As a wedding photographer in a very competitive region, I am always looking for the best ways to connect with potential wedding clients. It can be quite daunting to determine the best course of action for your marketing and brand awareness in an attempt to attract your ideal client; however, with a little bit of research and planning, you’ll be able to begin attracting the right clients for you!
Read more: Wedding Photography: 7 Beginner Tips
Below, I’ve written my favorite five ways to reach and connect with potential brides:
No.01Learn Who Your Ideal Client Is
Before you spend any money or time trying to connect with your potential brides and grooms, you need to figure out who they are. Create an ideal client profile that not only describes where they shop, eat, spend time, etc., but also what they value and care about.
Knowing this information will allow you to determine which platforms are best for your advertising (i.e. The Knot) and your time (i.e. Instagram). Without knowing all about your ideal client, you might end up wasting time and money in the wrong places.
Frankly, I don’t do much paid advertising. I especially avoid print advertising, as I fully believe it does not pay off. From time to time, I will try out a vendor guide listing. While these don’t often bring me bridal inquiries, they do increase my Instagram regrams and publishings with these blogs, further getting my name out there.
For paid advertising for wedding photographers, large online guides tend to be the most popular. Before you go spending hundreds of dollars on these services, check around with your local wedding vendor peers and ask about their experiences with these platforms.
I know some vendors in one part of the country who have tons of success with them and some vendors in another part of the country who didn’t book a single bride from them. Do your research!
You may also want to look into advertising with a wedding blog. Remember your ideal client profile? Figure out which of the most popular wedding blogs might best cater to your ideal brides’ tastes. So ensure that your money goes to the right place.
Lastly, you can opt for Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, etc. advertising. Some of these are effective for many wedding vendors, but as was the case with online wedding guides, you’ll need to ask around to see what works in your city.
You can also test out each platform to determine if any of them connect you with potential brides, but do be willing to spend a few hundred (200-300) dollars to see enough results to influence your decision.
Why have I singled out Instagram? I personally feel that many of the other social media platforms are either too congested or too “last year” to appeal to our reach brides and grooms (I’m looking at you, Facebook).
Instagram isn’t too much of a “pay to play” platform (yet) and it is 100% free to use. An overwhelming majority of my inquiries come from Instagram, which is why I spend a great deal of effort working on my feed.
Having trouble posting or remembering to post? Try an app that allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time. I love uploading images and writing my captions on their desktop website and then posting via their app on my phone. It’s so easy to use and has helped me keep up with posting every single day.
Remember to use relevant hashtags not only for your city (i.e. #atlantaweddingphotographer), but also for any venues you post (i.e. #swanhousewedding). Using hashtags and also geo-tagging the venue or city on the post will greatly increase your chances of being discovered when a bride is searching Instagram for vendors.
I tend to opt for more specific hashtags. Vague and overly popular hashtags have so many associated posts, which causes your post to quickly get lost in the feed. Stay specific and local and you will see the best results!
Be relevant and maximize the usage of your hashtags in your comment section to avoid making your caption look spammy. I tend to use anywhere from 20-30 hashtags per image and prefer to diversify what type of hashtag they are to allow me to reach multiple audiences.
Remember that ideal client profile I’ve mentioned so many times in this post? It will come in handy when determining which wedding vendors you want to pursue with the most effort. If you love brides who have rustic DIY weddings, you probably won’t get very much out of a relationship with a planner who only plans elegant ballroom weddings.
Find vendors who have similar clients to your ideal clients, rather than just analyzing the budget caliber of a vendor’s weddings. Doing so will allow you to efficiently build relationships with the right vendors for you!
Building relationships to a point where vendors start referring you potential clients takes time. You might luck out and find someone who will instantly send you a few weddings, but more than likely you can expect this process to take months to years. Keep in mind, though, that it truly is a relationship. It must be genuine and mutually beneficial. Do it for the relationship first and the referrals second.
To really kick-start a relationship, ask these vendors what you can do for them to provide them with value. Perhaps you can gift them a headshot session or shoot the details of an upcoming event that doesn’t already have a photographer.
Also, always always always remember to send vendors images from the weddings that you shoot. Don’t charge them for this, as that’s a surefire way to not get referred by them. Simply ask they credit and don’t edit and send them in a timely manner. They’ll love you for it!
No.05Show Brides Who You Are
Successful contemporary marketing often heavily relies on audience emotions and experiences. You can adopt this strategy by showing brides who you are. Share your personal stories, experiences, and anything you can about yourself to connect with your audience on platforms like Instagram.
People love seeing the face behind the camera and learning who you are, so be sure to post at least 3-4 images per month of yourself on Instagram, Facebook, or anywhere else you market. These don’t have to be fancy headshots! I often post behind the scenes images of myself shooting styled shoots or weddings. Simply ask a vendor or your 2nd shooter to take some of you in action and then post that image with a compelling caption about yourself or even how you work.
By doing so, you are showing potential clients that you aren’t just a business, but rather that you are a photographer with a personality that will attract the right brides for your business! Even if it seems scary or you worry it might come across as narcissistic, I promise it’s not!
Many of my brides feel like they already know me by the time they inquire, which makes my job of selling myself to them nearly complete by the time I meet with them. It has done wonders for my business!