Market Like a Boss and Thrive + Judith Hill’s Black Friday Deal
September 14, 2023
For Black Friday last year, Judith Hill came up with a marketing plan she calls “Double Your Dollars.” It gave existing clients the option to pre-pay for their images and get double the value for what they paid for, i.e., pay for $400, get $800, with the caveat that must use it within the year. This brought her an influx of money and bookings, and when her clients saw their images, they wanted even more of them. (Scroll through to see examples of Hills’s portraits.)
Judith Hill is a portrait photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee, who took the bull by the horns when it came to her marketing plans, bringing herself a six-figure income within her first year of business and hiring a second shooter to help her accomplish even more. She recently spoke with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast about how she brings executive power to her marketing, and she shared a Black Friday deal that you might like to try with your clients.
Hill didn’t pick up a camera until she was 30. Before that, she was Vice President of Economic Development for the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, helping to build the city skyline from 2004 till 2018. Hill was effectively doing marketing for the city of Nashville, arranging incentives and selling the city to corporations, data centers, health care companies, and music companies. Hill says what she brought from her previous job into her photography career is the idea of selling moments. In marketing Nashville to business executives, they would provide enjoyable experiences for them to remember. The same is true for portrait sessions.
Hill says, “As humans, our lives are a string of moments. What we remember the most are the peaks and the pitfalls. As a photographer, through the customer experience, you can create beautiful moments and then the images become a representation of those moments.” In building her marketing through talking about her business, Hill kept that in mind, creating moments and memories, and making everything about her client experience.
Hill hired Portrait System Mentors to help her nail down her pricing and evolve her mindset to transition from her old job into a new identity as a portrait photographer. Anytime she has been stuck, she has leaned into mentors and community. Hill spent many years networking in groups in her town and has remained active in the groups that align with her brand. She also attended Business Networking International (BNI) meetings, which gave her the experience and confidence to talk about her business in a variety of new ways every week, and she learned to tell her client stories as a way to explain and entice new clients to book with her. She utilized her network and contacts through her previous career at the Chamber of Commerce to find her first clients. In fact, knowing she was a photographer, the Chamber would send her out to take headshots whenever they were needed for marketing while she was still on salary there as an economic developer. And since leaving, she still has a working relationship with the Nashville Chamber.
Hill built her business on headshots, but after the first year, she knew she couldn’t energetically sustain seeing so many clients, so she hired a second shooter for headshots and began to focus more on her full-service portrait sessions. Currently, her average sale is $3500, and her most popular shoot is the Combo, which combines multiple genres in one session. With clients having multiple outfit changes, she often captures branding, boudoir, fashion, and glam in one session.
To learn more about Hill’s portrait business, visit her website Judith Hill Photography. To learn about her Black Friday Sale that she exclusively marketed to her newsletter, and which helped fill her schedule for the rest of the year, visit the caption in the slideshow at the top of this page.
The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio. If you’d like to be a guest on The Portrait System Podcast, send them a voice message.