In this article we’re going to take a look at a method to get boudoir clients for free.
Use this as a way to generate leads for a special promotion to get paying clients.
A Bird’s Eye View
I’m going to give you the big picture here so you have an idea of where we’re headed, and before we go into detail on each individual part of this strategy.
Its effectiveness is in the details, so, even if you’ve done something like this in the past, in all likelihood, it’s probably not the same thing.
You’re going to create a list of everyone you know (who you feel it’s appropriate to mention boudoir photography to), but you’re not going to solicit them directly but rather ask if they know of anyone who’d be interested in learning more about your special offer.
This will expand your offer’s reach exponentially while at the same time, not directly “selling” to anyone. Nobody likes to be sold to, but they do like hearing about an unbelievable offer they can benefit from… and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
You won’t be “selling” to your contacts, and they in turn, won’t be “selling” to their contacts but news of your special offer will spread organically the way a good movie gets recommended by word of mouth.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and this does require work, but it won’t cost you a dime… just your time.
And like I mentioned before, it’s effectiveness is in the details. So, let’s go through these one at a time.
What Are You Offering?
The first thing you need to do is decide what your offer is.
It’s always better to create some kind of special as opposed to just promoting your regular services because your regular services are just that, regular… it’s what you offer every day.
You want your special offer to stand out from your regular offerings to grab people’s attention, and you do this by making your offer extra good and extra tempting.
You want to give your special offer a unique name.
Giving your special offer or promotion its own name will separate it from your regular offerings, and the name can be just about anything.
One approach is to name it along with the seasons or an upcoming holiday.
Summer Boudoir Blowout!
Spring Boudoir Special!
My Unbelievable Black Friday Boudoir Bonanza!
You get the point.
When planning your special offer make sure it runs for a limited time only.
This will introduce scarcity, motivating people to act and take advantage of your offer because if they don’t, they’ll lose out on something awesome and be bummed 🙁
Viral Purple Shake Craze
A perfect example of a special offer that had its own name and was only available for a limited time was McDonald’s Grimace Shake promotion this past summer (2023).
McDonald’s offered a purple berry-flavored milkshake along with some food items in celebration of Grimace’s 52nd birthday and the promotion went viral when Gen Z started making videos depicting mock death scenes after taking a sip of the shake as if Grimace had poisoned them. (Btw, Grimace was originally an evil character in the McDonald’s world.)
Okay, not quite the direction McDonald’s wanted its campaign to go, but none-the-less these videos took off and the promotion went viral on Tik Tok reaching billions (yes, billions) and McDonald’s sold a lot of berry-flavored milkshakes (along with other items on their menu).
The spike in sales would not have happened had it not been for the special name, unique offering, and limited time offer.
The big takeaway here is that it wasn’t just McDonald’s who was promoting the special. Every single person who made a Grimace shake video was advertising for McDonald’s … for free.
McDonald’s advertising expanded exponentially, way beyond what their paid advertising could reach.
This, in essence, is the same model you’ll be doing, albeit on a smaller scale.
Make A List
Make a list of everyone you know who you feel would be open to your special boudoir offer (and not offended by boudoir photography in general).
Go through your phone contacts of family and friends
Former TFP models
Makeup artists and hair stylists
People who have liked or commented on your posts
Private VIP group members
Youtube followers if you have a boudoir channel
Anyone who has inquired in the past whose contact info you’ve kept
The more names the better because this will increase your odds statistically since only about 1- 2% will convert. So, out of 100 people, you’ll likely get 1 or 2 who take you up on your offer.
However, the better your offer, the higher that percentage can go up.
Out of 200 people you’ll likely get 2 to 4 people.
Out of 300 people you’ll likely get 3 to 6.
You could get more, or less, it depends on how good your offer is… so make it especially good so it’s especially tempting.
Advertise For Free Wherever You Can
In addition to contacting your list, you want to promote your special offer anywhere you can that’s free. This includes posts on your Instagram and Facebook page.
Post on whatever social media platforms you regularly promote your business on. They can be text or video posts, whichever you’re more comfortable with.
Don’t forget to create a banner on your website (if your website builder can do that), and/or opt-in for your offer on your website too.
Create an opt-in for your special offer on your website. This is a great way to add to your list by creating an opt-in for it on your home page. It could read…
“For More Info On My Summer Boudoir Bonanza,
just fill in your email below!”
… or something similar.
This works best if you put this on your website a few weeks before you start contacting your list. So, this is more of a list-building strategy that you’d want to implement early, but it’s also early promotion for your special offer.
Have Your Script Ready To Go
Have what you’re going to say, text, or email pre-written so your request is clear and concise when you do start contacting your list (examples of this further down).
Choose Your Method of Contact
DMing on Instagram
Private messaging on Facebook
Commenting back on your social posts
For part of your list, you’ll be contacting them via email, for others, text messages, and for others still, one-on-one phone conversations. You can break it up how you see fit but try to personalize the interaction as much as possible.
For example, if you can address everyone by their first name in your emails, that’s better than a generic greeting.
Here’s an example of contacting a past client…
“Hey Ashley, it was great photographing you back in February for your boudoir session. Hope you’re enjoying the photos! By the way, if you know of anyone who’d like to take advantage of an awesome special I’m running, send ‘em my way! It’s called (name of promo) and ends (date) and I probably won’t be doing something this good again for a while. Take care and thank you in advance!”
The general rule of thumb is that you want to contact people in the medium they usually communicate with you. So, if they text you, text them about your promotion. If they email you, then email them, and if they call you, then call them.
Here’s an example of messaging someone who commented on one of your boudoir posts.
“Hi (person’s username), thank you for your comment on my post! I’m just reaching out to see if you know of anyone who’d like to take advantage of an awesome special I’m running. If so, send ‘em my way! It’s called (name of promo) and ends (date) and I probably won’t be doing something this good again for a while. Take care and thanks for the support!”
Second Optional Contact Shortly After The First
This is an optional step you can use to reenforce the importance of your first email, text, or call.
In a second text, email, or call shortly after the first one, tell them you forgot to send them your link with all the info to pass along to anyone who might be interested.
“Oh, by the way, I forgot to include a link with all the info, so here it is if anyone’s interested.”
Keep this second message short. You don’t want to sound like you’re selling them. It should sound like, oops, you just forgot something and you’re quickly adding it to your original message.
This second contact shortly after the first emphasizes the first message’s importance for you and may give them a bit more incentive to refer someone.
This second point of contact is really just part 2 of your first point of contact. Execute it right after the first or within five minutes so it feels organic and spur of the moment when it’s actually a calculated marketing tactic.
Use it if you feel comfortable doing so, if not, then just stick with the first one.
By asking your contact “… if they know of anyone…” they will of course learn about your special offer as well. After all, you’re not asking them directly, you’re just asking if they know of anyone who might be interested in taking advantage of a great deal.
Follow Up Two Times
Contact everyone two more times before your deadline in the same manner you contacted them initially. If you plan for a three week lead before your deadline, you can space your second and third messages a week apart.
Time To Execute
This may take you several days or longer to put together depending on how big your list is and the time you have to contact everyone through various channels. If you only have an hour or two a day, it could take a week or so.
My point is that this is a process and probably not something you can get done in a day.
Just make sure you plan your special promotion far enough in advance to allow yourself time to do all of the above steps.
1. Create an offer that’s especially good so it’s especially tempting (this is key, so make your offer especially tempting)
2. Give your offer a unique name (so it’s something special and unique from your regular business offerings)
3. Make your offer available for a limited time only (scarcity compels people to take action, so along with a tempting offer, this is a lethal combination)
4. Create the necessary landing page or info page for your offer (have all this ready before you start contacting people)
5. Make your list of people (use a spreadsheet if that helps)
6. Have what you’re going to say, text, or email pre-written (personalize it, keep it clear and concise)
6. Contact your list through various channels asking if they know of anyone who’d be interested in your special offer (don’t ask them directly, they’ll learn of it by you asking them for their help on spreading the word).
6A. (optional) Send Part 2 shortly after first contact which includes a link to your info page (this will reenforce its importance to you)
7. Follow up two times with emails, texts, phone calls, to remind them that your special offer will end on such and such a date and you don’t know if you’ll be doing anything like this again soon (keep your follow ups short and sweet, and remember, you’re just letting them know of a great deal, you’re not selling them)
8. Advertise For Free On Your Website and Social Media (promote everywhere you can for free)
Using This Strategy For TFP Shoots
If you’re implementing this strategy to find subjects for TFP shoots to build your portfolio, it’s not necessary to come up with a special name. Doing trade shoots is more casual and informal and you don’t want to confuse people with something that might sound like a promotion for a paid service.
Here’s an example of a message to get TFP models for trade shoots…
To a friend…
Hey Jess, hope you’re doing great! In case you haven’t heard, I’ve recently gotten into shooting boudoir and I’m reaching out to see if you know of anyone who’d be interested in getting some free images in exchange for their time modeling. If so, send ’em my way! Thanks!”
No need to get into all the details about them granting you permission to use their images and such. You can explain all that once they get in touch with you.
It’s work, yes, and that’s where the cost is, but it’s also the most risk-free form of advertising because you won’t ever lose any money because you’re not spending any money.
You need to plan this out and organize this like a military operation because there are a lot of moving parts and each one is important.
Now go out there and get some clients… for free!
Thanks for your time!
If you found this article helpful, please forward it to someone it may also benefit.
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