With any small business, especially a photography business, word of mouth and referrals play a critical role in generating new business, as well as sustaining repeat clients.
To help get you started setting up your own photography referral program, I wanted to share a few referral ideas and tips that I found worked very well for me:
1/Make Your Existing Clients Feel Special
I have been handed plenty of referral cards from other service providers, and I can tell you, if the business giving me the referral card makes me feel like I’m just a number to help them generate more business, I’m probably not going to hand out those referral cards for them. Most likely they’ll end up in the trash!
To prevent this from happening to you, its so important to go the extra mile with your existing clients to make them feel special.
If they feel like you’re going above and beyond for them, they will be so much more likely to refer you to their friends and family, simply because you provided them with a great experience, and they will WANT to help you grow your business.
Let’s face it – we all like incentives and discounts, and we all really, really love the occasional freebie!
The level to which you take your incentives is entirely up to you. But if you are just starting your business, building a solid client base in the first months/year is extremely important, so you may want to consider things like offering any client who refers you to someone they know, a substantial discount on their next photo session.
If you are hesitant to offer deep discounts on full sessions, you could also give them something like a mini session (half an hour, an hour – whatever feels comfortable to you). This is a really popular incentive, especially around holidays and graduation.
As photographers, we are creative people, so finding ways to personalize your referral/promotional items is not only fun, but can also really make you stand out!
Referral cards are a classic, simple place to start. Having a stack of referral cards with you at all times is an easy way to promote your business.
In addition to referral cards, mini albums are a fantastic take-along item to give to your client. They will likely show the album to all of their friends and family, which is a great way for people to see a sampling of your work.