Think Your Existing Clients Are Safe? Top Ways You Can Secure Them Today
Repeat business is the holy grail for all service businesses, and it’s a lovely feeling when a photography client comes back time and time again to benefit from your expertise. Parrot Print Canvas photographers share some important tips today.
So how can you build your customer retention and keep your photography clients coming back? There are various approaches to trial – these are some of our favourites.
Stay in touch with your email marketing list
If you’ve taken the trouble of collecting the email addresses of customers and prospects, then make sure you keep in touch with them. Topical eshots – newsletters, latest work showcasing, promotions and value – add content will engage the readership, remind them of your service and encourage sales. To get even better results, begin to segment your mailing list so that you can target your email communications by user group.
Consider a freebie
There can be incredible leverage in offering a carefully selected free gift or extra alongside a personalised photography package. It needn’t be expensive either. The psychological effect of being offered something special without obligation is powerful and makes your clients feel very warmly towards you. Try a designed memory stick, a fridge magnet customised with a photo from their shoot, an extra mini print or a designed digital template pack to make the most of their images.
Remember key dates
Capture your clients’ date of birth and note down key dates when you book in wedding, birthday and anniversary photography for example. Then you can send a pretty congratulations card or a thoughtful message before the appropriate time with a special promotion for that customer to redeem. Again, it shows thought and care and sets you apart from big, faceless businesses.
Consider getting a referrals scheme in place that offers a discount or something of value to the referrer and the nominee. The new business gained will easily justify the cost of administering such a scheme, which can be delivered using existing digital packages and adjusted to suit your business offer and branding.
Be a fantastic listener
When clients book a photography experience, they are investing in a set of memories that they want to share and preserve. The experience is likely to be a special treat for them, and often for a memorable occasion. The client may have an idea of what they want to achieve visually but will be looking for your photographic skill and artistic vision to recommend and deliver the best possible result. This means being a fantastic listener. Great photographers know how to ask the right questions to ascertain a creative brief and are naturally excellent communicators. The key to it all, however, is being a superb listener; one who can hear what the client is saying – and what they are hinting at in many cases!
Have an idea
Many clients only have a vague thought of what they want from a shoot – so you can immediately show your professional expertise by demonstrating your ideas and concepts. Show examples of other work to bring these suggestions to life and be prepared to have a creative discussion where you help to shape the client’s needs with examples of what you know will work.
Be able to put clients at ease
When you are carrying out your photoshoot, you need to be able to put your subjects at ease. After all, few people are professional models and they are likely to feel some nerves as they are photographed. The more you can make them laugh and feel relaxed, the better the result will be.
Always be professional
Clients love a professional photographer. This means knowing when to be funny and jokey to put your clients at ease during a shoot, and knowing when to be more ‘corporate’ in your approach. Sometimes this will depend on the booking, sometimes on the individual themselves. Good photographers can invariably read people well and adjust their manner accordingly. At the same time, always have the symbols of your professional capacity clearly displayed. Have a great business card, an on-brand website, good marketing collateral and a professional voicemail, for example. Make sure that the client experiences a consistently professional and service-oriented experience whenever they engage with you.
Once you have carried out a photoshoot, make sure you process photos and make them available quickly. Don’t linger and leave the client to call you repeatedly for an update. See the process through and over-deliver on timescales where possible – it’s all part of providing that excellent customer experience that brings customers back for more.
Invest in your digital assets
Every business now needs a great website and a social feed. Invest in your website and make sure it has correctly working functionality. Set up an Instagram and Facebook feed and share images that clients have signed a release for.
Invest in your kit
From appropriate photographic equipment to great props and a studio if you have one, the more you invest in your equipment, the better the results of your photography will be. This extends to post-production work too – invest in your own training so that your skills remain current and so that you can deliver the type of work that your clients want to see.
Asking for feedback is a powerful tool when it comes to retaining clients. Not only does it give you a chance to put any issues right before your client shares their experiences elsewhere, but it also gives you plenty of great quotes and insights into what you are doing well. Clients also like it when photographers take the time to check that they are happy with the work that they commissioned. And a happy client is one who is far more likely to recommend you to others!
These tips will help you to develop your business and manage your client base carefully so that you engage with happy customers, convert more prospects, build repeat business and grow your referrals network. Note too that many of these tips don’t require you to spend large amounts of money – simply to invest time, thought and effort into your business development.