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Known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is considered the start of the holiday shopping season. The “black” in “Black Friday” comes from the term “in the black,” which refers to business profits. Many businesses bring in their highest earnings of the year on Black Friday. As a photographer, how can you get in on the profitability of Black Friday?

In this post, we’ll share some helpful tips and strategies for completing a successful Black Friday campaign for your photography business.

Assess Your Current Pricing

Before you can offer a reasonable discount, you must evaluate the profitability of your standard pricing. Think about how much time and money you put into your business vs. the amount you earn. Consider equipment, materials, repairs, and the amount of time you invest in your photography business. If you struggle to calculate your cost of doing business, remember that for every one hour of photography, there is usually 6-9 hours spent related to not only that shoot but also the back-end of running your business. 

Does your current pricing allow you to make a reasonable profit? If not, consider raising your prices . You want your business to be sustainable and to provide a comfortable life for you and your family.  

Make Sure Your Offer Is Profitable

An example ad, "Winter shoot special"

Now that you’ve assessed your pricing, you can make sure that your Black Friday offer is profitable too. Yes, Black Friday is all about discounts and low prices. But you need to make sure it works for you too, not just your customers. Your Black Friday offer should never lose you money. Remember, we’re trying to get in on those profits!

One idea is to use Black Friday as an opportunity to upsell previous or existing customers. For instance, offer discounted prints, digital images, or framed prints from prior shoots. Or offer a product you don’t usually provide, like holiday ornaments, holiday cards, or scrapbooks from photos you captured in previous sessions. 

Even though these prices are a discount you’ll be getting sales you wouldn’t have made without Black Friday. And you don’t have to invest time in additional shoots or travel. If you want to offer something for new clients too, crunch the numbers and make sure it won’t cost you.

Another option is to offer discounted pre-sales on photo shoots or mini sessions to take place during your slow season, helping you drum up more business. Many photographers also opt for discounted gift cards (which make a great holiday gift) or discounted bundles (e.g., session fee, digital images, and framed prints). 

Whatever promotion you decide on, ensure that it benefits you too. To reap maximum benefits, determine what you want to achieve from your Black Friday promotion.

Consider What You Want to Achieve

An example ad, 50% off canvases

Set a goal for your Black Friday sales. Do you want to engage new clients? Re-engage clients you haven’t heard from in a while? Bring in a certain amount of profit? Increase business for your slow season?

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you strategically choose your Black Friday offering. Set a specific, reasonable goal that you can easily measure. For instance, maybe you want to book ten mini shoots for your slow season. If that’s the case, you’ll offer a discounted pre-sale on minis for your slow season. If your slow season is January through April, offer options like sparkler minis, Valentine’s Day minis, spring-themed minis, or Easter minis. Include high-quality sample images in your advertising, so potential clients know what they’re getting.

Again, make sure your goal is easy to track and measure. Measuring the effectiveness of your Black Friday campaign allows you to reevaluate and improve your strategy for next year. What worked, and what didn’t? If you hit or surpass your goal, you can repeat your strategy next time or set your sights even higher. 


When Should You Start Advertising?

An example Cyber Monday ad for photographers

Start advertising your Black Friday sale at least a few weeks in advance so people have time to weigh their options and make purchasing decisions. If you wait until the last minute, it might be too late. People may have already decided on other ways to spend their Black Friday budgets.

Another frequently asked question is: How long should I run my sale? Over the years, it’s become more common for businesses to run extended Black Friday sales. Cyber Monday, which is all about online discounts, has lengthened the holiday. And many businesses run their sales for an additional week or weeks beyond Cyber Monday.

Still, we recommend keeping your sale to a weekend at the most. Limited-time deals suggest urgency, encouraging people to purchase before they miss out. But if you aren’t getting the engagement you were hoping for, you may want to extend your sale for a few extra days with “last chance” messaging.

How Should You Market Your Sale?

An example black friday sale ad

Market your sale on your website, social media channels, via email, and through word of mouth. Start by sending an email to your client list announcing your  Black Friday offer(s). Make it sound fun, exciting, and urgent. Include

beautiful, relevant images to increase engagement and interest.

Set up a landing page or banner on your website or change your Facebook profile photo announcing the sale. As always, include appealing images to entice prospective clients to buy. 

Next, announce your sales on social media through posts and stories. If you’re interested in reaching new clients, you can use paid ads to target people in your area. While brainstorming what to offer for Black Friday, ask your social media followers what Black Friday deals they would like to see or create a poll with your top (already profitable) options.

Ask your friends, family, and most loyal customers to spread the word. Consider partnering with local businesses to promote one another’s Black Friday deals. Ask if you can leave a flyer or brochure about your sales in exchange for posting about their Black Friday deal on your social media. 


More Black Friday Ideas

An example black friday email

When it comes to Black Friday campaigns, the possibilities are endless! If a traditional Black Friday sale won’t be profitable or help you accomplish your goals, you can always think outside of the box.

So far, we’ve discussed upselling previous customers, offering discounted gift cards or bundles, and pre-selling “buy now, shoot later” mini sessions for your slow season. We’ve also touched on exclusive offers you don’t typically provide, like holiday cards, holiday ornaments, or scrapbooks. These offers don’t necessarily have to be discounted. They can simply be marketed as exclusive, limited-time offers that make fabulous holiday gifts.

Here are a few other Black Friday ideas to consider:

  •  Free shipping
  • Free gift wrapping for framed photo orders
  •  Double points on your rewards/referral program (if you have one)
  •  Buy one, get one half-off gift cards (or another percentage discount that works for you)
  • Sell your digital files for a limited time only
  •  Discounted headshots for a productive and prosperous new year
  • Free framed photo (or another offer) with every mini session booked for your slow season
  •  Calendars with photos from previous sessions (for a holiday gift)
  •  Donate a percentage to charity for all November sales
  •  Run a special giveaway

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your Black Friday offers. In a sea of similar offers, something different will help you stand out.


Final Thoughts

An example small business saturday ad

Black Friday is an excellent opportunity to boost your profits, engage clients, and bring positive attention to your photography business.

Remember these steps when putting your offer together:

  • Evaluate your pricing and profitability
  • Set a realistic, measurable goal for your Black Friday campaign
  • Choose an offer that benefits your business and will help you reach your goal
  • Promote your offer through your website, social media, email, word of mouth, or even partnerships with local businesses
  •  Begin promoting 2-3 weeks in advance

With these tips, you can get in on the profitability of Black Friday and reap enormous benefits for your photography business. 

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