Imagine you’re about to get on a roller coaster (if you dont like them then sub it for another exhilarating experience!). You feel the anticipation. The anxiety. Heart is beating. Slightly feel out of your comfort zone.
As you step onto the roller coaster blood is pumping. You whip through the twists and turns. But as you get to the biggest drop. The MONSTER one to complete the experience. The rollercoaster completely stops. And you’re forced to walk down the towering twisted metal by those small peg like stairs. Real fun huh? The experience is completely lost. All of the previous twists and turns are gone into the distant memory and are replaced by the disgruntled feeling of an incomplete end to the experience.
Now imagine – if, instead, you had finished the rollercoaster with the Monster drop. Feeling your stomach drop, screams rip from your lips and you throw your hands in the air. You get the whole experience. It makes the monetary investment in tickets and time investment in waiting in line all worth it.
Which experience do you think you’ll be facebook posting or tweeting about? Exactly. The second one. The complete one.
At any time of year a “Thank You” is the best marketing tool you can have to complete that experience. To top off the experience with a final flourish. If you are sincere and thoughtful. There’s more than just giving a gift though when running a business. The end-of-year client gift extends and completes the entire photography experience for clients. It is crucial that some real thought is put into the timing, type of gift and investment. We, as photographers, can’t advertise an experience only to make our clients climb down before getting to the monster drop. Do I think that clients will necessarily recognize the client gift or thank you as a big gesture? Probably not. Or that clients wont refer you if you don’t give one? no.
But you’d be surprised how it subconciously (or maybe even conciously) will cement the experience they had in their brain. The next time someone needs a photographer that cemented and postive experience will come to the surface and work for you. All due to a simple gesture.
So here’s my 5 quick tips…
1. Evaluate your message
Like anything else in your marketing and business you should always evaluate the message your gift is sending. Are you wanting to celebrate the holidays, thank them for their business, let them know you’re thinking of them?
2. Brand it
I don’t mean put your logo all over it but make sure it carries through the brand that you’ve set up for yourself through your website, social media, and reputation. Just as with choosing the type of products to offer, the client gift should carry through the branding.
3. Examine the cost
Like any other costs in business this should be included in your cost of doing business when determining pricing. (See Pricing for Success) Building the cost into client packages on the front ends reduces. Plus it may qualify as a tax deduction to offset income taxes. (See A Photog’s Guide to Tax Deduction Purchases)
4. Don’t let it get lost in the mail
I don’t mean put tracking on it. I mean, don’t let it get lost in shuffle by sending during peak time for people to receive Christmas cards. By the time the mail man is delivering mounds of cards and gifts it is easy for it to get thrown to the side. You want the action to be noticed.
5. Don’t be gimmicky
Now is the time to be subtle. Let the “thank you” be genuine and market for you. Taking this time of year to push your company and their products will get lost in the onslaught of advertisements being sent out this time of year.