Marketing a business is one of the most challenging tasks for photographers, especially if they’re new. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to get more client bookings. Get creative with your unique offerings so you can start filling up your schedule today.
Prints for Referrals
Most photographers ask their clients for referrals. Every once in a while, you might get one or two referrals out of this method. However, you increase your chances of getting referrals by getting creative with your strategy.
Here is one way to help you gain new clients.
After a photo session, you can offer a free print for each client who refers another client to you. Printed images are cost-effective and will require a tiny expense for your business. Plus, the referral will be worth much more to your photography business.
Once your client sends someone your way, send out a friendly email to the referral. You can attach a photo of the client’s shoot. Then, let the referral know your client recommended them for a photoshoot.
For example, you could mention that their friend thought they might be interested in doing a newborn photography session. Then offer a valid price reduction for the person who is a referral.
You might not have luck with this method every time. However, it’s a great strategy for bringing more people in the door. Additionally, it gives you a plan to make your business work rather than hoping word of mouth will come your way.
Photo by Raymond Sam
Special Promotions That Book More Clients
When you offer a special promotion for your photography business, it doesn’t have to be a substantial discount. You also don’t need a “ton of business” to make more profits. You only need the right number of clients.
Some photographers believe offering a discount will devalue your brand. However, any promotion that degrades your brand shows that they craft and market the value poorly. In fact, 80% of consumers will feel more encouraged to make a first-time purchase when they receive a discount.
There are three varieties of discounts that work. Before you implement them into your offerings, here are how special promotions work:
- Special promotions should be intentional. You should have a well-thought-out plan for how much the discount will cost you. Then, understand what you earn from it exactly.
- Be goal-oriented with discounts. Special promotions should be limited-time offers only. A limited-time proposal constitutes urgency and is intended to assist you with bookings or portfolio goals.
- Discounts are mutually beneficial. Special discounts retain clients and build satisfaction. They also enhance your brand’s value by increasing your profits and expanding your client base.
Now that you have a better insight into how discounts should work, here are three ways to create these unique offerings.
1. Introductory Discount
If you’re a new photography business, this type of discount will help you attract new clients and build your portfolio. It works if the offer has a limited time and is too good to pass up.
Because the end goal is to build a profitable, sustainable business, your first step is to determine the total prices for your services.
For example, if you offer wedding photography, maybe you’ve figured out that you need to charge $3,000 for one package. Doing a quick study of your profit margins will tell you what size discount you can offer without loss.
So if you pocket $1,500 from a $3,000 wedding package, your profit margin is 50%. Offering half off your services will allow you to break even. Any more of a discount and you’ll lose money.
2. Value-added Discount
You can incentivize bookings by combining desirable services into one package. So instead of offering a price discount, you can contribute a bonus product or service to your regularly priced options. Consider these simple incentives that will motivate your clients to spend more:
- Offer a complimentary mini engagement shoot to wedding clients
- Include a credit towards product or print purchases
- Offer an extra hour of photography at no additional charge
3. In-person Sales (IPS) Incentive
IPS isn’t exactly a discount, but it is a highly motivating strategy for clients to make additional purchases. IPS allows you to charge a low up-front session fee that doesn’t include products. So, if your clients want to receive digital files, prints, albums, or other items, they can make additional purchases after the session.
This method works because your clients pay a low fee, and it reduces the barrier to booking. Plus, this strategy will reassure the client, knowing they’ll only need to spend more money if they love their images.
Gift cards and gift certificates are excellent incentives to offer in your photography business. Statistics show that 75% of consumers will overspend the amount they have on their gift cards.
Gift cards make excellent unique offerings because they allow your clients to take advantage of a special offer right away. However, they still have the flexibility to schedule a session at a less busy time of the year.
Here are a few ways to offer gift cards:
- Create a special offer with a gift card purchase. For example, “buy one gift card and get one as a gift.” The customer can pass on the gift card to a friend while they receive a gift of photography themselves.
- Offer a kickback incentive. You can give the client X amount in credit for every X number of gift cards purchased. Depending on your business model, this may vary. However, an example would be to offer a $10 credit for every $100 gift card purchase.
- Give a charitable donation with a gift card purchase. People love spending money when it comes to helping a cause. Find a meaningful cause and donate a specific amount for every X amount spent on a gift card.
- Give away gift vouchers. Surprise your client by sending them a gift card for a free photo session.
When offering gift vouchers, be sure to print them on quality paper and include details such as amount, expiration date, and any disclaimers.
Mini Photo Sessions
Mini photo sessions are an excellent opportunity to book more clients. It’s great for when a customer expresses interest in your work but is not ready to commit to full-priced services.
This works for you mainly because you can book several mini sessions in one day. Most mini-sessions last 30-45 minutes, but you can usually adjust this timing to suit your needs.
Here’s how to create this unique offering.
Announce in an email that you’re offering mini sessions four to eight weeks in advance before your scheduled shoot date. Tell your recipients:
- You chose them to receive an invitation to your exclusive sessions for a limited time.
- Let them know they have permission to share this with friends and family.
- Offer the incentive with a unique limitation. For example: first-come-first-serve, only ten spots are open, this offer only happens once a year.
- Let them know of further announcements on your blog and social media channels. This lets your clients recognize they have first dibs on this special offer.
Fill Up Your Schedule With Half-Off Services
This strategy is a great way to fill up your calendar. For instance, if you have a decent number of bookings but have holes in your schedule, offer a discount.
The best way to announce this is to send an email to your clients. Let them know you’ll offer a 50% discount if they come in for a photoshoot.
Offer a “No Blinking” Promotion
A “no blinking” promotion is a fun way to engage with your clients if you want to do something that will make them smile. A great way to run this promotion is by offering a free print in exchange for keeping their eyes open for every photo.
Maybe you’ll have a lucky winner, but it’s improbable. However, it shows your brand’s personality, and it’s a great way to have fun with your clients. After the shoot, you can post a blink photo on your Facebook and remind others of your fun promotion.
Now that you have a few unique offerings in your pocket, it’s time to put them to the test. Will you spring into action and allow these ideas to happen? Decide on which approach you’ll take and let the bookings commence!