by Mary Fisk-Taylor, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, ABI, API Over…
Intro by Skip Cohen
As I read this post from my pal, Bryan Caporicci, all I could think about was all the discounts mailings we get from Macy’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond. They’ve trained us to only shop when there’s a deal on! Even at checkout, if you don’t have a coupon with you, somebody in line will typically offer you one of theirs!
I’ve written a lot about ideas to create added value rather than discount your prices. The minute you make price an issue you become a commodity product.
There are so many different things you can do to help develop relationships with your clients that aren’t price sensitive but focus on the experience you’re creating, your passion as an artist and selling your ability to capture memories.
By Bryan Caporicci
Why are your customers price sensitive? Probably because you’ve trained them to be. Want customers to NOT be price sensitive? Then talk about something other than price!
Let me tell you a quick story.
A few years back we were shopping at Bealls while on vacation in Florida, and boy did they ever have some crazy-good deals on! In addition to their everyday great prices, we got a 15%-off coupon from the paper, another 15%-off for the “50 and Fabulous” Tuesday promo (thanks Mom), and for every $30 we spent, we got a $10 credit. As if all that wasn’t enough, certain items in-store were an additional 50% off.
We bought so much that we had to get three shopping carts. We had to back the car up to the loading dock in the back. They had to help us with the skid steerer. Ok … I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the point – we bought a ton!
How to guarantee that you will have ZERO customer loyalty
My wife loves this. She waits for it. It’s like a game for her. Great for Bealls right? Well … not necessarily. She actually has no loyalty to Bealls. If she’s not getting a great deal, she won’t shop there. And tomorrow? We’re going to Kohls for their discounts. Oh boy.
I know that not everyone is like my wife, but my point is this – Bealls’ brand is that they’re a good deal. They’ve trained us (their customers) to be price sensitive. How did they do this? Well … almost all of what they talk about in their marketing are their great prices. The coupons. The savings. The promos. The deals. So naturally, that’s what we (and many others) go there for.
If they can do it, I can do it too, right? Wrong.
Bealls can do this, though. They have huge marketing budgets and have achieved mass-market adoption. They operate on the high-volume, low-price business model. It works for them.
You can’t, though. You can’t compete like they can. You don’t have the reach they do. You don’t have the budget they do. You don’t have the scalability they do.
You can’t compete on price. Period. It’s a simple idea, but a very important one.
Therefore, you can’t compete on price like they do.
I know this is a really simple idea, but it’s a very important one.
You may be doing it and not even realizing it …
Many photographers do try and compete on price, though. I see it all the time. Flyers with the price written in bold, promos talking about savings, websites putting the prices front and center, mini-sessions that promote a discount. No matter what you call it – discount, savings, deal, promo, mini-sessions – you’re talking about price and you’re making price your differentiator.
Be careful with this. The more you talk about price, the less you’re talking about anything else. The more you talk about price, the more you’re training your customers to be price sensitive. The more you talk about price, the more you’re telling your customers to wait until the next “deal” comes around.
And once you’re in that trap, it’s hard to get out.
How to get out of the deadly price-sensitivity trap
I won’t leave you hanging there, though. You know that I wouldn’t tell you what not to do without telling you what to do. That’s not SproutingPhotographer.com style. I want you to succeed, and so I want to give you some real concrete ideas to get you away from talking about price.
Here are 5 things you can talk about in your marketing instead of price:
- Talk about what makes you different.
- Explain why you do what you do and create a deeper connection with your audience.
- Advertise your newsworthy awards and accomplishments.
- Announce something. The word “NEW” looks much better than the words “CHEAP”.
- If you must talk about price, add something instead of discounting.
As I finish up writing this, my wife just left for Ross. Point proven again. She’ll find some great deals there, no doubt, because that’s what they talk about and that’s what they’re all about. But … that’s not what you’re all about, so stop talking about it!