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When was the last time you received a free gift from a business? For me, it was the last time I got a free coffee after filling out a whole stamp card proving I bought 10 coffees from that store, which if I’m being doesn’t feel very special.
But, a few years ago I received customized cookies and a bottle of wine after I closed on my home. This felt a little more special, because I wasn’t expecting it. It also felt a little more special because I drank a good portion of the bottle.
If you aren’t giving your clients free photography gifts, you should be. I use free photography gifts in my photography business to make sure that my clients feel special and to try and boost my retention rate. It’s much cheaper to retain old clients than to find new ones, and if some free photography gifts help me do that, then to me it’s completely worth it.
Of course, you do need to budget if you’re planning on giving clients free photography gifts because, of course, they aren’t free for you. So, it takes some planning, but I promise you that it is going to be worth it. Firstly, you’re going to make your clients so happy. Secondly, you’re going to ensure they come to you for photography for years to come.
Gifts to Give When You’ve Just Started Out
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Now, you may be thinking that free photography gifts sound nice, but they are just not in your budget. My photography business was on the brink of bankruptcy for the first 2 or 3 years I was running, so I understand your predicament.
But, even if you can’t afford an extravagant gift, you can still send out free photography gifts to your client. When I was first getting started, I simply sent handwritten thank you cards to all of my clients. Handwritten cards are thoughtful and so few businesses use this method anymore.
Or, if you are doing okay financially, but you don’t want to splurge on anything large, then you can send a handwritten thank you note alongside a simple free print. You can even think of this as free marketing because that print is going to be hung somewhere around your client’s house and everytime someone comes over there’s a potential for your client to talk you up.
All I’m saying is, your clients won’t care how much money you spent giving them free photography gifts. They will care that you cared to do so at all.
Gifts to Give Once Your Business Has Taken Off
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If your business is doing better financially, then you can start sending out more lavish gifts. I still urge you to include a handwritten thank you card with each gift, though.
I have a number of free photography gifts I tend to go back to time and time again. I have all of these gifts in an Excel spreadsheet and I will gauge my client while I’m working with them to decide which gift best matches their personality and the project we worked on together.
Some of these gift ideas include a canvas or metal print, a keepsake photo album, or a large throw blanket with your photo on it. Of course, there are endless photography products that you can choose from, but these are some of my go-tos.
If you use free photography gifts for long enough, then you’re going to start getting clients who are eager to work with you because their friend posted a picture of the photo album they got after working with you on Instagram. It just goes to show that some photography business tips boil down to: be kind.
Gift With Intention
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I understand that you probably can’t pick out a personalized gift for every single one of your clients. But taking the time to get to know them well enough to be able to gauge which one of your go-to free photography gifts they would really enjoy is nice.
Another way to be intentional with your gifts is to send them when it isn’t expected. Don’t just rely on sending gifts around the holiday or after you’ve worked with them. Send gifts just because sometimes.
The way I surprise my clients with gifts is to send a group of them at the end of every quarter. So, every person I’ve worked with in the past quarter gets a gift. It’s unexpected for them, but it’s a way for me to keep my calendar.
Intentional gifts are also gifts that will hopefully stay in their family for a long time, so make sure that whatever you’re sending is of a very high quality.
Places to Look for Photography Gifts
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One of my favorite places to look for photography gifts is Etsy. I really enjoy the act of being able to support small, local stores and this is what Etsy is all about.
Plus, just about everything available for sale on Etsy is gorgeous, which means that your clients are going to be much more likely to post the images of their presents on social media. Free marketing is the best kind of marketing.
I now have ongoing relationships with a few Etsy vendors. One problem with Etsy, though, is that it did take me a lot of trial and error to find shops I really appreciate, and if you opt for a vendor who is overseas, then shipping can take quite a while.
If you’re looking for your photography gift to get to your clients quickly, then I recommend CanvasHQ. CanvasHQ creates quality canvas prints for a really reasonable price, but my favorite part about them is that they have a countdown on their website which lets you know exactly how many days it will take them to create your canvas print before it gets sent out to your client.
And, I was mentioning the fact that you should only send gifts that are of a high quality so your clients are more likely to keep them. This is another bonus with working with CanvasHQ. Every canvas created by them is hand-built from scratch. They create each canvas frame and they hand stretch each canvas for long-lasting durability.
Plus, canvases on CanvasHQ start at just $20, so it’s an affordable option as well!