Building Your Business, Tips from the Pros, Your Studio

How to: Keep Clients Coming Back through the Holidays

The Holiday season is upon us and it’s important to keep clients coming back year after year to help maintain and grow business. The terms “client retention” or “repeat customers” is something we talk about often and these buzzwords pack a lot of punch, but do we actually know what it takes to keep a client? We’re going to review how to keep clients coming back through the holidays and then some!


The cost of bringing on a new client includes time spent massaging the relationship, valuable marketing dollars, investment in their session, as well as educating and coordinating with them their first time around. This can be quite expensive. Past customers, on the other hand, have already overcome many of the growing pains of being a new client. They know your business model, understand how you work, your pricing and products, and are more easily setup time to shoot with you. Bottom line, working with a client more than once is the best way to grow your business as it helps save you money and time, as well as adds to the goodwill of your client base.

So, how to you keep clients coming back? Here are five simple steps to retain customers:

1. Send a handwritten thank you note.

The first, and most obvious step to repeat business is gratitude. Besides offering your client some appreciation, a quick handwritten note is a great reminder to them of your great work and the lovely experience they had with you. For an extra special note, use custom Thank You cards showcasing your client’s photo shoot on their card.


2. Stay Relevant with a Monthly Newsletter

Going a step further than just a thank you reminder, the Newsletter or monthly follow-up to customers is the perfect way to be top-of-mind with your past and prospective customers. An email can have powerful results, delivered right to an inbox that you know you want to engage with. Here are some examples of what you can include in your newsletter:

  • New Blog Posts
  • Featured Client Galleries
  • Sales and Specials
  • Booking Opportunities (think mini-sessions for Holiday season!)
  • Anything new in your life!

If you are looking for a great email platform, we suggest using MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Klaviyo. All of which offer simple drag and drop templates that can be easily customized to fit your needs and email style preference.


3. Send a Special Something

Marketing swag is one of the oldest tricks of the trade for adding value with current and potential clients. Everyone loves getting a little something special from our vendors, especially those that we have worked with on special projects. When you go to Costco, the first place you go to is the sample stations. At trade shows, it’s so much fun to walk around and pick-up all the free products from each booth.

Use this same concept with clients but kick-it-up a notch by making the special gift something truly unique. We suggest custom USBs as one of the best ways to provide some add-value to customers with a unique gift that they will truly cherish. Bonus if you upload their images to the USB drive and delivery with a custom presentation box! The possibilities are limitless, and the outcome is certain: a stronger relationship with your client.

What are your creative gift ideas? Share them with us in the comments below.


4. Celebrate Birthdays & Anniversaries

Speaking of gifts, events like birthdays and anniversaries are the perfect time for offering your past clients the opportunity to get together at a special rate. Not only does a special birthday/anniversary offer let your client know you are thinking about them, but it also gives them a chance to do something exciting to celebrate their special day.

Another great opportunity is to offer a product at a lower price point, or offer a custom photo book to commemorate their special moment. These are low cost compared to the value of them coming back for another shoot in the future!


5. Offers & Referral Rewards

This final tip kills two birds with one stone as it engages old clients you haven’t spoken with in a while and encourages new clients to actively promote your business. When you reward your existing clientele for referring new customers, you add an incentive to spread the word about your studio while also encouraging a follow up session for the original client.

Some referral and offer opportunities include:

  • 2-for-1 Discount: Schedule a shoot now and get a second shoot for X% off!
  • Product Package Discounts: Purchase 10 prints and get 20% off a photo book.
  • Refer a Friend Special: For each friend that books a session, you get credit towards a future session or product of your choice


Do you have any tips on how to get clients coming back year after year? Share them with us in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this article? Here are a few other articles you may enjoy reading:

  1. 7 Quick Wins to Maximize Holiday Season Sales
  2. In-Person Sales: Holiday Cards
  3. Wall Decor: The Difference in Your Options


September Fearless Females Winner: Elizabeth Melara
October Fearless Females Winner: Sarah Gupta