Are you tired of hearing photographers sharing how their calendar is booked a year in advance? Would you like in on their secret on how to book more photography clients?
I get it. I was in your shoes several years into my business. I’d have a busy fall, then enter December wondering if I’d ever book another client again. At the same time, I see all over Instagram how this photographer or that photographer was booked for next summer! That was until I made a few vital changes in my business. I’m sharing those secrets below so that you can learn how to book more photography clients, earlier.
Note, we will talk about my strategy using a “black Friday” approach. However, you could use this anytime of year that you wanted to release your calendar to your photography clients.
The first step on how to book photography clients earlier is to create a newsletter list.
Before you can dive into selling, let’s talk about a photographer’s best friend: the newsletter.
Did you roll your eyes and wonder if you just got tricked? Keep reading and trust me, you’ll change your viewpoint and be encouraged that you can book photography clients earlier, too.
A newsletter is not about bombarding your audience with deals. Instead, a well-crafted newsletter offers a blend of insights, updates, and personal stories. This consistent touchpoint helps cultivate and strengthen your relationship with potential clients, laying the foundation for future bookings.
Create a newsletter that serves and you’ll be able to sell out those mini-sessions, and special events, and yes, even book out your calendar months in advance.
Next, create an offer they cannot refuse with a deadline.
People need a reason to act “right now.” They need a good reason to book months and months in advance. Simply opening your calendar up, may not do the trick (especially in the beginning). Instead, you need to craft an offer that’s too good to refuse.
Now, I’m not saying you cut your prices in half, just make it worth it. Also, another secret on how to book photography clients a year in advance is that this needs to be the only time you offer a sale or a discount. If they know in a few months you’ll give them a deal again, why would they book now?
Another thing to consider is you do not have to offer a discount, but instead add value. Give someone a reason to book early, but think about what else may be a good incentive. Examples of how to book photography clients early without a discount could be including an album, album size upgrade, print credit, canvas, etc. The sky is the limit.
Overall, this step in how to book photography clients is about giving people a reason to commit to family photos way in advance.
This may take some trial and error. Consider asking your newsletter list or post a poll on social media to see what people would love to see.
The next step in how to book photography clients is to get the word out.
With your offer ready, it’s time to create a buzz. Use your social media platforms to hint, tease, and eventually unveil what you’ve got up your sleeve. This is also an ideal opportunity to expand your newsletter’s reach, highlighting its value as the go-to place for exclusive deals and early booking opportunities.
When your calendar is booked for this year, encourage families onto your newsletter list as the best place to get a spot for next year. Start building that hype and interest in working with you.
If you think you’ve shared enough, share ten times more. You’ll be surprised how many times people will say they never heard about it, when you felt like you were shouting from the rooftops. So keep sharing it everywhere.
The Timing: It’s Your Call
Black Friday? Sure, it’s the big one. But remember, you set the rules. Launching your offer a tad early, or even slightly later, can make your deal stand out from the crowd.
I know people’s inboxes are flooded with offers for Black Friday. Consider doing it the week before, or aim for early December. Or launch in January, February, or March, whenever you feel it’s time to get people booking.
The key is clear communication, so your audience knows when to expect your offer and can act accordingly.
We All Start Somewhere: My Personal Experience
The first time I ventured into early bookings, just three clients jumped on board. Was it disheartening? Of course. However, I soon realized that every strategy needs time. With patience and tweaks, the numbers grew, and so did my confidence. Remember, even if the initial response is lukewarm, you’re laying down the tracks for future success.
As photographers, we often capture fleeting moments. But with our business strategies, especially around securing bookings, we should think long-term. The blend of a well-timed offer and consistent communication, like newsletters, can set the stage. Here’s to preparing for success, long before the new year’s first photoshoot!
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