Good Afternoon Everybody,
WOW! We got a great response to my challenge I posted a few weeks ago, "[B]Business Day Thursday - 7 Really Easy Things To Sell To Add To Your Bottom Line." Thanks to all of you that took the time to offer all the suggestions posted. There were some really good suggestions and ideas that could easily add to anybody's bottom line. I have sifted through each and every one, compared them with the others listed, noticed similarities and differences - sometimes great minds think alike, you know, and labored over my final decisions in picking the winners.
Here is what I have done. I have listed all the entries posted because everyone had something of value to offer. I have also left my own comments and notes as well. Many of the posts jogged ideas for me so I added them to the posts.
In addition to reviewing each suggestion, I also checked out our readers web sites and/or blogs wherever possible. Next, I updated the links for this article. Why? Because you guys and gals are doing some cool stuff and I think the rest of our readership would enjoy the peek so be sure to hit the link name of each contributor where applicable.
So what's the bottom line - lot's of good ideas, lot's of cool links, and hopefully a few more buck-a-roos, $$$, in your pocket on your upcoming weddings. Hit the "Read More..." link below for all the listings. Have fun reading!!! -David
Eric Cameron said... I have two add-ons that work well, an ipod with their images on it for $450 they keep the ipod and get more use out of it than just the pictures that come with it. And a Digital Pic Frame with a Sandisk card with all their Images on it for $650. With the Digital Pic Frame the customer gets all the rights to the images. These are both add-ons to a regular package they would buy.
David answers: Hey Eric, you are the winner of my Digital WakeUp Call Tour 2-DVD set. Congratulations! I love how you did the value-add with the Ipods and Digital picture frames - it's just a great idea that, I think, speaks to our new generation of tech thinking clients.
I am really shocked someone has not mentioned this already, but "Trash the Dress" is a popular thing today. I just did my first one last night, you charge extra money for this session and we get to take more pictures since that is what we are passionate about. I charge $450 for this session. The Bride last night loved it and is extremely excited to see the pics this also opens up another door to sell a small hard back book or another album. And another thing that just hit me is that this can be marketed to anybody not just your bride. Maybe someone comes to you and says I had a bad experience with my photographer so you offer this coverage for the bride and groom. You can even advertise; "Didn't get your wedding pics with us, now is the chance to with a "Trash the Dress" session" or something like that. OK, now I am excited and rambling I will stop.
David answers: I am not a big fan of the "Trash the Dress" thing going around these days, but, Eric, I liked your twist on the whole concept - it wasn't about trashing the dress so much as it was in creating an opportunity to to get some great shots of the bride that would have been impossible on the wedding day - great idea. Hey everybody, check out Eric's Animoto show from his "creative trash the dress shoot" right here.
Bob Merkle said... Take a favorite engagement or wedding pic and make "thank you" cards for the B&G. B&G (especially bride) appreciates the thank you cards and it almost becomes a "gift" from them... (of course on the back of the card would be your info -- in a tasteful font and size)... Easy to offer for $150-$300... (make sure you don't use "coated paper" otherwise B&G won't be able to write on them.
Here is another idea not really a "sales" item but.... create business cards from one of the great bride and groom pics. Have 100 (can find suppliers that will print for under $15 for 100-250 cards) or so printed and give to the B&G to place of "thank you" notes or cards, or pass out to friends at the office... of course on the back have a note with the date, etc of the wedding and yep... your name and simple contact info... These actually can be sold ($30-$60) especially to the parents and grandparents as "bragging cards".... these seem to be a fit with the upper age group.
This idea is high $$ but also high perceived value. Take B&G picture (together or each alone) and offer “digital” oil / pastel painting of them. (Engagement pics work well here also). Just offering this service push the perception of your work to another level… I find they see you not just as a photographer but also an artist (even if you “farm” the work out)… price range is $1500 to $5000.
OK, one final thought…. Gallery wraps / canvas prints. Incorporate David’s collage idea and create almost a “album” page but on a large scale… a very contemporary grouping of pictures in a long horizontal or vertical style (10x20 or 10x30). This can be a very striking and unique look (and also fits smaller or uniquely shaped wall spaces.)
Gosh I hope you don't mind multiple post (but this topic got me excited).... Now I haven't tried this myself but what about having one of those digital frames for the wedding day. You could send the B&G on their way with a digital frame with a handful of the best images of the wedding. Nothing huge so they potentially could take it with them to re-experience their special day on their honeymoon / wedding trip.
David answers: OK, Bob, you have written the next chapter of my marketing book ;~) Thanks a bunch for your whole slew of suggestions. Many had some similar ideas, but you were the first to post. Because of the shear volume of money making ideas, you are also a winner of my Digital WakeUp Call Tour 2-DVD set. Hi 5's and congrats to you too!
Lance Burns Photography said... My add-on would be a parent album for a smaller price and a smaller size. In addition I would also include a second parent album for an even lower price. This way you are likely to get a three album sale, rather than one.
David answers: Lance, I think the parent's albums (but call them Family Album's - you can sell them to more people) are always a good idea. Some photographers are making a smaller "clone" album of the Bride and Groom's album. Tying this concept to Steve Kalman's http://www.lulu.com/ link below also has possibilities.
Terry said... There is a free program called FlyPaper that lets you create beautiful Flash presentations / programs without knowing any Flash at all. I have used it to create photo galleries and fancy slide shows. Oh, and did I mention... ITS FREE! Main Site: http://www.flypaper.com./
David answers: Hey Terry - great site - I'm checking it out myself. I like the idea that you can embed those shows into you own site as well. Thanks for the tip.
Guided Light Photography said... We use Blurb to create a custom designed guest book of their engagement session. We did the first one just on a whim, they didn't buy it, but when the next couple saw it, SOLD! We charge $250.
David answers: I like the idea, but check out http://www.lulu.com/ too to source the books - it might be a better value proposition. Hey everybody, check out the Guided Light Photography blog here (love the Animoto shows) and their website here.
Ron at SML said... I take a B&G image, put it on a card and one of my assistants runs it to a lab or to our studio (depends where we are) and we get 2- 20X24 gallery wraps done. After dinner, B&G give one to each set of parents. Retail $750 each. Adds $1500 to bottom line and it gets better if parents are divorced, B&G might buy a 3rd. If your clients have smaller budget, go with an 11 X 14 or 8X10. You get great publicity - it is announced in front of all the guests and our studio wrapping can be seen by others.
Our last adding to this is 8x10's of each bridal party member presented at reception. Next surprise is for the groom, a custom made album of bride in a boudoir setup. Adds another $600-$1000 depending on session.
David answers: Man, Ron, your turnaround is unbelievable. I agree, it would be impressive at a wedding. Great way to build referrals.
Josephhalberstadt@yahoo.com said... A well produced slide show using quality software like Pro Show Gold and presented at your clients preview session. I use 50 to 75 images that cover the highlights of the wedding day. With tasteful transitions and motion added you get the feel of video that only last 6 to 8 minutes. I offer this in a nice folio from Tap for $75.00 and duplicates for $35.00 These make great gifts for the family and wedding party. Add on sale have averaged around $200.00.
David answers: I think a highlight DVD is a good idea. We have been selling a DVD of all the images for years for $325. I think your idea offers a nice alternative at an affordable price if they don't want to go for the BIG show. More thought - showing the short show may encourage them to go for the full show too. I hope you show some of your "highlight" shows to prospective clients as well - good stuff here, gang.
Mamacita Chilena said... My suggestion is postcards or regular cards. Sell them in a set of 50 for $100 bucks. You put images from the bride and groom's wedding on the front, and then on the back your website address. Suggest that the bride use them to send out thank you notes. It's an extra sale, and extra free publicity for you!
David answers: Mamacita, I agree, anything like this is good publicity - it follows Bob's idea above. By the way, I like your blogs too.
Anya said... My suggesting involves the couple's first dance and the Father/Daughter and/or Mother/Son dance. Contact a local ballroom dance instructor and negotiate a deal with them to set up a couple lessons for your clients. Then, present your clients with an all-inclusive dance package: 3 (or more) 45-minute lessons from a professional ballroom dance instructor, photographic and video coverage of those lessons, and special attention to those dances at the wedding reception.
As a couple of add-ons, offer a Dance DVD (incorporating the video media as well) separately or in conjunction with the standard media presentation you offer and/or a Dance Album highlighting the couple's dance journey. Minus the add-ons, it's worth about $350-$600 depending on the fees of your local instructor and what kind of deal you can strike with them. By encouraging this package, you bring business both to yourself and a local dance studio--who may, in return, do you favors in the future (like let you photograph and sell your products at their sponsored ballroom dance competition). It's one more way to network and promote yourself while making money.
David answers: Anya, I really like how you worked what I like to call "cross pollination" with one of your local businesses to promote both of your business. You know, it gets your clients thinking about something else than wedding photography and fires up their imagination for the entire event.
Heespharm said... In our weddings we sometimes setup (with B&G permission) a ring-light flash with a backdrop in the back of the reception hall... so guests can take glamour shots of the guests. Then give each guest a number and tell them to go to Smug-mug (or the like) and they can order pictures for 20-30 bucks a piece... Best of all you can use all these shots in a wedding album or you can make an 8x10 book of all the shots to sell to the couple for $200-$300. No editing at all just drag and drop the pics into a blurb book and BAM!!! Coffee table book in a couple of mouse clicks.
Another idea is to load up 2 iPods with the pictures (one pink and one black) with the wedding pictures and sell them to the couple (the picture of course can't resell an iPod legally) one for the each of them... iPod nanos are like 150 bucks nowadays... So you can charge them 300 or more. Also you can get them engraved or laser etched with their names.
David answers: Hey everybody, how about and extension of Heespharm's idea. Set up an area for the guest's to photograph themselves. Set up the camera on a tripod with "Live-View" activated and outputting to a monitor where they can see their expressions and pose. When they get it right, they hit the remote shutter button, and presto, great spontaneous shots. I think there are some possibilities there. This could be really fun for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. I also like the extension of Eric's idea above - I really like the engraving idea.
Another thing you can do is set up a template of a 4x5 with a picture on the left and the data set "name" and Body" on the right and make thank you postcards for the couple. That way all they have to do fill out a data set on notepad and you use the automate data-set function to spit out like 300 of those automatically. Go to Mpix and use the 19cent printing and charge like a dollar per card... that's 5x profit!!!! The couple has an easy way to make personalized thank you postcards with a picture of them in it and you have a good value add!!!
David answers: More great minds thinking alike.
The Crane Family said... With the B&G's permission I sell small albums to the guests at the reception. They are 6x4 or 5x7 format printed on the HP B9180 by an assistant and contain engagement, church and one or two formals and large group shot outside the church (by assistant). These are cheap to produce and unsold albums are recycled. Guests get a memento of the day, the mark-up is good and my details are on the inside cover.
David answers: I like the idea of the small albums for the guest - how about the possibility of the bride and groom purchasing them in advance for their select guests. Or, possibly, the bride and groom award them to select guests selected at random - special numbers under the centerpieces, etc. - just a thought.
Alan M. Feldman said... To keep your clients coming back (worth tens of thousands of dollars) give them a gift certificate for a FREE Baby portrait. Nine months plus later (hopefully not sooner) you have given them a reminder that you are not only a great wedding photographer but a family photographer that they can come back to year after year.
David answers: Hey Alan, you are always good with the great money making ideas. Any idea that keeps them coming back is worth the effort. LaDawn loves her painting, by the way.
Clayton said... Show a "wedding video" at the reception! After the first dance, have an assistant load your best jpgs onto a laptop, use your favorite presentation software ( pro show producer for me) and have your laptop set up next to the bar.( or someplace strategically placed that will have "traffic" but not take away from the main event) Guests will ultimately go for a drink, see the fab photos of the bride and groom/wedding! You create a "buzz" that will have everyone talking- more importantly, viewing your work! You'd be surprised how many more bookings (and sales of DVD shows) you get from this!!!
David answers: Great idea, Clayton. We started doing that 25 years ago using Polaroid's Polarchrome slide film. The guests loved it. Digital sure makes it a lot easier these days. You are right - these kinds of ideas will make you "famous" in your community.
Michael Sink Photography said... This is a far-out concept for most, but I hope you all will be able to follow it. Take care of your client! By this I mean to always be exceeding their expectations, under-promise and over-deliver! If you think it may take 2 weeks to finish images from a shoot, tell them 3 weeks, call them a week early and you're the hero! I have a close friend who just celebrated her 1 year wedding anniversary and still has not seen a proof for her album! And this wasn't some fly-by-night Joe with a Camera she was dealing with, it is a long standing pro (although I'm not sure how, given her business practices). Their are some great ideas on here that will net some great additional sales (I've got my notepad out now!), but the return on the investment from referrals and repeat business will trump any of these up-sell items. Remember their birthdays, anniversaries, engage them and genuinely care about them, and they will take care of you.
David answers: Great customer service always wins! Some times it's not about finding new clients to increase our business, but taking care of the clients we already have.
Mika Saloranta said... Not really an add on to sales, but little bit different idea. As I live in a small town and I´m just coming to business and need to find my own market share, I was first thinking to get as many weddings as possible as near as possible. Nearest church is only 10km away, and second at 16km so with little less prize, like -10% or 20% I hope I'm able to sell few easier weekends to those two churches and find good footstep to business at here and having off-town-guests coming to here is easy way to make more clients further and grow the business further away... rinse and repeat =)
2nd point to "Why cheaper is good business", you may ask... Well, the time away from home at weddings is time away from my family and if that quality time at weekends isn't valuable, what is? And longer I need to go on trip to photograph the weddings is longer away from family.
David answers: I agree, I think many of us set aside our personal lives for our business. Fortunately, many of us take notice in time and find the right balance to do both right.
Hem Talreja said... One thing that may impress is if you have a series of continuous shots you can give them a flip book or a "digital reel." I would personally like to know how to create one to impress a certain lady.
David answers: I saw that set up at a Bar Mitzvah recently. Here is the best link I can find -ILoveFlipBooks. com.
Steve Kalman said... One of my favorite sites online is http://www.lulu.com/. You can use them to self publish books and, more importantly for this post, calendars. I went on a family vacation last November and selected 20 shots to make 12 calendar pages (its easier to make the 8x10 page yourself in Photoshop then post it as a single image, than try to have them do the placement automatically). It also gave me the opportunity to add some text (I put in where the subject was taken, but if done commercially, then your studio name would be better). I gave a calendar to each of the people who came on the vacation as a Xmas present. Every single one of them asked for at least one more. Cost is $20 for 14x20 on nice (linen) paper. Other prices for smaller or more months.
I suggest taking 12-20 of the shots you like from a wedding shoot and making them up into a calendar. Groom's pictures on groom's birthday month page, bride's on hers and their formal on the anniversary date, if they fall in different months. Send one as a thank-you holiday gift to the bride/groom a few months after the event (but no later than November). You'll probably get some sales from relatives, but even if not, it will put your name out there in front of them all year.
David answers: Hey Steve - Great Link! Everybody needs to check out www.lulu.com . They offer a ton of possibilities for any studio.
Aaron said... Rather than selling them trinkets and other such stuff, why not try to appeal to their emotional side? Repeat business and referrals! Do something in their honor, such as plant some trees via the Arbor Day Foundation. Or, if you know them, maybe give them a gift certificate to a local green house to buy a tree/plant that they'd be reminded of you of, long after they've stopped routinely looking at their wedding photos. Also, think "green." Offer products that are environmentally friendly (at a slight premium). Be carbon neutral yourself (as a business).
David answers: Aaron, I think this is a great idea - one of my top three, by the way. I like the concept that as they watch the tree grow over the years, it is a constant reminder of your studio. It's like a permanent calling card for your services.
Hey everybody, that's it for me today. Congrats! to our winners, Eric Cameron and Bob Merkle - your DVD's are on the way. Thanks again to everyone for participating. It's getting late and I've got real work to do. Thanks to everybody for the great suggestions. Hope everybody enjoys the read today. I'll see everybody tomorrow for Inspiration Friday. Have a good one. See you tomorrow, -David