A customer will not rave about a business that did exactly what was promised to them. When asked, the client may tell their friends, “Oh yes, they were a good photographer,” but they aren’t going to rave about you. They hired you to do a job and you did a good job. If you didn’t do a good job, we’d have a problem! The bar to meet is not ‘do a good job.’
In your business, it will always pay to underpromise and overdeliver. Gifts are one of the ways I overdeliver in my business. In this video, I’m sharing my process for giving client gifts: why and when you should be giving gifts & some ideas to get you started!
Why Give Client Gifts?
Giving a booking gift to your client removes any chance of ‘buyer’s remorse.’ Photography is a big ticket item! Weddings are big ticket items! After they sign that $2000 retainer cheque I want them to immediately feel reassured they made a great choice. I also believe being engaged is such a special time in a bride (and groom’s) life — and I enjoyed every gift or celebration that made me feel… celebrated! I want to do that for my brides.
When to Give Gifts to Your Photography Clients
Throughout a bride’s process of working with me, I give clients 2 gifts, sometimes 3, depending on how organized I can be that year! (Hopefully, none of my clients are watching this video) These gifts are of course, a surprise to my clients! I send a booking gift after receiving the 50% non-refundable retainer fee and after the contract is signed.
In the booking gift: I include the Jamie Delaine client magazine leading them through the process of what to expect at the engagement session and as we prepare for the wedding day. Additionally, I gift two marriage/relationships books I’ve read and loved and believe are valuable for a couple starting their marriage!
Halfway through the planning process: my average booking is about 9-12 months before the wedding, so there are a lot of months between the first email and the wedding day experience. I don’t want six months without communication to be the story of their experience with me! So I like to mail a gift in the middle of the process with a note that says, “I hope you both are doing well! Remember to breathe, take a few moments to relax & this wedding planning will be worth it!” Right now, this gift in my business is two monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie and a local candle company.
Currently in my business, I budget around 3-5% of the total wedding collection cost towards client gifts. For example, if you book a $2,000 wedding, 5% of that would be $100 in client gifts. This may sound like a lot — but remember, not only are you blessing your clients with gifts — this is marketing dollars well spent!
When we provide a brilliant client experience to a bride who already hired us, already is working with us, she’s going to be the best source of referrals for us in the future.
I am still booking couples based off of referrals from clients who were married 7, 8 years ago. The potential for referrals don’t stop until their whole circle of friends is married! Even if you spend $100 a couple on gifts, 20 weddings a year, $2000 in client gifts — that’s a small marketing budget if all of those gifts bring you even one wedding! Win win!
I’m so passionate about client gifts. If you’re wondering where to start with implementing a gift process into your own photography business, my freebie will help! Snag my list of where to buy gifts, and ideas on where to purchase packaging materials.