Marketing Ideas for Wedding Photographers and Vendors - Part 2
I'm back again for the next part of this Marketing strategy blog post and I'm hoping you're finding it useful! If you are a member of ours and have some feedback or have some questions, don't forget to let me know in our Facebook group! So, we were talking about marketing and strategy tips for your promotions and how to keep on top of generating leads - here's the rest of that vital list...
1. Paid advertising
There are many platforms that you can try paid advertising on. Social media channels, which are more kind to your budget, or Google Ads, which require larger spendings & a certified specialist.
To decide which platform to pick, start with analyzing your website traffic in Google Analytics. Where do most of your users come from? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest? or perhaps organic and direct search? This will give you a hint on which channel needs to be nourished and exploited more. With Facebook for example, you can narrow down your target audience to people who got recently engaged, or like certain Bridal Magazine pages. It’s also directly connected to your Instagram, so you get to kill two rabbits with one shot.
2. Automate your social media
When it comes to social media, consistency (not just visual, but also posting every day at the same time) is key. At the same time, getting distracted, pausing all your tasks to go and post on Facebook or Instagram can harm your overall workflow and its not very time efficient.
Try automation tools. Tailwind, Latergram, Iconosquare or Planoly are great ones for Instagram. There are plenty of insights, metrics and reports that can help you analyze your current performance and improve it.
For Facebook you can use its native built in scheduling options. Take half of the day if you need to and plan out all your posts, image and copy. Schedule them all, and voila, your day is freed for more complex tasks that require concentration. You don’t have to waste daily time anymore on deciding what to post and what caption to write.
3. Email marketing
Too uncomfortable to record yourself in videos or audios (podcast)? That’s ok - me too. Focus on email marketing. If you already have a newsletter, who are your subscribers? How often do you message them? Do they have potential to convert into clients? If you don’t have clear answers to these questions, or the answers are not satisfactory, here’s what you need to do in 2022 – it’s called lead magnets.
A lead magnet is basically anything that can help you attract relevant leads for your newsletter. The easiest way to offer it is through a pop-up or Sign Up block on your website. Some examples of lead magnets for a wedding photographer’s audience would be a downloadable pdf with “5 Things Every Bride needs to know about before starting to plan a wedding”, a checklist for the wedding day, a guide on how to pick the right wedding photographer, top 5 venue recommendations or wedding planners you’ve enjoyed working with and why, even your client guide can be a lead magnet, since it’s basically A to Z instructions on getting married.
Think about it, you have tons of experience, you’ve shot in various locations, worked with and experienced multiple wedding vendors’ service – you’re a walking encyclopedia for brides & grooms. Share that wisdom with your potential clients.
We know, it’s seems to be another hat you need to wear as a photographer. BUT, the good news is that there are awesome graphic designers who can jump in and help with creating incredible PDFs for you, so you can focus on doing the things you love and not feel overwhelmed!
Once they subscribe with their email to get the lead magnet you offer via your website – get them into an automated email campaign. Create a workflow with up to 7-10 emails, that will be sent once every 5-7 days (if you do it too often, you risk spamming and annoying them). In those first 4-6 emails offer more insights, recommendations and valuable tips. And only after those first nourishing messages, you can try and pitch them with an irresistible one-time-only offer or an early bird deal on your next year’s bookings.
If you decide to create a few different lead magnets, which increases your chances to get more leads and grow your list – make sure the tool you use for newsletters allows tagging or list segregation, to separate users based on interests (especially if you offer other services apart from wedding photography, like family sessions, portraits, new born, etc). Target each segment with a different campaign tailored to their area of interest. Recommended tools for email marketing: Mailchimp, Drip, ConvertKit, etc.
We know what you’re thinking now “this sounds like too much work”. But actually it will only take a few days to create and setup, afterwards it’s all automated and works for you while you sleep.
Bonus Tip: Once you put the whole workflow into place and notice positive results, consider building separate landing pages for each lead magnet, with strong keywords for SEO, to get even more traffic and interested users, who sign up for your email list. If you really want to get more emails try paid advertising, Facebook is a great platform for cheap conversions with this method.
Set some numeric goals and KPIs for yourself, short and long term ones. They need to be realistic, and be measurable. This will help you analyze your marketing efforts, the success of various campaigns as well as ROI on new software or tools. Make it a habit, every month or quarter go back and look at the numbers, identify growth patterns to enforce certain actions and strategies or cut loose ends if something did not work.
Examples of numeric goals could be: Growing your Instagram following or newsletter list, Increasing revenues or traffic from a certain social media platform, Optimizing time spent on specific tasks, Getting a certain amount of backlinks from popular wedding blogs, etc. Make sure to go back and reevaluate these goals every 6-12 months.
5. Grow your Instagram organically
First of all check your Google Analytics. Notice how often we recommend you to do this? If you don’t use GA for your website yet – DO IT NOW. Create an account, it’s free and an absolute game changer. Business, sales and marketing decisions should always be based on data.
Now, back to Instagram. If according to your website stats most of your website traffic, inquiries and revenue comes from Instagram – invest more time and energy into building a stronger presence and brand recognition on IG.
I also recommend using relevant hashtags and geotags (such as location, venue, wedding types, etc) to make it easy for brides & grooms to find you while looking for inspiration and doing research for their own event. Also track the ones that your potential clients would use, such as #engaged #newlyengaged #isaidyes #shesaidyes #futurebride #proposal #heproposed etc. Luckily, Instagram has a function that allows you to follow a hashtag, hence see all relevant posts that you may be on the hunt for, without deliberately stalking people.
If you’re sometimes stuck with ideas on which hashtags to use, there’s a great tool called Display purposes, to save the day! It’s a hashtag generator to help you find combinations you wouldn’t even think of but your target audience uses daily!
Finally, keep learning and looking for educational resources. Just like Instagram’s features and algorithms change each year, best practices and trends shift accordingly too. If you’re not sure where to start – we recommend checking out this wonderful course by Photobug Community. It’s created for photographers who want to start getting results and inquiries via Instagram.
6. Run a Giveaway
Giveaways (especially those on Instagram) are a wonderful way to get more followers, exposure and potential clients. At least you get on their radar. The prize needs to be relevant, for example: a free engagement session or free styled portraits for a bride to be. But note if this is location specific, you NEED to target that audience rather than sending the message to the whole country and wondering why people aren't entering. In the rules, ask participants to tag a future bride, their friend who’s getting married soon, etc with a simple task such as “comment what you like about my work”.
Why? This implies that every participant will actually take some time to check out your work before commenting – hence get interested in your style and services. An alternative way to count contest entries would be asking participants to share about your giveaway via their Instagram Stories, mention in a short video what they like about your work and why they want to win and tag you, so you can see it. This will not only offer positive free promotion for your work, but also have a great impact on your Instagram metrics & discoverability.
7. Styled Editorials
Never organized a styled shoot before? Give it a try! It’s such a satisfaction to be able to control every detail and moment for a change. Plus it allows you to add to your portfolio some dream type of galleries, to attract a new auditory of clients that your current work doesn’t quite resonate with.
8. Tag clients on social media
It sounds obvious, but not many vendors do this on a constant basis. Especially with dress designers and accounts where many brides follow! When ever you post an image on Facebook or Instagram, tag your clients, make sure their friends see it, as guess what – newly weds have friends who are similar age and will probably also get married soon. No better time to get on their mind and radar.
9. Pinterest for exposure
Rather than doing free gigs for exposure, which don’t even guarantee anything, make it a habit in 2022 to constantly post your images on Pinterest. It is still a truly marvellous platform that has not been fully exploited by so many brands, including yours. Especially with video and Idea pins!
Since Pinterest is the #1 platform when it comes to finding inspiration and building mood-boards. Where do you think most brides go when they start to plan (or just think about) their wedding? Bingo! Don’t underestimate the amount of traffic and exposure Pinterest could bring to your site and work.
Remember that if you’re a business, you might want to curate what you show on your Pinterest boards. Boards like Food and DIY tips when you’re a wedding photographer would be better off in a secret board. Instead, focus on creating very specific boards, not only broad names like “Wedding Photography” or “Wedding Inspiration”. Think of the keywords your potential bride is looking for and use those to create your boards and to describe them. Try to be as specific as possible and see how you start attracting your ideal client. For example, you could use “Bohemian Wedding Flowers” or “Destination Weddings Amalfi Coast” for board names.
10. Friendly discounts
Weddings are a seasonal job for most, therefore you’re probably also offering smaller projects or portrait sessions, family, couple shoots, etc. Try offering an exclusive discount for those who bring a friend along to the session, such as “Have your friend book me on the same day for portraits and get both 20% off.” Even better, if you prefer not to discount your services – add a bonus perk to their session. Hence, they still pay the full price but get for free 10 extra edited images, each, or something similar.
11. Get featured
Having your wedding featured may require working your butt off, but it’s worth it. If not a blog, at least register to get listed in their directory of wedding photographers. Some are free, some require a fee. Focus first on the local blogs, then branch out to regional or international directories if you do destination work.
Many blogs run various contests for wedding photographers. Submit your work. But be mindful of their audience too and if they are brides vs other vendors. Get selected and enjoy the prestigious award and tons of new incoming traffic to your website (at least right after the results are announced). And while most of our clients don’t really care about all these awards, being listed on blogs with a strong domain authority does offer bonus SEO points that can help you rank better on Google. And now we’re talking!
This has been one of the best ways for many photographers who started off, to get seen quickly and to attract their ideal client! Also, some wedding blogs don’t require exclusivity. If you shot a wedding or did a styled shoot which you believe is really worth getting published in several places, read their terms and conditions and you might be able to do just that!
Running a business solo is hard work. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it takes time to learn new skills and polish out your existing ones. If your budget allows, outsource the tasks that take too much time, effort and mental protest. I hope this list with Marketing & Promotional Ideas for Wedding Photographers and Vendors will motivate you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone for the sake of experimenting and growing as a creative and business!