JULY 12th 2010 UPDATE:
I’m in the final month of my offer and wanted to add a couple points,
* I think you can expect a good number of people (maybe a third) want to schedule a session in the last month of the offer. I think I will end up doing 30ish groupon sessions in July before my 8/1 expiration. And that doesn’t include my non-groupon sessions. I am averaging 3 sessions weekend day in July and almost 1 on weekdays.
* You can choose to extend the offer but I’m trying not to. I’m one for being fair and I figure that extending the deadline isn’t fair to everyone that planned ahead.
* At this point my sales process is breaking down – I don’t have the time/energy to meet with all those clients. Having a stronger understanding of products (albums, picture boxes, cards, etc.) would have served me well. Especially products that don’t require a large amount of my time. Not entirely sure I could manage if I sold an album to a large percentage of these clients.
* Figure out what your are going to do post groupon – this is huge and and I think potentially problematic. I’ve been living in the groupon world for 8 months and I’m not entirely sure what it will be like when those calls end. Fortunately I’ve done a fair amount of SEO work so I rank in the first page or two on most searches regarding San Francisco family, child, engagement and portrait photography. But I’m clear that I will definitely have the urge to coast once this is done. I’ll need some time to catch my breath but I can’t rest too long if I want to take advantage of the momentum I’ve built.
JULY 2011 Update
So it’s been a year since I’ve finished my groupon. In that time I’ve discussed my experience with a lot of photographers and I thought I would share a few more of my thought:
* People are generally loyal to Groupon and not the vendor – This holds true with every vendor I talk to that ran a daily deal. The numbers for repeat business are really, really low. So you have to think of this as a one time opportunity to sell to a lot of people rather then a chance to get repeat clients.
* Pertaining to the point above – you have to nail in your sales process. Not only to increase your sales but to really impress the clients. Having a large canvas in the house will have clients thinking about you way more then any number of 8×10 or smaller prints. Best way to sell large prints is through live (in home or at a studio) presentations. I use Proselect and while it takes more time my average sale has gone up 4 or 5 times and my clients are so very happy when they see the larger print or canvas. Honestly I don’t know how I could have met so many clients at their homes but I know I would have made more money and had a lot more happy clients if I had tried.
* Manage your numbers – As I wrote above, processes are key. One process that I wish I had addressed long ago was my pricing strategy. I didn’t charge enough for may things and more importantly I didn’t have a real process for determining the price for my packages or products. It was a lot of “what if i do this or what if I do that?” That was time and energy wasted and money lost. What I didn’t appreciate was that there is a science to pricing and that understanding what works and doesn’t work will same you tons of time, give you confidence as a business person, make your clients happier and make you more money. Two people that have broken this down are:
- Tofurious and his Creative Pricing and Packaging for Photographers (affiliate link) - $65. Great read that will help you create straight forward packages.
- Jamie Swanson at The Modern Tog and her Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook (affilliate link) - $89. She has a great series of posts that breaks down pricing and creating a strong fiscal foundation for your business. The workbook is an excel file that makes everything quite simple.
I’m sure there are other resources as well (leave your favorites in the comments) but having read these two has helped me better manage my numbers, wow clients and make more money. Wish I had read these last year.
I hope this helps answer any of your questions and good luck.
I’m offering to do 1 hour groupon consulting sessions for Photographers in any stage of Groupon Process:
- Should I /Shouldn’t I
- I’ve signed up – now what do I do
- Help – I’m drowning
- Maximizing sales
Sessions are $100 each and done over the phone. We’ll talk about what needs to be done to maximize this opportunity and for you to stay sane. If you are interested, please contact me to schedule a call.
3/16/11 – just posted another Groupon Observation – intended to help photographers manage client concerns.