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.
No matter what industry you’re in, as an entrepreneur, your success depends on knowing your Ideal Client.
I’ve talked about Ideal Clients before. (Check out this post with more tips to hone your Ideal Client). And I’ll be talking about them a lot more, because it’s that important.
Today, as a part of my current blog series,The Ultimate Guide To Being A Wedding Photographer I’m focusing specifically on ideal clients for wedding photographers — but the idea will be the same no matter what industry you’re in. So let’s dive in!
Have you ever noticed that some wedding photographers book the edgy, tattooed, rock star brides and grooms over and over again? Those photographers’ style and personalities seem to perfectly compliment their clients?
Or maybe it’s the adventurous mountain-top elopement photographers, who travel the globe and are constantly booked with adventurous mountain-climbing couples?
Or maybe it’s the girly-girl, pink-peonies-and-pumpkin-spice-lattes-photographer who is always booked with sweet, feminine weddings full of peonies and pumpkin-spice-latte-drinking brides?
They’re booking their Ideal Clients. (Sometimes referred to as Ideal Bride, Ideal Groom, etc.)
And good for them!
Now, how can you do that??
Well, I can tell you, it doesn’t just happen by chance, or wishful thinking.
These photographers know (and know extremely well) three things:
This is the first, and most important step. You have to know your ideal client.
And I mean reeeeeeally know them.
When I ask my Brand Intensive students if they know their Ideal Clients, a lot of them seem to think they do.
But when I ask them to describe their Ideal Clients, I get really vague responses.
“Um, it’s a woman, getting married, who’s between 25-35 years old…”
That’s not an ideal client.
I help my Brand Intensive students create their Ideal Client Avatars — a very specific (but fictional) person.
I’m not going to go into all the details of an Ideal Client Avatar here — because you can read more about it in this post! But I am going to give you the SAME worksheet I use for my Brand Intensive students — so you can start figuring out yours!
And if you’d like one-on-one help to figure out your Ideal Client (and a whole lot more!), click here for more info about Brand Intensives!
When you know your Ideal Client, you’ll be able to move on the the next two steps: finding & marketing to them.
Let’s say you want to be the adventurous mountain-top elopement photographer, who is booked solid with adventurous mountain-climbing couples.
Where are you going to find your ideal client?
Well, how about on a mountain trail for starters! (Be sure you have your perfectly branded “hey-I’m-an-adventurous-mountain-top-elopement-photographer” business cards on hand!)
But where else?
Well, if you’ve already filled out the FREE Ideal Client Avatar Worksheet that I’m giving you… for FREE… (nudge, nudge… go do it. now.), you’ll know where your client likes to shop, what they do for fun, etc.
So, let’s say your client loves craft beer, spends way to much money at REI, and is planning to spend a week backpacking through Asia for their honeymoon.
Guess what, that super expensive bridal show that you think you need to pay $$$ to get a booth at? Probably not a great investment.
But your local brew pub? Now that’s a place I’d try to foster a relationship with!
Or get on meetup and look for hiking and nature groups — reach out and see if you can teach a free photography class for them.
Is this Ideal Client Avatar starting to make a little more sense now?
So let’s talk about the Inter-webs… how are you going to find online clients? Well, go back to your Ideal Client Avatar worksheet. If you know how old they are, what they do for a living, what their interests and hobbies are, then you have a pretty good idea of what social media platforms they’ll be on.
Just think about SnapChat. Now Facebook. Now think about the people who use those platforms… they cater to significantly different audiences.
Now that you know where your ideal client is hanging out, you can finally figure out how to market to them!
Let’s continue with the example of the adventurous mountain-top elopement photographer.
I already gave you a great tip for marketing to your client — teaching a photography class to a local hiking group!
Now there might not be an engaged couple in that group. But that doesn’t matter. Because people hang out with other people who have similar interests.
So you’ve just stood up in front of a group of people who are passionate about the same thing as your Ideal Client, while proving you’re an expert photographer. You are starting to brand yourself as an adventurous mountain-top elopement photographer! You’re getting “in” with that crowd.
And of course you had your perfectly branded business cards on hand, which had a link to your perfectly branded website — all communicating the same message:
That you are THE adventurous mountain-top elopement photographer.
This is just ONE example of how you can use your knowledge of your Ideal Client to know where to find, and then where to market to them!
So, get started on that Ideal Client Worksheet, girl! And when you figure out your own Ideal Client, leave me a comment below. I’d love to know if this is helping you know where to find them — and how to market to them!!