It’s Day 2 of marketing with auctions.  Now that we have decided which auctions to participate in, we need to figure out what we want to donate!  The second key, after choosing the correct event, is to offer a high value item.  There are generally quite a few photographers donating sessions and the default donation is a complimentary session and 8×10 print, usually coming in somewhere around $250 retail value.  I challenge you to come up with something worth at least $500.  (Now this will all depend on your products and services being priced appropriately.  Pricing for profitability is a HUGE component to running a successful business.  We will talk about pricing soon, so make sure you subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!)

“Wait a minute, I just started my business and I don’t have the capital to cover donating a large canvas in case they just purchase that!”  That is a legitimate concern, it is extremely important to make sure that you have the capital in your business to cover the order if your client purchases exactly what you are donating and not a wallet print more.  Even if you set yourself up for success, a certain percentage (albeit small) of clients will only choose what was included in your package.  Do not donate a large canvas if you don’t have the $200 that it will cost you to purchase it from you lab.  Don’t fret, I have some other ideas as well….

When I was first starting I did offer a session and 8×10, but I never managed to get much of an additional sale.  The next thing that I started offering was a package of prints, but of the SAME IMAGE.  For example, a mounted 11×14, 2 8×10, and 2 5×7 of the same image still encourages them to purchase additional prints and products but you can add the price of 4 prints and a wall portrait to your retail value.  The reason that I moved away from that is that I found my clients don’t want a lot of prints, they want albums and wall portraits.  I have been including the session fee and one 16×20 canvas in my recent auctions, although they can use that credit to upgrade to a larger wall portrait or album if they choose.  I would love to hear what your favorite auction items are!  Please let me know in the comments below….

Please note that if you have donated to an auction that has a great mission, but may not be crawling with your target market, then you may want to do the print package above or a donation that doesn’t cost you as much out of pocket.  The reason that it’s important to donate a higher value package to auctions with your target clients (see yesterday’s post to figure out which auctions have your target clients) is that then you have the most qualified of those already qualified potential clients.  Remember, they have now paid $250 per plate to attend the event and now just dropped another $400-500 to purchase your package.  This is a qualified client with disposable income.

Come back tomorrow for Day 3 of marketing with auctions and we’ll talk about the best ways to display your work at the event!