Choosing Your Ideal Product Line

 

In an ideal world, you’d have clients begging to pay you as much as you want, and all the business stuff would just fall into place. But as small business owners we know that’s unrealistic, there’s only one way to achieve our goals – hard work and determination.

We all know that choosing your products and pricing those products appropriately is tricky business, but taking a few minutes to get this right is going to save you a lot of heartache and headaches in the future. It’s important to remember that there’s no one perfect product line or one way to price. Your business is so different than anyone else’s. The only common thread should be that you’re priced to be profitable.

And part of being profitable is choosing the right products for your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high-end studio that offers a select line of premium products or a simple client experience and only offer digital options. There’s no right or wrong way as long as it’s right for you!

Download your worksheet below and walk through each step. Let’s make sure you’ve got your ideal product line down.

What do you want to sell?

What makes you happy to create for your clients? Loving the products you create for clients will make it so much easier to talk about and, ultimately, sell to your clients. If you cringe at the thought of creating a product, maybe because it takes a lot of time to design or you just don’t like the look of the finished product, you have two choices:

  1. Don’t offer it.
  2. Simplify the creation of the product (outsource or streamline to cut down on time)

Here’s an example from Brittany Lauren Creates studio:

Brittany loved putting albums in the hands of her clients. They’re beautiful and swoon-worthy. But at first, she hated how much time it took her to design in Photoshop and format for print. She dreaded it but didn’t want to give them up in her product line. They were best sellers and she was in love with the joy it created when opening the box for the first time.

Instead of outsourcing the creation, she streamlined the design process and started using Album Stomp to cut her creation time into a fraction of what it was using Photoshop templates. That brought back the happiness of selling albums which made it really effortless to talk about and sell.

What does your client want to buy?

I’m not suggesting you let your clients dictate what you offer but it’s really important to get feedback from them to perfect what you do offer. It can make a HUGE difference in your bottom line. Get laser focused on getting to know what they want and create an experience through your products.

When Brittany first started her business, she lived in NYC. The #1 thing she wanted to sell was canvas. She wanted to see beautiful canvas gallery walls with their families all over them. The only problem – they weren’t selling. She was bummed so she had frank conversations with some of my favorite clients to find out why.

Most of Brittany’s clients in NYC had very limited wall space to fill with canvas. What they REALLY wanted were albums to easily display and show off more of their session images. Brittany was offering the wrong products in her market. Once Brittany’s studio moved to Charlotte, NC, canvas became much more popular because her clients had tons of wall space and wanted to show their images off that way. Getting tuned in to what they wanted greatly increased her sales and improved her client experience.

Keep it simple

I know it can be tempting to offering everything under the sun in every finish possible in every size possible to your clients – but don’t! Too many options will overwhelm your client and will prevent them from actually pulling the trigger to purchase. Keep your product line and menu easy to digest so they can clearly see what you offer and make choices.

When Brittany first started her business, she was so excited to offer a ton of products:

  • Prints in matte, glossy and metallic
  • Albums in 7 sizes with different page options
  • Mini albums with 4 different finishes
  • Canvas stretched and framed or floating
  • Image boxes in 2 sizes
  • Storyboards with 8 different customization options
  • 3 different digital packages
  • 3 different product packages

There were too many options and Brittany’s clients instantly felt overwhelmed with choices. So guess what happened? They either didn’t choose anything or went with a few prints because they didn’t know what to make of all the choices. They had the funds and wanted to spend it on custom products but her offerings were making it too complicated.

Luckily, something magical started to happen when she cut it down to 7 products – prints, storyboards, canvas, mini album, regular album, image box and digitals and 1 package option – with no extra decision making needed – her sales went through the roof! Her clients didn’t feel overwhelmed with choices so they were able to purchase what they really wanted.

Having a limited product line is not a hindrance to your business, but instead, a great way to market your packages. Have a client who knows exactly want they want and it’s not in your package? Great – custom packages come along with a premium price!

Research

Now that you know what you want to offer and what your clients want to buy from you, time to research where you’re going to get your goods printed and what the cost is for you. Don’t go with the cheapest option to improve your margins. If the quality of the product isn’t what you want to offer your client, then don’t.

You can build the cost of a more expensive product into your pricing so you’re still making what you want and need to from the sell. Your first priority is a quality product that adds to your client’s experience. You want them to sing your praises to their friends which are potential clients for you.

Even if you only offer digital products, think about how you can increase their experience. Instead of a download online, what about a gorgeous custom USB drive in a box that matches your brand? You could package that with a guide on how they can use your final product! That’s swoon worthy for sure. No matter how you deliver your product, think about sending a handwritten note thanking them for choosing your business.

There are so many options and ways to offer an experience through your products. Take your time researching your options and the cost associated with them. Print out the worksheet as many times as you need to get your ideal product line down. And don’t be afraid to change it over time if it’s not working.

You Determine Your Worth

A CPA’s Guide to Pricing Photography

 

Amy Northard, CPA

The Accountant for Creatives
+ taxes + bookkeeping + consulting
+ Hang out with me over on Instagram!

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