Many of the most popular niches in the photography industry are built around seasons. As a wedding photography studio here in Denver, our season ran May through October. The high school senior market runs parallel to the wedding market, and is busiest May through October. Those seasons may change depending on your geographical location – in the Phoenix area, high wedding season ran counter to the Denver market, or October through May.
Which is why many of today’s top photography studios have found a niche that has zero seasonality to it. The baby market.
Babies are born 365 days of the year. And they are only little once. Meaning you can only capture a newborn the first couple of weeks of life. And they will only celebrate their 1st birthday at one point in time. And they’ll hit every milestone along the way during that first year – if you miss it, its gone forever.
That’s the beauty of a baby plan.
A baby plan is designed to capture the progressive steps a baby makes during the first year of life. Thinking of starting a baby plan for your studio? Here are 7 steps to get you started.
1. Design a baby plan to bring in a new client 3 to 6 times during the first year of life. Typical timeframes are newborn, three months, six months, nine months and the first birthday. In some cases, a photography studio may also choose to photograph a mom-to-be in her ninth month of pregnancy. Charge one low fee for the entire year program, with the promise of one print from each session in a keepsake frame. GNP Frame is one of the many professional framing companies with options on wall collage frames.
2. Don’t complicate the process or overwhelm with choices. One simple baby plan is the best way to begin, with a possible upgrade if they want to include a maternity image in their sessions as well.
3. Don’t give them the final wall frame until all sessions are complete. Keep it as a keepsake that is filled with your images. Release it too soon, and the new mom may get busy and forget to come back in, simply filling the empty holes with her own photographs. By holding the frame until the last session, they have more incentive to keep coming in.
4. Find new clients in a variety of ways. You can do a direct mail postcard to expecting families within area codes around your studio. You can partner up with a local baby store. Or you can partner up with OB/GYN’s in your area. New moms flock together. Get in with a group, and you’ll have a continual source for years to come.
5. Sell at each session just like you would any portrait client. Just because they are coming in for a baby plan promotion, doesn’t mean they won’t buy hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of photographs at each session. If you aren’t using projection at your sales sessions, invest now in a great sales presentation. You’ll quickly reap the benefits.
6. Keep it simple. Don’t photograph hundreds of images for this special promotion. Instead, find top selling poses, and stick with the same poses again and again. Work at creating a relationship with the client, while keeping your process on the easiest level possible. It’s all about building the relationship here for future sales many years to come.
7. Every customer that comes in should be treated on the same level, no matter what the potential for sales. A client that spends $1000 at each session should be given the same courtesy as the one who only takes the basic plan with no additional sales. Because you don’t know everyone’s economic situation, just realize future potential is always possible. The client who only took the promotional item may end up referring you to your biggest client ever because she loves your ethics and customer service.