What, if anything, should you give away to kick-start your business?
I remember learning about loss leaders in my teens at college and thinking even back then what a great idea! Loss leaders are literally giving something away for free (making an initial loss) in the hope it will lead to a further, bigger sale either there and then or down the line.
For your photography business there are a number of ways of doing this so get your thinking cap on.
Why not offer free portrait sittings for anyone and everyone in an attempt to get your portfolio kick-started. The chances are you will make a good wad of money on print orders.
Do this by arranging to get the entire family involved for the shoot and the screening of finished images. Give out price lists for reprints ranging from 6″ x 4″ prints up to A1 canvasses. I once did this and made a few thousand Euros on canvas prints from one family alone!
It would be a good idea to get some amazing looking prints and enlargements together to display during the shoot and/or the viewing.
Sell yourself and your work like crazy to get the orders in!
You could also offer a free parent photobook for any couple booking you for a wedding in that month. Maybe create a landing page on your website where you can send targeted Google ads and see what response you get.
One thing I have done a lot of in the past is trade model portfolio shoots for model releases so the images can be used as stock photography. You are losing your time for no pay up front but will hopefully get some good sales from selling the images as stock. The model gets a free portfolio too so when done right, everybody wins.
I am considering offering an iPod Touch worth around $200 with every “top package” wedding booked this year.
I will then load all of the couple’s wedding images along with a cool slideshow set to music for them to show their friends.
You could offset the cost by adding more to your bottom line price but remember to always give more and give great value for money however you structure your prices and packages.
Even if you took $200 off your top end package profit for the day, you may well get 6 or 7 weddings booked that you wouldn’t otherwise so it may be worth taking a hit on your bottom line initially.
Note: Try exchanging the wedding photo book for an iPad for added coolness! It’s the same cost in many cases…
This is why it is important to test and analyze your results so you don’t lose a lot of money giving things away…make sure they work. To do so, once booked, there is no harm in asking a couple what it was that made them eventually choose you as their photographer (say it is part of your ongoing market research).
Think about how to give something away that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg but adds real value to your business making it more enticing for future clients.
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