How To Market A Photography Business
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Marketing a wedding business is one of our specialties here at Nordello. We have marketed many wedding businesses in the past, included wedding photography studios, planners & floral décor companies. We know this industry very well, and we thought we’d share some tips and tricks for all the future photographers who are just starting their business. Let’s get started. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SPECIALIZE IN? One of the most important things you need to figure out as a photographer is what do you want to specialize in. There are many different types of photography services you can offer such as wedding photography, corporate photography, fashion photography, baby photography, real estate, commercial and many more. Chances are, you already know what you want to specialize in by now. The first thing you should do is make your website specific to what you want to specialize in. For example, if you're going to do wedding photography. Make a site that is designed to focus more on this service. GET A GREAT LOOKING WEBSITE, DON’T CHEAP OUT! You need to have a great website in order to make a great first impression in the digital world. How you present yourself online will make a difference in how customers perceive you and the way they value your services. Make sure your website is beautiful and elegant so that customers treat you like a high-end brand. If you have a website design background, by all means, designed it yourself and make sure it looks top notch, if not, definitely contact us, and we can design a beautiful website for your brand. Put in a lot of time and effort working on your site. Make it beautiful because as you enter the market you will have established competitors and you want to put your best foot forward. When newly engaged couples start shopping around for wedding photographers, they are going to come across 3 studios and compare and contrast the differences between them. Having a gorgeous website will definitely help you stand out, because it lets them know that you care about your image and you have great taste in design and it makes you look like a professional. Think about it; if you are shopping for a wedding photographer, and you come across a website that looks like it was built when the internet first came out, chances are you’re going to click the back button and visit another website. Your website is going to be the most important investment you make in your business and its also the only asset that is going to bring you customers and keep your business going, make sure you don’t cheap out and get this right the first time. HAVE A GREAT LOOKING LOGO AND BRAND NAME This section is super important and make sure you get everything right or else it will hurt you in the long run. Make sure you come up with a name that isn't being used by someone else. Reason being, if customers go to Google and type in your website name, they may end up on the other website belonging to another person with the same domain name. Make sure your domain name is so unique that no one else is using it online. You can check this by going to Google and searching for the name, if no other website pops up you are good to go. For a more in-depth explanation on the business naming process, check out our other blog post titled “How to choose a domain name for your business” we go further in-depth on the process of coming up with a name along with tips to get yourself protected. HOW TO PRICE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES This is probably the top question most photographers ask themselves, what should I charge. You want to position yourself in a way that you're going to win a majority of the contracts. The first step, go on Google and type in “wedding photographers (your city name)” have a look at the first two pages of all the photographers that show up, go through every single website and make a note of what they are charging. The photographers on the first five position on Google, they are probably going to be the premium photography studios but make sure you go through each studio website to get an idea of what they are offering regarding packages and what they are charging. If you are just getting started, it may be wise to start off with entry-level pricing. But if you are highly skilled and you have a large portfolio of beautiful weddings to show off, go ahead and boost up those prices.
The reason why the top 3 ranking photography websites in your city are charging a premium for their services is simply that they have a lot of demand and limited staff to accommodate them. What we mean is, they are already investing a lot of money into their Google advertising campaigns and their SEO campaigns. Which means they are getting over 100-500 inquiries per month. They charge a lot more, but this means they only book a small percentage of weddings, work less, but make more revenue. The downside is they are turning down a lot of business because of their higher prices. The best strategy for this scenario is to have tier-based pricing. Let’s say you work with our agency, and we do a lot of Google ads for you along with SEO, and you are now in a position where you are getting hundreds of leads per month. You need to organize your staff into tiers. Master level and professional level. Change up the names however you like. So at the master level package, you can charge as much as the top 3 competitors in your industry. Some of your clients will be able to afford this package. Make sure you assign them the most experienced photographers in your studio, this could include you and your founders. For the vast majority of your customers who want to go for something affordable in the mid-range, you can have another team in your “professional tier package” to accommodate this clientele. We see a lot of studios and businesses use this pricing model. Even salons use this pricing model as well. Even though your selling affordable packages in your “professional tier pricing” make sure that the photographers you have on staff are still excellent at what they do and can still deliver professional results to your clients. Reserve your high-end package for the lead photographers in your studio. You will reach to a point where you have multiple weddings per weekend and you cant be at multiple places at the same time. This package structure could be very useful to your studio. HOW TO GET PHOTOGRAPHY CLIENTS - GOOGLE ADVERTISING You need a reliable and consistent way to generate good quality leads that are going to pay you money for your services. You are no longer a newbie photographer that is doing free gigs to build a portfolio. Before you start doing paid Google advertising or SEO, make sure your website is complete, and you have a great portfolio that new customers can look at. If you don’t have a lot of portfolio to show on your website, it's going to be harder to have a profitable Google ad campaign. Try to atleast have a hand full of beautiful weddings you have worked on before you start advertising on Google. Customers will want to see that you have done other weddings before, and they want to see the quality of your photography skills in comparison to your asking price. START WITH GOOGLE ADS FIRST, THEN DO SEO Most companies are going to try and sell you SEO as the primary marketing strategy. This is a mistake. Never start with SEO first.
We suggest starting with a Google ad campaign, where you “pay-per-click” for all the terms we think will get you the best customers, we come up with a list of keywords after our keyword research phase. Once the campaign is created, you immediately show up on the top of Google search in the paid section, and you start getting traffic to your website as soon as the campaign is live. Over the next few months, we will help you get steady leads coming into your inbox, and we will track the performance of which keyword variations are generating high-quality leads for your business. Once we have solid data on which keyword variation works best for your business, then we start planning a strategy on which specific keywords we want to rank for organically (non-paid section of Google search). The worst thing you can do is start an SEO campaign and rank for a bunch of random terms; once you rank for them, you find out that the quality of leads generated by that those keywords is garbage. Do Google ads first, make steady revenue and then start working on an SEO strategy. HOW TO GET CUSTOMERS TO CLOSE DURING THE FIRST MEETING WITHOUT HESITATION Ask yourself what is your closing rate? Out of 10 consultations you have how many are you closing. If the number is 2/10, it means you need to improve on your sales skills, and you potentially need higher quality leads. If you are closing 8/10, you are pretty much elite level in your sales skills. By far the most effective strategy to help you close deals is the concept of social proof. In your office, have thank you cards of your recent clients, it's very common for couples to send handwritten thank you cards to vendors that deliver excellent services to them during their wedding. Make sure you don’t hide those, show them off in your office by having it on a wall neatly organized as a collage, this makes customers know that you are trustworthy and other couples have had a great experience with you. GET LOTS OF GOOGLE REVIEWS All of your happy clients, make sure they leave you a great testimonial on your Google maps page. The more you have, the better you look in the digital world. When couples come across your website via your Google ad campaign or other marketing streams. They are going to check your reviews. Think about it; if you have 100, 5-star reviews, couples are not going to have any hesitation securing their wedding date with you. If you have no reviews, it's going to take extra work on your part to convince them to book with you. As a rule of thumb, you should have more 5-star reviews then your top competitor on Google. If your top competitor has 40 reviews, make sure you have 50. If they have 100 reviews, make sure you have 120. You always want to outdo your competition. Make sure your reviews are legit and not fake. Google’s super advanced algorithms can detect fake reviews and delete them automatically. This includes reviews from new Gmail accounts. They automatically get flagged as fraud, so don’t bother trying it. FACEBOOK ADVERTISING We have run Facebook ads for a number of our wedding business owner clients and have seen steady leads generated from Facebook ad campaigns. This works really well if you target your local cities and your ad copy, your image is really good. The more creative your ad is, the higher the chance of conversion. Be sure to test out many variations to see which version generates the most leads. “Boosted posts” don’t work well for business owners since Facebook just shows the post to your own audience and sometimes to random people. Which results in wasted ad budget and low ROI. If you are going to do Facebook ads, make sure you are super specific in your demographic settings and target your local area to reach the ideal audience that will convert into a paying customer. Remember, just because you’re getting likes, doesn't mean the campaign is successful. You need a very specific audience that is interested in your services and is close to the buying stage of the cycle. Get in touch with our ad specialists to learn more about Facebook ads in greater detail. ADD ADDITIONAL SERVICES AND UPSELLS OFFER VIDEOGRAPHY: As a wedding photographer, you have lots of other opportunities to add more value to your clients. Consider adding videography as part of your service. Even if you are not a professionally trained videographer, consider partnering up with friends who are videographers and sell it as part of your package. Both you and your friend benefit. If you don’t have friends who are videographers, consider hiring specialists on a per-project basis to join your company. Make sure you do your due diligence to make sure that they are excellent at what they do. Look at their current portfolio of recent videos they have done. Get to know them, are they personable? Do they have a good vibe? Remember they are going to interact with your customers and they need to represent your brand well. You want to make sure they are passionate and well-rounded individuals who want to grow within your company. OFFER DRONE VIDEOGRAPHY: This is another popular upsell you can offer in your packages. The service pretty much sells itself, once you show couples how amazing their wedding will look with aerial views. This gives their wedding video that Hollywood look and adds that cinematic touch to the wedding video. OFFER PHOTOBOOTH SERVICES: You have seen them everywhere, and they are very popular in almost every wedding. This is a great opportunity to offer this as an additional upsell to your packages. Photo booths are a fun form of entertainment that can offer an additional revenue stream for your business. You can either create your own photo booth setup, or you can search for a wholesaler or supplier online to see if you can buy the whole kit. We came across this website that sells the complete set, and they have a monthly financing plan. https://www.photoboothsupplyco.com/ TOOLS YOU NEED AS A PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Aside from your professional grade lenses and cameras, you need some digital tools to optimize your business and make it more manageable. USE PHOTOGRAPHY CRM: What is CRM you ask? Think of it as an operating system for your business, its basically software that keeps all of your weddings organized, so you know all the details you need for each specific client. Payment schedules, locations, invoicing and much more. Here are a few popular tools we found online. http://www.studioninja.co/ https://getsproutstudio.com/ https://tave.com/ http://www.shootzilla.com/pricing/ WEDDING DIRECTORIES Wedding directories are a good form of additional marketing you can do for your business, some of these directories can help you get extra clients every single month, so it's important to find the right wedding directories that are very famous in your local area. Some of the wedding directories have paid an non paid packages. If you are low on your marketing package, definitely go for the free package. But if you want to test out the site, try a 1 month package, if it gets you good clientele. Slowly start increasing your ad spend. Don’t buy a 1 year package without any prior experience with the directory. Sometimes the directories lose their rank in Google which results in low booking inquiries for the vendors that have memberships in the website. Also if the wedding directory has listings of 500 other photographers on the same page, it might be harder for you to get leads unless you are ranked at the very top of the page. Be sure to ask them what the fee is to be at the top and how many visitors does the page get per month, what is the average click-through rate for the top 5 positions on the page. HERE IS A LIST OF THE TOP WEDDING DIRECTORIES IN THE TORONTO AREA http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/directory http://www.canadasbridaldirectory.com/ http://www.torontoweddinglist.com/ http://waverlybride.com/ http://www.canadaweds.ca/wedding-directory/ https://wedding-directory.org/ http://www.todaysbride.ca/wedding-directory https://www.bridewants.ca/ https://globalweddinghub.ca/ http://www.directoryforweddings.com/ BLOG FEATURES Lots of famous wedding blogs you should keep a lookout for when it comes to PR and blog features. Getting a badge from famous wedding blogs and having them in your email footer and your website can give customers the impression that you are very good at what you do, and adds an element of prestige. Most wedding blogs are well known worldwide, and they also have print editions in your local Chapters bookstore. Work on getting mentioned in print as well as online blogs. Once you get featured on a wedding blog, they will send you a badge which you can use on your site. This improves your credibility and gives customers peace of mind knowing that they are dealing with a professional. Here are some links to popular wedding blogs: http://www.stylemepretty.com/ https://ruffledblog.com/ https://greenweddingshoes.com/ https://www.rocknrollbride.com/ https://rusticweddingchic.com/ WEDDING VENDOR GROUPS If you are in Toronto or any other city anywhere around the world, go on Facebook and type in “(your city name) + wedding vendor group” try different variations until you find some good groups with lots of people in it. Joining wedding vendor groups allows you to network with other vendors in your area. The reason you should do this is so that you have a circle which you can all refer each other clients. Let's say you meet wedding planners, florists, cake makers, limos; you could all potentially refer 10 additional clients to each other every single year. Be sure to get to know each other and form a relationship. You need to find vendors that are truly passionate and reliable. When you refer clients to your circle of vendors, you want to know with 100% certainty that they will do a great job and not let your clients down. Since you referred them, if they mess up, it does make you look bad. So only refer clients to vendors whom you trust 1000%. If you don’t know if you can trust them, check their reviews online and see if they have positive reviews. Overtime as you get to know each other, you will get a vibe, and your instincts will tell you if you can trust them or not. Here are some links to all the popular wedding vendor groups in Toronto: https://www.facebook.com/groups/308554152878700/?ref=br_rs https://www.facebook.com/groups/146885002135969/?ref=br_rs https://www.facebook.com/groups/1642486749380773/?ref=br_rs https://www.facebook.com/groups/596334627229705/?ref=br_rs https://www.facebook.com/groups/OntarioWeddingVendors/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/250558061948189/ POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA As you do more wedding photos for clients, you need to post them on your social media channels. Dedicate 1 hour per week at minimum to update all your social media accounts. Everytime you edit 1 wedding album, post them on social media and tag the clients. Even though non-paid social media posts don’t have the same reach as they first did, it's still good to do since you can get additional clients just by posting on your Facebook & Instagram page. Your clients will share your posts, and you could end up booking 1 additional wedding per month if not more. WRITE CONTENT ON YOUR OWN BLOG Consider blogging about the wedding you were a part of. As you edit weddings, you can write a blog post about it, talking about the various photography styles you used for that specific wedding, the uniqueness of the location, the amazing vendors involved and any other info you can think of. Be sure to credit all the vendors involved and share the posts on social media. This is another great marketing strategy that can help you get additional clients without spending marketing money. Also this makes your website look better. All the new customers that visit your website, they will for sure look at your blog posts. CREATE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE Remember that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Consider uploading your wedding videos to YouTube for additional exposure. You will need to buy the license for the song you will be using in your video. Having videos on your Youtube page can help your website position on Google. The more content you contribute, the more valuable your website looks in the eyes of the search engines. You can also create slideshows of the weddings you have photographed too. You are only limited by your imagination on what you can do on your YouTube channel. ATTEND BRIDAL SHOWS When it comes to bridal shows as a marketing strategy, it's very tricky, and there is no clear-cut answer if it is worth it or not. However here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of bridal shows. There will be many bridal shows in your local area; it’s important to figure out which ones are worth it and which ones are not. It all comes down to marketing. How well is the bridal show marketing itself? I’ve personally attended bridal shows that where filled with couples shopping around one year and the next year the very same bridal show barely had any attendance. It’s all about how reliable the bridal show hosts are at marketing the event to bring in qualified clients to the bridal show. Booths often range from thousands of dollars for small spaces and sometimes bridal shows overbook and have multiple vendors in the same category, which makes it harder for you as a vendor to book customers. If the bridal show books 30 other photographers, in the same bridal show, it will be challenging for you to convince clients to go for you and the same vice versa. Make sure you ask how many vendors they allow in the same category. If you decide to use bridal shows as an additional marketing stream. Attend as a guest first and walk around and see how many people visit. Get some ideas on how you can present your booth by looking at what other competitors are doing and see if you can top their ideas. If you find that the bridal show is packed with good quality clients, next year make a plan to have a booth at the show. One other thing you should keep in mind is, make sure you network with other wedding vendors at the show. Make friends with some of them and build a relationship. You could potentially refer clients to each other through the year. Make friends with multiple vendors who offer the same service, so that if they are booked for one weekend, you can refer your other friend and they can refer you, clients, as well. REACH OUT TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS Chances are someone in your family & friends network knows someone who is getting married. Reach out to them and see if they can refer you to anyone that is planning a wedding. Get the word out in your family circle so that everyone knows you are now a photographer. DO A WEDDING STYLED SHOOTS Wedding vendors that are new in the market often start out by doing a few styled shoots. Gather a team of wedding vendors and find a venue that is willing to let you use the space for a day in exchange for a mention in the blog. Come up with a theme and create an inspirational wedding style shoot and share the cost of creating the shoot. Majority of the cost will be flowers & décor. Make sure you have a good budget split with everyone so you can afford to have luxury looking flowers and decorations which will make the styled shoot look stunning and beautiful. After you take the photos and edit them, be sure to find high traffic local wedding blogs and submit the styled shoot. This will get mentioned in their blogs and social media, and as a result, all the vendors involved could get additional clients. REACH OUT TO OUR MARKETING DEPARTMENT Our marketing agency specializes in helping wedding business owners grow their business using digital marketing. If you want an experienced team to manage your business marketing, reach out to us. We are happy to help.