Victoria Rayburn and Mallory Balducci explain how to use reels for your business on Instagram in this episode of “Priority Pursuit.”
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Victoria Rayburn explains why it’s important to have high standards but low expectations according to Ben Hartley in this episode of “Priority Pursuit.”
Episode 028: Why It’s Important to Have High Standards but Low Expectations as a Creative Entrepreneur According to Ben Hartley
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October 6, 2021

Episode 027: Eight Ways to Improve Your Business This Slow Season

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If you’re checking out this episode while it’s still new, then it’s early October. And, you’re likely thinking, “Slow season? Why are we talking about slow season? We’re in the midst of/we’re about to approach my business’s busiest time of year!”

And, friend, I get it. If you’re a photographer or wedding vendor, fall likely has you busy right now. Or, if you own a boutique, work in retail, or have another business where many of your sales happen during the holidays, your busy season is just beginning.

That said, your busy season will come to an end, and for many businesses, a “slow season” follows the busy season. But, just because shoots, sales, etc. slow down doesn’t mean you don’t have things to do. In fact, slow season is the perfect time to work “on” your business instead of “in” your business so you can help your business grow and improve.

To help you plan ahead, set goals, and make the most of your slow season, in this week’s episode of Priority Pursuit, we’re discussing eight ways you can improve your business this slow season!

1. Create or revisit your ideal client avatar.

In order for your marketing efforts to be effective, you need to (1) know who your ideal client is and (2) keep your ideal client at the core of everything you do in your business.

As a result, this slow season, I want to encourage you to either create your ideal client avatar if you’ve yet to do so or revisit your ideal client and make updates.

Even if you know exactly who your ideal customer is, there’s a very good chance that you’ve learned even more about your ideal customer and what’s important to him/her since the last time you looked at your ideal client avatar.

So, take another look, refamiliarize yourself with who you’re targeting, and make updates as needed.

Whether you’re starting from scratch developing your ideal client avatar or you simply need a refresh, check out “Episode 020: How to Identify Your Ideal Customer as a Creative Entrepreneur with Nate Dale of New Adventure Productions”! In this episode, Nate and I walk you through exactly how to determine who your ideal client is and what information you need to know about them.

2. Update your website.

Friend, it’s easy to put your website on the back burner or neglect it altogether. However, your website is your most powerful marketing tool, and it needs to be a priority during slow season.

So, this slow season, you’re going to want to do one of two things: build a new website or update your current site.

If you’re building a new website . . . 

Perhaps it’s time for a complete overhaul of your website. This is always fun (and a little stressful)! Website capabilities and technology change quickly, so it’s a good idea to update your website approximately every three years.

Now, you can absolutely write your own copy and design your own site, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend working with a web development company. In my opinion, outsourcing your website is one of the best business investments you can make, because when you work with a team of experienced designers, copywriters, and SEO specialists, you can ensure that your website functions well and is built strategically.

If you’re looking for an agency to help you with a new site, I highly recommend Treefrog Marketing!

If you can’t afford to outsource web development, that’s 100% okay! I think it’s safe to say that almost every small business owner starts by creating their own site using a template.

If this is the case for you, check out ShowIt. ShowIt is a drag and drop website builder that makes designing your own site easy. Plus, they have beautiful templates available made with photographers and creative entrepreneurs in mind!

If you’re updating your current site . . .

If your website is relatively new and still functioning well, that’s great! During slow season, you’ll just want to give your website a little TLC.

For example:

  1. Read through your website and make sure all of the copy (words) is accurate and up to date.
  2. Update your photos. Chances are, you have new work or products to show off, so get those new images on your site!

You don’t necessarily have to build a new website to see big results. A few small changes can often do the trick!

Discover the eight things every photographer’s website needs to convert visitors into clients!

3. Create content for the next YEAR.

I know this sounds intimidating, but if you set aside time this slow season, you can likely produce a full year’s worth of content (blog posts, reels, downloads, videos, infographics, podcast episodes, etc.)!

Now, you obviously can’t create content the features new work until you complete the work (e.g. A wedding photographer can’t create a couple’s wedding blog post until after the wedding.), but you can absolutely produce educational content and then schedule this content to release throughout the year!

When I say “educational” content, I simply mean blogs, downloads, videos, etc. that answer your ideal clients’ questions or give them information that they’ll find helpful.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you might write a blog about the benefits of doing a first look. Or, if you’re a hairstylist, you might create a video tutorial for how to use a wand.

If you start thinking about questions your clients regularly ask or even things you wish your clients knew, I promise you’ll be able to come up with a ton of great topics. And, this slow season, if you plan ahead and are intentional, you can produce most of your educational content for the next year! (I mean, it sounds like a lot, but you’re determined, you could write 52 blog posts and have one to schedule every week for the next year!)

Side Note: For both reels and TikTok, it’s beneficial for engagement to adapt to trending music, audio, etc. As a result, I wouldn’t recommend producing a year’s worth of reels or TikTok videos, but you can certainly plan topics and then create these videos when you’re ready to share this information with your audience and use tending audio to boost your engagement.

4. Create a social media calendar.

If you aren’t regularly posting to social media, I’d bet it’s because you don’t have a plan. You simply post when you feel like it or when you have a few spare minutes.

Well, friend, that isn’t exactly a solid social media strategy. So, another way you can improve your business this slow season is to create a social media calendar.

Personally, I like to plan out a month of content at a time, and I post to Instagram daily and Facebook at least five times a week. Using a simple Google Dog, I map out educational posts (blogs, reels, etc.), photos of myself (Your audience wants to see you! Promise!), and other photos and content I want to share. I also look at my upcoming sessions and weddings and note when I plan to share previews.

I write as much copy for these posts as I can ahead of time. For example, if I want to share a photo of Hattie (my dog) that I already have, I’ll write that copy ahead of time and schedule the post. But, because it’s impossible to write about sessions and weddings until they happen, I do have to write those social media posts as these sessions and weddings occur. But, these posts are already on my calendar, so I know when they need to be written and released.

So, friend, this slow season, create a social media calendar that allows you to plan ahead and better serve your audience!

5. Prepare your publication submissions.

Now, this step is specifically for photographers. If you aren’t a photographer, please feel free to skip to point six, but photographer friends, if submitting publications isn’t part of your workflow already, slow season is the perfect time to submit weddings and sessions for publication!

If you’d like assistance and step-by-step instructions for getting your work published, be sure to check out “Episode 022: How to Get Published as a Wedding Photographer with Jasmine Norris.” In this episode, Jasmine walks you through exactly how to get your work picked up and featured.

6. Address any inefficiencies in your business.

We all have areas in our businesses that can be improved, and slow season is the perfect time to create streamlined systems and processes.

For example, maybe your onboarding system is a hot mess, and you need to set up a client management system (such as Iris Works). Perhaps you’re constantly behind on editing, and during slow season, you finally have time to explore some outsourcing options (such as Photographer’s Edit). Or, maybe you really need to bring on some help, and this slow season, you can actually take a deep breath to figure out what you need and train someone. (If you are looking to hire, be sure to tune in to “Episode 011: How to Build Your Team as a Creative Entrepreneur with Jessie Roseberry of Roseberry & Co”!)

No matter the issue, set aside some time this slow season to address any inefficiencies in your business so you can start your next busy season off with your best foot forward.

7. Improve your client experience.

As creatives who love what we do, we want our work to be the reason we stand out in our industry. But, friend, more often than not, there’s one thing that can really make you shine: offering an exceptional client experience.

This slow season, take a look at your client experience and aim to add or improve at least one thing. For example, maybe you want to start sending welcome packages when a client books or create an email sequence that your clients will receive at scheduled times throughout your time together.

There are countless things you can do to love on your clients—many of which are absolutely free—so this slow season, take some time to think about how you can better serve the people who support your business!

If you need some client experience inspo, be sure to check out:

8. Invest in professional development.

As a creative entrepreneur and a person in general, you never want to stop growing. And, slow season is the perfect time to focus on professional development.

So, friend, this slow season, attend a workshop, invest in coaching, take an online course, or simply read and implement books. No matter your goals, there are definitely resources out there that can help you reach your goals, and while things are more relaxed in your business and you have the mental capacity, spend time learning and growing.

If you ignore everything on this list, please don’t ignore this point. One of the most rewarding things about being a creative entrepreneur is getting to grow and learn, and becoming stagnant is one of the leading causes of burnout. So, take some time to learn a thing or two this slow season that will make you better at your creaf and a better business owner!

Photographers, want to be the first to learn about the next In Focus Marketing Summit? Join the waitlist here!

This slow season, I want to encourage you to set two goals, friend:

  • Rest. Really, truly rest. I know most of the world thinks your job is all fun and games since you work for yourself, but running a small business is exhausting. So, schedule time to take a break.
  • Knock out this list. If you want to see your business grow and make the most of your next “off season,” make this list of ways to improve your business this slow season a priority.

When your slow season gets here, friend, I hope it’s filled with family, friends, rest, and needle-moving tasks and projects!

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Discover the four most common marketing mistakes small businesses make and exactly how to solve them! Download our guide.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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