Marketing sucks, right?
Wouldn’t you rather be out shooting? You’re not alone! Most photographers don’t enjoy marketing.
Hey, I’m Simon & I work with photographers, help them get a handle on their marketing & grow their businesses. I’ve written books, given workshops and worked 1:1 with photographers.
Photographers that start with ‘marketing sucks‘ and leave with ‘this is easy!’
(Keep scrolling to the bottom for 15 free tips to give your photography business an instant boost.)
Let’s do some maths (Don’t worry, this isn’t my strong point either!)
If you shoot 25 weddings a year at an average of 10 hours per wedding – you’re only actually shooting for 250 hours a year. Say you spend 5 hours editing each of those weddings, that’s a further 125 hours.
So, that’s ‘just’ 375 hours or just 15 days a year, ‘being’ a photographer.
15 days a year, doing the thing you’re most passionate about.
That sucks right? We can change that!
What are you doing the rest of the time? You’re running your business, marketing your business to find those clients, getting your work in front of the right people.
That side of it equates to around 2000+ hours a year.
You probably spend 4 times as much time marketing, as you do shooting. Yikes.
Most photographers don’t enjoy marketing. You got into this business to take photos – not do marketing! You have to get comfortable with marketing though, its the fuel that powers your business, the fuel that will allow you to do the thing you’re passionate about – taking photos!
I work with lots of photographers, and honestly, if they were half as passionate about marketing the businesses as they were shooting – they would be running more successful, *much* more profitable and considerably less stressful photography businesses.
They’d probably even be working less hours in the week, for the same or more money.
So how do you get passionate about marketing?
Results. Results breed momentum.
Momentum breeds energy and energy will bring more success.
If you’ve spend years marketing your business and had minimal results, its natural to be down-hearted and have lost the passion for it. I’d guess it’s because your marketing is ineffective and you’re wasting time on low leverage activities.
That’s where I come in. My passion is helping other photographers and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
I work with photographers to pull back the curtain on marketing and help them understand exactly what they need to do to get their business thriving. From digital marketing and SEO to advertising, social media, networking and outreach, monetization and more.
I help photographers understand where to spend their time, where to invest their money and how to run a better business.
17 Marketing Ideas for Wedding Photographers
More tips like these can be found my eBook: 95 Simple Ways to grow your photography business
Sort out your website
Before you spend any money sending anyone to your website, you need to make sure it’s working for you, not against you.
Ask your friends, family and colleagues to have a look at your site and give you their initial impressions. The less the people you ask already know about your business the better – you want them looking at your offering with a fresh perspective.
Paid Advertising (PPC)
Paid Ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest will give you the quickest return on investment (if set up correctly!).
We’ve built our business around long term strategies, networking, SEO and relationship building – but when we’re working with photographers wanting quick wins – nothing gets eyes on your offering quicker than PPC
Paying for traffic (PPC) is one thing, but when you stop paying you don’t get any traffic. A mailing list is (essentially) free traffic. full of people who care about what you offer.
A mailing list can be invaluable for service industries such as wedding photographers – keeping in touch with previous clients, sending out quick newsletters every month to keep them up-to-date on new offerings and what you’re up to ensures you stay top of mind and in their consciousness, ensuring you get repeat work or recommendations.
Mailing lists are invaluable for new launches too and you can get your new offer out to hundreds of interested people who already trust your brand, with just a few clicks.
Take care of the people you have worked with before. Your relationship with past clients can fuel your business in ways advertising never will.
Reach out to past clients, make sure they are taken care of. Get them to leave reviews or offer feedback on your service. Show them that you care about what they think and want to ensure they had the best experience. Don’t be afraid to send them gifts to thank them, they’ll remember that. If they feel taken care of, and had an outstanding experience – they’ll think of you when they or someone they know needs a photographer.
Don’t be afraid to step out from behind the camera and post a video of yourself on your website. A little video message introducing yourself is a great way to connect with potential clients and put yourself ahead of the competition.
You can work with a professional, or make a video yourself – most cameras can record video and as a photographer, you should have a good understanding of light and composition – editing tools are quite straight forward too, so the biggest issue will be usually be getting the courage to get in front of the camera. Once you get over that, you’ll find it’s easy and a great way to get your personality across.
Remember people buy people and connecting with your ideal clients should be the aim.
Add Something New
If everyone is offering the same thing, what can you do differently? Can you add something your competitors don’t offer?
Can you add anything extra to your offering to make your services stand out? For example, a portrait photographer offering a makeup artist or a wedding photography studio offering video. When we added video to our business our bank manager smiled, a lot.
Simplify your offering
If adding something new isn’t the answer, can you simplify your service more than any of your completion?
People want to work with companies that are easy to work with. If everyone is pricing by the hour or selling services with lots of add-ons and a la carte prices, maybe offering an all-inclusive package is the answer. Is there anything you can do to ease the pain your client’s experience when working with a photographer?
Are you easy to deal with?
If a client struggles to communicate with you, you have lost the battle. Make it easy for them to contact you, arrange meetings, book shoots.
If it’s hard to contact you, you don’t answer the phone, don’t reply to emails or they can’t easily order what they want – they’ll go elsewhere. People love Amazon because of the simplicity of the ordering process. One-click and it’ll be with you tomorrow – can you strive for that level of simplicity? Can you be responsive and easy to get a hold of when they need you?
Be where they are
Spend time thinking about where your couples hang out, either online or in-person and then do everything you can to show up there.
If you clients will go to wedding fairs (mine don’t!), it makes sense to go to every wedding fair you can. Do your ideal clients read high-end magazines? Advertise there. Do they go to certain events – can you partner with them in some way? Maybe even sponsor the event! Do they get their hair cut at a specific place? Make friends with the hairdresser.
Think outside the box and get in front of them, before their searching for a photographer.
ADS IN DIFFERENT PLACES
Think about advertising in non-standard locations. If your advert is side by side with 30 other photographers, there is no way you will stand out. Find somewhere that you’re the only photographer.
Think about advertising in non-standard locations. For example, lots of coffee shops have ad space – find one where your target market hangs out and enquire about putting up a flyer or a poster, or leaving some business cards – make friends with the barista while you’re at it and maybe they’ll spread your message!
I receive 600+ wedding enquiries every year, half of them are for dates I can’t do. When those leads come through I’ll make an effort to send them to photographers who I think will be a good fit.
If I send a handful of leads to other photographers, they’ll likely reciprocate and even if they’re not in a position to, you’ll be building a relationship and making a friend. At the end of the day my job is to serve those people that connect with my work and if that’s achieved by sending them somewhere else that will take care of them, then that’s great too!
Google My Business
Most photographers operate businesses that cater to a local audience, Google gives you the tools to succeed. Having a GMB account, keeping it active and updated is key to appearing in the map pack and connecting with people who are searching in your area.
Google My Business (GMB for short) is a great way to boost visibility, especially in local searches. Setting up a page (if you don’t have one), verifying your address and phone number, then regularly posting and updating is a great way to help local people find out about you.
Adding a teaser slideshow to our offering was one of the best things we ever did. Sending couples a selection of images from their day within days of their wedding is a sure way to get your name spread amongst their family and friends.
Edit a selection of the images and set them to music (using something like smartslides makes this super easy) Send this to the couple a few days after their wedding will bring back all the emotions and they will be singing your praises. They’ll send it to their friends and you’ll be known as the amazing photographer who captured all that joy. Who will they think of when they’re looking for a photographer?
Going hand in hand with SEO, content marketing is a great thing to get your work in front of the right clients. Put yourself in their shoes and try to think of content that would be helpful to them – from planning guides to venue recommendations.
If you’re the photographer that helped them when they were researching for their special day – you’re ahead of the competition when it comes time to hire a photographer!
People say Instagram is the number one place to spend your efforts, I’d have to say Pinterest is my #1. Instagram is where people go to waste time and everyone on there is a photographer, but Pinterest is where they’re spending their time actively planning their day.
I love Instagram too, don’t get me wrong its a must use for marketing – but I get far more return on my investment of time into Pinterest. Pinterest is where people are spending their time planning their day – get in front of them as early in the planning stage as you can. Pin your content, pin other peoples – be active on the platform and it will reward you. Bonus points if you get a handle on their Ad’s too – that’s a real gold mine if you set it up correctly.
I couldn’t share my love for Pinterest without covering Instagram too. Right now its one of the biggest sources of ‘free’ traffic you can get.
It’s important to use it for the right reason though – I love using Instagram to network, keep connected to ‘real-life’ relationships & be active in communities. Being active on the platform means commenting (meaningfully), liking, sharing and engaging with the right people.
I’ve seen photographers stalking newlyweds – suggest you avoid this if you don’t want to come off as a creep.
SEO is by far my favourite way to drive traffic to a website over the long term. If you know how to get your rankings up – you can have a constant flow of traffic, and it doesn’t continually cost you.
Invest in learning SEO or hire someone to do it for you. Anytime anyone wants anything, they jump straight on google and find it. Make sure they find you! I teach SEO to photographers and occasionally help photographers out directly when my schedule permits – so reach out if you’re interested.
Want some more personalised marketing Ideas?
Book a training session and we can get your marketing under control.