Word of mouth advertising and client referrals is such a huge part of any photography business. This sort of organic marketing is really the best kind of marketing your can hope for. As such, you should do everything in your power to help facilitate this sort of marketing. Having some sort of referral program in place is a good start, but one that I think could be a lot more effective.
Keeping It Personal
We have had a referral program in place since the very beginning. In its infancy, our referral program was nothing more than us giving clients a stack of business cards when they picked up their orders. It eventually evolved into us creating a set of referral cards that we had printed on business cards. These were not actually business cards, but rather referral cards printed on business card size paper from uPrinting.
These referral cards just had a picture on one side and some simple text on the other side. These were better than just handing out business cards to clients, but it still didn’t feel like we were taking full advantage of this marketing avenue.
As a boutique studio, we enjoy keeping things as personal as possible with our clients. We still use paper forms for everything, hand write letters, create custom gifts, and things like that. So, it only seemed natural to find some way to do the same with the referral cards.
I don’t know why I didn’t think abut it sooner, but while brainstorming ideas, I remembered that MOO Cards let you print as many pictures as you wanted on the back of your order of business cards. So rather than getting 100 business cards all with the same picture on the back, we could get 100 business cards with 4 or 5 pictures on the back.
Why This Works
Now, rather than having a generic referral card for all clients, we create 20 to 25 cards that are printed with on of our clients pictures on them. This works so much better for so many reason.
The thing I love the most about this, and I think our clients do to, is that its personal. It might seem like a silly thing to print your clients picture on a business card, but you wouldn’t believe some of the reactions I get from clients when they see the cards. Many of them seem to be more excited about these five dollars worth of cards than the thousand dollars worth of pictures they just bought.
Whens the last time your clients that excited when you handed them a stack of business cards?
Whats great about this, is the client is excited about these cards. Since they are excited about them, they are a lot more likely to show them off and tell others about your business. If nothing else, your clients will hand out and show off the cards just for the novelty of them.
Give an Incentive
One other thing that’s important to mention, that I haven’t talked about yet is having some sort of incentive for both your client and the people they are giving your card to. For us, we offer a free 8×10 if they bring in the referral card to the initial consultation. To them, this is a $40 value, but for us it is only a few dollars. Money well spent to land a client who is going to spend at least the minimum purchase requirement.
Because the cards have the clients picture printed on them, there is no need to inquire about who referred them. We keep track of client referrals in our CRM, Highrise. After the client refers a handful of people we reward them with some sort of gift. This usually changes depending on the time of year, how profitable the referred clients were, etc.
Like I said from the start, I think anything you can do in your photography business to keep things personal is a good thing. The five dollars we spend on each client to get these cards printed is money well spent. Why don’t you give it a try and go get some MOO Cards printed?