Promos. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Boudoir Photography

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I want to talk about promos, specials, sales or whatever you would like to call it when you discount your session or products. This is the good, the bad and the oh-so-ugly.

Let me start here.
I had a bright idea to jump on a bandwagon and run a contest in my private client group a few months ago. The contest was, who ever added the most people to the group won a free session. This was good and also bad.

First the good! My group grew by around 3,000 members. Yay! Awesome right? 
Now the Ugly. I would venture to say that 80% of those 3,000 women are not in my price range. 

For 5 years I had grown my group organically inviting those who were interested or letting them find it on their own because THEY WERE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN BOUDOIR.

Soon after I ran the contest I ran my Christmas Promos for the year, which I do every year. There is nothing wrong with that. However, there is a right way and a too cheap way. I was feeling generous and wanted to do something special for the members of my group. Members always get first dibs on any special we run but this time I wanted to make it extra special. 

I ran a 75% off Session Special. The biggest special I have ever ran in 4 years. That meant that they could do our big session for $125. WHAT IN THE FUCK was I thinking? Guys this special sold like hotcakes. I sold 29 sessions in 7 days. I was like Fuck yeah. I then ran a 50% off Session Special for the public making the session $250 (not an uncommon special for us). I sold 24 I think it was of those. My September, October and November are now full. Score!
Ummm...yeah, let's talk about that "score".

There is a HUGE difference between the $125 client and the $250 client. HUGE. I did say huge right?

I just closed out my month of October that was packed full of the $125 sessions. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty because come the middle of October I was already kicking myself in the ass and cussing more than usual because of how the sales were going. What I didn't realize was HOW BAD it really was. 

We average around $35,000 in gross sales a month. For the month of October, *remember it was full of these fucking $125 sessions*, our total gross sales was $17,789.


My $125 clients did our dream session because it was cheap (duh) and then the majority only bought the minimum or just above it. (with that said I did have a couple of $3500 sales from the sessions thank god)


I like taking pictures. I love the art of it. I love my clients. I love having my own business. But you know what else I love? MAKING MONEY. When I am not making money I get pissy and boy I was getting pissy come mid October. 

The $250 session fees had some ugly moments as well but the sales were not as bad as the $125 sessions. 

Right after I ran the promos I started a spread sheet keeping track of the total spend of each client and what session they were in. What I found is that when the session fee is $300-$500 the sales on average are higher. No brainer right? I know, but I guess I needed to see it in black and white in front of me. 

The $125 Sessions are fucking depressing. The $250 were alright. The $300-$500 were right where I wanted my sales to be. 

I had 3 Image Debuts the day before yesterday, session fee was $300 for each with a minimum purchase of $1500. My total sales for the day.....$9,600. The next day I had an Image Debut for a $125 session...$1,050 sale. I rode a high for 24 hours only to be knocked right the fuck back down.

So what have we learned?

When you run a special for a session around $100 you will get the cheap clients that are looking for a deal. (again, duh, I know). Your sales will be SHIT most likely and you will be doing 80% more work for NOTHING. 

Needless to say I just rolled out our new menu for 2018 and upped my prices. I will NEVER run a special like I did a few months ago and honestly I have no plans of running any sort of special for 2018. 

To sum all of this up. Always VALUE your self, your work and your time. I lost track of that for a moment when I ran that fucking special and was more worried about having a packed full calendar. Never again. 

And that is your public service announcement on promos for today. You're welcome. 

Until next time...