Predesigning Albums: One of the Keys to Our Success

Photographers have it tough. It's a craft that doesn't pay well, and if you aren't good with business or sales, it can be difficult to stay in business. One of the most important factors in our success has been our after sales. Unlike new bookings, where you have to invest a lot of time and money to gain new clients, with after sales your audience is already in place. They've already proved they are willing to spend money on your services, so why not enhance their experience with products they will enjoy?

We offer a lot of different types of add on products but additional album pages have been our best performer. Of course, it depends on your clients, your pricing and your market, but as a point of reference, our album predesign sales for the year have ranged from $29,000-$60,000 per year since 2006. Is it worth it? I think the numbers speak for themselves.

One thing to remember is that the numbers above reflect a high-end studio serving high-end brides; if you are serving a mid-range clientele, you may not see sales that high, but hopefully this shows what's possible. For our studio budget, we anticipate about $1,000 per client in album after sales, and that has been pretty consistent in terms of a minimum. Some clients don't get any extra pages while others get a lot, so it varies. As your sales and presentation techniques improve, your results will improve. In the end, it's all about offering clients something extra, something special, and giving options of what's possible. It's up to them to decide if they want to go in that direction.

Have you ever given album predesigning a try but gave up after 1-2 failed attempts? Felt like it was a total waste of time? It's an incredibly effective method if you know how to do it properly. I will explain everything, and you'll soon be on your way to adding another profitable line item to your studio budget.

Plant the Seeds

 The key to successful album pre-design sales is preparation. You need to let clients know from the beginning about this concept. Simply plant the seeds for your clients about this concept. In our initial sales meetings we always tell people when they are looking at our albums that many clients buy additional pages for their albums after they see all the great photos.

Water the Seeds

Then closer to their wedding date we talk with them to get a final decision on what type of album they want (magazine or matted-we offer both formats) and at the same time discuss with them that we usually pre-design a complete storyline for them to choose from, and that they are under no obligation to purchase additional pages but it gives them the chance to see the complete storyline, and choose which parts of the storyline they want in their album, and purchase additional pages if they wish. If a client tells us there is no way they are going to buy additional pages then we will design the album to what is included in their package or a few pages extra, but the majority of clients want to see the larger design. This is key to ensure your clients aren't upset to see a gorgeous album they can't afford. If you prepare them and they are open to the concept, it's a much stronger sale and experience for your clients.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article on Wednesday, where we talk about the most important factor in album predesigning success-managing client expectations. If you have questions or tips, please share in the comments below.

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