Most of us approach our pricing with some apprehension and anxiety. It is a topic of much discussion and debate among creative professionals, but with a little ingenuity, you can break away from boring pricing and use it in a way that will excite your client and build a brand identity!
It has been shown time and time again that a successful brand can connect with its customer base on an emotional level. Brands that can position themselves in line with a customer’s views and beliefs will have far better client retention and allegiance. As photographers we often try and get this message across through the content we shoot or through some whimsical about me section on our websites. Another strategy that is often used is social media which allows for a constant stream of personal glimpses into ones thoughts and life which sets in place a slow but evolving relationship based on repetition.
One facet that is quite often overlooked is the pricing strategy. Pricing is this big taboo in our industry. There are few guidelines, and prices fluctuate from market to market and across genres. It is quite incredible how completely versatile the pricing is in this industry, but what is more incredible is the stagnant linear approach most folks seem to take.
A clever and rewarding pricing strategy can be one of the most effective and speedy ways to prove to your clients what you believe in and the kind of personality you bring to the table. You are literally putting your money where your mouth is!
The problem with social media and your about me section is that you are a bit like the town crier, ringing the bell, and making announcements to the general public. Except that you are in a giant room half filled with competing town criers each with their own message that they want heard. It can be a bit tough to build an audience and to seem authentic when everyone else is saying the same things.
Clients raising the bar
As a results of constantly being bombarded with cliché lines and social media drivel many clients are learning to tune out the bulk of what they see and what they choose to read will often only get a quick glimpse. The clients have no choice but to raise the bar in an effort to weed through the instagram snapshots, facebook tags, and constant twitter updates that populate their feeds. Most of these attempts have the simple goal of building brand identity which just doesn't translate, but a sure fire way to always get a clients attention is to appeal to their wallet.
A Pricing Structure That Engages
To create a pricing structure that engages your client you will need to break away from the norm of simply listing prices or packages, and instead using those numbers to creatively put into context your brand identity.
Support Shared Visions
Many consumers these days want to do business with humans not corporations. They demand social responsibility and as a business owner you can attach your brand to any number of social or political issues ranging from local to global in scale. You can offer discounts to clients that use solar power. You can offer discounts to local manufacturers to help keep them competitive against the international outsourced giants. You can offer a discount on styling for your food photography if the client chooses to only use locally grown produce.
Furthermore, there is a lot of opportunity to brand yourself locally through various community events. You can offer discounts to local businesses that support and participate in these events. You can offer discounts for promotional material that will be used during the events.
You can even have some fun with this concept and combine it with the power of social media to offer reactionary discounts to current events. Did a sports team from your clients city win a championship? Now might be a good time to send them a promotional offer along with a congratulatory note. Did your clients city experience a regional disaster? Now may be a good time to offer a discount to help those in that area in a time of need.
Supporting shared visions is all about rallying together for a cause. There is strength in numbers.
Reward Lifestyle Choices
Many clients and customers these days use all sorts of data tracking. They track their businesses, their travel, their nutrition, their fitness, and more. Clients track a variety of data which they deem to be of importance to them. You can piggyback off this data and reward your clients for reaching goals which they have set for themselves. I have found this can work well with fitness clients. Most of them track their progress in one way or another through the various apps available to them. By syncing with them you are able to offer them discounts every time they reach a milestone. It's just another way to connect and motivate your client.
In addition you can help reward your clients for making the kind of lifestyle choices you support. Perhaps you can validate parking in a crowded city if the client decides to carpool to your studio.
Rewarding lifestyle choices is all about helping your clients be the best versions of themselves that they can be. If you can attach your brand to that which helps your client evolve as a human entity you will find yourself a friend and client for life.
Show Some Compassion
Life isn’t always a breeze and clients will appreciate if you put in place a program that aims to help those who are less fortunate or going through a rough time.
If you are a portrait photographer, for example, you can directly appeal to your clients by offering a discount on their portrait session if they are currently unemployed or single. The recently unemployed client might be looking for a new career and a good headshot on their LinkedIn page may just be what they need despite funds being strained. Similarly a recently single client may be looking for some headshots to use on various dating websites. Showing a little compassion to your clients in need can be a great way to build long term relationships and a brand image around a particular niche.
You don't always have to appeal directly to the customer. You can choose to support a charity that your clients are passionate about. By donating a portion of the proceeds from your photoshoot you extend that feel good bond throughout the business relationship.
Showing some compassion is all about nurturing the human element in a business environment. Just as you would help another human being in any other part of your life, so should you in your day to day business bustle.
Appear more human and caring
Bottom line, clients these days want to connect, and the go to method for most business to client relationships these days seems to be social media and a slew of self promoting marketing material. It is no longer enough to TELL your client you are genuine but rather you must SHOW them in real and meaningful ways. If you use your pricing to establish common beliefs, show a little compassion, and reward your clients for lifestyle choices, you will be on your way to quickly connecting with clients and at the same time creating the kind of world you want to live in.
Tell us the unique steps you are taking with your pricing strategy to make a difference!