I'm about to share my serious secrets to success. I mean super secret stuff. Get ready for me to rock your world.
1. Make it easy for people to find you
I know this is super obvious, but trust me a lot of you are not easy to find. Yes you. Sitting there reading this article.
Let's face it. Many photographers have a hard time putting themselves out there. I'm not sure why. I don't know if it's fear, lack of know how, or what, but let me help you.
In order for people to find you, your website and/or blog needs to be up-to-date, consistent with your brand, and easy to navigate. It's even better if you blog regularly, and what I mean by regularly I mean at least once a week, ideally three times a week. Honestly I'm not always good at the latter. When I'm not blogging consistently, my inbox full of inquires diminishes drastically. AKA blog weekly- you won't be sorry. Some serious SEO sauce will start brewing and equal Showit robots in your email. It's amazing.
Also, you should only blog work that matches your branding and the kind of weddings you want to attract. Show your best work, the kind of work you want people to drool over.
Once you have your branding and your photo selections on point, it's time to create brochures and albums for your venues, wedding planners or any other referral vendors. Pick your favorite weddings and create amazing marketing pieces that your vendors will love to show and pass out to their potential clients. These are key for vendors to start referring you to their awesome brides and grooms.
Lastly, social media is a key part of marketing yourself. So Facebook, tweet, and Instagram constantly- on the verge of obnoxiously. Post things related to your business, recent photo shoots or weddings, you cool new hairdo, outfits you just purchased, or amazing food you just made or ate at restaurants. Post anything that is related to your business or your personal life that will attract your ideal client. We will get into this more in my fourth article in the Branding 101 series, so stay tuned.
2. Advertising — To spend or not to spend?
OK so here's the thing. Not everyone has money to advertise. I realize this, but if you are considering it, here are some reasons why it might put you over the edge.
I personally advertise in local high-end wedding magazines and one wedding blog site. (I know! Gasp-I still advertise in traditional media)
The obvious reason to advertise is to receive bridal leads, but that is not the only reason why I advertise. Heck, that's not even the main reason why I advertise. I advertise to get real weddings featured, the opportunity to shoot editorial features and to shoot magazine covers!
These opportunities would most likely not happen if I didn't advertise, and they are so important to my business. It's a huge bonus to my clients when their wedding is featured. They get excited, post on social media and will forever love me. An evangelist client becomes an ultra evangelist for you, and that is worth a lot!
These magazines are also great to bring to meetings with potential bride and grooms. Showing them your weddings are featured regularly,or that you shoot cool editorials or covers, totally legitimizes your business. It makes you appear big time… and of course you are, so there you go! =)
Not only do you look legit to your clients and potential clients, you look legit to other wedding vendors in the industry. I've met so many new wedding vendors that I now work with and refer regularly because of magazine editorial and cover shoots.
Think about it. Decide if it will work for you. Look for advertising mediums that will hit your ideal client, that not only want your money to advertise, but also want to help your business grow (AKA will give you real weddings and the potential for other opportunities.) Marketing and advertising is more than just a paid ad. It's about the ad, editorial space, networking opportunities, social media love and whatever else the magazine can throw your way in support.
Note: Not all advertising works in all markets, so please do your research, take your time and make the right decisions for your brand.
3. Networking, Networking, Networking
This is the part in the article where you seriously have to sit down and take it all in. This, people, is my number one tip to building your business, and it's so stinking easy and obvious it's annoying. However, this literally CHANGED MY BUSINESS. More than 75% of my weddings come from this tactic.
So here it is. Are you ready?
Meet people and have fun.
Seriously. That is it. So simple, yet soooo lucrative.
I'm sure you are wondering what I mean. All it takes is for you to put yourself out there and get to the business of networking.
Do you have local wedding industry events you can attend? Are you shy? Get over it! Haha-but seriously the only way to attract business and relationships is to open your self up to receive it.
I started going to local wedding industry events and basically chatted up other wedding vendors. I tried to concentrate on wedding planners and venues, but I was happy to meet anyone that was open to meeting me. I talked a little business, told them who I am, but really just talked to them like I would anyone I was meeting for the first time. I talked about my favorite restaurants, movies I just saw, etc. I just tried to connect with them on a personal level. I took their business card and then said farewell. The following day I emailed them to see if I could take them out to lunch or happy hour.
The rest is history! I basically just became friends with them, and not just because of business- I genuinely like them! I just naturally gravitated toward people that I would be friends with outside of photography, and so now my regular wedding vendors are also people that are truly friends- which is awesome!
What if you don't have any of these super cool networking events? Then I suggest you do some research. Check out the venues, wedding planners, etc., that you want to work with, or aspire to work with, and reach out to them. Send them a friendly email. Give them a call, and ask them if you can take them out to lunch or coffee. No strings attached. The worst thing they can say is no., and that's fine; but, I guarantee at least one of them will respond and say yes! That's when you can begin charming the pants off them.
There you have it! That, my friends, is how I booked 75% of my wedding couples. BOOM.
What are your marketing tips? Share with us in comments!
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