I’m revisiting one of our archived Talk-A-Latte episodes (#16) because now really is the perfect timing to think about how to Fill Your Fall Calendar. We had our special guest (and my sister!) – Jenny Mason, CPP, Orange County CA – with us to talk about strategies she uses every Summer to drive Fall business. Her studio is crazy successful because she not only does incredible images, she also offers amazing customer service. She was incredibly generous in sharing these strategies that have helped her grow her business. We’ve summarized the list, or you can scroll down to watch the video. BTW… There’s a freebie download at the end of the video ;]
- CALL YOUR PAST CLIENTS
- Make a list of your top people.
- Call and “check in” with them.
- Find out their needs for this holiday season.
- Offer them “priority” booking for the busy season.
- Jenny splits her top clients into two categories: VIP and VIP+ clients. Her VIP+ clients are the first people she calls and they get first pick on session dates and they usually always book. “When I call VIP+ clients, which is about 10 clients, they are happy to hear from us and we have great relationships with them.” This seems like it makes the call less of a sales pitch and more friendly! For her VIP clients, she sends an email offering prime dates and gives them a week to book, and a complimentary set of holiday cards if they book within a week. She has all of this done by August 1st so she knows what her Fall season is going to look like ahead of time.
“…they get first pick on session dates and they usually always book. “
2. A TWIST ON MINI SESSIONS FOR HOLIDAY
- Plan for them now!
- Call out that this is a special product line – Holiday Card sessions.
- Make them themed.
- Be concise.
- Price them right.
- One background. One shot.
- Set a minimum package. Include a digital card with the package.
“I do these sessions outdoors and it is for a holiday card. Some clients want customizations on the cards and we never say no. It is just an extra fee. The digital file and digital version of the card is included for a minimum payment of $400.”
3. THE 5-FOR-5 OFFER
Your current clients need gifts for friends, right?
- Contact your top 5 clients.
- Give them 5 gift cards for 5 free sessions.
- They gift those to their friends for the holidays.
- If all 5 book, the client gets their sessions and products free.
Talk about a win-win!?!
4. OFFER DOUBLE DOLLAR GIFT CARDS
What is a Double Dollar gift card?
A Double Dollar gift card is a gift card that is worth double the amount it was purchased for. Jenny’s policy is that clients must use the gift card by March 31st of the following year in order to receive the double dollar value. Her goal is to drive sessions during her typically slow months, and avoid offering discounts during peak months. However, the people who typically buy these cards are her VIP/VIP+ clients (“they wait for this offer!”), so if they need to reschedule beyond the expiration date, she’ll work with them. Otherwise, the card’s double value will expire, and it will be valued at it’s purchase price. She cautions that you need to be mindful so that the deal doesn’t get abused.
- Offer gift cards that double the value of their purchase.
- Limit the offer amount $$ and clarify that the value is per session. (eg. $250 max per session).
- Offer the sessions only during your slow season.
- Set an expiration date. The double value expires by a set date, but the card value remains at what it was purchased for.
“We host a holiday open house event every year in November. Santa comes to the event, and we do photos with Santa for the kids. During this event we sell Double Dollar gift cards and this is the only time that we sell them, and only for about three hours! It makes these clients happy, it endears them to me and they end up doing more business with me. I like to book these in January, February and March because those are my slow months and these would be sessions that I wouldn’t have booked in the first place.”
5. PARTICIPATE IN CHARITY AUCTIONS
Charities are always doing big fundraising drives during the Fall. How can you capitalize on that?
- Offer a gift for every donation over a specific dollar amount.
- Donate to their live auction.
- Promote the heck out of it on social: their channels and yours!
The only ones that really work are the ones I’m directly connected to and have built relationships with.
Login to watch How To Fill Up Your Fall Calendar on Jewel TV; Episode #16.