Less than four weeks to go, but plenty of opportunities
1. Those last-minute gift ideas
There’s a time in September/October when we send out “Christmas gifts alerts” — those e-mails that remind your current clients that this would be the best time to print that album or create that cluster of wall panels, or order the copy of their wedding album as a gift to their parents, because it takes time to print and deadlines will be looming soon. And you’ve probably been dealing with those orders until now, and happy to be done with them as you meet the last deadlines in a frenzy of uploads over the weekend.
Not all your clients will have put in orders, though, so there’s still a chance for last-minute sales. Find one or two — no more than three — simple products that you can get in time for Christmas. High-quality prints, even fine art prints, can usually be ordered well into December and still delivered before the holidays. Individual matted prints, or a collection in a small box, or a custom-designed calendar — if you look for a local supplier you can find two or three things with different price points that your clients will love.
Everybody has last-minute gift problems, and you can solve that for your clients!
Give them a few short days to jump on board, open up their online galleries for easy image picking, and streamline the order process by using an automated system if you can (I use Shootproof, but there are many others you can try out).
It will take you a few hours to find the products, send the emails (Mailchimp works wonderfully and is free) and set up the order system, but if you do it right some income is virtually guaranteed.
2. Partner with a shop to gain new clients
Finding another company to partner with can be one of the best ways to do a bit of almost-zero-cost marketing. Identify a shop or a business with your ideal target clients, and offer a set amount of free sessions to give to their best clients as a Christmas present. Include a beautifully matted print, something with high value and low cost to you, and it instantly becomes a fantastic gift.
Yes, you’re giving out free sessions, but your partner is pre-qualifying the clients for you, which basically ensures extra sales from those sessions as well as the opportunity to upgrade some of the sessions themselves if you offer multiple options. Nobody walks out with just one print!
Make custom vouchers that include both your logo and the logo from the other business, and make sure the wording says it’s a gift from them, in cooperation with you.
Set an expiry date of three months on the vouchers so that the sessions will take place in the first quarter of the new year, which are the slowest months.
3. Invite clients and friends to a Christmas event
If you have a studio or a place you like to meet your clients in, why not invite them to an informal drink and cookie afternoon. It doesn’t have to be super-fancy and it doesn’t need too much fanfare, just send out an e-mail invitation, Whatsapp or text message to the people you want to reach, and keep an open house for a few hours. Keep it simple and informal and make sure you have something they can take home with your card on it (chocolates, cookies…anything to eat will be perfect!) or better still, hand out a special voucher for a session to be booked in January and February — no more dead months!
4. Select your best clients and surprise them with a voucher for a winter session
Sometimes all we need is to have bums on seats during those slow months. Offering a winter session to your very best clients from years past will be a great gift and a great way to ensure a few good sales. They may not all respond, but the good ones will!
5. Last but not least, send REAL Christmas cards
We’re photographers! We print beautiful images…so why not send a real card to your clients and connections? In a world where everyone receives hundreds of digital holiday wishes, you can stand out by making yours special. Insert your vouchers for the special ones, and sit back and visualize the smiles when they open mail from you. And remember that every time someone smiles in connection with you, they’re that much closer to booking you again — or maybe for the first time. So worth it.
What are you waiting for? Get cracking on a few simple things that can boost your 2019 into action. And don’t forget to have fun in the process!