5 Reasons Why Grouponing Yourself Could be the Worst thing for You and Your Business

As us photographers are trying to get our name out there, and bring in new business, there is the temptation to try any new means of getting new clients. Groupon-type services have been the latest craze and some photographers are falling into it left and right… and that may not be the best move for your business.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Groupon (or Groupon type services), they are essentially services that provide their subscribers with hugely discounted deals for local services and businesses when a group of people buy into the special offer. Cool, right? Well, yes, and no…

As I was perusing our local deals on my phone, I came across a “Groupon” for a photographer. They were giving away for a low rate, their shoot time, a print, AND the disc of images. After Zach and I did some math, a great dialogue followed and thus, our Tuesday Tips & Tricks has been birthed.

We want to share with you our opinion on why we think “Grouponing” (offering your services for discounted rates) could be the worst thing that you do for yourself and your business. As we share our talking points we’re going to use this hypothetical example of Sarah Bob Photography. Here is an example of Groupons that we have seen for photographers.

Sarah Bob Photography

Includes: One hour portrait session, 11×14 print, Disc of Images
Groupon Purchase Price: $75
Actual Retail Value: $300
Purchaser Savings: 75%

So here are 5 reason why we think this style of discounting can hurt your business…

1. It devalues you |

Groupon services are all about deals. All about cheapening things. All about purchasing things for less than they are worth which puts the value on the price and the products instead of YOU and the service and experience you that you are actually worth. The advertisement for your business does show that there is some savings (75% savings), but they don’t necessarily see your value of the session, print, and disc of images as $300. They see your worth as what they paid for you – $75.

2. Hard to charge more for your services to repeat customers or referrals once a super deal has been given |

Maybe the thought is that this will bring more business in the future. You’re maybe thinking either that 1) they will tell their friends or 2) they will use you again. However, once they have paid you 25% of what you are actually saying you’re worth, do you think they will want to ever pay you full price?

Scenario: A few months later when they want their Easter family photos taken and have just heard that you charge $300 for the same session they got for $75 a few months ago –

Hmmm… that’s quite a bit more than what we are wanting to pay for a session right now and that doesn’t include the disc of images?!? (Now the emphasis is on your products, which are taken at face-value price vs. an experience and service that you can’t put a price tag on). Do you have any specials going on? Is it possible that maybe you could give me a little discount because I’m not getting ANYTHING for $300? How about you give me some prints at least? Last time, I had you for such a good deal.

Are you hoping that they are going to use you next time around? More than likely they will be searching for the next deal they can find on Groupon. They found it once, and they will probably look for it again.

What’s the conversation they are going to have with their friends, “Check out this photo session I had done of my kid. They were SO cheap and I got an awesome deal! The Groupon is over, but I got all this for $75, I bet if you asked them they could work in a deal of some sort for you. Tell them I sent you!

And thus, you now have established yourself as the deal photographer. Remember: Clients breed more clients just like themselves. You are building your business on clients who want a deal for your product, instead of clients who put a high value on the experience and services you offer.

(survey results on group deals done by Bar and Restaurant Marketing