Marketing 101

26 Oct

By: Isabel March

Marketing 101


by Isabel March

A prime number is a natural number that has exactly two distinct natural number divisors: 1 and itself. The same can be said about your business. Only YOU can make it go where YOU want it to go.  You have the power. It’s hard though. It takes alot out of you. It takes a TON of work. However, the end result is probably one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll ever have. It is said that owning a photography business is 20% shooting and 80% business. Truer words have never been spoken. So, while we struggle to figure out all things photography, we also have to struggle with figuring out all things business. One of the most common queries is marketing.  How in the world do we market ourselves? How can we get out name out there without it costing us an arm and a leg? How can we make our business flourish and rise like a Phoenix from the ashes? Well, the power is within us.  We are probably the only person that can make or break our own businesses; kind of like a prime number. Below are 7 (a prime number) tips that can help in marketing yourself and more importantly, marketing your brand.

1. Give the vendors that you’ve worked with at the wedding mad props.

–Take amazing photographs of their venue and their details and let them use the images on their website (of course, make sure you slap your logo on whatever you provide them).

–Create vendor postcards using the images that you’ve take of their venue. It showcases their work as well as yours.

— Check with the venue to see if they have a preferred vendor list and find out what you have to do to get on that list.

–Give them a shout out on Facebook, your blog, Twitter. The more exposure for them through you, the better for you. Not only will they refer you but when people google them, they’ll find you.

–Create vendor albums if you can…especially for the venues that you REALLY want to work at.

–For the venues that you want to really, really work with…pamper them. Small tokens go a long way, i.e. vendor albums, cookies with your logo, marketing material.

2. Promotional material

Drop them off at local bridal boutiques (not big name store like David’s). Just something like a trifold with images from weddings, contact info and basic pricing information. It could even be something as simple as a 5×7 postcard. The whole idea is to get your name out there. Make whatever image(s) you use catchy…something unique…something YOU…something that will stand out and make them remember you.

3. Cater to the bridal party

Look to the future. Make an impression on the couple’s family and friends…especially the bridesmaids since they will be the ones that will probably be searching for a wedding photographer next and will see you in action and how you interact with your bride/groom. Know their name and address them by it throughout the day. Win them over with fantastic pictures of them, remind them of what an awesome friend they are to the bride, show them pictures as you go through the day. Include them in the day. Remember, it’s all about the experience that you provide almost more so than the product you give out and end result.

4. Slideshows at the wedding.

While some may feel that their focus should be be solely on the bride and groom, my thought is this… what couple doesn’t want to see an instant gratification of their day?! They’re not going to care that the images are not full edited. They’re not going to notice if images are slightly under or over exposed. They’ll just be happy that their images are on a screen and that they look fabulous! Include at least one fun bridal party picture…watch them flock to the laptop throughout the night. Most of my couples do a first glance so by the time they’re enjoying cocktail hour and after I shoot details of the venue, I’m downloading cards onto an external harddrive and getting them ready. I tag images (40ish) from the getting-ready and portraits portion of the day; maybe even through the ceremony.  I edit them briefly in Lightroom if I need to, save them to my desktop and run the slideshow of those pictures in Lightroom. Make sure to add your logo and contact info at the end of the slideshow. Set it on the gift table or near the bar as the guests eat dinner and then forget about it until it’s time to pack up. Most importantly, before you show it to anyone else, take your bride and groom aside and show it to them first.  They’ll love it!

5. Be prompt with your services and follow through on what you’ve said your going to do.

If you promise a 4 week delivery time. Do it. Even better, come through early. Under promise and over deliver. Remember, it’s about the experience and nothing goes further than word of mouth from an overly excited, happy bride.

6. Make friends in the industry and be professional.

If you establish a relationship with other photographers chances are that when they’re booked, they’ll send you their overflow and vice versa. If you’re already booked for a date, send that bride to your colleague. In an industry where people seem to be quick to bash the competition, make them your friend. Their connections will eventually become your connections. And besides, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.

7. Blog It

Probably the single most important marketing tool you have in your arsenal is your blog. If you don’t have one…get one. Your blog is an extension of YOU and your brand. It’s a powerful tool that defines your style, lets your clients get to know you and attracts the kind of weddings that you want to attract.

— Blog your heart out. Give your clients/visitors a reason to keep coming back. There’s nothing more depressing that a blog that’s never updated and when it is updated the first sentence is, “WOW! Long time no blog…sorry ’bout that” You don’t have to blog every single day, however, update it a few times a week.  I know you’re thinking, “I’m not that interesting. What in the world do I have to write about? I stink at writing.” Remember, this is a tool that let’s your clients know you…on a personal level. You don’t have to divulge every bit of personal information of your life on your blog, but let them in a teeny bit into the insides of your life, your brain, your brand.

— Use your blog to showcase your work.  You don’t have to showcase every single image you take. Blog what you want your clients to see; the bestest of your bestest.

— Identify with your readers.  Think of your blog as a conversation with a friend.  Let them relate to you.  Don’t refer to things in the third person.  Make them feel as if they were there, too. Give them a sense of knowing your clients the way that you know your clients.  Tell their story as you see it, of course, using details that they’ve given you throughout their courtship with you.  Yes, you have a courtship with your clients. Use it to your advantage.

— Encourage reader participation.  Ask a question that they’ll answer in the comments section. Host little contests. Review products you use. Make your blog personal. Make it pretty. Make it a tool they can’t see not using throughout their day.<

Using these 7 tools that you readily have at your disposal is a guaranteed shoe-in to the next level of your business.  Remember, though, it’s going to take effort on your part.  No one else is going to do it for you. But the reward? Oh. So. Sweet!

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6 Responses to “Marketing 101”

  1. Alix October 26, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Thanks for the wonderful tips, Isabel! What a great dose of inspiration before I start my day 🙂

  2. Phila Baby Photog October 26, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Great article Isabel!

  3. Lauri October 26, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Awesome guest blog Isabel!! Great info and I agree with Alix, I’m inspired to go start my day now (perhaps with a blog post!). 🙂

  4. Heather October 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Excellent tips Isabel! Can’t wait to put a few into practice next season!

  5. Heather O October 27, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    Great information and so true, especially the slideshows at Weddings. So key!

  6. jennawalcott October 27, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Excellent ideas and awesome blog! Thanks so much for contributing!

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