How To Market a Wedding Photographher

14 replies
I am trying to help a really good photographer with a very bad markeing dtrategy. I wannt to help him, but my srongest skill is SEO and it is very hard to do because his site has very little words.

Do you have any ideas? Thanks!
#market #photographher #wedding
  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Optimo
    Originally Posted by feedtherightwolf View Post

    I am trying to help a really good photographer with a very bad markeing dtrategy. I wannt to help him, but my srongest skill is SEO and it is very hard to do because his site has very little words.

    Do you have any ideas? Thanks!
    Well Add some words then. Nothing wrong with a photographer keeping a blog, seems like the perfect way to get new clients and do some SEO at the same time.
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    Add a blog to his site so you have something to do your seo work with.

    Add his site to relevant local sites with proper anchor text in the backlink. Find churches, wedding venues, local listing sites - places where he can get relevant backlinks and where people would actually be looking to find the service he provides (as in, you aren't just listing for the backlink but you are listing because that's where his potential customers are)
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie

    You only need SEO if you are looking for natural search engine traffic.

    What keywords are you targeting and what is the search volume?

    For local businesses (and I assume the photog is looking for local gigs, not flying to weddings all over the world) there are much better ways to market and find local traffic than SEO.

    Especially this niche (Wedding Photography), facebook is awesome. Create a fan page for the business then drive traffic to the fan page with a very targeted facebook ad campaign.

    City (obviously)
    Women (primary wedding planners/organizers)
    Relationship Status "engaged" (they have a wedding coming up)

    Make the ad destination the fanpage and you should get dirt cheap clicks/PPM

    Another great way is to find local forums and do traditional (and not so traditional) forum marketing. Wedding forums, photog forums.

    Craigslist is a great free standard for local advertising.

    BackPage offers really cheap display ads as well as free ads like CL.

    Partner with local businesses that would share a non-competitive and mutually beneficial relationship:
    - Wedding dress/supply stores
    - Hair/Beauty salons
    - Caterers

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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie

    This is a great business to build a list of customers from.

    Did you love your wedding photos?

    How about recommending me to friends/family?
    How about christening photos?
    How about anniversary photos?
    How about children's photos?
    How about family portraits?
    I'm having a special deal on reprints for any previous customers this month only.

    etc... etc...

    Photography is a great "repeat business" business...

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    • Profile picture of the author feedtherightwolf
      Thanks a lot Warriors, as allways you did not let me down. Exactly what I needed to hear.
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  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    You absolutely NEED to get him a booth at any and all Wedding planning events in your area. This is absolutely a necessary thing to do. Period.

    When I was running a videography business I thought taking out an advertisement in the phone book and a website would be enough. A photographer asked if I wanted to share a booth at a local bridal planning event and my phone rang, and rang, and rang.

    Ensure they have a portfolio, a way to schedule appointments and a snazzy website.

    If you live in a big metro area, prepare this person for competition--ruthless competition.
    You're going to fail. If you're afraid of failure then you do not belong in the Internet Marketing Business. Period.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Online: SEO/SocialMedia/Adwords (and Adwords it's a damn obvious choice: it's easy, targeted and low cost)

    Offline: Awesome Portfolio/Word of mouth (amazing results on both) and Flyers/Brochures at Wedding Restaurants (in Portugal we have these special places for wedding parties, but can't remember the name in English). Do some contracts with these owners, say "You guarantee I photograph 10 weddings per summer - you get 250€ per each one).

    One key action here is the ability of the photographer to make some local/regional arrangements with these owners. He can make thousands per month with the right connections.

    One example: a friend of mine is DJ and he wanted to make some pocket money doing wedding parties. He got into the wedding dj market, made some solid partnerships in first year, and now he runs his own company and gets people to play in weddings, not only as dj's but also live music bands. How cool is that?

    Offline people need CONNECTIONS. It's the real world people - it's like the mafia You need connections...
    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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    • Google maps might be a good thing too try, but it might be too competitive in that niche...
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    You didn't mention if your friend's a wedding photographer or not, but I'm a wedding photographer in the NYC area, and have been marketing for years. Here's my 2 cents:

    There's lower end photographers and higher end photographers. Lower end leads are easy to get.

    Those are the clicks that come from adwords.
    Those are the people scouring pages of google results for the generic keyword phrase "wedding photographer in [your city]", searching for cheap prices.
    Those are the people who respond to discounts and specials.
    Those are the brides who attend bridal shows.
    Those are the ones finding cheap to free photographers on Craigslist.

    But many of us don't want those customers.
    Many of us don't look to discount our services.
    Many of us don't want the budget bride.

    This is my first post here. I'm writing this after lurking for a long time on WF because everytime I've seen someone ask about marketing for wedding photographers, invariably others respond with all good intentions by suggesting SEO, adwords, discounts... which is why I'm telling you that's not what's going to get the wedding photographer the better paying client he or she desires.

    Neither is advice about hooking up with other wedding providers. Would be great, but first off, there's only venues and sometimes planners, maybe bands, DJs, that the bride sees prior to booking a photographer. Florists, gown shops, salons, videographers, et al, are further down the bride's buying cycle and as such, don't traditionally supply many leads for photographers.

    But secondly, you can't waltz in and expect venues and planners will meet with you just because you called them to do lunch. Good luck even getting them on the phone! They've got every wedding vendor in town soliciting them all day long. They toss any mail solicitations directly into the garbage. They don't typically deal with anyone they haven't personally already done business with. They can't take that chance.

    Of course, in a small town this may be possible, I wouldn't know. But even in the 'burbs outside of NYC, it's tough like I've described.

    I position myself like crazy. I use lead generation on my website. I have a sales page, in effect, as my "information" page. I'm doing things marketing-wise that most other photographers don't do. I've applied a lot of what I've learned from Dan Kennedy, Frank Kern, John Carlton, Eben Pagan and a slew of others... plus stuff I've picked up on WF... so you'd think I should be surging way ahead of all others. But no. What there isn't, is a starving crowd.

    So I guess what I'm saying is this: when it comes to wedding photography, or more accurately, when it comes to dealing with twenty-something year old brides with feelings of entitlement who'll drop you like a rock if you happen to accidentally sneeze funny (not all, but generally speaking)... it's one tough nut to crack.

    I keep trying, though, because when it's good, it's very, very good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mahara Adhe
    Have them post their portfolio on Facebook and tag people in the albums. So, let's say someone buys pictures. They can send prints, digital copies, AND post them on Facebook with the customer's names tagged (with permission of course). This let's the customer's friends and family see the pictures. If they have good pics, then this can bring in business. Of course, I've only done this with photographers that do a mix of things, not just weddings...

    Build A List..3x Larger..3x Faster..On Autopilot!
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    I owned a photography studio for 38 years - I and my other photographers did wedding photography for the first 23 years.

    Today and for the past 5 or 6 years the number of people in their mid twenties is the at lowest number we have seen in this country for the past 40 years. The next group of people, the echo boomers, is larger than the WWI baby boomers, and the leading edge of these echo boomers is now 22 years old. The number of weddings will start to pick up in the next few years.

    Listen to misterme, his response is absolutely on the spot. Bridal show exhibits are worth their weight in gold.

    I was in a wedding marketing group with other vendors - caterer, bakery, tux shop, bridal shop, DJ service. The only one of those who got any names on his list before I did was the tux shop. This happened because his store, in the shopping mall, had a drawing for free tux rental once a month, and future brides would fill out the card for their grooms. I would mail the tux list every month. It worked for me.

    I always bought panel vans and had my studio's name painted on them in 16 inch tall letters. The vans were dark blue with white lettering. This was visible at night with the outdoor lights at wedding reception halls. Every guest knew who was the photography studio.

    Brides and grooms have other friends their own age who will probably be getting married in the future. Their word of mouth is key to booking more weddings. I set up a referral system to insure the bride and groom would send all their friends by offering the bride and groom a large, expensive wall portrait when two couples they sent to me booked my studio for their weddings.

    The large, wall portrait could be from their wedding or from a portrait session in the future. That worked wonders. They all scrambled to send their friends. Sometimes more than one bride and groom would refer the same couple. That was okay. I would give each bride and groom credit for that referral.

    One more strategy brought others from the wedding party, into my studio, and helped me sell a boat load of portraits. That was to have the bride and groom make a list of the name and snail-mail address of everyone in their wedding party. Then I would snail-mail a thank-you letter and coupon for a portrait session and a 5x7 portrait to everyone in the wedding party.

    Essentially the letter said, "Let me say thank-you for the help you gave me on the day of the wedding, by letting me make beautiful images. Here is a coupon for a portrait session and an 5x7 portrait for you. This portrait can be of you or of your family."

    Two out of every three people in the wedding party came to the studio for these sessions, and they almost always purchased additional portraits.

    The key to making this work is for the photography studio to mail out the coupon and thank-you letter. At first I tried giving the coupons and thank-you letters to the bride and groom to give to their wedding party. They never would remember to do so. My doing the mailing worked.

    Yes, these are offline methods, and they do work, and they can help drive people to the photographer's website.

    [Edit] One additional important strategy: have the photgrapher write out his marketing plans month by month for the next 18 months. When he follows his plan he can even out cash-flow.

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  • Profile picture of the author steven sanderson
    One of our niches is Wedding Photography !!

    Your photographer need's to network in his field, use social media to interact with other sub niches like wedding cakes, wedding dress supplies, wedding car hire, wedding venue hire, honeymoon tour operators, wedding ring supplies, flower supplies etc etc etc,

    Interact with the sub niches to be seen by people checking out those niches !!
    Do this on facebook, twitter etc and offer free advice to start building a list, he could offer an article "the ten big mistakes to look out for when planning your wedding"

    He could also put that article add in the local papers, either directing people to a link to the article or just post it out for free, they pay postage only, either way you will be getting a list of prospects by offering it on the web, plus a list of prospects from newspapers, put it in other shops too, cakes shops, dress shops etc etc !!

    WOW !! dont you think people thinking of getting married will flock for that information as they dont want to risk making any mistakes !! Bang you have created a list !, you have got there attention !!

    There are also ways on google+ that you can find prospects in your area who may be thinking of getting married !! Yes, really, you did just read that, its amazing.

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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Wanted to add: marketing wedding photography has changed especially in the last two years. Giving away free portrait sessions and coupons now attracts people who won't spend money. Plus it devalues the photographer by cheapening the service and product. Bridal shows have become cattle calls where brides attend to get freebies. I've read bridal forums where brides are offering up the free sessions to anyone who wants them that the photographers give away because they don't want to bother with them. They don't even value the sessions and that's because they're free. Then someone else only looking for a freebie grabs it. What kind of lead qualification goes into this? As you may guess, absolutely none. So these photographers end up with freebie seekers not willing to put money into the photographer's pockets.

    Again, there are lower end photographers willing to work for next to nothing and attract brides with tiny budgets, but this mass crowd of newcomer photographers in the field will burn out as others have before them, after a year or two when they realize all the work involved they've done to net minimum wage or less as a result. Keep in mind it's not just the hours on the wedding day, but all the time and work involved with meeting couples for sales calls whether they book or not, the time involved with phones, emails, doing the marketing, paperwork, processing images after the wedding, getting prints ready, album design and ordering... many tasks. A photographer may spend 60-70 hours per wedding by the time the prints gets delivered. People think grossing $2,000 is a lot of money, but it's not when it's $28 an hour - gross, not net.

    Years ago, when I was lower priced, I did 50 gigs in one year. That's a lot of labor for one person, let me tell you. That's fielding 500 phone calls to set up 300 appointments, meeting with 200 couples ending up with 50 weddings. Shooting the weddings, running to the labs back then, back and forth, getting proofs out the door, setting up the after wedding ordering, processing orders, making wedding albums... while rinsing, repeating the first steps with new couples. It's a ton of steps and processes.

    The Professional Photographer's Association (PPA) has a study that shows most studios fail at that lower fee levels. They see $5000 per gig as a needed price point to stay profitable. Many photographers manage doing it for less (until they get burned out) only because they have a day job or spouse who pays the bills. This keeps them able to work at their passion but never successfully. More like a paid hobby. Many more are actually losing money.

    Many do use Facebook, but there again, it's missing a targeted niche of brides and they're willing to work with whatever comes their way. I've been at this for 30 years so I think I have a clue or two and I'd say it's better to target a niche bride. You do need to otherwise if you're a photographer looking like the next guy, shooting the same routine, willing to work with just anyone, you're a commodity and the bride will choose the lower priced vendor.

    I should also mention the budget bride tends to be a pain to deal with too, just as price shoppers are a pain to deal with in any other profession. It's another reason lower priced photographers get burned out.

    I'd be curious as to what was the marketing strategy the OP says was "very bad" and re-examine that. Maybe that view is simply the OP's perspective, that is, the photographer isn't doing any SEO, so to the OP, that's "very bad." But let's assume SEO isn't the answer, for the reasons I've already touched on. It could be perhaps there's another perspective to the photographer's strategy and all it's missing is a tweak or two.
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    • Profile picture of the author ebusinesstutor
      A few more ideas:
      - attend local Tweetups
      - host a local Tweetup
      - spend time in local forums
      - host a free seminar on how to get great wedding photos
      - get links in local business directories such as the local Chamber of Commerce
      - monitor local social media for mentions of keyword wedding
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