Of all the strategies I used in the growth and marketing of my photography business this one strategy created more sessions, calls and long term clients than any other.
How does it work? Simple, you create a membership. Costco does this, so does Amazon to name a few.
Why not you? Here’s a short list of some of the memberships my wife and I created:
- Babies First year wall panel. This one membership is the big kahuna of all memberships. And we used direct mail as the main media to attract new clients. Once they booked their first session, we always offered a soft pitch for several ‘levels’. Think sliver, gold and platinum. Here’s what’s interesting. 40% upgraded to gold, and about 20% to platinum. With little to no resistance.
- Toddler Panel. This is the same idea as the babies first year membership, expect it covers ages 2-3 with a session at every 6 month. This offer was made to the graduates of the babies first year, and since they were devoted clients who loved and respected us, 90% took advantage.
- Kreative Kids Klub. The idea is simple. A 5 year program, session every 6 months with a 5×7 that is inserted into their album (which is included when they sign up). It’s ideally suited for ages four and up and those who graduated from the Toddler panel. Get it? Also, it’s a great counter to ‘crappy’ school pictures with the alternative being high quality portraits, at a great value.
- 5 year family plan. We offered and sold a bunch of these. Not as popular as the previous memberships, but still profitable. Suited for young families who want great memories at a great price.
The biggest objections I get from other photographers is the low cost on the initial offer.
What you need to remember are three things:
- Many clients will upgrade. And, you get insane levels of loyalty.
- Focus on the aggregate total of sales and profits on the entire year. Not how much you’re selling on each client session. Some clients buy no extras or very little, others more and some a ton. What matters most is the annual gross amount.
- Spin off and brand loyalty. Many of our clients who signed on years ago have children who are now in their twenties. Over the years, we’ve become the number one, go to, no other option studio to call on, refer and shout out.
The loyalty is off the charts. The kids even feel it. They still show up and see us as family. We’re considered a part of their lives. Their childhood, their family history.
This is an amazing feeling. Not many industries can make the same claim. And build a solid photography business taking fun, creative high quality portraits.
Some nay-sayers for some reason think these won’t sell nowadays. What? People have changed? Memberships resonate and have all the best ingredients for a timeless, reliable marketing strategy.
All you need is the right mindset and desire to be an established as a long term community based photography business. (This won’t work so well to shoot and burn or fly by night photographers.)
Robert N. Provencher – Your Master Coach Marketer
“If you want to be a profitable and successful photographer, then study profitable and successful photographers.”