How do you finish off wedding season? Are you straight off to the nearest airport destined for a luxury three month break in the Caribbean?
Ha, I didn’t think so, because contrary to what some people might think, us wedding photographers generally work all year round. It’s just the amount of weddings that might slow down. As we get deep into winter, most of us will pick up working harder on our marketing to get ready for the next year.
This is the perfect time to carry out a Marketing Audit for my wedding photography business. Kind of like my own version of an AGM, but there’s just me there! First of all I gather up the figures on all my current marketing and evaluate how much time and money I’m spending on each source. I keep track of how all my enquiries and bookings find me, so it’s pretty easy to correlate between where I’m investing in marketing and what is actually bringing me revenue.
Pulling all the information together gives me a nice clear overview on what is currently working well and what isn’t. This can help me to focus on where to put the most effort going forward into another year and what can be reduced. I also have a look at my current bookings and enquiries and assess if they are right for me. If not then it’s time to step up the marketing or take a new approach. An Audit will mean something different for every business but doing one once a year is a great exercise to help you stay on track and keep your enthusiasm going.
Maybe this will inspire you to try doing your own Audit but then what? Well the good news is that this is the perfect time of year to implement some changes and get some plans in place. The New year is peak time for bookings, people get Christmas over with and suddenly dive into the wedding planning, or they get engaged over the festive season and start looking around at the services they want. I was utterly amazed to see on my google analytics how many people had looked at my website on Christmas Day itself!
So New Year – New Marketing, what can you do now to get ready?
First of all, how is your website looking? Are there a few cobwebs on it? We all spend so much time on social media that it’s easy to neglect your website and your blog. And yet this is your shop window and this is the one space that you are not competing with anyone else. So make the best of it, no shop just puts up a window display once and never refreshes it and neither should you. You have complete control over every element of your website so do your best to ensure that you are happy with it all. Is there any part that makes you cringe a little? Get busy fixing it right now. You want to feel like showing off your website. If you currently don’t love it, how on earth can you expect anyone else to?
Next up, are you paying to be in any directories or are you running any ads? Could these do with a little TLC? It’s far too easy to set these things up and then never go back to review them. You may as well open your window right now and throw £20 notes out of it! If the listing lets you have a portfolio of images in it, switch them up for newer ones. If an ad hasn’t had a new graphic in a while, how about a nice shiny new one now?
While we are on the subject, where does your listing or ad link to? Is it just your homepage? Then I think you might be missing a trick. It’s ridiculously easy to set up a landing page specifically directed to the potential client likely to click through from the original source. For instance, I run an ad on the Rock n roll Bride site and I also have a listing in the London section of the US site Junebug. They are both quite different, so I have a landing page that caters to each. This is just one little marketing trick that helps me stand out in a very crowded market.
What about social media?
Do you have a strategy when it comes to posting or are you a stab in the dark kind of user? There are so many ways to use social media now, with Stories, IGTV, Grids, Feeds, Pinning, Vlogging …. Gaaahhhhhh! No wonder many of us feel utterly overwhelmed. However social media is a complete gift when it comes to marketing yourself as a photographer. It all relies on imagery and that’s what you are already good at. The big secret for doing well on there is to simply show up consistently and provide content that is useful or inspiring to your kind of client. Just don’t get too lost looking at everyone else’s work on there, that quickly drains your energy.. Also don’t try to be on all the channels all the time, that’s a full time job in itself. Pick one that you actually enjoy using and concentrate most on that one.
Finally, don’t neglect offline marketing. Getting out into the real world is the best way to do business for anyone. Look for networking events in your area and if there are none, then you be the person who sets one up. Where are couples looking for wedding suppliers? Yes, they still go to shows and fairs and these days there is one for every single style of wedding from traditional to alternative. Now is the time to book your place at the Spring ones before your competitors grab the spots. Then when you book on, think how can I make the very best of being there?
You have time right now to make a Marketing Plan, to implement some or all of these ideas or any of your own. I’m in exactly the same boat and I’m determined to get on with the work now, so that I’m right where I need to be in the New Year to get booked. Marketing is a continual part of running a business and secretly I think it’s one of the most fun parts. Let me know if this inspires you to make your own plans or if any of this works well for you.