I follow a range of family photographers and their portfolios via Facebook. Commonly I see many of them offering price discounts to encourage new clients to book now. Do you take this approach? I am going to offer you a different approach and will show you 6 alternatives to price discounts for family photographers.
But first, why might price discounts not be a good idea for your family photography business in the long run?
As photographers, our skill and the quality of our work increases over time. Typically our costs go up over time as well, as we upgrade to new equipment, new computers, and costs for insurance and other necessities rise. So, unless we want to work a lot longer hours in future, our prices need to increase over time as well.
So why is price discounting not such a good strategy?
- Price discounting focuses your clients on your prices and not on the quality of your work. I don’t know about you, but I want my clients to be excited about the quality of the work, how it will capture the moment of their child’s early steps, and how a large print might hang on the walls of their home for a lifetime. I don’t want them thinking about saving $50 off my usual rates. If the quality of the work is strong enough, the $50 will not matter.
- If you are a habitual price discounter you can be sure that any clients that have paid your full rates will not be very happy. If your usual family portrait rates are $500, the client who paid $500 last week will not be very pleased when she sees the same package advertised on your facebook page this week for $350.
- And further to that, any potential clients who follow your work will never book at your full rates as you are conditioning them to wait for your regular “Hey world! I’m on sale” posts on your facebook photography page. If you regularly discount, you are essentially cutting your rates. Is that what you want in the long term?
So how do we attract new clients now, and fill the gap in our shooting schedule, without constant price discounts?
Here are ‘6 alternatives to price discounts for family photographers’.
1. Add Value. Instead of offering price discounts, make offers which add more value for your client. If your basic package is $500 offer a ‘Summer Special’ which includes a large canvas print valued at $150 for a package price of $575. The idea here is to present a ‘value offer’ not a ‘cheap offer’.
2. Solve a Client Problem. This is one which can be adjusted for any “hard to buy a present for” family member. For example, “What do you buy your partner for his birthday? He has everything right? Surprise him with a photo of you. Booking available from now until the end of the month”.
3. Build a High Value Package. Building a high value package works in a similar way to the ‘add value’ alternative. But here we add lots of extra things to the package. Let’s show you an example – “Looking for presents for the entire extended family? And would like prints to decorate your own home too? Complete you family portrait shoot before 15 June and receive a 36 x 24 inch canvas, two 12 x 18 inch prints, five 8 x10 inch prints, and a USB of your images, all for $695”
4. Guarantee turnaround times. Most people have busy lives and often leave things to the last minute. This alternative recognizes that and helps make your client’s lives easier. “It’s not too late for the perfect personalized Christmas present! Complete your family portrait session before 30 November, and receive your prints and images by 18 December. Book now!” Note, that in this alternative there is no mention of price. It is all about recognizing people are busy and solving their Christmas present challenges. (I have found that clients who like you to solve the problem this year, will also like you to solve the problem again next year. They are time sensitive, not price sensitive.)
5. Make tailored offers to previous clients. Your previous clients are a fantastic source of future business. You have a relationship with them and they like your work. This makes them ideal to approach for tailored offers. Here is a sample email “Hi (existing client), I was looking back over my work from last year and realised that it is nearly a year since I did your family portraits. I wonder if you would like to make a record of your family’s images a year later? I currently have a gap in my shooting schedule on (XX date). Would you like to book an anniversary shoot?”
6. Discount only for your special clients. And the final alternative is for those people who just can’t resist offering a price discount. If you feel you really must do this – don’t broadcast it to the world. Don’t create the impression that you are a cheap photographer who is always offering discounts. Keep your clients focused on quality. So what do we do?
Go to your ‘special’ clients or repeat clients who you know will respond to the offer. A sample email might look like “Hi Amanda, I’ve got a booking time available next Wednesday morning at 10am. I know it is short notice, but wondered if you would like to bring the kids and do a 60 minute shoot? My normal price is $500, but for you as a loyal client I’d be happy to take 20% off this.”
Continually offering price discounts will lead you down a path of attracting clients who focus on price. There is another way. Thanks for reading 6 alternatives to price discounts for family photographers. I hope it has given your some tools to escape the trap of constant price discounting. If you would like to receive updates from Beyond Here, please add your email address in the sign up area on this page.