Last modified: December 29, 2016
From all the marketing tactics out there, writing a special note at the right moment can be the most powerful and most personal.
You’re in the business of creating valuable, lifelong memories from events that your clients love to celebrate year after year. Even if they might be too busy to plan ahead that celebration…
You just need to be there, careful and attentive, congratulating them. And if it makes you feel comfortable, you could also offer them a special discount on your photography services, for their anniversary.
This might be precisely what it takes to turn them into repeat customers and grow your business without spending a fortune on marketing. In this article, I’m going to walk you through the 3 simplest, most effective steps of marketing through writing notes:
Learn how to spot a great opportunity
It’s not every day someone you did businesses with pops out of nowhere to congratulate you for a personal success or celebration. And the truth is that when that happens, you feel incredibly good.
I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty psychological details of why people feel good when others think of them. The point is that being remembered makes anyone feel important. Your clients make no exception.
You reaching out to congratulate them for an event in their life, just like offering to give them a discount on another awesome shooting session, is the best way to show them that they are important to you.
Here’s a list of great opportunities you shouldn’t miss:
- High school graduations
- Students’ sports or study achievements
- Birthdays of your previous clients
- Birthdays of your previous clients’ babies
- Wedding / engagement anniversaries of your previous couple-clients
Now that you know what to look for, you should also pay close attention to how you handle this information. You wouldn’t want to put yourself in the embarrassing situation of congratulating a client at the wrong day… Writing all these dates down in an organized space, such as Google Calendar or another digital or paper calendar, could prove handy.
Here are some strategies for getting the right dates from your clients:
- Every time new clients book a session with you, ask for their birthdays;
- Every time you’re shooting a special event for a client, write down the dates;
- It can be:
- An engagement party
- A wedding
- A baby shower
- A christening celebration
- A newborn session
- It can be:
- Make a habit of connecting with your clients on social networks – whenever you get a notification or you notice that they are excited about something, take notes and write dates down;
- It can be:
- A personal anniversary you didn’t know about
- A work anniversary
- A happy family event such as the birth of a nephew or niece, their parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, their kids’ graduation or a major school success etc.
- It can be:
- Make a habit of reading the local news – you never know when you’re going to read great news about one of your clients right from the newspaper
As you might have noticed, some events can be tackled in two different ways. If it’s a high school student who graduated or who did something extraordinary in their sports, you can choose to congratulate either the student or his parents. If you’ve worked with the student’s parents before, you might be tempted to approach them.
Nevertheless, stop and think for a second. What are the chances that a teenage feels so special after getting your message that he or she will be begging the parents for a photo session?
Long story short, when you know what to look for and where to do so, there’s only one thing left to do:
Master the marketing through the writing notes technique
Reaching out when you are the least expected will do 90% of your persuasion work. Your note doesn’t have to be fancy, to say incredible things, or to be very lengthy.
It just has to acknowledge your client’s accomplishment, to express your joy for his or her success, and to let them know that you’re offering a discount as a gift, if the client decides to turn this anniversary into a photo shooting topic.
Sometimes, handwriting will create even a bigger impact, but so will do reminding them of your previous, successful project. If you’ve worked with this client before (and you’re not reaching out to congratulate for someone else in their family), adding a photo from their previous session on your card could make them even more excited about rebooking your services.
Letting them know that they can use your special discount whenever they want throughout an entire month is another interesting card to play. The message you’re sending is that your main goal is to congratulate and that you do not intend to put any kind of pressure on them.
Of course, you can also stir their interest by just suggesting that you are willing to offer a discount. It’s ok if you don’t want to say it clear. Something like this should do the trick: “I haven’t forgotten how special this time of the year is for you… So I might have something special for you too. Drop by anytime this month for a personalized shooting session and I would be happy to compliment you with my gift for you!”
Never let go of a successful marketing strategy
Once you test this successful technique, you will obviously make a habit of using it year after year. Don’t think that your clients won’t go for it twice in a row. You go ahead, compliment and congratulate again, remember them, with a special note and a photograph, what a great shooting session you had last year, and offer to take the tradition further.
“Science” is on your side with this one… In marketing terms, it’s all about customer acquisition vs customer retention… These fancy terms are actually implying that it is always easier (and cheaper) to make people who already know you to contract your services again, than to try to get the attention of a brand new audience.
So the simple fact that you’ve worked with these clients before, even if only once, is actually consistently increasing your odds of working with them again. All you have to do is to market your services at the right time, like this special anniversary of theirs… If they have been responsive before, they might even expect your invitation, and, perhaps, even look forward to it.
Either way, you can never know until you try it. And you have all the reasons for trying all of the above.
I’ve said it before, but I cannot emphasize this enough: photography is more than taking pictures; it’s a connection with somebody and being part of their lives. So make sure you stay in the loop by sending out thank you notes, happy birthday cards, and warm messages from the heart with every new special occasion. They will appreciate it and be reminded of you and your business in the moments that matter to them most. Those are the moments that anyone would want to immortalize through a shooting session, so never let them pass unnoticed.
You’ve got the client and the perfect occasion, but you’re worried about crafting the perfect card? The “Note Cards” selection in our library is precisely what you need.