Thursday, December 11, 2008

Business Day Thursday: A Two Buck Chuck Studio Promotion - $19,000 Result

Good Morning Everybody,
Things are hopping around here with the Holidays right around the corner. - Christmas shopping, what's that? In spite of the rush, things are good. I've got another Bat Mitzvah pre-shoot today and the big event on Saturday. It's a great client and it should be fun. I'll see what I capture at the temple shoot later today and maybe post an image or two tomorrow for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, how about on Business Day Thursday...

A Two Buck Chuck Studio Promotion - Advertising Outside The Box
I just got my latest issue of PPA Magazine - always a good source of info - and ran across this great promotional idea submitted by Kevin Newsome from Tampa, Florida. I actually gave Kevin a call to discuss the promotion with him - he was very gracious with his time.

Let me give you the low-down on Kevin's article. He talks about one of his favorite and most successful marketing campaigns he's done in the last few years. He calls it his “Two Dollar Promotion.”

He went to the bank and purchased 100 two dollar bills and then mailed them to 100 of his clients from the past two years who were overdue for a family portrait. These were folks whose children he had photographed, but we’d yet to photograph the entire family.

Along with the two dollar bill was a one page letter thanking them for being a good client. It also explained that the enclosed two dollars was theirs to do with as they please. They could purchase a gallon of milk, two Sunday papers, a half a gallon of gas, or about ten minutes of baby-sitting service. OR, they could bring it back to the studio and use it to pay the session fee for a family portrait session (a $75 value).

Now this is where Kevin adds a nice twist to the promotion. When the client brings in their two dollar bill, they can compare its serial number with a chart of serial numbers at the studio to determine how much they’ve won in “bonus portrait credits,” anywhere from $25 to $500!

Kevin made up a chart containing the 100 serial numbers, along with 64 bogus serial numbers. The 64 bogus numbers each won a $25 credit. The rest, which were sent to real clients, won from $50 to $500 in portrait credits. Pretty cool twist in my opinion.

This was a psychological twist that worked in their favor according to Kevin. In Kevin's words, "Here’s why…when you receive something in the mail that says you’ve either won a car, a boat, or a $3 gift certificate to the grocery store, you know exactly what you’ve won – the $3 gift certificate, right? Well, this time when they came in and checked the chart, they discovered they’d won more than the minimum of $25! It’s a “feel-good” twist designed to boost their feelings about the offer. Seeing all those $25 opportunities made that $50 a much bigger winner!"

Of the 100 letters Kevin mailed to past clients, he booked and photographed 19 families. Of those, 16 won $50, two won $100, and one won $500 in portrait credits. This, to me is a great return on his investment. Most people expect a 2-3% return, but Kevin hit 19% !!!

I sent the offer out in mid-June and set a deadline to be photographed by July 31st. A family portrait promotion in the summer when school is out was timed to make it more convenient and easier to get the whole family together on a weekday, limiting my need to be available on Saturdays.

Here is Kevin's breakdown of the promotion:
The $2 promotion was successful in many ways. It had a 19% response (19 out of 100 offers mailed). It only cost him about $250 to cover postage, envelopes, letterhead, and all the $2 bills (and I got $38 of it back!). Due to the fact that these were family sessions, his sales averages were far higher than a normal child’s session, even in light of the fact that he gave away $1,425 in session fees and $1,500 in portrait credits! Who cares - Net Sales $19,000!!! for the effort. Hi-Fives to Kevin Newsome for a great idea.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. I've got to get me and my pixels together for the big shoot this afternoon. I'll see everybody for another Gear Bag Friday: The Most Important Light Of All! See ya' then. -David

Related Links:
PPA Magazine
Kevin Newsome Studio
Kevin's Blog


  1. D:

    Great idea and a good "quick hit" post. This is the kind of thing that I was talking about yesterday; shorten your work but stay daily and your readership will continue to grow as you provide tool for real life photographers. Thanx again.


  2. that is a great marketing idea (might have to "borrow" it) :-)


  3. gerat idea. i'm going to borrow this but think about a twist of sorts

  4. that is a great idea... love it.. but ... yes.. the but...

    what if the session fee is double that... then the value becomes just that... or I suppose I could do 50% off with that $2 bill.. I charge $145.00 session + prints.. that session is meeting, shooting, post productions, meeting/delivery.

    still a fantastic idea.