You’ve shot the wedding, captured the family portrait, made the newborns look as cute as a button and created a set of images that your clients adore. So job done, right?
Award-winning wedding photographer Kevin Pengelly explains why sales are just as crucial as the photography when it comes to running a successful business.
Here’s Kevin’s advice on increasing your product sales with clients.
Offer clients products to cherish
The relationship with your client doesn’t have to end after the event or the session. Surely, it’s your duty as a photographer to give clients a reason and a means in which to appreciate your hard-earned skills, every day?
Offer products clients can enjoy. Something they can share with their friends and family and make sure that, should the need for a photographer arise again, you’re the first person they think of.
Timing is key to getting sales and there is no better time than now to start communications with your past clients about additional products that give them the perfect Christmas or anniversary gift and boosts your after sales profits.
Don’t do purely digital
Never sell digital files on their own. Digital files end up in a drawer somewhere, and never get printed. How many files do YOU have that haven’t made it into print? And how many times have you said ‘I must get that printed…’? – if you’re doing it, chances are your clients do too.
And if your customer doesn’t have a printed product to show their friends and family, you’re missing out on opportunities. If you sell products, they have a piece of your work on their wall, desk or in a book or album that will stay with them forever.
It doesn’t have to be a £600 piece of wall art (though that would be the ideal!). Instead, offer a range of different options depending on your package or market level. Be mindful about the opportunity for customers to come back to you for prints, and don’t give away the hi-res files on their own.
A low-cost freebie with digital files goes a long way to a client that doesn’t quite have the disposable income available to spend straight away. But if they have a little something that will give them a taste of what they could have, it could lead to future sales, or referrals.
If you’re finding it difficult to include a printed product to your package price, free prints, a softback book, or digital and print combination packages are a great way to start. Once customers experience the power in print or have something to show friends and family, referral orders will follow.
We know that customers buy what they see. So, if you’re showing them tiny samples, you can expect that’s just what they’ll buy. If you have a viewing area or studio, make your samples large. It makes an impact on visitors, and customers can see for themselves how suitable a large print can be for most rooms. If not, you can always offer the option to go smaller. It’s more difficult to sell up in sizes than down.
With that last point in mind, it’s worthwhile considering incentives to go large. Weighting smaller products with a higher margin than larger products will make the leap to bigger sizes less of a consideration.
Keep it simple
We all know what it’s like when we’re faced with too much choice. Clients are no different. Curate a product collection that you WANT to sell. Something that compliments your style of photography and your brand.
Choose one or two key wall products or frames in a couple of sizes (see go large) and display them well in your studio. Keep price lists clean, simple and to the point. Know your customer base, understand your market and price accordingly.
Present simple upgrade options or sending a seasonal offer to your database are two easy and effective ways to sell more to your existing customer base.
Package it up
More popular than ever, and a great way to add incremental sales to your shoots, are packages. Supply a printed book/album or a combination product that offers digital files and a taste of the printed product. Then introduce package upgrades to a larger book, a wall product and matching desk product or a combination of wall, book or prints.
Group similar products together as a collection. This exclusive package, or packages, might take the shape of an album, a wall product and a selection of giftware, or a small keepsake. Adding additional smaller products adds value to the package without having an adverse effect on your margin.
Pricing single products at a higher margin than packages lets the customer get more ‘bang for their buck’. Similar for smaller wall products or frames, a smaller increase makes it easier to go large. Know your overheads and your audience, and then price your products accordingly. Don’t undersell yourself.
Right place, right time
Word of mouth and recommendation, as we know, is THE way to get referrals and more customers. But consider where else you’re being seen. Taking as many opportunities as possible to get your business out there gives you more opportunities for new sales.
Wedding fayres, local fetes and hotel events are a great way to get to know your local customers. Social media is a perfect platform to showcase your work too; giveaways and competitions help spread your reach but investing a small amount in promoting to local customers will too.
There are also benefits in getting creative with your placement. Check out your local high street for empty stores and potential pop-up shop opportunities, while other local businesses (gyms, libraries, fireplace shops) might be open to a display on their premises on a Saturday afternoon for a small fee. Think about where your clients might be and go to them. Take samples of your work and show potential clients the quality they can expect.
Selling round the clock
If you haven’t already, invest in an online sales partner to make sure you’re always open for business. Upload client galleries to online sales tools providers such as Shootproof, SmugMug, Photoshelter, Pixieset and theimagefile, to take care of business when you’re not available — leaving you more time to shoot and sell to new customers.
These partners integrate seamlessly Loxley Colour who will fulfil your clients’ orders and send directly to their address on your behalf. Job done.
Like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner, which presents the perfect time to start thinking about creative ways to increase your year-end sales. If you need to get ready with samples, Loxley Colour offer a generous discount and have some of the fastest turnaround times in the industry. Sample albums can be ready in just seven working days and wall products just five. Make sure you plan ahead and make the most of the busiest sales period of the year.