When Christmas time arrives and the jingle of bells starts to ring, it can become a profitable time for photographers, especially if you plan a Santa Mini Session event. These events can be highly profitable and successful if done correctly. Here are seven key key things to keep in mind.
Choose the right business to partner with
The first step is to choose the right boutique to partner with. It’s key to work with a shop that fits your ideal client. For example, if your ideal customers are high end moms you could reach out to an upscale kids clothing boutique that is located in the neighborhood where your ideal customer resides. Check to see if the shop has multiple locations as you might be able to double or triple your revenue and gain new prospective clients in the process.
Make it a win-win for all businesses involved
Be engaging and genuine when approaching the partnership with the store. Set aside a time to sit down one on one with the store owner and discuss how you can make it a win-win for both businesses (this will help boost your value as they’ll see you truly care for their success too.)
Be sure to ask specifically what they are looking to get out of partnering with you and let them know what you hope to receive as well. Get creative with ways you can provide extra service to the customers, such as a free 5x7 for each person that attends. Instead of delivering the digital file via e-mail let them know that their orders will be available for pick up in the shop by “x” date. That way the store owners benefit from additional foot traffic and they can run special promotions to go along with the event.
Make it a special event
The key to creating a profitable Santa photo shoot is to ensure that your event stands out from the rest. Consider hosting “An Evening with Santa” complete with milk, cookies and a story. You can get creative with the props and setup and have a goody bag or a small gift wrapped for each of the kids as a thank you. You could even get more bang for your buck and make it a promo item featuring your business name... get creative! Going the extra mile will ensure happy customers and a happy store owner (getting you back for more the next year!)
Be sure to collect customer information
Have each person fill out an order form even if they’re only opting for a FREE 5x7. Collect names and emails, and be sure to ask for permission to add them to your email list for future updates. In addition to contacting them via your email list, you can also use these emails to create a look alike audience using Facebook ads and market to them to get new leads and new customers.
Upsell, upsell, upsell!
To create a high profit from your Santa photo shoot, ensure you have a variety of items for them to order, not just photos. A simple option is Christmas cards. I recommend just having one specific holiday template that you use for the cards, one specific size and paper - usually 5x7 one sided flat works nicely. You can personalize the card but this creates more room for error when you're working with large groups. Instead keep it simple with a message such as "Happy Holidays" and then the year.
Have the cards printed on a nice high end paper and charge a little bit more, depending on your target market. Print out samples for them to view at the event so they will know this isn't your everyday holiday card that you get printed at Target or Wal-Greens. Plan ahead of time and work with a company that can give you a quick turnaround time for printing such as McKenna Pro, Mpix, Millers or WHCC. Your customers will likely want to send out their cards soon.
Other options are frames and ornaments. You can find some cute novelty items at places such as Neil Enterprises and you may be able to order in bulk. But double check shipping times to make sure you get these items in plenty of time prior to your event.
You could also create some printed holiday product guides and holiday gift guides and pass them around to your customers at the ordering session. And lastly, when the customer comes to pick up their order or their free 5x7 you should utilize this interaction and customer touch point by up selling again. For example, include a little card with a promo for a family session. Make sure you include a time frame of with the promo ends and so they know it is a limited offer.
Make sure you plan ahead and create a checklist of everything before the shoot. For example, you’ll need pens, papers and clipboards for the moms to write down their orders. Ensure you have enough business cards to pass out, any décor or backdrop that will be used, chairs, extension cords for lights or computers. It’s best to plan ahead and triple check everything! And don't forget to enlist the help of an assistant.
Promote the event
When working with the boutique and in the early planning stages, make sure you both equally agree to promote the event to your networks.
A great way to do so is to create a flyer with your logo and theirs to pass out to each of your customer bases. Post the flyer on Facebook and social media a few times to ensure it gets seen by your target market more than once.
Print some Holiday mini session brochures to advertise the event and set them out in their boutique as well as asking neighboring boutiques if you can set some in their shops as well.
You could also reach out to local moms groups, moms clubs, homeschool groups or sporting groups.
Lastly, ensure you reach out to your current customers and email list too. These might be new prospective customers for the shop and in turn you may gain new customers from the shops customer base as well – that’s the great thing about a partnering with local businesses!