[H]ave you ever felt like this? Well hey, here is the news… NO photographer shoots their ideal client all the time and if you think you will ever reach a point where you will then of course you will feel a little frustrated.
We actually bang on a lot about this mythical ideal client at Photography Farm. In fact if you have attended our two day workshop then you will have made a list of attributes that your ideal couple would have. It’s an exercise that we do before we explore where that ideal client would be looking for their wedding services and how you can make sure that you are putting yourself there. It kicks off our marketing section and that is exactly what the Ideal Client is.. a marketing tool.
It is common business practice to direct your marketing at an imaginary person who possesses a particular set of qualities. In broad terms we have demographics like Generation X and Millennials and within those we have sub-groups. However setting out to appeal to large group when the market is saturated is not thought to be a good strategy. Instead aiming to appeal to a particular niche can be the factor that sets you apart and gets you attention. I believe that you can’t go too niche right now which is why I push our attendees to define their ideal client right down to how they dress and shop for their food.
It’s just like fishing, you can trawl the ocean picking up any old fish or you can line fish in a specific place with a specific bait. Once you have defined your ideal client you can set about fishing for them in the right places and in the right way. Have this couple in mind when you set out your stall, when you create your website, when you post on social media, when you place an advert, when you work on your SEO. It gives your marketing a structure and direction rather than flailing around trying to appeal to nobody in particular. Do this and you should start to see an increase in the number of enquiries that seem to be ‘right up your street’.
However when it comes to actual bookings, I see the two things as quite separate. Although I’m very specific with who I am trying to attract, in reality all I care about is that they are excited about the photography or that it is an important part of the wedding for them. I don’t reject potential bookings as they don’t appear to match my particular demographic. Instead I work hard on marketing and I review my list of traits for my Ideal Client on a regular basis and look at where I can improve and tweak. And I do my best for every client, sure I gel with some more than others but I’m not the one doing the marrying. Our relationship is brief and as long as I feel that they care about the photos, then I will go above and beyond every time.
I know photographers at the top of their game who will readily admit that they don’t always work with their Ideal Client and as we all book more and more clients online rather than meeting in person first, then it is bound to happen. It takes a while for whatever marketing that you put in place to show results so don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t as good at it a few months ago as you are now. And don’t stop marketing, it’s not something that you do once or twice and sit back reaping the rewards. It should be an ongoing part of your workflow, even at the busiest times of year.
Try to bear in mind that weddings can be stressful for the couple. My friends got married last weekend and I would say that the bride is one of the most chilled out, laid back people that I know. But the reality of pulling together a festival wedding and all the logistics that have to fall into place did get to her on the Friday and she had to walk away at one point before it overwhelmed her. So what seemed like an Ideal Couple for you could have a complete personality change just as a reaction to the stress involved in it all. So don’t get hung up on the Ideal of the Ideal Client, don’t feel blue if you feel like you’ve had a little run of couples that you don’t feel as connected to as you could. Just keep working on your game and take each one as it comes.
Want to see my list for my Ideal Client? I will send it out in the next newsletter as one of two of the attributes on there might just surprise you…
Head Farmer / Wedding Photographer