Newly engaged couples nowadays typically find their wedding vendors through social media. Customers now have to navigate a complex maze to find their ideal wedding photographer, what with Instagram morphing into a hybrid of Yelp and Pinterest, Facebook algorithms shifting constantly, and website views hitting an all-time low.
If you run a service-based company, your ability to generate new leads is essential to your continued success. This refers to the amount of people who have expressed an interest in learning more about your offerings. Despite the fact that this is the factor that can make or break a business, photography business owners say that not getting enough leads is their biggest challenge.
When asked, most business owners would characterise a lead as a potential customer who has expressed interest in scheduling service with them. It's probably too late to get booked if you wait for people to contact you. You're passing up a tonne of potential customers who could develop into leads unless you're getting constant recommendations from satisfied customers. You should be able to get in touch with people before they get in touch with you to ask questions.
When someone who has never dealt with your company before makes contact, they are probably just looking for quotes. Entrepreneurs are frustrated that their Facebook ads and search engine optimisation efforts are bringing in nothing but price shoppers, and they blame this on the quality of their customer base. As we've already established, you can prevent the wrong kinds of leads from contacting you by making sure your content is tailored to your ideal client.
Table of Contents
Why Leads Aren’t Booking
You’re Attracting the Wrong Prospects
Although you may believe that your company can accommodate any customer, the reality is that not all customers are ideal patrons. You should review our Digital Marketing Strategy Guide's customer journey map and ideal client avatar exercises if you haven't already. Once you've figured out who you're supposed to help, it's time to take a close look at the people who have recently expressed interest in hiring you.
Do these potential engagements line up well with your ideal customer profile? So, why not? How were they different from your ideal customer avatar? What characteristics did they share with that hypothetical perfect customer?
Your leads aren't booking because of a lack of interest, but you can figure out why in part by comparing your online presence to that of potential customers. Assessing your company's online presence is equally crucial. Does it target your ideal customer? To what extent does your website's content satisfy a need expressed by your ideal customer avatar? Do you provide useful information, motivation, or a personal connection to your ideal customer on social media?
It's not always easy to take a step back and examine our businesses objectively. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and find out who they are by asking a trusted coworker. Take note of the places where you aren't forming meaningful relationships with people who could help you succeed.
Consider spending some time checking out rival businesses' online presences, such as their websites and social media pages. Can you tell who their target audience is based on the information presented there? How do they describe themselves to that specific type of customer? Without plagiarising, consider how their methods might apply to your own company and its target audience.
You Have No Lead Pipeline
More complex organisations usually have distinct lead qualification and sales pipeline stages. Even if you don't plan on taking things to this extreme, it's instructive to familiarise yourself with the steps involved and imagine what they might look like for your company.
They use a pipeline with six stages as an example. The first is when readers sign up to receive new posts via email. Second, when a user submits a contact form and gives their email address.
An individual who is still in the research phase but who downloads a buyer's guide for a piece of software is an example of a qualified marketing lead. That they are actively seeking the service or product this firm provides. However, a sales qualified lead is someone who requests a demonstration of the software. The lead stays in the demonstration stage until the prospect makes contact, at which point the lead enters the opportunity stage.
The two stages of the pipeline that are typically considered by photography business owners are "opportunity" and "booking." This opportunity may not be a good fit for your company without first going through a qualification process. This explains why we constantly deal with bargain hunters and occasionally horrible customers.
If you have a pipeline in place, you can weed out the prospects who aren't a good fit for your company. At the same time, it aids in cultivating the correct company.
You’re Not Nurturing Leads
Customers need to interact with your company's marketing and sales teams a total of seven to thirteen times before they're ready to buy a pricey product or service. At the outset of their journey, your customers are either learning about what you offer or gathering preliminary research data. Typically, businesses don't consider a prospect who hasn't yet reached this stage to be a qualified lead because the level of interaction between the two parties is too shallow at this point. The customer isn't ready to buy, or they lack the knowledge necessary to make use of your services.
Someone who asks for a price from you might not qualify as a prospect if they lack the necessary level of knowledge, according to this definition. In spite of being further along the path to finalisation than someone still in the awareness stage, this is the case. The question then becomes, "What is a business owner to do?"
You probably already know that you need a steady stream of potential customers coming in. The next step is to discuss how to put that into action through search engine optimisation (SEO), a solid social media strategy that generates natural backlinks to your content, and lead nurturing via newsletters and email marketing.
Getting people to sign up for your newsletter is a great first step, but if you don't follow up with them on a regular basis, you're not nurturing your leads. You are not nurturing your leads if you wait for someone to contact you and book with you before you make an initial investment. So, plan how you can start nurturing ideal prospects before they are ready to book, and you'll have them booking with you automatically.
Here's what to do if you're just starting out in the wedding industry and need referrals:
Do your homework first.
Find out how many weddings are happening in your area, how much money the average couple is spending on their big day, and more with The Wedding Report. You'll need this data to determine how much to charge and whether or not the market can actually sustain your business.
Check out what your rivals are up to on the web. If you want to succeed in business, you'll have to stand out. Finding an unfulfilled need in your market gives you an immediate advantage over the competition.
Find a mentor.
You can get referrals, kickstart your business, and start making money much more quickly if you have a mentor supporting you.
To accomplish this, employ the Power Lunch technique: Find five local experts in weddings whom you can trust. Getting introduced to someone through a mutual friend is a great way to start a new relationship. It will be simpler to find someone who isn't in direct competition with you, but you shouldn't automatically discount someone who already does what you want to do if you know them well enough.
Get in touch with them by phone. Tell them you're just getting started and that you admire their work (sincerely!). Invite them out to lunch and use the time to pick their brains about how to improve your company.
Not everyone will respond, but all you need is one person to share their knowledge, offer their guidance, and introduce you to their network.
Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
Make friends in the wedding business. Lots of them!
Look for regional wedding-related Facebook groups, follow wedding professionals on Instagram, or research regional wedding organisations to join.
Plan to meet three new people at each networking event, or to send three new direct messages on social media every week. You'll quickly become friends if you can find a way to aid them. It's a speedy strategy for generating initial word-of-mouth.
Maintain contact with everyone you've met.
If the person you just met works in the wedding industry, you should definitely start following them online or at least get their card. Take notes on the discussion or bring it up in your first direct message.
After the initial contact, you may wish to follow up with a video or voice message in which you enquire about their most recent wedding and whether or not the couple you worked with was representative of their typical clientele. In addition, make sure to reply when they contact you. Don't leave them hanging; instead, share your thoughts on their response.
When you maintain a constant presence in the minds of your clients, they will begin to recommend you to others. Doing this is the most effective form of low-cost advertising available.
Use your inexperience as an asset.
When you're first starting out, one of the trickiest questions to answer is, "How many weddings have you done?"
Eeek. If you're being honest, though, whose wedding would you rather attend?
First, unless specifically asked, you shouldn't reveal that you haven't officiated any weddings. Use your lack of experience to your advantage if they ask.
Provide relevant work history and references, then offer steep discounts because you're just starting out. We're just getting started, so you can expect extra effort from us to ensure your satisfaction.
Make sure your response to this question sounds natural by practising it. This will allow you to feel at ease while attending meetings.
Consider online ads – but cautiously.
Many inexperienced wedding professionals have wasted money on Facebook and Instagram ads without first figuring out their target audience and how they can set themselves apart from the competition.
You won't get a good return on investment if you just advertise that you're a wedding photographer/DJ/planner/fill in the blank on these platforms; rather, you need to make sure you're sending them to a high-quality lead magnet or download piece - something they're interested in for their wedding, AND relates to your service. As an added bonus, this will assist you in targeting the right couples with your advertising efforts.
In order to avoid the regrettable outcome of an expensive advertising campaign that yields no results, it is important to conduct thorough research into your ideal customer profile before launching your campaign.
Start a blog and write at least once a week.
To attract people who haven't heard of you but are looking for someone like you online for FREE, "organic" search traffic (which can be captured by having a blog on your website) is crucial. which is to say, when you're first starting out, everyone.
How To Get More Wedding Photography Clients
Read on to learn our tried and true method for generating more interest from and bookings from future brides and grooms. For over a decade now, this is how we've had the most success as wedding photographers. It's been functioning in a natural and congruent manner, which is consistent with our company and who we are. The photography industry is as diverse as its practitioners. That being said, use what serves you and discard the rest!
(SEO and organic search engine results only; we do not employ any form of paid promotion. Google is the primary source of leads and customers for our company. At the very least, every other week, you can expect to find some new and helpful content on our blog. Like this very post, the blogs we produce for our wedding photography and life coaching clients are timely, helpful, and full of pertinent information. Our bridal clients can find useful articles like "How to Plan an Elopement" and "The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Favors." Places to Get Married in the Catskills, Hudson Valley, and the Adirondacks Near Buffalo, New York. These are just a few examples of content that could be useful to people who are interested in weddings and elopements and that you could share with them. In addition to showcasing your exquisite photography, this also gives your clients a chance to learn more about you.
Referrals From Past Clients
Two additional sources of inquiries and bookings for our wedding photography services come from the recommendations of our satisfied customers. Is there a secret to getting a solid recommendation?
It is our policy to under-promise and consistently over-deliver. To make our customers feel like they are the only ones, we go out of our way to exceed their expectations. As a token of our appreciation, we provide them with gifts at the time of booking and keep in regular contact with them.
Get the word out by soliciting reviews from satisfied customers on your Google My Business page. (Have you not set up a Google My Business page for your company yet? Yes, you must! Check out our No. 1 method of bringing in new business up top to see why!)
Referrals From Other Wedding Photographers In The Industry
The majority of our early wedding clients came from this source. In the event that we were booked for a given date, we reached out to other wedding photographers in the field and passed them the assignment. As a token of their gratitude, they began referring us for weddings that were already in their schedule. With fewer weddings to shoot each year, we no longer have to work around as many conflicts. As a result, we are not able to send as many customers to other photographers and are receiving fewer referrals from them. Photographers with comparable levels of experience to ours are also declining to cover as many weddings or turning to assistants to help out.
Referrals From Other Small Businesses
We've been in the wedding industry for 12 years, and during that time we've built lasting relationships with other professionals. We have been referred to many new clients by local florists, event coordinators, and other businesses we admire. As we have been making more investments in the local community over the past few years, this may soon become our third most effective strategy for attracting new customers. Making connections with other business owners who share your goals and aesthetic can be extremely beneficial. You should start networking with successful local business owners and participating in local business groups. In the long run, this helps you connect with more people.
Check out our post on Are wedding photographers worth it?
Social Media Including Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook
Over the course of our company's first 12 years, new clients came primarily through Facebook (through both direct and indirect referrals from satisfied customers who shared their experiences by posting photos of our work on the social media platform), but ever since Facebook made some changes to their algorithm, that strategy has stopped producing results. Sharing our most recent blog posts on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest has resulted in 2-3 more wedding or coaching client bookings annually. Even though the very nature of social media is always changing, maintaining an active presence by posting fresh content at regular intervals is essential for being discovered online.
Identify nearby places and events by their proper names. If more people can find you, your traffic will increase.
Since you're a startup, your clients will appreciate the energy and enthusiasm that has been lacking from the industry for a while. Your business will be off to a great start if you arrange for the grooms' friends to meet the brides.
FAQs About Wedding Photographer
A good photographer is passionate about photography and willing to learn and improve continuously. Acquiring technical skills is just the beginning. A good photographer also needs artistic vision and storytelling skills. All these take time to develop, but they will become your second nature soon.
The presence of those you love and care about makes it all the more precious; it's not often that everyone can be in the same place simultaneously. Talk to your photographer about the different poses, backgrounds, and people you want including in your photos.
We recommend allowing at least 60 minutes to photograph wedding details. This will ensure we have plenty of time to get that elegant and timeless photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquet, and other day details.
Most wedding photographers edit every single photo delivered to the couple. This is normally included in your photography package. Remember that “editing” can mean different things to different people.
The industry standard among professional wedding photographers is that RAW files and unedited jpegs are not available whether you want to purchase them or would like them given away for free. The same principle applies.