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Why Discounting Your Photography is Bad For Your Business


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Why Discounting Your Photography is Bad For Your Business

I see a lot of people panic, wake up one day, and say, “I am gonna have a half price sale because I need business.  I need cash flow. I need the phone to be ringing.”

What happens when you discount and especially deep discount is that you start to attract price sensitive clients who are coming to you simply for one reason, because you are inexpensive. And you are also teaching your really good clients to wait for a sale. So you are devaluing the long term value of your business and of your brand.

Now the 1st time you do this of course, people will flock into your business.  They will be thrilled, they will give you all the love, and they will buy.  But then the next time you do it, fewer people will come.  You will have to discount more, and every time you do that, you are minimizing your margins. So you are going to have less money to market with, less money to pay for other things like cool new props, new camera equipment or anything like that.  So while you may have money to put in the bank or to actually pay your rent, you are not making profit, so you are just prolonging the fact that you are not building your business in the best way that you possibly can.

I am not saying that people should never discount because I know there are a lot of people who use discounting in a very smart way, as part of their overall strategy to build their business.  I’m a big believer that, if you can, instead of discounting, use value added intensives.  So for example, instead of saying “today everything is 30% off” – where you make a $100 product now $70, if you say “today, if you purchase this $100 product, you get another product for free.”   So you work that into your cost of sales and it’s all paid for and you’re not losing money on it.  Better than that you are not devaluing your brand.

This thought on discounting is brought to you by Sarah Petty of Cafe Joy and the Joy of Marketing.


No Comments

  1. Julie on November 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

    A lesson I keep learning. THANK YOU! LOve This!

  2. eric on November 3, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Good points.. I think the value added approach is a much better way secure your brand over the years!

  3. Kim-Marie on November 3, 2010 at 11:20 am

    The value added approach is the way to go. As business owners it’s sometimes hard to get out of the consumer mentality and remember that we are neither the Wal-mart of our profession nor the proverbial Arab bazaar where people bargain down our pricing. Skill, talent and time all have value that our pricing strategy needs to include. Our customers are those people who appreciate those things and want art, not just a deal. By not devaluing our work, we weed out the people who are just looking for the cheapest deal and will never come back to create a long term relationship.

  4. Tara on November 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Let’s face it–a deal is not a deal if it costs you more in the long run!

  5. Mariah B, Baseman Studios on November 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Great topic! I’ve always felt this way about discounting prices, but never could put it into words like mentioned here. As I’m setting up to do some bridal shows, and heading into my 2nd year of business, I plan on always offering specials like an extra $100 print credit (print purchase amount) or an engagement-photo guestbook ($150) as promotions, rather than 20% off, etc. Thanks for the very informational post.

  6. George W on November 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Today I learned, I make less money if I sell things for less.

  7. stacy on November 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

    great tip!

  8. VanillaSeven on September 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Totally agree that discount is bad for business for the long run.

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