Here at ShootDotEdit, not only do we take care of your post wedding photography needs, we also enjoy educating you on the best practices to grow your business. There are many aspects of your photography business that you must master to create a constant flow of bookings. Relying on clients referrals is an effective way to bring in new revenue, but that is not the only referral avenue you have to work with. While your past clients are great for referrals, the vendors that you work with at each event can be great, if not better sometimes! Learning how to work with vendors to create a vibrant referral network is key to growing your business.
In our Turning Vendors into Referral Engines Webinar, photographer and business owner J Sandifer shared tips on how to use vendor referrals to increase your bookings this year. Here the top 5 tips that you can apply to your business today to get started.
1. Be the center of your local network
In the social media age, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest have created a new and unique way for you to interact with friends and business associates. While using social media can be helpful to your business, there is still a lot of value in face-to-face meetings. When you build a connection with your vendors on a personal level, you are creating a lasting relationship. These relationships will increase the referrals you get for your business. As you form relationships with vendors, remember to stay top of mind with them – every few months, reconnect with them over coffee or lunch to see what you can do to help one another out!
2. Be selective
As a business owner, it can be difficult to create enough time to meet with every vendor that you know in your local industry. It is important for you to spend your time connecting with vendors that will help you grow your photography business. As you are choosing networking events to attend, remember that it is not necessary for you to be at every event. It is beneficial for you to focus on a smaller group of people that will help your business, rather than trying to maintain connections with a large, less meaningful crowd.
3. Learn how to say “No”
As you think about the goals you have for the future of your business, decide what vendors will help you get there. Once you have made an organized plan for your goals, you must learn to say no to opportunities that may not be the best use of your time. While it can be challenging at first to say no when a vendor asks you to connect, if you know the relationship is one that will not help your business (or theirs) grow, you have to remember that you are doing what is best for your business. Your time is valuable, and time that you spend networking with vendors that you know are not going to be strong relationships is time you could have been profiting your business in another area.
4. Use your blog to build your network
Your blog can set the tone of you creating your brand in your local network. Build your network with blog posts by sharing guest posts or interviews that you have with new vendors! Collaborating with vendors on blog content will save you time and help you reach a larger audience. Keep in mind that there are likely 10-15 different vendors that you may have come in contact with in preparing your couple for their big day. As you post images from a wedding on your blog, tag each vendor that was present. This will help generate traffic to their website, and it gives them a reason to share your blog post – a win for both of you!
5. Share Images
As a wedding photographer, you are the key holder to many images that vendors would love to have access to! While they can take photos with their smart phones, having professional images of themselves and their work is something that can really elevate their business. As you connect with vendors, make it a point to let them know you want to share any images you take of them and their specialty. A simple way to share images is through LulaWed – all you need to do is upload the images, and then vendors can share them across various social media networks! Not only will this help your relationship become stronger because you are helping vendors, but your images will be shared across a larger network.
As you begin to connect with your vendors, be sure you are constantly thinking of ways to help both your business and theirs grow. Vendor referrals keep your photography business afloat by providing a stream of new clients who want to book you! For you to learn more about attracting clients to your business, download our Guide to Content Marketing for Wedding Photographers!