Having a current database of potential clients is a valuable asset to your business. Here are three key ways you can build your e-mail database and maintain its integrity over time.
a) Offer a free download of a lead magnet on your website, for example, the Top 10 Tips for Looking Great in Photos. By accepting the download they are opting in to receive your future e-mails.
b) Have a contest through your social media channels to give away a free engagement session, and signing up with their e-mail address counts as their entry.
c) Have a sign-up sheet visible and accessible at a bridal show where you can collect basic contact information like first and last names, wedding date and most importantly, e-mail addresses. Use the sign-up as an entry to a giveaway for an engagement session as the main prize, and $X off any wedding package as a runner-up prize.
2) Make sure your photos and products are displayed at the wedding.
The wedding is essentially a big show for all the attendees. They will be examining the details, talking to one another and there is a good chance that some of the bride and groom’s guests are your target audience too, so this is the perfect opportunity to get your best work in front of them. Custom wedding programs (such as the Engaged Magazine template) or save the date cards are a great way to indirectly market your work to wedding guests, not to mention a great way to up sell to your clients, so consider adding these to your product offerings. You might also throw in a limited quantity as a sign-up bonus. This is a great way to seal the deal and at the same time provide an opportunity for more sales later on. Other items could include a guest sign-in book featuring the couples’ engagement photos, or an enlarged engagement print with a matte that guests can sign. Wedding event marketing cards, which are essentially business cards featuring an image or two of the couple can be something you could make available for guests to pick up. You can create your own or purchase one of my pre-made templates here. Make sure the web address of the couples online gallery is visible on the card and require the guests to give their e-mail when they access the gallery online. The ideas listed here will not cost too much time or money when you consider the return on investment. You could spend around $20 to print event cards (I usually print enough for one per couple at the wedding and not per guest). And the guest book is around $100 (even less for an enlargement and matte) the options are endless!
3) Focus on high-level customer service to generate referrals
Limit the number of weddings you take on each year so that you can provide excellent customer service to your clients. Increase your prices some to make up for the limited number of weddings so you can to devote extra time to your clients and really cater to their needs. The extra mile you go for your clients will do wonders when it comes to getting referrals since happy and satisfied clients are more likely to recommend you.
4) Network with other vendors and let your work speak for itself
Having strong, positive collaborations with other vendors can make a significant impact on the way you can grow your client base. One idea is to offer a sample of your work for free. You could gain referrals from wedding planners you have previously worked with by putting together a sample album from that wedding. This becomes an excellent selling tool for both you and the vendor. Since most album companies offer a discount on album samples be sure to invest in some high quality albums with the client in mind. This makes it easy for the wedding planner to recommend your services. Keep in mind that that albums you create for other vendors should also be similar to the quality of albums in your product offering since the couple may be interested in purchasing a similar album from you if they book with you.
5) Network with other vendors by providing them complimentary services
Consider certain venues in the area that host weddings. If they have recently opened for business or are new to catering weddings, they may not have any marketing photos. Offer to take some shots of their property free of charge. If they're new to weddings you may even go one step further and put together a styled shoot with a bride model at their venue. These would be great images for them to use in advertisements in bridal magazines or on their website. Just make sure they know you'll need a photo credit in exchange whenever they print or post your photo. You might even consider producing some 8 x 10 prints or postcards with a collage of the photos you take, with the venue details as well as your own business information such as ‘Compliments of X Photography’.
So I want to know what are YOU doing to get more clients for your wedding photography business? Let me know by commenting below.