Your Client Journey – The Guide to Understanding Your Experience and Worth

Amanda Rae

The client’s journey vs the client’s experience.

Some people use the two phrases interchangeably. If you are one of them, let me attempt to change your way of thinking.

Your client experience is just one small part of your client’s journey. Prior to your clients even contacting you, they are thinking and planning (hello, Pinterest) and maybe even dreaming about what their experience will be like.

You see, your experience can either make the dream a reality or be the Debbie Downer by not living up the expectations. (Yes, they have expectations…some are unrealistic… “I want all Pinterest worthy images and the digital rights to every single one even the RAW ones!”….as you think to yourself “You don’t even know what RAW means.”)

Ok, where were we, yes, the journey and your experience. Let’s take senior portraits. Stop, please don’t skip articles because you are not a senior portrait photographer. These examples can be used for any photographer…or any type of business for that matter.  

Imagine with me.

It is graduation day for the  ____(insert high school here)____ Senior Class of 2018. Your client has just completed her Junior year and is sitting in the stands, watching as all of her older friends accept their diplomas and turn their tassels. Excited for them, but also excited that this means she is finally a Senior (and with that thought senioritis kicks in – boom!)

As she jumps from graduation party to graduation party she gets to experience graduation night as an onlooker. The excitement of high school finally being over, the gifts and gift cards (score!) and the talk of college. By the time the night is over, she is pumped, not just for her friends but for the fact her senior year has just began.

Ok. Now let’s stop imagining for a moment and look at your world. You want to market to High School Seniors, right? When do you think the best time to do that is? Right now!!! The summer before the senior year…heck, maybe even the springtime. This is the most excited she will ever be about her Senior year.

Now let’s imagine again. Summer is ending, school is starting. Activities start to kick into play, and of course it’s Senior year so she must participate in them all. Quickly it is already Thanksgiving and then wow, college applications are due December 1. Then final exams. Now onto winter break.  Even though each and every second of her journey is on at least three social media channels, she finds herself asking…

Where did fall go? Will it slow down in the springtime? (No, it won’t.)

Second semester begins and so does the chaos: Spring sports, UIL, AP tests, prom, oh and all of those scholarship applications, teacher recommendation letters, and mom’s first payment towards college and housing. May rolls around and she’s thinking, wow, I am so ready for this to be over with.

Graduation hits and it’s finally her time to accept the diploma, turn the tassel, and chat about college. When the night fades, she finds herself exhausted with a ton of thank you letters to write, as she could not have done it without the support of her friends, family, and teachers.

That’s her journey. A year that has every emotion possible. A year worth remembering.

So, when you reflect on all of that, what are your takeaways?

Here were some of mine:

  • They are most excited the summer before their senior year = Marketing
  • With each month, they get a little more ‘over it’ and tired = Senior portrait session asap
  • By the Spring, they’re strapped for cash and totally over it = session should be in the Summer or Fall
  • Springtime means stress, and they want everything the next day = rush fee
  • They are so busy, they don’t have time to do the little stuff = provide grad cards, thank you cards, signature books
  • They put everything on social media = digital albums (with the higher package of course)
  • They need gifts for family members = albums and accordion minis

Take a look at what the client’s journey is from start to finish. Sure they will all be a little unique, but for the most part, they are the same.

Wedding photographer – Think about from the time the ring is picked, to popping the question, all the way through to the honeymoon.

Newborn photographer – Go back to when she first thought about having a baby and what that journey might be like for her.

You and the experience you provide your client is just one part of a bigger journey. How will you uplift, help, support… how will you add value to their journey? Because only then, will you not only start to understand your client experience but also your own value and worth.