If there’s one thing we know about the Holiday Season, it’s that diamond rings seem to be a popular gift! These few weeks usually end up being the highest proposal time of the year, quickly followed by Valentines day only just over a month away. This means that there are thousands of people around the world, and in your area that are looking for a photographer. How do you make sure they can find you?
For most wedding photographers, winter is the off-season and we’re working on our businesses and trying not to stress out about the upcoming year. This is also the time of year where we need to step up our game when it comes to our marketing streams. I like to think of them as streams, because the more water that goes into a stream, the more water comes out of it. Some streams are more efficient than others, and you get great return on your investment. When it comes to our marketing for our business, we have 4 main streams:
1. Client Care (Word of mouth)
2. Venues and Vendors
3. Facebook/Social Media
You could easily add some to this list for your business like Bridal Fairs, Magazine Ads, Flyers, Craigslist, Your Blog, etc. You’ll notice that our streams rely heavily on time and personal connection, rather than traditional marketing costs.
We asked a few successful photographers what their best marketing tip was, here’s what they had to say:
Market more of YOU and treat every client as if they are your one and only!! I have been marketing ME along with my images for 6 years now and not only have I grown the “Katelyn James” name, I have also learned so much about myself in the process!! When your brand is wrapped around who you are, your marketing is EASY and it’s genuine... and people are attracted to “genuine”.
Keep your Facebook page active with recent work, Instagrams of your life, personal blog posts and anything else that fits in with your brand! Almost all of my clients say they have found me on Facebook, through shared images/posts, or they had a mutual friend tagged in an image from a session with me and from there felt they "got to know me" by reading the blog posts I posted, or through Instagram photos etc.
Justin & Mary Marantz - New Haven, Connecticut
"It's not THAT they're talking, but WHAT they're saying. So we better make sure we're giving them something remarkable to talk about!" I think by now most of us know that word of mouth marketing is one of the absolute best ways to find and book clients. But what most people miss, is that the "what they're saying" part could be keeping them in a place where they don't want to be in their business. You have to ask yourself if what they're saying is remarkable (think Purple Cow) enough to stand out in someone's mind enough that when they hear it they feel like they just HAVE to reach out to you. First and foremost, I can't say it enough: being truly committed to your craft is remarkable in and of itself. And when it results in images that move people and images that people want to share, that creates the kind of conversations you want taking place about you. Beyond that, Justin & I invest a lot of time and our marketing budget in creating a set of gifts for our clients that both keep them talking AND give them something interesting to say.Getting the bride who will go out and bring you ten more brides just like her….THAT is the win!
Lukas & Suzy Van Dyke - Los Angeles, California
Smile. Almost all our weddings come from people we have smiled at.
We also send venues we like all the photos, and spend a lot of time talking with the venue coordinator. I think now that we have our own wedding venue we make extra effort to get to every venue early and get lots of really nice beautiful photos of the venue that show off their space.
What You Can Do Now
I think the main thing you can take away from all of these is that in order to get more business, more people need to know about you and be intrigued enough to look in to using you. When it comes to being remarkable, YOU are the only YOU, so find what is remarkable about you and showcase that. People want to get to know the real you, and if they can do that quickly before even meeting you, then you’re already a step ahead in booking your perfect client. With all of this in mind, Here are a few actionable things that you can start doing right now to get the real YOU out there!
1. Client Care (Word of Mouth)
Reach out to past clients and wish them a Happy New Year. Give them a short write up of your year and what they’ve helped you accomplish, as well as what you plan to do in the coming year. This will encourage them to keep you in mind when they hear of a friend who’s engaged. They are deeply interested in your success, so allow them to have a glimpse in to what your goals and dreams for 2014 are.
2. Venues and Vendors
Make Connections with new venues and vendors, openly admitting that you’d love to work with them in the future, and offering them your assistance in any way you deem mutually beneficial. I suggest you offer to take photos for them of either their venue, their products, or the people that work for them. Also, reconnect with past venues and vendors that you haven’t talked with much recently and let them know your goals for 2014, while also asking them about theirs. If you haven't had a chance to send them some of the photos that you've taken of their venue already, now is a great time to do that.
3. Facebook/Social Media
Get personal. Don’t just share the highlight reel, share more about you than you have before. Show people what you’re all about and give them content that allows them to talk about you. Don’t be afraid to recap on work from earlier in the year as an end of year memory. You want to be reminding people of why they should be referring their friends to you.
End of year is a great time for portfolio curating and website fine-tuning. Make sure your website is working as best it can, and ensure that your potential clients have an easy and fun time seeing your work, getting to know you, and contacting you. If any part of their experience with you website is less than ideal, they will quickly move on.