10 years ago I nearly made a mistake that would have cost me thousands of dollars.
It was Christmas Eve and I was in tears…
Instead of wrapping gifts and celebrating holiday traditions with my 3 kiddos, I was racing around town, fighting traffic, trying to deliver last minute holiday card orders to my clients!
After weeks of going back and forth over which design, image and greeting they wanted….I vowed to NEVER sell another client holiday card again.
Sure, selling holiday cards is a great way to make money with photography. And it’s a free marketing idea that gets me exposure to all of my clients’ friends and families.
But no amount of money was worth the stress and the time I’d lost with my family.
Then, a few weeks later, I had a palm to face moment. — I was doing it ALL wrong. It wasn’t my clients’ fault.
9 tips for how to sell holiday cards and survive the madness:
1. Require a Minimum Investment
If you are new, or business is slow, maybe you are okay with a Holiday-Cards-Only client. For my business model, that’s not ideal, so I discourage it.
Instead, I focus on creating and selling wall art for my client’s home, and use the holiday card as an add-on. It’s an added benefit for them when they make a minimum purchase investment, and an add-on sale for you!
If I get a call asking for just holiday cards, I explain that I require a minimum investment, saving me from doing a session that only results in a few hundred dollar holiday card order.
2. By the Way! The Add-On Sale
Every client I photograph–starting now–is offered holiday cards as an add-on to their wall portraits order.
I don’t offer holiday greeting cards as a solo product. Instead, as a part of my sales process, once they have selected their wall art, I say “By the way!” and ask if they would like to add holiday cards this year.
I don’t want a small holiday card sale to cannibalize the wall art I’m focused on creating in their home. Wall portraits first, and then “By the way!” Holiday Cards.
3. Show and Sell – The Mock-Up
When your client falls in love with their card, they can’t resist!
Rather than asking “Would you like me to design you a holiday card?” (which is easy to turn down), go ahead and do a simple mock-up, and show them what their cards could look like–right then, during their ordering appointment! Show and sell.
4. Define Your Parameters
I am not a graphic design service, I am a photographer. So to save myself–and my client–I tell them up-front that I allow ONE round of changes. It’s all about the photos anyway, right?
Get the names all spelled correctly & approved in the ordering appointment, then email the final mock-up.
Get your client to sign-off on the final design before they go to print!
5. Photography Marketing Idea: Call Past Clients from the Year
First, pull card-worthy photos from all the clients you’ve photographed this year. Mock-up a card for each client, then reach out and ask if they were planning to send holiday cards. They weren’t thinking of cards during their spring session, but NOW they are.
Help them get even more mileage out of their initial session investment.
The sooner you get their cards to them, the sooner they can get them out to their friends, and the sooner their friends can reach out to you for a holiday family session!
Earn some quick cash flow from sessions you’ve already done – very little additional work for you & huge value for your client.
This is your marketing opportunity. When they send their cards out early, your logo invites their friends to contact you. This is a great source of referral business!
6. Use Photography Marketing Templates
Your clients are probably super creative, and could get their cards anywhere from Shutterfly to Tinyprints. You need to up your game and create something better than they could ever do.
Templates save you time, allowing you to focus on shooting, marketing and selling. This is where you’ll make your money, not as a graphic designer.
Pass on the template costs to your clients in the price of their cards. You don’t have the headache of creating the designs yourself and you know that great design is so worth the investment!
A few of my favorite resources –
- Hazy Skies Designs
- Design Aglow
- Photographer Café
- Bird Design Shop
- Jamie Schultz Designs
7. Send Clients Home with Envelopes
I print my holiday greeting cards at WHCC, and I always keep my studio stocked with plenty of envelopes. That way, when a client orders, I can send them home with envelopes. They get a head start on addressing their holiday cards while waiting for the cards to come in.
This is a service to your clients and makes their lives easier. When you help them get their cards out faster, you are maximizing your potential referral time.
8. Use a Quality Lab to Print Your Holiday Cards
Your clients can get their photo holiday cards SO many places: Walgreens, Target, everybody on the web… You need to make sure the cards you offer–as a professional photographer–are obviously very high quality.
Your cards should stand out as far superior to the DIY, the Big Box and the Random Website cards!
Using a reputable, professional photography lab to print your cards will help you stand out from the crowd, and help your clients feel great about their investment.
9. Your Logo goes on Every Holiday Card You Create
You are a professional—sign your work!
Include a small, but legible logo on every design.
This helps your clients remember to tell their friends about you!
This helps their friends find a resource so their family can send out gorgeous holiday cards too!
This helps you photograph that next beautiful family, and the cycle begins all over again!
Still not convinced you should offer holiday cards? Discover what the most profitable photographers know (that you don’t…) about selling holiday cards in this FREE live web training session.