Giving gifts to clients is one of the best things you can do to build your photography business. There’s a bunch of upsides and really no downsides, making it a ‘no-brainer’.
- Your client retention rates will go up – meaning that clients will call you for all their photography needs over the years, even if there’s someone else cheaper…
- Your referral rate will go way up, because clients will feel much more comfortable referring friends and family, knowing how well you took care of them and made them feel special (something rare in business these days)…
- PLUS they’ll often be willing to spend more on upsells after being presented with a thoughtful gift!
So here’s a few ideas for some simple and cost effective gifts you can give to clients:
#1 – Movie Tickets
Everyone loves movies, but tickets seem like such a rip-off these days that most people rarely go. You can buy ticket books with 10 or more tickets in which can bring the price down significantly. Make sure you give two tickets, not just one! – Nobody wants to see a movie alone, PLUS it guarantees that they’ll talk about you with the friend or partner that they take when asked “where did you get the tickets?”
#2 – Day Spa Certificate
Same principal as above. People don’t treat themselves to things like things. It doesn’t need to be the full package, just a massage, facial or even a manicure – The package would depend on the type of client… you should obviously spend more on a couple booking a $3000 wedding, than one booking a $200 portrait shoot, but don’t skimp on these gifts! You can often work out a deal with the day spa owner if you explain that you’ll be giving them as a gift and sending a lot of clients through – it’s also a way for them to build up their own client base so you should expect a good discount!
#3 – Chocolates
Who doesn’t love chocolates? Ok… maybe people who are lactose intolerant, but everyone else loves it!… Make sure they’re beautiful, high quality chocolates, wrapped nicely – not just a Snickers from the corner store!
#4 – Wine or Champagne
Same principal as above. It’s a classy gift that almost everyone will appreciate, and doesn’t cost the either either… but again, get a good quality wine and put a bow on it or something that shows you didn’t just pick it up on the way over. Buying in bulk can help you save here too!
#5 – Home Services
This is mainly for real-estate photographers, but others could make it work. Typically you’re hired when a client is selling their home, meaning that they’re moving in somewhere else. You could give them a certificate for carpet cleaning, gardening, pest control or anything that a new home might require – It’s very thoughtful, and deals can also be made with the business providing those services.
#6 – Down Lighting
Here’s one you won’t have heard of before. If you sell prints, like if your’e a fine art or landscape photographer, you could give a down-light as a gift so they could display their new beautiful canvas or print more prominently in their home. You could even recommend someone to install it for them, or give them a voucher that covers the installation in full or in part.
#7 – Restaurant Certificate
Your clients could have a night out on you! Just like the movie ticket example, make sure the certificate covers two people and work out a special deal with the restaurant owner. This is often a very good deal for the restaurant owner because the certificate covers the meals, but the client would pay for drinks which is where a lot of the profit is made.
Many photographers will avoid giving gifts before they see it as an extra expense that can’t be afforded, but it’s one of the best investments you can make in the growth of your business. Far better than upgrading your camera, buying a new lens or even putting an ad in a magazine!
Pick a gift that fits right for your photography business and give gifts after EVERY session – the cost of the gift should be in proportion to the profit from the shoot of course.
Lastly, give anyone who refers something really great. Even if they referred a friend and never mentioned it to you! If a new client ever says “Oh, John Smith told me about you”, then you simply must give a gift to John Smith, even if it’s just a simple ‘Thank-You’ card.
It’s the gifts that people don’t expect which are the most powerful!
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Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think, and if you’ll use any of these gifts in your own photography business, or if there’s a creative gift you use that wasn’t mentioned!P.S. I've consulted privately with 281 photographers over the last 24 months so I can give you the strategies that are working right now to grow your business to its potential, meaning you can earn an executives income doing work that you love without it eating away your entire life!
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