October 4, 2021
In this episode, I am going to share 6 things that you need to start tracking in order to hit $10k months with photography. We all want to serve more clients and bring in more money to support our families, and there are a lot of ways that we can do it, but the first thing is being able to track your numbers so you know what is working and what isn’t. Today, I will outline some key metrics that every photographer should be monitoring as well as give an example from my own business on how each metric helped me grow my photography business.
There are many reasons why tracking your numbers is important for running a successful business:
When you know your numbers, it helps you make better business decisions. You’re not guessing or basing decisions off of feelings. A lot of photographers will say, I feel like my website isn’t very good. Or I’m not good at social media. Or it feels like I’m barely getting any inquiries. When you treat your business like a business, you’re much more likely to get the results you’re after! When you treat your business like a hobby, you’ll likely get “hobby” type results.
In addition to better decision making, tracking helps you see your progress. Oh friend this is SO important! When you’re working on your business day in and day out, it can feel like you’re not really making much progress, but the truth is if you’re improving by just 1% every day it won’t feel like much until you look back at how far you’ve come over a month or two or 10!
I love before and after pictures of just about anything, but one time I was deep cleaning the tile grout in our kitchen and I took a “before” picture to show my husband. I scrubbed and scrubbed that grout for hours and honestly… it felt like it looked the same. That is until I took an after picture and put it next the before. It was then I could really see the changes! Tracking helps you see your progress!
There are 3 main areas in all businesses, including photographers businesses we’re going to look at tracking today…
These are the 6 metrics to track to hit $10k months with photography. Of course there are many more things you could track but I boiled it down to what I think are the 6 most important.
For photographers, the conversion rate is the number of clients who book a session. These are people who have filled out your inquiry form or emailed you to book a session with you, which gives you leads on how many people are interested in your services.
Said simply, you divide the # of clients you booked by the number of leads you had in a single month.
Now, most CRMs like Honeybook will do this for you but you can also calculate it manually.
Why does the conversion rate matter? It matters because if you can’t convert people into clients or your conversion is really really low then it doesn’t really matter how much time you spend on marketing and getting new leads because chances of them converting are low.
What is a “good” conversion rate? This really depends on many things but we had about a 40% conversion rate. That meant if 10 people filled out our contact form, we’d book 4.
The best thing to do is start tracking these 3 things in your business:
# of inquiries through contact form
# of consultations
# of bookings
Track this month over month and start to notice trends or ways to improve.
If there was 1 thing I’d tell you to track above all others, it would be this!! And I am embarrassed that I didn’t track this consistently in my business for WAY too long! I was just basing my information off of feelings. I felt that a lot of people find me through social media, but the truth was 80% of my clients found me through Google. It’s important to note not just where the leads are coming from, but also where are the BOOKINGS coming from.
Because I didn’t track this in my business for so long, it meant that I was spending a lot of time on the WRONG activities because I didn’t know how my dream client found out about my business.
You can track this very simply. Make it a part of your contact form! Simply ask, “How did you hear about me?”
Direct EVERYONE to your contact form! When you have people DMing you on Instagram and texting you and messaging you on Facebook and filling out your contact form… it makes it really hard to keep track of everything!
If someone texts you, point them to your contact form. If they DM you on Instagram, ask them to please fill out your contact form. This keeps your system streamlined AND makes sure everyone answers that all important question of “how did you hear about me?”
Again, your CRM likely keeps track of this for you or you can make a simple spreadsheet to keep all these numbers together.
Remember you’re tracking your new clients per month, not returning clients. Repeat clients are phenomenal but a healthy photography studio that is focused on growth is also bringing in NEW clients each and every month.
If this number is below 50%, it’s time to pay attention because something might be off track with your product or your service. Here are some things to look at and even poll your past customers about if your retention rate (the # of clients booking you for a 2nd session) is lower than 50%:
1. Are you giving them an opportunity to book you a 2nd time? Are you making it easy? We talked about this a lot here.
2. Is your product consistent and quality? (maybe have a professional or peer you trust to review your work)
3. Do you have a gut feeling as to why the majority are not returning to work with you? Our gut feelings are usually right!
We did talk about sales strategies in the previous 2 episodes, which I highly recommend listening to, but tracking your average sale per client is simple but so effective in understanding how your sales processes are working.
If you need help figuring out how to increase your average sale, go back and listen to episodes 61 and 62, but at a minimum now, start tracking it month to month!
When someone references their monthly revenue or their average sale per client, I’m always interested to know what their profit was. Because if they had a $3,000 sale thats great, but if their cost of goods (the hard cost to purchase the products) was $2,999…. eh, then it’s not so great.
When you’re calculating your PROFIT per client, I take the total amount they paid me, so their session fee + order, and I subtract any costs I incurred as a direct result of their session (that is cost of goods).
Take newborn sessions for example, expenses that I list to be included in the cost of goods are:
Those costs only occur when I have a newborn session so those are the expenses. Total income minus the expenses equals your profit.
Like I said, there are many other areas to track but these are what I deemed most important in order to hit your goal of making $10k/month with photography. If this feels overwhelming, just start with 3! Set a reminder in your phone to update the spreadsheet the last day of every month and slowly start to add in more!
Tracking these metrics is a great way to monitor how well your marketing, sales and retention efforts are working so don’t get discouraged when things aren’t going as planned initially! Keep tracking and improving and focus on being 1% better each day!
If you like this episode, I highly recommend checking out episode called 3 Things I Outsourced to Hit $10k Months.
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My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!