How long do I leave private online galleries open?

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QOTD from Emma: "Q for those with online galleries. My client's private online galleries are set up to be available for 2 weeks and 99% of the time they (or their family members) order their artwork within that time. However, I have a couple clients who are super procrastinators. Their sessions were back in June and July. They have asked for a couple extensions, which I was more than happy to accommodate them. However, at some point the gallery needs to be taken down to make room for other current/future clients. How do I remind them, again, that their gallery is waiting for them and they need to make their artwork purchase without sounding like I'm nagging or just want their money?"

Tatiana:  I would love to know this too, I have a client gallery that is up from March and they won't place the order :(

Justina: Charge a fee for extensions going forward, $5 or $10 is usually enough to prevent this. But for this time, do you have anything in your contracts stating how long you keep the files for? If so I would say then next time they ask for an extension say it will be the last one since the holiday season will be starting soon and you need to make room for those galleries but they can schedule an in person ordering session when they are ready to order. Hope that helps!

Sonya: I stopped doing client galleries for this reason alone,I now get them in the studio for a viewing or i go to them,thats where I get them on the emotional sale,they see their images for the 1st time and nine times out of ten they are excited about placing an order,I also educate them on my pricing before they come and all decision makers must be present,I even do it for weddings,trust me it works!!

Jenn: I use Instaproofs and you can set whatever length you want. Additionally it auto sends emails with reminders that your gallery is expiring. I found offering a discount (you can also build that in to the gallery) gives people more of an initiative to order quicker.

Jenn: Sonya's suggestion intrigues me :)

Belinda: I honestly got sick and tired of reminding clients again and again that they had to choose the photos because there time would be running out. So now i apply "tough love" I give them say 2 weeks to a month depends on the shoot (ie weddings usually a month) and i give them 2 reminders one when i set it up and the other a week before it closes down. And if they don't choose their images within that time frame, too bad. I know it sounds really bitchy, but there are so many more clients who miss out because of one clients procrastinating. I have had to apply this to 2 groups of clients this year and they weren't happy, but i just explained to them AGAIN that there are other clients waiting on their galleries and its not fair on them to have to wait longer than they should. They ended up making an appointment to view their images and chose on that day. And they also apologised and fully understood why i did what i did. They are both repeat customers as well. I don't know if this will help, but its an idea.

Teresa: Maybe offer an incentive if they order within 2 days? Something like 10% off the order or free shipping might get the ball rolling. When clients ask for extensions, I always tell them it is $25 to re-activate the gallery but then that is used as a credit if they order within the 10 days the gallery is active (or they lose it). That usually keeps them from procrastinating. That way they're not out the $25, and you don't have to keep spending your time re-activating galleries. :)

Sarah: I only give 7 days. 2 weeks is too long.

Brian:  Set it up in your contract that post 2 weeks, they will need to pay a fee to keep it available for an extended perio

Patricia: I gently tell them there is a fee to reinstate or extend the gallery :)

Sonya:  And for a teaser I may put one or two images on facebook and tag them(providing they have a FB page)this really excites the hell out of them,then they want to see the rest asap

Grace: I can't get people to order at all. All they want are the CD's and I won't give this out for clients to go to Wal Mart and get crap for pictures.

Golden Photography: Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do if you don't have a policy in place within your contract. Email them and ask them if they need help with ordering and offer to meet with them to help them sort things out. In the future, I recommend selling in-person to combat this. If for some reason you are not comfortable selling, tell your clients that their gallery expires in X days and after that, there is a charge to re-activate it ($15 is more than enough to get them to avoid it. You want to keep the sale emotional and get it completed in a short timeframe (which is why I recommend in-person).

Jenna: I use Instaproofs too. Since the reminders are automated (but you can completely customize them) based on the expiration time, you don't even have to worry about it. You don't have to pay for storage with Instaproofs... but you do fulfillment on your own.

E Shay: I send them a reminder email a week before the gallery closes. In that email, I let them know that they have 7 days, & after midnight on the 7th day, their gallery will be closed for orders, & that if they would like to request an extension, ONE 7-day extension can be purchased for $XX. That email usually does the trick and covers all the bases.

Christy: I stopped showing online for that reason. No sneak peeks. In studio appt for first viewing, order then. Reprints after that are at reprint pricing, no discounted pkgs, a la carte only, will post online for those reorders. Facebook post with watermark of ordered images only.

Emma: Thanks for the advice everyone. I have always, and still currently do, give clients a couple sneak peeks on Facebook. I used to do strictly in studio presentations, but with the launch of my website most clients preferred the comfort of their own homes. Plus, with a large majority of my clients being military they have friends and family all over the globe and the website is the only option. Case in point, these clients are in Alaska at our last duty station and we have since moved to Arkansas. I have sent out reminder emails, over and over again. Think I am gonna have to bite the bullet and put my foot down though. I have a reactivation fee of $20 after the gallery is taken down. It's been long enough...if they don't order, then oh well. Just tired of it being up in the air. Again, thanks everyone!

Selena: I offer two different types of DVD's. My standard DVD will contain the clients keeper images at a reduced size of 4x6 with my watermark on every image for INTERNET use only. Sure they can print if they really wanted to but they wouldn't be able to print anything larger then a 4x6 + all the photos would have my watermark.
I then have an advanced DVD which goes along with their full printing rights. This DVD will cost 300+ depending on the amount of photos and will contain all their photos at max file size, no watermarks + sized down watermarked copies. This might be something you can considering offering as well. :)

Emma: selena, I like the idea of having multiple digital options. just might have to start that option. thanks!

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