This time of year brings about the end of the busy season, which means you have extra time to spend working on your business. The next few months are crucial to your success next year. When you take steps to improve your business, more clients will want to book you and your services. There may be aspects of your business that need your attention, so now is the perfect time to work on them. Check out these 27 tips and tricks to help you improve your business and increase bookings next year.
Much of your job as a photographer is spent reaching out to ideal clients who will help you grow your business. The way to do that is to use content marketing, which allows you to share your images with potential clients. Marketing to your target audience will help you book the weddings you want to shoot, and spend time with clients who you will love.
Image Compliments of Salt and Pine Photography
1. Create Content
While you have more time to spend in your business, it is important to focus on what will attract your next clients. Content is one of the most effective ways to show potential clients what you have to offer. Since you just spent months creating content with your camera, share your images on your website and blog. The more content you share, the higher the chance it will appeal to your ideal client.
2. Discover your Audience
As you are working through your images, decide what type of content will attract your target audience. If you know that your audience is made up of couples who want to get married outdoors, share images that represent past weddings in locations that will grab their attention.
3. Write down your Goals
Once you have decided who your target audience is and what images you can share with them, create short and long-term goals. Short-term goals are smaller tasks you can accomplish immediately, such as posting one wedding per week on your website and blog. Long-term goals focus on your overall business goals, such as increasing your bookings for next year through sharing relevant content.
Your blog is a reflection of you as a wedding photographer, so it is important to place your best content there for potential clients to see. In addition to including images, you can tell a story of the wedding day. You can also share helpful tips for brides who are still planning their wedding day, or past brides who are starting a new chapter in their lives.
4. Focus on SEO
Mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for your business because it helps you rank higher on search engines, such as Google. Including popular keywords that your target audience searches for can help your content appear in front of them, meaning they will be more likely to see what you have to offer. When you know exactly what keywords attract your ideal client, you will have the opportunity to increase your reach through search engines.
5. Create Evergreen Content
There are many parts of photography that change, such as preferred techniques and styles. In addition to that, there are many aspects of photography that do not change and that can stand the test of time. This is something to think about when you are creating content for your clients. Evergreen content means that the information is true today, as well as five years from now.
6. Build Strategies
Even if you have plenty of content to share on your blog, there needs to be a strategy involved with this process. One way to do this is to create a blog calendar that allows you to plan out exactly how many blog posts you will share per day, week, and month. The more planned out your blog schedule is, the easier it is for your clients to know when to look for new content from you.
Another part of your business that can use your attention during these next few months is social media. The various social media platforms are a fast (and inexpensive!) way for you to reach a larger audience. Understanding how to properly use social media can help you place your content in front of thousands of your ideal clients with minimal time and effort.
6. Market to your Target Audience through Facebook
Using Facebook in your business allows you to identify your target audience, and create advertising campaigns to reach out to them. Not only can you share your content on Facebook, you can use the boosting feature to reach clients who are looking for a wedding photographer like you. This is where understanding your target market becomes helpful to your business.
7. Utilize your Instagram Page
Instagram is a perfect tool for wedding photographers to use to reach new clients. Using Instagram as a photographer allows you to share your best images with past, current, and potential clients. Create a plan for your images that includes posting your best images from each wedding on a daily or weekly basis. Whatever your plan is, you should be consistent so your clients know when to expect new posts from you.
8. Connect on Twitter
When you post tweets on Twitter on a daily basis, you begin to create a following. The more interesting your content, the easier it is for you to capture the attention of a larger audience. Learn how to write Twitter copy that entices your followers, and makes them want to click on the link you provided. Direct all of your followers to your website and blog so that they can see more of your work, and decide whether they want to work with you.
9. Attract Clients with your Pinterest Page
One way to easily reach your ideal bride is to effectively use your Pinterest business page. Create boards that are categorized by wedding and event so your ideal bride knows where to look when she is envisioning her wedding day with you as her photographer. Include links to your website and blog so that when the bride clicks on the image, she is redirected to your galleries.
10. Develop a Cohesive Social Media Plan
When you decide what social media platforms you want to include in your business, you can create a cohesive social media plan. This plan should include how often you will post, what days you will post, and who you will be targeting. Other things to decide are whether you will post the same content across all of your channels, or if you will create unique content for each platform.
With all of the content you have created and shared with your clients, there needs to be ways for your clients to continue to interact with you and your business. There are many ways for you to do this on your website, blog, and social media platforms.
11. Add “Pin it” Buttons
Including “Pin it” buttons on your images can encourage a potential client to interact with you on your other networks. This button immediately pins your image to their Pinterest page, allowing them to view it at any time. You can include this button on your website, blog, and other social platforms where you will post your content.
12. Include Social Share Buttons
The best way for you to reach more potential clients is for you to share more of your content. Another way to make this happen is to encourage your followers to share your content. Adding social share buttons to your blog posts, guides, or newsletters will make it easy for your followers to share your content and help you reach people that are not familiar with you as a photographer.
In addition to reaching more clients through blogging and social media, it is important to create meaningful connections with your vendors and fellow photographers. The better the relationships you create with them, the more referrals will come your way.
13. Create Relationships with Vendors
There are many people involved in helping you capture the best shots for the bride and groom. Making connections with vendors you work with can help you grow as a business owner. These relationships can result in lifelong referrals, which means more weddings for you next year.
14. Attend Photography Events
It can also be helpful to meet people outside of your local market. There are many photographers in the industry who may do things differently, and who can teach you their techniques. Attend conferences and trade shows where you can meet and interact with photographers who can inspire you to make new changes in your business.
Even if you are the best photographer in the industry, if your name is not in front of your ideal clients, it will be hard to book new clients for next year. Staying top of mind will ensure that your content is in front of clients who are looking to book a photographer like you.
15. Follow Up before the Wedding Day
Something that will make a large difference in the experience your clients have with you (and how they refer you) is whether you follow up with them before the wedding day. Some couples will book you months in advance of their wedding day, so it is important to reach out to them to offer advice or assistance if they need it. This will make a positive impression on them, and they will mention that to their family and friends.
16. Send Cards after the Wedding Day
After the wedding day is over, and you have sent your clients their images, it is important to stay in contact with them. Sending thank you cards, holiday cards, or other forms of communication helps you stay on top of your past clients’ minds. This means they will remember the experience they had with you as a photographer, and will be likely to refer you to friends and family.
As a business owner, it is important to have a plan in place to close on post-event sales with every client. Selling additional items to your couple will help you increase your profit and grow your business each year. The more you can increase your overall profit, the more weddings you can take on next year.
17. Learn how to Sell In-Person
Building a relationship with your clients is one of the best ways to master in-person sales. The more comfortable your couple is with you, the easier it will be to help them make decisions about their images and other products you offer.
18. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Your clients want to know you are helping them make the best decisions for their wedding images. Make sure you ask as many open-ended questions as possible so that you understand exactly what they want. Asking questions also helps your couple trust you, and when they trust you, they will be more likely to purchase the products and services you have.
Throughout your career, what has been the fastest way to spread the word about your photography business? The answer is through referrals! People trust the testimonies of others who have worked with you, so this is a way for you to consistently receive more bookings each year.
19. Ask for Referrals
While you are preparing for the wedding day with the bride and groom, you form a close relationship with them. Because you have this close bond, it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask your couple for referrals. Let them know that you want to work with people who are similar to them, and when they are telling stories to their friends and family, they will remember to talk about the positive experience they had with you.
20. Make Clients Want to Refer You
Whether you ask your clients for referrals or not, they should want to refer you after the wedding day. Create an unforgettable experience for them; from the booking process, to following up, developing a shot list, shooting the engagement photos and wedding day, and finally fulfilling post-wedding orders, they should want to rave about you to their friends. The better the experience, the more likely it is that they will refer you to their family and friends.
With the many changes you make to your content, blog, social media, and relationships, you should also pay the same attention to your website. Your website represents your brand message. When potential clients hear about you and your work, they assume their expectations will be met when they visit your website. It is crucial for your business to make sure your website is clear, concise, and helps them immediately decide to work with you.
21. Showcase WOW Images
As a photographer, one of the first things featured on your website should be an image gallery. Your image galleries should feature your WOW images from your past wedding shoots. These are carefully selected images that you chose to reflect the feel of the wedding shoot. These images speak to your next client, and help you book higher-end weddings.
22. Create a Clear Pricing Page
When potential clients see prices on a website, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. It is important for you to have a simple and clear pricing page that tells them exactly what you offer and at what price. Remember, the #1 reason clients won’t book you is because of confusion. Create pricing that easily translates to anyone who views your website.
23. Develop a Unique Brand Message
In an industry full of photographers who have similar qualifications as you, how do you stand out? Your website is the perfect place to share your unique brand message. Add in a few fun facts about you as a photographer, as a business owner, and as a person. Find commonalities with your target market that helps you create a unique brand message that stands out from other photographers.
Now that busy season is coming to an end, you are spending most of your time working on images for your clients. Post production is a huge pain point for wedding photographers. The more weddings you book each year, the more of your post production workflow needs your attention. This area of your business is always something you can improve on to help your workflow speed increase, allowing you to book more clients.
24. Utilize Post Production Resources
Chances are you have spent hours on end stressing over completing and delivering thousands of images to your past clients. Outsourcing your images to a wedding photography post processing company, such as ShootDotEdit, can help you eliminate your post production workflow. The idea behind outsourcing your images is that the only thing you will have to do is add your Signature Style when you receive them back.
25. Send your Album Design to a Specialist
Creating an album can also be a headache to your post-wedding workflow. Outsourcing your album design cuts down on your workflow time, and allows you to work on other projects. Remember, the better experience your client has (even through album design), the more likely it will be that they will refer you down the road.
Utilizing specialists for your post-wedding workflow is necessary to maintain success in your business. It is still necessary for you to create a cohesive workflow for your day-to-day tasks. Creating systems for every part of your work flow can help you stay on track, complete projects quickly, and take on more next year.
26. Use Workflow Tools
There are countless workflow tools that can help you as a wedding photographer. From automated email messages, social media scheduling tools, such as Hootsuite and office management systems, such as Asana, you can use tools to create a workflow that allows you to stay productive and on track at all times.
Related: 9 Time-Saving Tools You Need Today
27. Hire Additional Help
The more your business grows, the more tasks that will pile up. If you are struggling with your current systems, you can hire someone to help you. Hiring help to take care of the day-to-day tasks that do not need your attention can help you focus on more important parts of your business.
There is always something you can do to make improvements to your business and increase the bookings you will receive next year. Download our Wedding Photographer’s Guide to the Off-Season to find out what other areas you should focus on in your business!