July 13, 2023
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong… but my calendar isn’t full.”
“I’m not getting the number of leads I was hoping for…”
“Why aren’t people booking me?”
Are these some of the thoughts that have been crossing your mind lately? We’ve all been there. Even when we know we’re creating quality images, sometimes we find ourselves looking at empty calendars. Oftentimes, we can attribute this to shortcomings in the marketing area!
How will people know what we’re creating if we don’t tell them about it? Afterall, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, did it really fall?
Watch today’s YouTube video to hear all about how to step up your marketing strategy to attract clients and get them booked! Let’s fill up that calendar!
Before we tap into the nitty gritty of marketing tactics, we need to talk about your portfolio. This is the basis of all the advertising you will do for yourself!
You need to have proof that your clients can trust you. In addition to building a strong reputation, your clients want visual proof that you can capture them well. They want to know you can capture their story with beautiful color, composition, and a unique perspective.
If your portfolio is lacking, this might be a stopping point for some people when doing their research on who to hire. It’s the same premise as buying a product with no reviews – would you feel more comfortable buying a product with 20 positive reviews or one with none at all? Really focus on building up that collection of strong images first, if you haven’t done so already!
Before you establish the “how” of marketing, you need to know the “who.” Who is your audience? Who is this for? What does your ideal client look like? It can be really helpful to sit down and write out all of the important attributes of who your aiming to attract with your marketing efforts. Consider things like:
All of these factors will help to inform you of the best ways to speak to your audience. Remember, wedding photography is PERSONAL! You’re not casting a wide net for everyone – you’re being selective and marketing to your exact client so you can serve them well in your business.
Keep in mind that they not only need to know that you are the photographer for them, but you need to know that THEY are the client for YOU!
Now that you have your foundation and your “who,” you can start getting into the details. The most important thing to have is a strong website. A common misconception is that we want everyone going to socials, and that socials trump the website in terms of importance – however, social media is only the first impression!
The goal is to funnel all of your leads to your website, where you can professionally display who you are, explain what you do, and give people the opportunity to contact you. Just think about it – when you’re browsing products and services through social media, you first scroll through the business’s feed. If you determine that you like what you see, your next move is to look for their website link in their bio. At least it is for me!
Having a nice, professional website gives credibility to the business and encourages your audience to learn more about you – especially when the consumer is going to be making a large investment.
**I use Showit for my website, it’s a drag-and-drop platform with lots of beautiful templates readily available for you to choose from (or you can start from scratch)! Use code “magic” for 10% off when you sign up!
Okay, I know it seems like we’re working backwards here! But now that you have the role social plays in your consumer’s journey in mind, we can get into the details of cultivating your accounts – because let’s be honest, social media is still HUGE for marketing!
I’m going to be focusing mainly on Instagram here because it’s a visual platform – it is the most popular among artists and photographers in terms of a social portfolio. And that’s the best way to view your account: as a portfolio piece!
Put your best work forward, and create a strong social presence by keeping your account current, curated, and up to date.
That doesn’t mean you have to post to your feed every single day – I like to update my stories more than I like to post! Also consider mixing it up in terms of posting business vs personal. Not everything has to be strictly content – let your followers get an inside look at your daily life, who you are, and your interests. Any one of these things can be a connection point to a potential client. And that means, they mostly likely are a client that fits your wants and personality anyways!
Being consistent on social media also helps to build trust and see that you are actively engaged in your business and care about your clients, which can help when getting them over to your website!
Online directories and portals are such great tools when it comes to expanding your reach. There are a few free options here, and I highly recommend getting yourself some profiles for the sake of utilizing SEO.
I have a few different accounts and find that I don’t necessarily get a lot of direct bookings from them, but they have been great for leads and climbing up the ranks in Google search results.
A few sites also offer paid profiles, which would be more along the lines of advertising – when it comes to whether or not a paid profile is right for you, I recommend taking a look at where you are in your business and evaluating your ratio of time vs. money.
Here are a few directories and portals I recommend checking out:
Blogging is a great way to get your name on the web and tie yourself to key words that relate to your business. Even if you’re not blogging actual weddings, you can blog other content by using questionnaires, interviewing venue coordinators, or coming up with other unique content ideas!
Think about what people are searching and how they might find you.
I like to use WordPress for my blog, and ShowIt to make it pretty 🙂
Giving other vendors the opportunity to work with you is a great way to create some first-person testimonials without actually shooting a wedding, if you’re not there yet! Even if you are, word-of-mouth referral from another vendor in the industry is SO valuable – it’s a really great way to get your name in their circle!
There are a lot of ways you can go about creating these experiences – offer to shoot a BTS of how they work to create some content for their socials; offer to go and shadow them at a wedding; collabat a styled event or an event you’re hosting together; even photograph them outside of their work, like a family shoot or something similar!
Create as many opportunities for vendors to speak to personal experiences with you as you can.
I recommend looking into wedding expos and bridal shows if you are in the earlier stages of your business, maybe in years 1-5!
This is a great way to make connections in the industry and also potentially get some direct bookings. A good way to approach the expo/show world is to attend one as a gusset first and take a look around/see how other businesses are marketing themselves, and then try to get yourself into some once you have an idea of what that looks like.
Get your name out there!
Not only will making connections with other wedding photographers help you in the sense of community-building and collaboration, but it can also help you with bookings and word of mouth! Just think about it – if another photographer is unavailable for a requested date, they are going to refer their friends and people they trust in the industry.
Being among other photographers also allows you to swap notes, connect, and help get you through your journey and grow your business.
This is the goal of my online membership, the Wedding Photography Society! Check it out if you’re interested in being a part of like-minded wedding photographers who want to grow their businesses.
One very important thing that I’ve learned is, it never hurts to ask your clients to hop online and leave a few words about your business. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Oftentimes, they will be happy to leave you a positive review and just hadn’t thought to do it beforehand.
Written testimonials are very valuable to have in your reviews (create a Google Profile for your business so people looking for you can see those reviews directly tied to your business when searching for you) and to incorporate into your business’s website. Be sure to ask for a headshot too, that way other consumers can tie a face to a name!
Video testimonials are great too, if you have any clients who are willing to speak on their experiences for a minute or so.
Don’t forget, marketing is big. We have to let the world know what we are offering, and we have to give consumers the tools they need to find us! Great marketing will open doors, and fill your calendars.
You’re gathering all of this info and learning as much as you can about photography and your business to give your clients the best possible experience and results – so you need to be confident in what you charge them!
Do you know why you’re charging what you’re charging? Do you know if it’s enough to keep you profitable? I have a free resource that will help you figure it out!
Grab my free Pricing Guide to help you:
Check it out below ⤵️