One of the best methods for small businesses to compete with the big retailers is to create promotional partnerships with other small businesses. Flowers, candy, jewelry and/or dinner at a fancy restaurant are the standard symbols of one’s love on Valentine’s Day. Approach a local florist, candy shop or jewelry store and propose a combined, discounted promotional offer. “Buy a dozen roses at ABC Florist and schedule a portrait sitting with your favorite Valentine at Joe Smith Photography and you save 10% off the package.” Similar combinations are possible with a candy and jewelry store. Propose a promotion with three businesses and offer an even bigger package: flowers, candy and a portrait.
You can implement a similar promotion with a greeting card shop. Propose a drawing for 5 free portrait sittings that you will provide. The card shop is able to use this promotion to attract more Valentine’s Day customers. Offer to create all the marketing materials, similar to the items listed above. These should include a drawing flyer with both of your names that is inserted in every card purchaser’s bag and a simple and inexpensive entry card or slip for customers to complete at the card shop counter. After you’ve shot the 5 free portraits, make sure to write and distribute a press release with the names of the winners.
A restaurant would also make an excellent small-business Valentine’s Day promotional partner. Propose to a restaurateur, who is apt to have many couples dining at the restaurant for Valentine’s Day, that you will photograph couples before or after dinner on Valentine’s Day and the closest weekend for free. Find a place in the restaurant where you can set up a shooting area. The restaurant patrons are already dressed nicely and appropriately for a portrait together and you only have to spend a few minutes with each couple. The marketing bonanza for you and the restaurant is that you will email photos to the couples, which means they must give you that information. Now, you and the restaurant have a nice list of new additions to your customer databases for regular and future promotions. As with the other promotions, create all of the marketing materials needed and write a press release.
You can also implement a Valentine’s Day promotion solely within in your customer base/database. Offer any customers, who book a portrait sitting during the two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, 12 free wallet-size prints that they can include in their Valentine’s Day cards. You can also offer a full-size print for the portrait customer to give to his or her favorite Valentine. Visit photobacks.com for an outstanding selection of digital background and template packages for your Valentine’s Day photos and prints.
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According to reliable sources, such as the National Retail Federation, Americans spend more than $15 billion every Valentine’s Day, just in the name of love. The average person spends approximately $120, and men twice as much as women. If you’re a portrait photographer, and any kind of businessperson, then you should be promoting yourself to grab a share.
Flowers and candy don’t last (although jewelry does, until the next style is introduced), but a portrait for or with one’s favorite Valentine is a permanent reminder of each other’s love. (Isn’t that special!) People throughout your market area will be looking for special ways to express their emotional attachment, and your portraits are emotional products. Try any or all of the Valentine’s Day promotions below to pump some cash into your photography business.
Then, create a flyer/coupon that is distributed at both businesses as well as a poster to display in each business or in their windows. Place a coupon ad in your neighborhood’s advertising bag or magazine/mailer. Write and send an email blast promoting the offer to both businesses’ databases of customers. Place a banner on the home page of both businesses’ Web sites.
An enormous benefit of such a promotional partnership is that you’ve established relationships with other small businesses. If they experience measurable value from participating, then they will be willing, if not eager, to join you in future promotions.
Image credit: logos / 123RF Stock Photo
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