Retail tricks for photographers

Photography is both art and business — and while sidewalk sales may not work for photographers, there are still a few ideas photographers can steal from retail.

Favorite tricks for retailers are favorites for a reason, often bringing in additional sales every time. From seasonal specials to offering bonus deals, here’s a few ideas that bridge the gap and still work as useful tools for photographers.

Think Strategy
Marketing campaigns shouldn’t be quick ideas for quick discounts — by developing a strategy, you reach more of the right people for the same investment. First, identify you audience — who’s your ideal client? What do they like to do and where do they spend their time? Then, brainstorm exactly what it is you want to communicate — often, it’s the qualities that set you apart from other photographers. Maybe it’s your style, your prices or your sense of humor.

When you merge your goals and audience, that’s where marketing is most effective. Brainstorm creative ways to share what’s unique in a way that reaches those target clients.

Go with the Seasons
Grab a calendar when you are brainstorming promotions — the best promotions often fall within the seasons. Christmas sales, tax season promotions, even local events. Coordinate spring themed mini sessions for Easter, offer an early booking discount during tax season or discount prints and photo gifts before Christmas.
Besides just coordinating specials with what clients already have on their minds, moving with the seasons can also help brainstorm new ideas.

Reward Frequent Clients
Retailers often keep customers from shopping the competition with loyalty programs that offer discounts for the more they buy from a single store. Photographers can adapt a similar system to turn first time clients into regulars. Offer a coupon when you deliver their prints for their next session or add them to an exclusive email list with special offers. For families or even commercial work, a rewards system can keep clients coming back.

Own a more one-time business, like wedding photography? Switch up the loyalty program and instead craft a referral reward with a free print or gift when they recommend you to their friends.

Try Cross Promotion
Photographers are often business owners that wear many hats — but promotions don’t have to be a solo thing. By sharing marketing costs with a related company or advertising within a similar business, you can often reach the right clients for less.

First, find a business with a similar audience. Newborn photographers may partner with baby boutiques, or wedding photographers with florists and dress shops. Then, brainstorm ways to promote your business together, from adding a coupon to the bottom of receipts to hanging a flyer or discounting clients who book with both businesses. Cross promotion can even including sharing the costs for more expensive promotions, like a professional video or extensive ad campaign.

Consider Bonuses Instead of Discounts
Sales and discounts are often the first promotional ideas that come to mind — but as retailers know, sometimes adding something extra can be just as effective. Offer a free print for early bookings during your slow season, include free engagements with your biggest wedding package or run a campaign with free digital downloads.

Don’t limit your promotions by only thinking of what you can discount.

Photography businesses are quite different from grocery stores and shopping malls — but that doesn’t mean they don’t overlap. When it comes to promotional ideas, retail stores often serve as a good starting point for launching your own marketing efforts.

– This article was originally published by Photo Direct, and appeared here.

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