For portrait photographers, business can be very seasonal. For example, the pre-christmas weeks can be a boom time, as well as other regular holiday and family themed events throughout the year – Mothers Day, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day etc. But as portrait photographers, we know that things can change very very quickly indeed.
Certain times of the year always lead to a lull in portrait sessions and if you are not prepared for this, it can have a serious impact on your business.
So we need something to keep up our sleeves for those leaner times when we need to get people through the door.
Well in today’s blog post we want to talk about a little photography studio marketing tip that will ensure your photography business is busy, no matter what time of year it is.
Firstly though, go and take a look at your studio calendar right now.
How many slots are filled over the next month? Multiply that by your studio average sales income and that’s the income your studio should expect to receive over that period (I love this business it is so predictable (almost).
So are you happy or depressed?
I am guessing if you are happy you have a nice full studio – job done – you can stop reading right now.
The rest of you can stay here and figure out how to get that calendar filled with a photography studio marketing tip that is so simple to execute, but will give extremely powerful results.
So what is this simple photography studio marketing tip? A Prize Draw Competition.
What! I know you’ve thought of it before. It didn’t work. You lost money. Nobody entered etc etc etc – the list goes on and on.
However the secret is in the execution and HOW you gather the data about your clients.
The concept is simple of course, but the devil is in the detail, so please pay attention to this 10 step plan:-
1. Firstly devise a prize for the winner – this is usually a photo shoot and a nice piece of wall art with a retail sales value before discount of about £500
This is definitely something that should be attractive to most families, right? Now whatever you do, don’t offer a prize that everyone would want, like a Apple iPad, or 50 inch TV – the reason for that is that the people entering will no longer be your target client – these folks just want to win the prize! So make sure that the prize you offer is relevant to your business, and to your target customer.
2. Devise a “runners-up” prize of a fixed amount of FREE studio shoots and a framed desk print – the value of this shoot would be worth whatever you charge for a studio session (say £95) and what you charge for a framed 7” x 5” print (let’s for argument just say £75) so your runners up prize is worth £170 and your main prize is worth £500 – so if you offered 25 runners up prizes, that’s a total prize value of £500 + (25 x £170) = £4750
That’s a BIG prize fund and something worth making some marketing noise about. And also 25 more studio slots you are filling 😉
3. Next we need to create an input form to capture your prize draw entries. This is where we start to get clever. Personally I use the wonderful LeadPages product for this – if you are going to invest in one product for your business this year this is THE one – Leadpages is amazing! You can do so so much with it – we integrate it with a Free Mailchimp account to create a prize draw entry landing page prompting the customer for exactly the data we need from them and without any distractions for them to click onto other pages and leave the site.
4. Next, think about what information you are going to capture when customers complete their entry form. Make sure the form gives you the data and information YOU need – knowledge is power!
Here are the questions we ask on our input forms:-
Now THAT gives you a lot of marketing insight into your client basis. I’ll say it again, “Knowledge is power” and the information provided via this input form can be very useful to you in the running of the competition and the subsequent targeting of clients who will be signing up to your marketing database. Just think about the questions we have asked here and what is it telling you? For example, if they are telling you who they want to include in the photoshoot, you can establish if you are dealing with a family, or a couple, or just an individual.
5. Now you have to do some real Social promotion – Get posts onto Facebook, Twitter, Pjnterest and Instagram announcing the prize draw.
If you can afford it, invest some marketing spend in a Facebook advertising campaign to get the word out there – and don’t forget to leverage the biggest secret in Facebook advertising that we revealed a few months ago – please tell me you are all doing this by now.
6. Now once our competition entry period has closed, we need to get all those names in a hat, pick the winner and pick your runners up – make sure your competition is legal obviously and follow any local bylaws and guidelines.
7. Publish the details of the winner – make a big splash about it. Write a press release and benefit from some great SEO backlinks in the process.
8. Contact all the winners and runners up – tell them they must claim their prize this month and must be booked into the studio this month. Create some excitement and urgency in your email – this is a prize that must be claimed before the expiry period.
9. Count up the new studio shoots, multiply that by your studio sales average and pat yourself on the back, you have filled your studio in the weeks ahead.
But what else have you done?
You’ve created a new marketing database full of potential clients who are ALL interested in having a photo shoot done and who have even told you would they would like to be included in the photoshoot.
10. Lastly – Repeat as necessary! Run this competition as often as you wish – every time you run it you are adding new people to your marketing database.
So there you have it – A simple ten step photography studio marketing tip that could fill your studio next week.
Got some other marketing ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Want a marketing tip that is perfect for wedding photographers? – find out how we reached 45000 facebook users without spending a cent on advertising