Having your beloved clients come back to you time and time again is the sign of a successful business. Although client retention and client loyalty is not a new concept in business at all, it may be a new idea for photographers who are just stepping into the self-employment world.
Here are 8 ways that a photographer can keep clients loyal!
Why is Loyalty Important?
Customer loyalty is really the shining glory of a business, especially for a photographer. Photographers develop close, trustworthy bonds with their clients. Having that client keep coming back for all of their photography needs keeps the business afloat.
Client loyalty is important for a few key reasons. Firstly, loyal clients will spread the word about your business to all of their family and friends. Referral business is an important part of success, and referrals really exude confidence when coming from your loyal clients. Next, loyal clients can also act as a focus group and give you feedback on your client process, image quality, and prices. Thirdly, loyal customers will come back to you more frequently than casual clients.
How to Keep Your Clients Loyal
Now that we’ve established the importance and benefits of client loyalty, let’s talk about the 8 ways to keep your clients loyal!
1. Have a Good Client Process
The number one way to make sure that clients love you enough to keep coming back is having a good client process. The client process is your workflow from start to finish, from the initial correspondence (a client requesting a photo shoot) all the way to the image delivery. Make sure that your entire process is easy, smooth, and enjoyable. Even contract signing can be enjoyable if you make it easy and stress-free!
2. Be Reliable and Dependable
Confidence is culminated by being reliable and dependable. Keep all of your appointments, show up EARLY (if you’re on time, you’re late), and fulfill all of your duties in a timely manner. Reliability and dependability is huge in ensuring your client keeps coming back to you over, and over, and over again.
3. Keep Clients Involved in the Process
Not all clients want to relinquish control. Some want to be involved in the process. So let them! Offer to let them pick out colors for your editing, props, be involved in finding a location, get them talking about the photo shoot. This inspires trust and confidence. The key to a loyal client is trust.
4. Be Fun!
Be fun! So many make photo shoots a total drag, especially with family photography. No way! Make your session comfortable, light hearted, and most importantly- a great experience. Photo shoots should be ways to build memories, not just capture images.
5. Exceed Expectations
A common business practice is to offer practical expectations and then exceed them tenfold. Where many fail is assuming exceeding expectations has to do with the quality of their photography work. NO. You never set underwhelming expectations with your photography quality because that will never attract clients and that’s quite dishonest.
Where you should exceed expectations is your timeline (finish the images faster than the due date), your client process (be far kinder and involved than other photographers are), and maybe even offer an unexpected gift at the end of the session.
6. Offer Yearly Gifts to Good Clients
Mailing your good clients yearly gifts, such as a little something during the holidays or something on their birthday is a great way to show your clients that they matter to you. That you’re thinking of them, wanting to do something nice, and appreciate their business.
You can mail a small trinket, a free customized print, a custom USB, so many different things! A little handwritten note is also very special to include.
7. Have a Referral Program or VIP Program
Loyal clients bring you more business. Their friends and family are likely to trust their opinion, so if they offer you to their loved ones, that is a +1 in the confidence scale. Thank them for doing this by creating a referral program or VIP program! Maybe offer your loyal client and their friend a $50 credit towards their photo shoots?!
8. Do Yearly Discounts or Specials
Who doesn’t love a discount? Do some discounts or specials throughout the year! This is especially worthwhile during a holiday season, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Clients look forward to this and are more inclined to tell their friends about the discount or special.
In conclusion, as well as being a great photographer, you also have to be a great person and great business owner. Take these tips for keeping your clients loyal and forge some unbreakable bonds with your favorite subjects!