Most sports photographers we meet say they want to take their businesses online. In fact, we just conducted a broad industry survey (not just PhotoDay users!) and learned that 60% of photographers plan to use an online service on some or most of their jobs, and 25% plan to test an online service this spring season. Those are HUGE numbers - and indicators that our industry is finally moving online in a big way. At the same time, we know that there are very real concerns about the risks of changing up the way you've always done business. This list will help you make a smooth transition to a way more efficient workflow that doesn't just mitigate the risks but actually helps you compete effectively in your market and GROW your business.
#1 Choose the right organization
You have to start somewhere, right? So, it's best to look at all of the organizations you work with and choose the ones with which you have a solid working relationship. We recommend you choose a league/team/school that has gotten stellar sales in the past - so that you have a good baseline to compare results. Ideally, the parents are active and involved in the organization and look forward to picture day. Get your contact onboard with all the benefits and ease of online galleries (our sales kit can help). Let them know that you'll need their help getting the word out to parents, but once that initial connection is made, the online system actually brings the entire picture day experience to parents, relieving them of all picture day follow-up tasks!
#2 Start marketing early & often
Work with the organization to find out how they communicate important information to parents - like field/schedule updates, uniform/costume information, etc. Perhaps they have a league portal - or maybe a Facebook group - or a weekly newsletter! Find this out as early as possible and develop picture day marketing communications for each touch-point - we recommend a minimum of 3 touch-points! Good thing PhotoDay offers a complete marketing kit with easy-to-customize posters, banners, web graphics, and more. We recommend that these communications to parents start 2-4 weeks before picture day.
#3 Get skin in the game
Nothing drives engagement like $$$. Before picture day, parents can purchase an AdvancePay credit that they can apply to their order after picture day. We've found that early credit purchases lead to higher order values and more orders. Even a small amount like $10 gets parents committed to purchasing photos when you publish the gallery. Of course, it's best if you give them a reason to do so - here are a couple ways you can get parents on board with AdvancePay:
- Make it required. You could make taking the child's photo contingent on purchasing an AdvancePay credit. Get creative. You could turn AdvancePay into a per costume fee, a hold-your-spot sitting fee, an extraction credit, etc.
- Give them your best offer. Give those early birds your absolute best offer. For example, you could make it so that everyone who purchases an AdvancePay credit gets $5 off PLUS free shipping for orders of $40 or more.
#4 Motivate speed and spend
In the online, e-commerce world, incentives are the name of the game. You know those coupon offers you get from EVERY retailer...they use them because THEY WORK! And, these retailers are still making money, I promise. The key is to develop special offer incentives that drive the purchase behavior you desire. Here are a few examples of offers that you can easily execute on PhotoDay to drive urgency and higher order values:
- Offer expiration: Save 10% on orders over $30! Offer expires April 30, 2019.
- Gallery expiration: Get your photos while you can! Gallery expires in one week.
- Friendly competition: First 20 customers get $10 off their order!
- Best prices: Order by June 15 to get the BEST prices.
- Early birds: Purchase an AdvancePay credit now and save 10% off your order later and get FREE shipping!
- Offer Combos: Save $5 on orders over $30. Save $10 on orders over $50. Save $15 on orders over $75.
- Bulk Discount Digital Downloads: a la carte, 2 pack, 4 pack, 6 pack. The more purchase, the more you save!
#5 Stay connected
Staying in close touch with the organization is KEY to success. If you're not seeing the parent opt-ins you expect in the weeks and days leading up to picture day, reach out to the organization and see if they've gotten the word out. Be straight with them about not seeing the opt-ins you were hoping for and find out how best to reach those parents. Keep the organization in the loop on sales even after the gallery is published. PhotoDay provides reporting "Insights" for each job that makes it easy for studios to know how each job is doing before, during, and after picture. The bottom line - keep tabs on each job and work closely with the organization to help drive those sales!
Feeling confident? Ready to take your business online? Sign up for PhotoDay - it's totally free to get started.
Already a PhotoDay user? Hopefully, these tips help you get record results this year. If you need help or just some moral support... you can always chat with us here by clicking the little blue bubble, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ;)
Photo credit: Jay Boatwright, SMAX Photography