Back in July of 2016, I sat at my desk in my St. Louis apartment and opened up my calendar to see what I had going the next month or so in my boudoir photography business.
The pages were empty. Nothing on my books, literally. Like not a session to photograph until October.
At that time, I was already broke, working over 40 hours between two dental hygiene jobs, struggling to pay my apartment rent, and still trying to keep my studio afloat. Plus I had credit card debt and a house in another state that I needed to get rented out so that I wasn’t paying another mortgage on top of everything else.
Needless to say when I looked at my calendar that day, I went straight into panic mode.
“How am I going to make ends meet? I’m already killing myself trying to make this work. I’m going to lose EVERYTHING at this rate.”
Immediately, I came up with a “Flash sale” and started promoting it everywhere. On my socials, email blasts, blogs, telling my business acquaintances. I was just trying to get the word out any way I could.
It was a $79 session fee sale and $300 off the print order. I was basically paying clients to let me work for them at that rate.
And I ended up selling one single session with this sale. ONE.
I used the Panic and Promote Strategy in my photography business.
The method I used in that sale I’ve dubbed my Panic and Promote Strategy. Not only did I panic and promote a super random “Flash Sale” but I had just had a “model call” 3 weeks prior.
Could I look more desperate?
It’s a strategy that you do not want to fall victim to for so many reasons. Panic and Promote sales will never grow your business.
1. You look desperate.
For one thing you don’t want to look desperate to potential clients.
Like I mentioned, I had JUST had a model call to find clients, and then 3 weeks later I threw together a flash sale. To outsiders, it looked like I was super desperate in my photography business.
And let’s be honest, I was.
2. You want to create a high end brand to draw in your ideal client.
As a small business service provider, whether that’s a photographer or something else, it’s important to create a high end luxury brand to draw in the type of clients who can afford your services. Those clients will also appreciate you more. I’ve went deeper into that subject in this blog post.
A high end brand absolutely does not just throw out a random flash sale. No, they schedule out their sales (if they have them) and that’s the only sales they have all year.
In everything you do in business, make sure you are replicating that luxury brand feeling.
3. Theres no urgency when you host too many sales.
Urgency in business is a very important thing. More important than you may realize.
Think about it though, when a business says you only have x amount of hours before this savings expires you take action.
Like Kohls Cash. I’m not a Kohls fan, but my mom and sister are. And when their Kohls Cash is about to expire, I promise they’re at Kohls finding something to spend it on.
It’s the urgency. They make you feel like you have to use it before you lose it.
The same thing happens when you use urgency in your own sales in business. If you limit the amount of time the sale is available and the amount of sessions (for a photography business) or whatever service you provide in another industry, then your potential clients will have a sense of urgency and be more likely to buy.
But if, instead, you host sale after sale, or model call after model call, why would they book you right then? They know they can just catch your next sale at a later date, when they’re ready.
A better approach to Black Friday Photography Deals
Instead of the Panic and Promote Strategy, try a strategy that feels more organized and professional. Let’s talk specifically about how to run a Black Friday sale or Black Friday photography session deals.
Plan your Black Friday Photography Session Deals well in advance.
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say this over and over. If you want to work less and make more, which I know you do or you wouldn’t be here, you need to give off the aura of a high end luxury business(and then back it with the right experience for your client).
To do that you need to be organized and professional.
Also, require the service be scheduled during a season that’s slow for you so you can even out your schedule and cash flow through out the year.
Automate your Black Friday Photography Session Sales
Although you are a business and Black Friday can be incredibly profitable for you, also remember Thanksgiving weekend is for spending time with family and friends rather than working your life away.
Instead of planning to sit behind the computer and stare at your calendar for 4 days while the sale is open, automate the entire sale, from marketing to purchasing to booking confirmations. That way when the sale opens, you won’t have to do a thing. You can just let those sales notifications come in while you’re shopping, napping, or even watching football.
(By the way, there is a specific training in The Boudoir Photographer’s Mastermind dedicated to this exact topic.)
Stick to the plan.
If you have a moment of desperation when you look at your calendar like I did, remember a strong and successful business has a slow and smooth growth rate. If you grow at lightening speed, the chances your business is going to fail are much greater.
You don’t want to be a fad. You want a lasting and successful business.
When your schedule is slow, use the time to grow your business more organically.
Business referrals are some of the best ways to grow your photography business(or any service based business).
A good business referral is someone who is established and works with many clients that are your ideal client.
As a boudoir photographer, my ideal client in St. Louis is a college educated woman in her mid 20’s, fashion conscious, a few years in her career, and has started dabbling in botox and fillers.
Super specific I know.
Because I know my client so well, I knew that I needed to have business referrals with a nurse injector who has clients similar to my ideal client. That’s when I found my friend Krista.
Using a strategy I teach in The Photography Marketing Course, I created a mutually beneficial referral program with Krista and she has referred some of my absolute favorite clients.
Remember, you want to be in front of your ideal client in as many places and have as many people as possible talking about you so that when that person is ready to book your services, they think of no other option besides you.
The easiest way to make sure your schedule stays full consistently is to go into each year with a rock solid plan with goals that are high yet achievable.
My 30 Minute Action Planning Sessions are the easiest way to make that happen. In an Action Planning Session, we sit down and map out what your ideal schedule looks like, what your income goals are, and make a specific plan in order to achieve it. It’s quick, easy, fun, and most importantly, FREE.
If you’re interested, either book a session at this link or DM me on Instagram at @itstracylynn.
P.S. Follow me over there. We have a lot of fun. It’s definitely my favorite place to hang out.
Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.