Every photographer knows that fall is ‘go time’. Regular clients need updated photos for their Christmas cards, first-time client inquiries roll in, and they’re all ready to book! Your schedule gets a little nutty and the list of sessions to edit goes on and on. But all this craziness means more income and more fun with your own family during the holidays.
Then January hits and it’s crickets.
No one is calling. Everyone seems to have boarded themselves up inside to keep warm during these colder months and no one is asking for photos. You might take the first week to recoup, the second to work on your business, and when the third comes around – the nerves set in.
And questions start rolling through your mind… Why isn’t anyone boking? Is this slow period going to last forever? How on earth are you going to make enough money to keep up with your expenses? How can you attract new clients and get them to book with you?
First, deep breath.
Yes, this can be a scary time, but it’s short-lived. All part of the cycle. If you’re not one who likes an extended amount of time off to relax, it’s time to get to work on your business.
You can do this!
Here are a few tips that will keep you booking clients during the offseason.
Tip #1 – Plan ahead
The best thing you can do to plan for the future is to take a look at the past. Glance through your books and see which months were your busiest and which were slow. Make a note and get to work. Planning ahead can help you avoid the last-minute scramble of urgently trying to attract new clients.
At the same time, if you know certain months will be busy – plan for that as well! Put your full schedule together with each session laid out. That way when someone connects with you to book, you’re ready for them! Pro Tip: Use a sheduling and booking platform that will allow your clients to book and pay for sessions on their own! Doesn’t get much better than that!
Tip #2 – Get creative!
It’s time to think outside the box of your normal offerings. If your sessions are slow to book, start thinking about the variety of services and products that you can offer to entice existing clients and attract new ones.
Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
Clients always love a good discount or freebie. Offering to give your peeps a little more bang for their buck may be just what they need to get them to book! If you head down this path, be sure to think long and hard about what you’re offering.
It needs to be just enough to get people excited, like a few extra minutes in front of the camera or extra prints. Offering too much for too little may devalue your brand and even more important, could hurt your bottom line if your work is no longer profitable.
Our absolute fave! Mini sessions are a great way to get in with current and new clients at a lower rate without too much risk on your end. Book them on a single day in marathon style to order to keep your schedule efficient.
Whether you’re setting up for the holidays, taking advantage of extraordinary weather, or just up for trying something new – when done correctly, mini sessions can be a very profitable addition to the services you offer. Learn how to save time scheduling mini sessions with one simple step.
Automate the booking process in order to save yourself time and keep your clients happy! Interested in learning more? Check this out
You have followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for a reason – use them to build your business! Social media is an excellent way to network with everyone from your closest friends to your rare acquaintances.
Yes, algorithms do make a difference, so post regularly and try to include content that will encourage engagement. For example, you might try sharing a client’s ‘sneak preview’ on Facebook and taking them in it. Ideally, they’ll share that post on their own page (or at least accept the tag) and you’ll be effectively sharing your work with all of their connections. It’s pretty darn awesome if you ask us!
Blog it up
Have extra time while it’s slow? Work on that blog.
Every. Single. Day.
Seriously! Blogging is so big for your business. It allows you to share your most recent work without constantly updating the foundation of your website and gives you a platform to speak directly to potential clients.
Rather than coming up with some kind of cute caption to share with your readers about a recent photo session, spin it a bit and share a message that will help them understand what to expect when they become your clients. Welcome them into your world and let them know how much better their lives will be once they hire you.
Start sending emails
This is not a new or wildly out of the box idea, but it’s incredibly effective. If your website doesn’t already have a newsletter sign up option, get one added. As soon as you’re done, start working on your next email.
A solid mailing list will become the foundation of your business, allowing you to book sessions in even the slowest of seasons. It’s your direct contact with current and potential clients, so take advantage of it!
Not sure what to include in your emails? Hold tight. We’ll talk about that soon! 😉
What are your favorite ways to beef up the slow times and make every season, busy season? Tell us in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear from you.
While you wait for your hard work to pay off, get to work on the other aspects of your business. Refine your craft, seek out new products that your clients will love, introduce a self-service booking system. Whatever you can do to make your business more efficient and profitable, in the position to deliver an excellent product and experience to your clients.
Now stop reading and get to work. You’ve got this!