what they need from you. Good research will help you be more competitive, effective, and successful. Market research can be challenging for a new, small photography business. To make money as a real estate photographer many business owners will start by simply surveying their first few customers.
This can yield incorrect information if the first few clients you get aren’t your ideal clients. But keep track of those responses submitted by your best customers and you can tailor your business to them over time.
Market research may also be as simple as spending time on social media platforms where your potential clients talk to each other. Facebook groups for realtors, subreddits for realtors, and Instagram are all great choices.
Try to find spots where real estate agents talk to each other and not just their customers, as this can yield more practical information.
Determining Your Pricing Strategy
How quickly will you be paying back that investment in your camera? It’s natural to be uncertain about your pricing strategy at first. If you don’t have a sense of the market, you can end up charging too much or too little. As a result, you may either drive work away or not make as much profit as you should.
Research your competition to try to assess what they charge. You can do this yourself or hire a firm to do so. However, you may find a large discrepancy between what different real estate photographers in your market charge.
Their hourly rates may work out from $55 to $300 an hour. They may also bill differently by their hours, the size of the home photographed, or the number of photos and other materials to be delivered. They may also add charges to cover the cost of travel.
To make money as a real estate photographer we suggest that you avoid starting by charging per hour. You will likely be less efficient at the start, and you want to make sure you can give your client an honest approximate of what they’ll pay.
Still, you should know what you want to make per hour and end up charging a total amount that will get you that rate. As a new photographer, you should start out on the lower end, but don’t hamper yourself by necessarily being the cheapest option.
One way to make money as a real estate photographer is through generating leads. As you get more connections in the business, you’ll find that a lot of your work comes through word of mouth. But that doesn’t help you much at the start. How do you start generating leads?
Online marketing is one strong option that you can pursue.
Having a website with a portfolio is essential, of course. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can help you get your website ranked on Google above other photographers’ sites. Creating a Google My Business Account is essential to help with this effort.
Other online marketing options you might pursue include social media and email marketing. Real estate agents tend to be very active on social media, so it is wise to connect with them there. You can also nurture leads through email marketing, keeping connected with real estate agents who have a photographer now but may need one later.
In-person and on paper marketing tactics can help too. Get in touch with the brokerage of one of your existing clients to get in touch with more. Send direct mail flyers to real estate agents. Or head to their events to meet them and offer your services.
No matter how you choose to generate leads, it is important to assess how well it works for you.
Frequently take stock of how much time and money you’re putting into your advertising efforts and how many clients they have gotten you. Keep in mind that some strategies will take longer than others.
Focus on Customer Experience
Getting clients is an expensive and time-consuming process. That’s why it is important to keep as many of the clients that you get as possible. This focus on service will also help protect your business reputation and keep you busy.
The key to keeping clients and making money as a real estate photographer is by focusing on improving their customer experience. Whenever a customer interacts with you, they should have a positive impression of your business and get what they need.
As most of your customer experience will be determined by your website and the main method by which people contact you, it is important to invest in both of these. Focus on a functional website that quickly gives visitors the information that they are looking for. Also, if you text or call your clients now, consider investing in a customer relationship management platform.
There, you can keep all of your contact with the client and all of their photos. The convenience and consistency of a CRM makes you easier to work with, and real estate agents appreciate that this saves them time and headaches.
Add New Services
Having a functional real estate photography business is just the start. To keep up with the competition and serve your customers better, you need to keep your thumb on the changes going on in the industry. This may mean offering new services. For example, if right now the only thing you’re offering is basic photography, then one new service you may want to consider is 3D tours.
3D tours offer real estate agents more powerful information to sell the home or guide their buyers through a potential home. We have plenty of resources in our blog that can help you decide if offering 3D tours is right for your business and can help you meet your client’s needs.
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