How IMPACT Live Poised My Business for Amazing Growth (& Helped Me Find My Purpose)

Published on May 31st, 2018

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Last summer, a friend invited me to attend a two-day inbound marketing event in Hartford to meet some really cool people who are doing some really cool things that could help transform my strategies and boost my business!

He also promised I’d have a great time in the process — and he was right on both counts.

Surprises in Store

Before I get into how my business and whole mindset has changed, let me set the stage for you.

Opening night of IMPACT Live began with a social mixer at Hartford’s Society Room, the venue where we’d spend the next couple days together.

When I registered to attend, I never imagined naming my favorite “pump-me-up” dance song on the registration page would roll it into the playlist that got us all pretty energized that night!

With that atmosphere, the delish food, and mingling with fellow attendees and some of the keynote speakers, the night was a very promising start to the event.

I quickly realized there were people in the room from all over the world. Most of the attendees were drawn to our little city for this very event. This had me intrigued.

Who knew that I’d later be introduced to Marcus Sheridan, a world renowned inbound keynote speaker, owner of River Pools and Spas, creator of The Sales Lion, and now a partner at IMPACT or David Meerman Scott, a Tony Robbins event keynote speaker specialized in marketing and PR.

I know what you’re thinking, “You mean inbound experts like these were here in little old Hartford?”

Yes, they were here and they changed everything for me.

My Journey to Inbound & Finding My Purpose

For years, I’d known I was marching toward inbound marketing, but I didn’t fully understand what it was and how effectively it worked.

I also didn’t think I was ready to commit to a paid HubSpot subscription, but I knew I was on the path to making some sort of investment to position and align my business.

The “One Thing”

I took in so much in those two days in Hartford, leaving IMPACT Live with my #onething. According to Marcus Sheridan, this is the single, big nugget you take away from the event — the “a-ha” thing you learned that could knock things out of the park for you.

The one thing that, if implemented, would pivot your business to achieve goals that truly matter to you. The thing that gets you out of bed excited every day!

My “one thing” was to become the “Wikipedia of Architectural Photography.”

My purpose, what mattered to me, was becoming the SME (subject matter expert) that helps lift the veil on the industry, sharing what we don’t or are afraid to talk about with clients and prospects.

Why don’t we talk about pricing (which I did eventually here) or what goes into the work that we love to do? Why do we think our business is so unique?

I discovered this and BOOM, like that, I was re-energized — on a mission to teach!

I wanted to expose my industry, the AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) to the truths about what we do, how we do it, and even better, help them understand it at a deeper-level that built trust.

Here’s what IMPACT Live gave me to do this:

  • Big picture knowledge and awareness of what inbound content marketing is and how it works
  • Access to the resources I needed to get started on a plan
  • Inspiration to apply it to my business right away

Below is what I did, and when, in the months following the event:

  1. SEPTEMBER 2017: Finished reading “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan.

This book was my roadmap to executing my #onething -- To build an education platform and roll it out, To start healthy conversation, and build awareness around all the pieces of the business commercial photographers don’t talk about.

  1. OCTOBER 2017: Purchased HubSpot (basic plan + a sales seat) and began a 3-month onboarding plan to clean up and migrate my existing CRM database.
  1. NOVEMBER 2017: Started developing and building persona profiles and creating a “They Ask You Answer” list of article topics.

The list comprised of every question a client has ever asked me, and I had a blast writing them all out (six pages worth!).

This critical exercise helped me realize the wide range of questions my industry clients have about the work I do, and how often they’ve been asking me them.

It also helped get that list out in front of me so I could start to categorize, organize, and narrow it down into an actionable group of keywords and topics I needed to target with my content.

  1. DECEMBER 2017–JANUARY 2018: Completed HubSpot onboarding on time as planned.

Began posting on social media, email marketing, and new strategic content (first premium offer, etc.) directly from HubSpot.

  1. JANUARY 2018: Posted my first and most important “Big 5” article, “How Much Does an Architectural Photo Shoot Cost?”.

This pricing article became my central piece of content that all my other content builds around. As I mentioned above, my industry had been quiet about pricing before this was posted.

I broke that silence and, naturally, it’s become my most visited article to date!

  1. FEBRUARY 2018: Wrote the "Big 5" articles to set the stage for a content pillar page on my website.

I added a new “START HERE” page on my website loaded with this content to help potential clients understand how to work with someone like me.

This page had to be created on my site. It provides first-time visitors a path through the site to ultimately connecting with me for have a conversation. It also guides those who are not my clients (yet) along an informed path so they can understand whether we’re a good fit for one another.

  1. MARCH 2018: Added a pricing page on my website.

I can’t tell you how many times I get a contact page inquiry that asks me to quote a project with 6–8 shots.

This is not a simple answer but I’ve found a way to provide ballpark pricing and invite people onto my site to learn more.

Not one of my local architectural photography competitors puts anything about pricing on their website. They’re still not in the mindset of sharing that type of information, but as IMPACT Live taught me, addressing this content builds trust and helps establish me as an expert in my field.  

  1. APRIL 2018: Measured the progress.

The Results & Aftermath

My baseline website visit count at the beginning of my journey was 250–300/mo.

I had been using Google Analytics like most everyone else, not really knowing what I was looking for or how to assess the data they provide.

There was no easy way for me to quickly and easily view a snapshot of where my business metrics stood, but HubSpot changed all that.

Check out my dashboard stats below and notice how my monthly site traffic doubled!

how-impact-live-grow-my-business-sources


how-impact-live-grow-my-business-sources-beforehow-impact-live-grow-my-business-sources-after

Keep in mind that the industry I serve is very specialized and highly niched, so though still humble traffic, it is huge growth.

I work in a small, local market between Boston and New York, taking on potentially 8–10 new clients per year — in a very good year. I don’t need hundreds of new clients, but like any entrepreneur, I want quality leads and the lessons I learned at IMPACT Live have helped that happen.

From here, I’ve got my eye on how the increased visitor traffic converts into quality leads and what I can do to ensure the right leads come calling to collaborate on more great design, build, and development projects.

Why I’ll Be Back to IMPACT Live 2018.

There’s still so much to learn and keep up with, especially for someone in the design-build industry, which is traditionally slow to adapt.

However, with the lessons and inspiration IMPACT Live gave me, I’m confident I have a lot to gain from making this investment in time and technology and making informed marketing/sales decisions based on the data I now have at my fingertips.

Thanks to IMPACT Live, I’ve been re-connected to my purpose; to educate those in my industry and support more informed decisions through my career experience and commercial photography expertise.

What could be more rewarding than having the opportunity to mentor and educate others?

Ok, they’ve heard me say this before, thank you to the IMPACT team, I cannot wait to cozy in to my VIP seat this August at the Infinity Theater!

I have my sights on the next iteration of architectural photography programs and education I can share with the world. That makes entrepreneurship the best. life. ever!

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