Business + Branding Education for Fearless Boss Ladies
This post is part of the series, The Ultimate Guide To Being A Wedding Photographer — advice for running a successful wedding photography biz. Click here to view a list of all the posts in this series.
In the last post I shared 19 Ways To Get More Clients. These were specific ideas you could take to start marketing your biz.
Today I want to dive deeper into the concept of marketing — and give you more of a “big picture” view.
A lot of photographers put branding and marketing at the bottom of their to-do lists. They’re things they know they need to do… but don’t really understand them, so they never make the time. Then they’re left wondering why other photographers are totally booked, and they’re not.
Your branding and marketing NEED to be at the top of your to-do list.
If you want a successful and lasting business you need clients. And to get clients you need to have a marketing plan.
A boosted Facebook post here and there is not a plan.
A plan is knowing how/where/when you’ll market to your Ideal Client — and a system for executing that plan. So, today I’m sharing the basics of marketing for photographers. These are broad ideas to help you think of the how and where for your own business’ marketing.
Online marketing starts with your own website. You need to a website that will woo your Ideal Client. (<< Check out this post where I tell you exactly how to do that!)
From there, all of your marketing efforts (online and otherwise) will direct back to your perfectly branded website. You want to drive traffic (potential clients) to your site.
So, how do you do that online?
There are a lot of ways! But I’m going to mention two that I think will be most beneficial for you — blogging and SEO.
Blogging and SEO actually go hand-in-hand. So let’s talk about SEO first.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Which means, your website is optimized to appear in search engines (google, yahoo, bing, etc.). And it’s a big deal. There are whole companies and careers dedicated to SEO.
If your dream bride needs a photographer and decides to search google for one — you want to make sure YOU (your website) shows up in the search results!
To be honest, SEO is incredibly complicated — and I could write a whole post (series of posts, really) about my own understanding of SEO… and I’d still just be scratching the surface.
But it’s really important — so I just want to touch on it briefly, so you consider making it a part of your marketing plan. To dive deeper just do a quick Google or Pinterest search. Or consider hiring an SEO firm to help your website rank.
Like I said, SEO and blogging go hand-in-hand. That is because blogging can help boost your SEO significantly!
Search engines, like Google, “crawl” the web looking for the best websites in response to a user’s search.
So if I’m a bride I might type in “wedding photographers in Colorado Springs.” Google is going to provide me a (long) list of websites that best match those search terms — in order from most relevant to least.
If you’re blogging regularly about wedding photography and mentioning Colorado Springs and other relevant terms in your posts, your website/blog will rank better. And I, your potential bride, am more likely to see it.
If blogging is part of your marketing plan, you need to do it regularly and consistently. (At least once a week).
Social media is another great way to market to potential clients online!
But don’t try to conquer every single platform. Think about where (which platform) your Ideal Client hangs out and commit to that one, or two.
Then really commit. Post regularly and consistently.
And don’t be salesy!
People won’t follow you just because you post pretty pictures. And they’ll unfollow you, if you start to sound like a used car salesman… “buy, buy, buy!” — yuck!
Think instead, of how you can provide VALUE for them. Maybe it’s by inspiring them, providing a behind the scenes look, or making them laugh.
Don’t always try to sell.
When you do, make sure it’s only 20% of the time — so the other 80% you’re just providing value. That’s how you’ll grow a loyal following.
One of the most effective ways to market your biz is by networking with other wedding professionals. I’ve already mentioned how this can be a great benefit of planning a styled shoot. And here are some other ideas for co-marketing with other wedding vendors.
The reason this is so effective is because you are building RELATIONSHIPS.
People want to work with people they know, like, and trust. When you build strong relationships with other vendors they’ll want to work with you again and again — because they know, like, and trust you!
So they’ll go out of their way to recommend you to their own clients and may even promote you to their followers.
And speaking of know, like, and trust… I’ve save the most powerful marketing tool for last: word-of-mouth.
When you’re shopping for something (especially something that costs $$$), are you more likely to trust a company you’ve never heard of, but maybe just saw an advertisement for? Or are you going to trust the company your best friend just used, and can’t stop raving about?
Um, yeah the the second option, for sure.
No amount of advertising dollars spent can compare with the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
So, how do you get some of that good ole word-of-mouth??
That is where your branding comes in. By providing a stellar brand experience — everything from your perfectly polished website, right down to your “omg, we could be best friends, I feel like I already know this photographer” email responses — are a part of your brand experience.
It is all encompassing. And it is rave-worthy.
If it’s done right, your clients won’t be able to STOP talking about you, your biz, your brand — and the amazing experience they had with you.
Bam. New clients, guaranteed.
But, if done incorrectly — not following through, confusing or messy branding, etc. — your clients will still be talking about you. But you won’t like what they have to say.
I’m going to be sharing a whole post about crafting the perfect brand experience… but until then, think about your own brand experience, from your clients’ point of view. Then make a list of what is working, and what needs working-on.
Now that you have a better idea of how and where to market to your ideal client, you can start working on your own strategic marketing plan — So get going, girl!
Have questions?? Drop them in a comment below — I’d love to help you out!