How to Reward Repeat Customers

I recently met with a photographer here in Melbourne, Australia who is in the early stages of his photography business. He has made a good start and is clear on his target market (head shots for actors). Interestingly he was considering offering discounts to clients who update their head shots regularly. That led me to consider the broader client issue of how to reward repeat customers?

Let’s start by considering what a customer goes through before a shoot.


Often for actors or business people, they are going to use their images as part of a pitch for a job or a role. The images are part of the impact their application will make, and it is important. A strong, well lit image can assist in making a first impression and helping to get a face to face meeting. Ultimately it helps in whether they get the part or job.

Now let’s think about the mental questions the client goes through before a shoot. The following things will be going through the clients mind either consciously or subconsciously – is this photographer any good? do they know about lighting and can make me look good? will this be value for money? will this be fun? will I get a range of images which I can use in different situations? will this be an ordeal which I regret? is my hair and make up ok? They are not very positive questions! Most of my clients know they need good quality images, but start the process with this range of concerns and doubts.

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Put yourself in your clients shoes to determine what additional service you can provide

So what about after the shoot? The most common feedback I receive about the experience of the shoot is – that was fun, that was easier than I expected, and I felt relaxed in front of the camera. And of course, the client receives a range of high quality images to use.

So, should you offer a discount to repeat customers? Everyone will have their own opinion on this, so please take this as just one point of view. I don’t offer discounts to repeat customers because they already know and have experienced that:

  • they will receive high quality images
  • the shoot will be relaxed and fun
  • the shoot experience will not be difficult
  • I can adjust the length of the shoot to meet their needs on the day

So why would I offer a lower price to people who have that peace of mind? They already know the process of the shoot and don’t have the concerns of someone you haven’t worked with before. I want my business filled with repeat customers, but won’t be able to afford to do that if I am always offering them a cheaper price than new clients.

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A short, stress-free shoot may be more important to your customer than the price

So how to reward repeat customers? As I’ve outlined, I don’t use price as a reward mechanism for repeat customers – I use service. As an existing customer of mine I look for all possible ways to offer a high level of service. Here are some examples:

  • short notice bookings. If an existing customer needs some shots done at short notice, I will move other shoots and appointments to meet the time frame they need.
  • prints. Often my clients need printed images. I will do all I can to help them with prints. Again I don’t discount these, but I save my clients the time and inconvenience of doing it themselves.
  • on location. If we have already done a studio shoot, I offer to do the next shoot on location. It might be at their work or home (usually their work place) so that their image can be taken in the context of their business.
  • file sizes. I ask what the images will be used for and make sure the images I deliver are ready to use. If an image is urgently needed for a LinkedIn profile, I will email the image in the correct dimensions at 72dpi ready to be uploaded to my clients profile. I aim to make life easy for my client and to deliver a level of service which is worth paying for
  • family portraits. I find that most people intend to do family portraits but never quite get around to it. For clients where I have shot business portraits, I offer to shoot family portraits for them too. I make it easy. They know and trust me, and know I’ll make the shoot fun and light-hearted

I hope this has given you a different perspective on how to reward repeat customers. Leave your prices and look really hard at what additional services you can provide. Thanks for reading how to reward repeat customers.

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