Navigating the Referral Deficit in Weddings

Navigating the Referral Deficit in Weddings

The Referral Deficit In Weddings

Let’s explore The Referral Deficit in Weddings and what strategies will counterbalance it. First of all, what even is it? As wedding photographers, many of us have noticed a significant shift in our enquiries this year. Historically, my bookings were evenly split between Google, Instagram, and recommendations from both past clients and fellow suppliers. But recently, the referrals have dropped off considerably, most notably from previous clients. 

This shift raises an important question: what’s happening, and how do we navigate this change?

“Turning customers into your biggest fans ensures a steady stream of enquiries from similar people. When those dry up, we need to lean into other marketing strategies.”

What’s Happening with Referrals?

Initially, I wondered if I was losing my touch. However, I soon realised it’s not that simple. The pandemic created a gap in our industry. The knock-on effect with weddings that didn’t happen means fewer couples are recommending us. There is a hiatus in the natural flow of referrals, and now we’re feeling the aftereffects. I’m going to call this for what it is – a client referral deficit in weddings. Happy clients talking about how great we are from the past few years are fewer, simply because there were fewer weddings.

Navigating the Market Shift

So, how do we counterbalance this? Referrals from happy clients are solid gold as marketing goes. Turning customers into your biggest fans ensures a steady stream of enquiries from similar people. When those dry up, we need to lean into other marketing strategies. The pandemic didn’t slow down the number of new photographers entering the industry, which means more competition. Many of these newcomers are leveraging social media in fresh, engaging ways and producing valuable content that attracts couples – maybe more so because they don’t have referrals they can rely on yet.

Refresh Your Blog and Content

How’s your blog these days? Gathering cobwebs, perhaps? It’s time to dust it off. Maybe you have some expert content or guides lurking in dark corners of your website that haven’t been touched in a while. It’s time to review and refresh them if you are not getting the usual level of enquiries.

We also need to work on our other marketing channels:

Social Media

Focus on the platform you enjoy the most and repurpose your content across others. People are currently booking weddings via Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. Choose your preferred platform and think about how you can cross-pollinate the others.

  • Consistency: Post regularly to keep your audience engaged and informed.
  • Engagement: Use stories, live sessions, and interactive posts to connect personally with your followers.
  • Repurpose Content: Save time by using your best content across multiple platforms. This reduces the workload and maximises your reach.

Google and Blogging

When was the last time you updated your blog? Regular blogging can significantly boost your SEO. I know, I know – you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to blog.” Well, I’ve got you covered. I offer a class on blogging that can show you how to get a complete blog post from your online gallery to your website in just 30 minutes. 

  • SEO Benefits: Blogging regularly helps improve your search engine ranking, making it easier for potential clients to find you.
  • Content Ideas: Highlight recent weddings, share tips, or write about trends. Any blog is better than none. Not every post has to be all singing and all dancing. And ain’t no SEO in the world that will pick up the blogs you never get around to writing.

“Google Loves Nothing More Than Google, So Do Google Everything…”

  • Social Media: Make a post stating that you have availability. People often feel that suppliers they admire will probably be booked up so don’t be bashful about pointing out that you have gaps to fill.
  • Be Yourself: I hear from photographers in my mentoring programme that they feel like they should compete with highly visible people and use social media the way they do. Listen, it’s only sustainable if you show up as your genuine self and this is what will attract the right people for you.

Google: Google loves nothing more than Google so do Google everything. Make sure your business profile is up to date, ask past clients for Google Reviews, Do your own reviews of wedding venues that you have worked at and wish to return to. These are just some of the ways you can get more Google Juice.

Embracing the Shift

The slowdown and shift in enquiries can be daunting, but it’s also an opportunity to refresh and refine our marketing strategies. By leveraging social media, updating our blogs, and building strong relationships with other suppliers, we can navigate this market shift successfully. After over two decades in the game, I’ve seen so many swings in the market and it’s people who can shift around the shifts that do the best.

Final Thoughts

The current market challenges present a unique opportunity to innovate and adapt. By focusing on diversified marketing strategies and reinforcing our professional networks, we can counterbalance the referral deficit and continue to thrive. If you need more personalised guidance, consider joining my Mentoring Programme where we can delve deeper into strategies tailored specifically for your business. I will guide you through the current choppy waters and ensure that you come out the other side stronger than ever.



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