How Custom Magazines Can Grow Your Photography Business

Today I'll be sharing with you three ways you can use customized magazines to grow your photography business. So let's jump right in!

Grow your photography business with magazines

1) Use Magazines as an Add-On Product

Custom magazines are an excellent and unique add-on product for clients. They provide that wow factor that can help you stand out from your competition and seal the deal.  With the average magazine costing under $5 to print (when you use McKenna Pro Lab), you now have the opportunity to offer your clients something different and at a cost effective price.  And if you use a customizable magazine template you'll save time as well!

You can create a custom magazine for just about any genre of photography.

Create an Add on Custom Magazine for Your Wedding Clients

Let's take weddings for example. Brides are always looking for ideas to make their special day more memorable.  So why not offer them a custom magazine? Not only will it help you increase your bottom line, but you will stand out from other photographers who are offering the standard engagement sessions as their value offering.  And since wedding photography is quite a saturated market already, you'll definitely need to find unique ways to stand out.

A custom magazine should help tip the booking odds in your favor.

The custom magazine can be used by the couple as a:  

  1. Save the date  - This could be a small 5.5x8.5 8-page magazine. If you have it printed at McKenna Pro any Qty over 60 costs $1.68 per magazine. Let's say the couple wants to send out 100 Save the Dates. That would be $168 for you. Add in time to create the magazine (or simply use a pre-made save the date template here) You could charge $8-10 per save the date or simply make it $995 for a package of 100 Custom Save the Dates. You've just added over $800 in revenue to your wedding package. 
  2. Invitation
  3. Out of town guest welcome pack
  4. Custom wedding program - For this option think of the example of the save the date. If the couple has 100 people attending the wedding, you've just added another $800 in revenue to your wedding package. 

Some ideas of things to include in the magazine: 

  1. Engagement photos
  2. Bride and groom bios
  3. A cute infographic showcasing the couple’s love story
  4. An area map
  5. Wedding agenda
  6. Wedding registry details
  7. RSVP tear-off sheet

One of the best things is wedding guests can take a copy of the magazine home and use as inspiration for their own wedding,  potentially giving you even more business.  Just make sure to include your photo credit and contact info.  You might even include a vendors page.

In this example I used weddings but if you'd like to learn how to make an extra $1,000 in your senior photography sessions by creating an custom magazine for seniors, I've outlined some tips in this post here

How to grow your photography business with custom magazines

2) Use Magazines a Booking Incentive

Use the custom magazine option as a sign-up incentive and let it do the marketing for you!  When you're creating a sign-up bonus make sure you put a value price tag on your offer.  So let's say a 5.5x8.5 magazine of 8 pages costs you $5 each to print.  You can mark it up to $8-$10 each.  A bundle of 100 copies would cost you $500... but the price tag is $800- $1,000.  

If this is an add-on product as mentioned in #1, you've just made an additional $300-$500 profit!  Not only that, but if this is for the wedding example you've now reached 100 new potential clients who are taking a sample of your work home with them!  So it's as if you're getting paid to market and advertise your business instead of paying someone else to do it for you!

How many copies should you include as an incentive? 

When you're putting together your offers you don't necessarily have to include bundles of 100.  You could make it 25 copies if they book your smallest package, 50 if they book your middle package and 100 copies if they book your top package. If it's for a wedding , keep in mind that they don't need a magazine for every single guest... plan for about 1 magazine per 2 guests since a lot of guests come to the wedding as couples.  

Remind your clients that they have the option to upgrade their incentive bonus.  So if they get the bonus that includes 25 copies and they need 50, just charge them an additional fee for the extra copies. 

How about a digital incentive? 

Maybe you like the thought of offering a booking incentive but are looking for something even more cost effective... I've got you covered!  Convert your custom magazine into a .pdf. Then you still have the novelty of offering a custom product but you don't have the printing cost.  It's really quite simple to create a .pdf from your custom magazine.  Here's a quick little video to show you how:  

    You can use high school senior graduation announcement magazines and newborn magazines to accomplish similar goals.

    3) Use Magazines to Collect E-mail Addresses

    Nearly half of the clients that book me for weddings do so as a result of e-mail marketing. It's one of the most cost effective ways to get in front of your client and has the greatest ROI. That's why I always stress the importance of knowing how to use e-mail marketing to grow your photography business

    Get your e-mail sign up in place.

    The first thing you'll need to do is build your e-mail list. You can do this by putting a newsletter sign-up box on your blog or website.  Make sure it's in a prominent location on your website because where place it can affect how many people sign up. Also, don't be afraid to use a pop-up form.  I recommend Opt-in monster. 

    Give them a reason to sign up. 

    Just because you have a sign-up form doesn't mean everyone is going to automatically sign up. You need to give them a reason to give you their information.  For example,  you could ask them to sign up for your newsletter or offer them something in exchange for their e-mail address.  This is where custom magazines come in.  Offer them a digital copy of your magazine.  Say something like, "Sign up to get the latest edition of our studio guide sent directly to your in-box".  Or if you create a magazine each month with tips and client images you could say, "Sign up for a monthly subscription to our studio magazine".  Now they are giving you permission to e-mail them each month, giving you even more opportunities to get in front of potential clients.  

    Get specific to your target market. 

    Take this idea one step further and make the magazine specific to the type of photography you offer. For example if you're a maternity photographer, create a maternity magazine filled with your photos and info for soon to be moms.  Of course it could include tips on how to prepare for a maternity session, but it doesn't have to only contain photography information.  Make it something that interests your client, such as what to expect as a new mom. And if you're a wedding photographer perhaps you create a magazine that has tips on how to look great in wedding photos or DIY tips for brides.

    Network with other vendors. 

    If writing is not your thing you could choose from our pre-written articles or reach out other vendors and ask them if they'd be a guest author for your magazine.   Perhaps it's a florist who shares tips on how to choose flowers for the wedding day or a D.J. who talks about song recommendations. Or you could even put together a styled shoot to feature with the articles.  Offer to give them some images and/or printed copies in exchange for their article.  Make it a win-win for everyone involved. By partnering with local businesses your photography business will be growing by leaps and bounds before you know it!  

    One last thought... if you opted for the digital copy for your sign-up incentive as mentioned in step 2... why not make an opt-in where people are required to enter their e-mail address to access the magazine.  Then send an e-mail to those who viewed it and market your photography (or a custom magazine) to them too!

    So let's review the different ways you can use a custom magazine to grow your photography business.

    • Up-sell your photography packages and increase revenue immediately
    • Create a higher perceived value of your offer than your competitor
    • Create a sign-up bonus
    • Market to others without too much effort 
    • Use magazines to grow your e-mail list

    These are a just a few.  I hope this inspires you to think of even more ways that you can use custom magazines in  your own photography business. 

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