Main image for the current blog post

One of the best aspects of having previous clients is that they make for ideal future clients!

While it’s wonderful to acquire new customers and broaden your clientele, it’s a lot easier to work with repeat clients. They’re easier to sell to and coordinate with, and you already understand their needs and preferences. It costs less time, effort, and money to work with repeat clients. 

Therefore, client retention is highly valuable for your business. In your efforts to find new clients, don’t forget to nurture the clients you already have. If your process is to close a sale and then forget about the client, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Here are some tips for getting repeat clients, including how to get them to book for next year before this year ends!

Photographer is speaking to his clients.

Talk About Next Year

Here’s a simple one: talk about next year now. At this year’s photoshoot, start looking ahead to next year. Talk about the locations you have in mind for next year and ask if they want to book the same date again.

You can also communicate urgency. For instance, mention that you’re only going to have X number of sessions for next fall, so it’s a good idea to book now. 

Similarly, send email follow-ups to the clients you already had a shoot with this year. Say that you’re booking for 2022 now. Again, ask if they would like to schedule the same date for next year. Include a button or link to book now.

Create a VIP Facebook Group

Giving your clients the VIP treatment is a great way to retain their business. Create a VIP Facebook group for current clients only. Let them know that as your most valued customers, they will get first access to new shoot dates.  

Start posting about booking for 2022 now. Use messaging that communicates you’re giving exclusive early access to your available dates before promoting them to the public.

Direct mail marketing sign on desk.

Communicate Regularly Through a Mailing List

Once you have clients on your email list, you can send updates, newsletters, and more directly to their personal email. This is a valuable tool to communicate reminders of your work and new services. 

Email also allows you to send personalized offers to existing clients. For example, send special offers or info about newborn shoots to people who previously booked pregnancy shoots. Parents who booked homecoming or prom sessions may be interested in the graduation mini sessions you offer.

Like Facebook, you can use email to inform clients they are on your VIP list. As VIPs, they get first dibs on new dates before they are released to the public. 

Run A Special Offer

Give VIP clients the opportunity to pre-purchase a special offer, ideally for your slow season. This way, you can get repeat business and fill your calendar for the slowest time of year. 

For example, encourage clients to book their Valentine’s Day, spring, or Easter shoots now. Include an exclusive offer for a small discount or a free add-on (like a framed photo) for clients who book now. Of course, make sure it’s still profitable for you and won’t cost you much.

Keep Track of Birthdays and Anniversaries

Make a note of your clients’ birthdays and anniversaries when possible. Send a “happy birthday” or “happy anniversary” email with a special offer, typically a discounted rate for birthday or anniversary sessions.

Remembering special dates in your client’s life is a nice touch. You’re also giving them the chance to do something fun to celebrate, and you’re increasing your number of repeat clients.

Set Up a Referral Program

Create a referral program for your VIP clients. If they refer you to someone who books a shoot, they receive something special. This “something special” should require their future business, like a discount on their next shoot or extra prints from their next session. 

Referral programs are genius because they bring in new clients while making sure your existing clients come back.

Photographer in her studio.

Provide Superior Customer Service

Finally, always provide exemplary customer service. Do your best work and always continue learning. Use feedback as an opportunity for growth. Under promise and overdeliver, ensuring you never miss a deadline.

Treat your clients with genuine respect, friendliness, and kindness. Listen when they talk and inquire about their hobbies or children in the future. Being a good person who cares goes a very long way in securing repeat business. That’s because now you’re a person your clients connect with, not just a brand or a business.

If you really want to go above and beyond with your clients, try the following:

  • Send handwritten thank-you notes after shoots.
  • Occasionally include small surprise gifts with the delivery of prints.
  • Consider thoughtful gestures, like sending a framed photo from a newborn shoot on the baby’s first birthday, or a framed photo from an engagement shoot as a wedding gift or first-anniversary present.

If you treat your current clients like the VIPs they are, you’ll end up with a full calendar in no time!

Image of an ebook preview

Get it all done with one simple plan

Sign up | Access tools | Get the business you want