This month's Peer2Peer goes back to basics, asking our readers what they do to keep clients coming back. To stay relevant in a here today/gone tomorrow marketplace, solidifying a loyal customer base is essential to any business. Customer incentives like package deals, add-on sales, and ancillary offerings are often good ways to maintain a fluid relationship with past clients. Opening up a dialogue with clients through newsletters and postcards of special events can also be effective. Our survey was sent out the first week of March and ran for one week. With more than 800 respondents, 60% of those who responded offer past/present clients incentives or special promotions. Here's what else we found...
- Of those that responded to our survey, 60% offer past and/or present clients incentives or special promotions.
- The majority (47%) of our respondents' clients use their services for all of their photographic needs, while 33% use their services for multiple events or business, and 18% for one event or portrait session only.
- Of those that responded to our survey, 40% of photographers answered that repeat clients returned to their operation based on customer service, while 36% felt it was due to their professionalism.
"I try to continue a relationship with my clients. Wedding clients receive a gift certificate for a free portrait session to be used within the next two years. Often that becomes a baby and family portrait session. Once that's accomplished, we feel [they] become clients for life. If you can satisfy their photographic desires and provide great professional customer service, they will spread the word and keep coming back."
Mark Karlsberg, Studio Eleven, Inc.,
Newton, MA, www.studioeleven.com
"Simply put, I make them feel special. I give them little gifts and extra images even after the session is over. These cost pennies and give back to the studio tremendously."
Michelle Warren, Warren Photography, Waverly, TN, www.warren-photography.com
"I offer more than what was ordered. For example, individuals and families who order enlargements only are often surprised to receive a free collage or photobook of all exposures. I find it's better to provide free, unexpected products than to cut prices or offer discounts. Everyone receives a regular newsletter to keep them informed of what's new. I am also a member of the Better Business Bureau."
Paul L. Prough, Raystown Country Photo Service, Mount Union, PA
"Our goal is to provide our clients the photography services they require in an efficient and time-saving manner. We focus on the quality of production and the delivery within their time frame. Serving all of the clients' needs to reach their goals is paramount."
Richard B. Lea, Lea Photography,
Shreveport, LA, leaphotography.com
"I go on location and cater to families. I keep my prices reasonable and make it a point to get to know the people, usually families, involved in the shoot. I ask them what they expect and then try to provide it, making additional suggestions."
Rose Kidder, Photos by Rose, Trinidad, CA
"In order to cross over from a total wedding business to portrait work, I offer my brides free maternity sessions. I feel it is a win-win situation. The client already feels comfortable in front of my camera, and I am building a relationship with a newly forming family."
Sam Chinigo, Artistic Images by Sam Chinigo, New London, CT
"The key to keeping clients coming back is to under-promise and over-deliver. When you say you'll have their prints in three weeks, have them in two."
Jeremy Howard, Del Rio Photography,
Paso Robles, CA