Growing your business is no different than caring for a plant. It needs water, sunlight, the right temperature, and nutrients to grow. Your business needs the same attention with new products, communication to your subjects, a great skill set, demonstrated trust with clients, and everything needs to be “seasoned” with your enthusiasm and love for the craft.

But you can’t keep offering the same old things. We’ve been trained our whole lives to look for added value. Knowing that, Why is what you’re offering the same as it was last year and the year before? Would the products/services you offer put a rock to sleep?

Let’s start with your album company: Long before I started writing for Marathon, I was a fan of their product line, especially Marathon’s Bella Albums, and there is an infinite combination of products/designs to offer every client. There’s always the core book, be it a wedding, event you’re covering, or a Day-in-the-Life on-location shoot of a child. But what about the rest of the products you offer?

  • Book Publishing: I’m back at Marathon for their in-house book production. With a 50,000-square-foot production facility, they’re geared up to exceed your expectations. As the primary storyteller for so many of your clients, let’s take those stories and do something unique in a book format.
  • Image Boxes are the perfect sidekick to an album, containing individual prints on single-image mats ready to be shared and displayed. There are so many types of boxes available and they’re perfect for a set of Bella Prints. But it doesn’t stop there…
  • Image Boxes for Marketing: In the image box, you should include a certificate to help capture additional memories. For example, a wedding photographer should include a free anniversary sitting a year later. Another certificate might cover the birth of the first child, followed by other certificates for significant events in the child’s life, e.g., the first Christmas, the first family portrait, the first birthday, right up through the first day of school, etc.
  • Framed Prints? In Joe Buissink’s book, Weddings from the Heart, I wrote about how Joe, when meeting with a couple he’s photographed after their event, has hanging on his office wall a large framed and signed print of one of his favorite images from their wedding. It’s signed because he wants to remind them he’s an artist,and it’s his gift to them. It’s his way of saying thanks for the privilege of photographing their wedding. It’s done as a complete surprise. Another example is Michele Celentano, who includes a frame in her pricing that fits with the client’s decor. She’s a full-service photographer, even helping to hang the print if needed.
  • Holiday and Boutique cards: I’m not talking about your own cards, but cards for your clients. Holiday cards are one of those items so many people procrastinate about. Here’s an opportunity for you to do them for your client, and it’s going to be a professional-looking card, way ahead of whatever might be bought at retail. Then you’ve got thank you notes, stationery, and a full line of novelty items, from bookmarks to posters! Again, Marathon’s here to give you a hand, and at holiday time, there’s usually a BOGO program to help you increase revenue.
  • eCards/Videos: Technology has given every photographer the ability to provide clients with unique electronic messages, but don’t think of them as only applicable at holiday time. There are anniversaries, birth announcements, engagement sessions, business cards, and graduations—the list of how to use this new technology is endless. ​
  • Cross Promotions: Don’t underestimate the power of working together with other vendors like florists, venues, spas, travel agencies, tux and bridal vendors, etc. Together, each company helps the other partners grow. I’ve written a lot about partnerships and the benefits, bit you need to stop flying solo!

Look for added value and do your best to stay away from making price the issue. I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg in products/services you can offer your clients in this post. You need to develop a plan so that you can be proactive instead of reactive!

Still stuck for ideas? I know this sounds like an infomercial but pick up the phone and call Marathon. They’re even printing on slate, creating stunning fine art presentations that will expand what you’re offering. Marathon’s staff talk to hundreds of photographers every week. They’re constantly helping artists elevate their brand awareness!