As if one more thing needs to be added to a photographer’s plate during busy season right?
Believe it or not, this is PRIME TIME to be cultivating the clients you already have. Marketing and business require a constant evaluation of return on investment for all activities. Investment includes time and money. As small business owners, we want to maximize these investments, especially through converting already existing clients (and inquiries) into future clients.
1. Use your list
Put all inquiries and clients into a client list. Big named companies guard their client lists with non-disclosures for a reason. These are gold. Easy information that you already have in hand. Follow up after the holiday’s with your clients and inquiries with incentives to return during slower season. Draft individualized emails (if you have time) and include tidbits of suggested products they were contemplating during ordering time. Personalized follow ups and “just thinking about you” emails further customer service and add value to your brand.
-Use a newsletter system such as MailChimp that generates reports by tracking who opens, what links are clicked, and allows for branding customization.
2. Convert your clients into another niche
Convert your clients from one type of photography into another. Do what? It’s not that complicated. Boudior. Holiday sessions. Valentines sessions. For one, take for example that typically during busy season, clients are family portraits. Most families have mothers (and maybe fathers) who would be interested in boudior. While boudior may not be the mainstream photography that you are into, this is a specialized area that can be readily used to fill in the gaps during winter months. Another area of conversion could be to mini or holiday sessions for Valentines and Easter, which both fall in the slower months. Valentines is also a perfect time to bring back in the parents from Christmas family portrait time for a couples session. Whichever niche is chosen, evaluate the demographics of your current client list, potential for success in this type of photography, and choose the appropriate marketing techniques to pull them back in.
Boudie Shorts’ Posing Guides rock. These things are ah-mazing!
3. Show client appreciation
Thank you’s and client gifts are the #1 way to keep your clients coming back. It is proven that great customer service paired with appreciate has a higher return on investment than running specials and deals. Also, by showing appreciation, your brand is furthered and markets itself more positively than the potential devaluation that incentives (discounts, etc) can cause. The most important aspect with end-of-year shows of appreciation is to watch the timing. If the tool used is sent during busy season, it will be lost in the holiday shuffle. It is optimal to send out these tools after the holidays have slowed down to maximize impact and receive a higher return on investment.
– Use Sticky Albums for a end of year gift! Let clients have their own “app” on their phone of all pictures from this past year.
– Send watermarked, low resolution files via Dropbox to clients for use on social media networks.
-Send out thank you post cards or cards. I recommend Moo postcards.
4. Blog client sessions
If you have gotten behind on your client blogging, now is the time to get it blogged. Commit to it. For every session that is not blogged is a plethora of potential clients that you are missing out on. The blog is a relatively inexpensive marketing tool that you are providing to your clients to use to talk about you. Any tool that can be provided at low cost with high impact will result in a high rate of return on investment.
–Pro Photo Blog Templates are so easy to use, tailor to branding and look professional.
5. Archive digital files + incentive
Inform clients that all of the year’s files will be archived, subject to an archival fee in the future. Pair the potential archival fee with an incentive of savings if purchasing from past sessions by a certain date. By doing this, you will be incentivizing your clients to tack on additional purchases as a saving, plus allow for more space to be freed up on immediate-access backup drives. Not only will you be maximizing profit on sessions that have already happened (less time!!), but by providing this service, your name will be in front of client again. Repetitive display of your company name furthers recognition and referrals for the future.