Two Small Tips for Solid Bookings in 2017

Two Small Tips for Solid Bookings in 2017

At the end of each year there is is always the hustle mindset of pushing harder for the upcoming business actions. More bookings, solid client interactions, and in many cases the push to top the previous years' finances. So how does one start off the new year with client bookings already on the calendar? By simply not forgetting those who booked you the previous year.

Right now the excitement is filling the air of many entrepreneurs with either the hustle to push harder for 2017, or for those looking for a fresh start of the new year. The main goal is to get clients on the books. After this, follow whatever is most important to you as a business owner such as finances, client interactions, or any other form of business growth. But lets face it, without those clients on the books, the rest cannot follow.

Each year since I have been in business I have sent out end of the year cards. The first year was a store bought greeting card with my personal message inside to each client. That got boring fairly quickly to me for starters, since my handwritten notes might as well give me the right to call myself a doctor and second that it was not personal enough. So using the reason they came to me in the first place, I started creating my own cards with the art work behind the business.

What They Can Do For Your Business

Business greeting cards can keep you on the radar of your clients. They will remind them of the time they spent with you in their session, as well as enhance the relationship you started the moment they first called your studio. A simple gesture like a card can also show clients the appreciation and support you still maintain for them. Not only wll this help with your client base, cards will also enhance your current business relationships. Maintaining an existing relationship with vendors or even local business partners will help strengthening your goals for the new year. 

When creating a card think about the type of business you conduct. Creating a bold and modern type of card would not work well for my company that specializes in fine art portraiture. My clients would be confused perhaps from whom the card was sent. Keep the theme consistent with your company so when they open the envelope they immediately can tell it is your work.

Speaking of envelopes, keep it in snail mail. Email greetings while more cost effective can be sent to spam, looked over, or even worse; deleted. Budget a small amount for postage and the personal touch will go a long way with clients and business partners. This year I even incorporated the US Postal Service mail box into the holiday card to bring the concept together.

The Process

This year I wanted to step back in time for just a moment. In the progressive digital age, creating a card that felt a bit more nostalgic was best suited for my line of work. Utilizing the mailbox directly outside of my studio along with my children did a few things for my card. First it brought a sense of familiarity to my clients in that they knew the location. Second it brought my husbands line of work (US Postal Carrier) into the mix along with our children since I am a firm believer it takes my entire family in order to run this business. They are part of the process of being an entrepreneur so incorporating them all into the mix was essential. Lastly, creating a fine art look was done with the choice of post production and type of paper chosen. The Jonathan Penney fine art greeting card line was the perfect choice to give the flare that I was searching for this year with the textured paper and deckled edges. Cards arrive unfolded so you may print inside for a personal message (options to have the company print inside are available as well).

Remind clients of your information with printed website on the back of the cards.

Adding Some Flare

While I was born and raised in New York, I currently reside in Florida. Hot, muggy, and not at all the typical hallmark look for holiday cards. Adding a colder, snowy look to the images was something needed to bring a little flare to the otherwise hellish heat of Florida. There were a few small issues with creating this idea, so I used a composite to help add to the fact that I only had 15 minutes to shoot between school and the kids after school activities. The small corner block this was shot on had background noise such as cars, alligator murals on the buildings, and well of course the lack of snow. Florida heat instantly melted the snow machine flakes so post production work was needed.

The kids held up scarves and hair in order to add some wind blown look for the movement of the image which was added later on in post.

Personal, But Not Too Personal

The key to a great business end of the year card is to add your personality without becoming overly personal. Keeping the cards in line with a generic holiday wishes or even prosperity towards new year will work for everyone of your clients without leaving anyone out. While I wanted to incorporate my family that stands behind my work, I also did not want to send all my clients pictures of my kids. That is for the grandparents. So to keep up with the vintage postcard theme, master print maker Jonathan Penney added a painterly look with snow on the ground. From there I cooled down the tones as well as puppet warped her leg for an added movement of the running. The look now leans more on the postcard hallmark children running to send letters to the family (or Santa) than the photographer's kids.

OK What About This Second Tip?

Oh yes! The second tip that has been the most influential in my studio bookings for the following year. I add in a complimentary session for each client who booked in 2016. The fine print is not so small in this portion as I want the clients to understand the rules behind this gift voucher. It is for one session fee only along with one gift print. This small gesture shows my appreciation to my current clients. It also is a sure way to get solid bookings on 2017 calendar. Some may worry that this is just giving away a booking, or that it is bait and hook sales behavior.

Wrong on both counts. The bookings for the clients are no pressure method to get them back to the studio to try out something new. Perhaps a boudoir client comes back for underwater, but there is no pressure to purchase anything due to the gift print associated with the voucher.

On the business owners end however, if you do your job right, there will always be an up sell. Even if it is small, the gesture to your clients will keep you on their radar. Session fees are of course not where the sale should be but rather in the art work you provide in the end.

Imagine if you could get even half of all your 2016 clients to book another session next year? Add that to the new cliental coming in and you will have a great 2017!




    Jennifer Tallerico's picture

    JT is known throughout the International Boudoir Photography Industry and the region for her unique approach to Fine Art Photography. Her underwater work as JT Aqua is ethereal based and conceptual. She is an educator, writer and currently teaching workshops for underwater and boudoir.

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    I really don't like the idea of giving away free sessions for clients. Your time is money, and giving away free sessions devalues your service. That's also why I don't ever have sales.
    Plus, with 35 weddings and over 200 portrait sessions, that'd be a lot of free sessions.

    Understandable and this method does not work for everyone. I am low volume high sales so it is a perfect fit.
    The session itself is not a money maker, and showing appreciation to my clients in the form of a complimentary session ( just the session) will create loyal returning clients.

    I just finished the Christa Meola Boudoir Workshop a few months ago and she said to never discount your session fee but to give away free prints. In the eyes of your client they see the value of the print and the cost of the print is minimal.

    You sound a little defensive in your response. It is up to each of us to run our businesses the way we feel is best for us. If this is working for you then continue doing so. I truly wish you the best and from your articles I feel you know what is best for your business.

    I have another question for you. I've read all your articles and I look forward to each new one. I would like to start my own boudoir photography business someday. Ms. Meola rents studios for her sessions, I don't have that option in the part of the country. Do you have a studio? How did you get started. Thanks.

    Oh gosh not defensive at all! Sorry if that was felt! In my mind they are not a discounted session but a gift only to loyal returning clients who already know my policies and product information (less admin time for me)

    For the studio.. I have done it all! I started out renting Studios as I lived very far out in the country. Then when I moved, I started my studio in a back mother in law suite bedroom. Following that I moved it into a small office space ( no windows 12x12 room so you can image how crafty I had to get!)
    Following into a larger studio in a downtown historic district with loads of window light. This was an 8 year process with having a family -so slow, but steady for sure!

    So in the beginning I say if you cannot find a studio you can always rent an airbnb or hotel ( tell them your intentions as many may not allow for shooting)
    If you happen to have a room in your home that can be converted that can work as well! If you want to message me I would love to help you come up with ideas!

    Thanks for your help. I live in an apartment and I feel it would be a little creepy for my clients to come into an environment like that. Meola also talked about using airbnb and hotels. Good luck with you business and have a happy holiday.