With the busy season right around the corner, have you started booking the majority of your weddings yet? Now is the perfect time for you to make improvements to your business which will help ideal clients reach you. Since there are so many parts of your business to focus on, how do you know exactly where to start? So you can book the weddings you want to this year, we are sharing 17 quick ways to jumpstart your 2016 bookings.
1. Update Gallery Photos
Because the wedding photography industry changes so often, updating your galleries is a crucial part of staying relevant to ideal clients. Who you are today as a photographer may not necessarily be who you were when you first started or before you began to improve your skills. Choose a few “Wow” photos from recent weddings which represent who you are today and what your work will look like to ideal clients. Place those photos in your galleries on your website and blog, and ensure you have the best images on your homepage. When clients see the beautiful photos you have on your homepage, the chances are higher they will continue to look through your website.
2. Create Clear Business Pricing
As ideal clients view your website and are interested in your services, they will look to see what your prices are. Your pricing page is one of the most important pages on your website, and can make your client’s decision a quick one. Simplifying the pricing for your business assists you in creating clarity for your clients, meaning they will be more likely to learn more about your services. Using specific pricing models, such as A La Carte or Packages, will help you showcase your products and services in a way which attracts clients who are perfect for you.
Tip: Pay close attention to the pricing model you use for selling prints to your clients. When you sell prints to your clients, they have lasting memories of the wedding day to place in their homes or send to friends and family.
3. Improve Search Engine Optimization
Since much of the initial interaction a client will have with you is online, you must pay close attention to search engine optimization (SEO) for your website and blog. When an ideal client searches for a photographer, the goal is to have the search engine share your business on the first page. If you only pay attention to SEO some of the time, you may be losing out on clients who are actively searching. Place focus on properly using keywords for your website, blog, and images by discovering what your ideal client types in the search bar. If you are incorporating certain keywords on your website and blog, your ranking may increase and more clients can find you.
4. Showcase a Unique Brand
When you desire is to appeal to a certain type of client, showcasing your unique brand can help them decide whether they want to work with you. As a photographer, you have a different style than others in the industry. Your experiences shape how you shoot and the images you provide for your clients.
Because many photographers make branding mistakes, you should ensure you are sending the correct message to clients who are perfect for you. After you update your website and blog with stunning images, look at the rest of your platforms and communication methods. Do your emails, social media, and blog text represent you and your brand? When you meet clients for the first time, can they tell immediately what your style is and how you will shoot their images from the wedding day? Take the steps necessary to develop and showcase a brand which sets you apart from others in the industry.
5. Contact Past Clients
Just as you made your clients feel special during their wedding day, and made them happy with memories, treat after the wedding the same. Reach out to your clients when it is their anniversary, birthday, or when you find a photo you really love from their day and share it with them. If it is a holiday or special occasion, you can send a card or gift that reminds them of their strong connection with you. When you keep in touch and remind your past clients of the experience they had with you, you stay top of mind for them when it comes to referrals for their friends and family.
6. Develop Connections with Vendors
While maintaining relationships with your current vendors is important, take an opportunity to reach out and meet new vendors who you have yet to work with. Perhaps there is a local wedding coordinator who you have yet to work with for the wedding day, or a venue you have always wanted to shoot, but have not. Developing connections with new vendors can help you expand your reach in your community, meaning you have the chance to attract and book additional clients from those referrals.
7. Encourage Referrals from Others
One of the best parts about creating connections with clients and vendors is you create lifelong referrals sources who can help you continue to meet and book ideal clients. This is why it can be so important to follow up with your clients and vendors after the wedding day so they are reminded of the experience you provided them with during the shoot. Because you spent the time getting to know your clients and vendors, they have a better idea of who your ideal client is. And from the trust you built throughout the process, you can more easily ask your clients and vendors to spread the word about you and your services.
8. Form Relationships with Other Photographers
Although other photographers in your market are reaching out to the same clients as you, it can still be beneficial for you to form relationships with them. You can learn a lot from other photographers in the industry who have different experiences than you, which can help you grow and improve your skills. Not only can another photographer help teach you more about your business and shooting style, they can be helpful referral sources. If a photographer is overbooked or knows a client is the perfect fit for you, they may refer the clients to you. Forming meaningful relationships with other photographers assists you in spreading the word about you and your business, especially when it comes to booking new clients.
9. Create a Blogging Plan
As a photographer, blogging is an important part of your marketing plan. Although blogging may not seem like a top priority, it keeps you and your business top of mind for ideal clients. Sharing content on your blog invites ideal clients to look at your work, causing them to remember you when they are actively looking for a photographer. With your images on the blog, you can use personalized text which tells the story of the wedding day and helps ideal clients visualize what their day could look like if they hire you.
10. Add Plug-ins to Blog Posts
Even with the best content on your blog, sharing can help you reach a larger audience than what you currently have. Adding plug-ins to your blog posts encourages your followers to share your content on social media or through email with their friends and family members. This is especially helpful when someone who views your blog is not a current or past client. They can share the content with their loved ones and place you and your business in front of a new audience. The more your blog followers share your work, the easier it can be to attract ideal clients and book more weddings.
11. Recycle Evergreen Content
One of the best parts of sharing content with your clients through your blog is they can view it, share it, and comment on it as many times as they desire. When you create evergreen content, you are essentially sharing something that will stay fresh and relevant for clients years from now. You may already have content which you are able to share with your clients at any point to help them with their wedding process. If you are sharing content which helps solve your client’s concerns during the process, this is something you can continue to post to ideal clients you meet.
12. Write Content for Other Sites
Even though you are busy, writing content for other sites can help you exponentially. Not only are you connecting with vendors who you are writing for, you are reaching their entire audience. You could share your message with new followers who have yet to read about you and get to know your work. Plus, you can share your ideas and knowledge with an audience who may be interested in more of that type of information. Sharing what you know can help others and ultimately assist you in forming new connections and relationships.
13. Submit Images for Publication
After the wedding day shoot and your images are color corrected by a wedding photo editing service, are you submitting them for publication? Having your work published is similar to writing content for other sites, but it is directly focusing on your images. Because your images speak to who you are as a photographer, submitting them for publication can help you reach clients who are perfect for you.
Tip: Submitting images for publication can also help you fine-tune your culling skills. Because most magazines and blogs will only accept a certain number of images, you can start becoming an expert curator (meaning you will learn how to only choose the best photos from your past shoots).
14. Enter Images into Competitions
As well as submitting your work for publication, entering your photos into a competition can help you grow as a photographer. When you learn from experts in the industry, you can fine-tune your skills and become a better photographer to present images to ideal clients. Photo competitions, such as WPPI, allow you to share your work and get genuine feedback on what you did well and what you need improvement on. Constantly evaluating your work can help you become a stronger photographer, meaning your images also are more powerful to your target audience when you share them.
15. Utilize Social Media
Although social media should not replace the face-to-face communication, it can be helpful to quickly answer a client’s questions or thank them for their comments. Because people can use social media on their phones, tablets, and computers, they have easy access to each program. Showcasing your brand on social media as much as possible allows you to be front and center with your clients. Make your followers know your brand message is accurate by communicating regularly.
16. Offer Problem-Solving Solutions
Because you are the expert in all things wedding photography, your clients may rely on you to guide them through certain processes. Since you likely know other vendors that would be perfect for your clients, share your knowledge. For other aspects clients have to deal with in planning the wedding, create free guides, newsletters, and other helpful content. Also, you can eliminate stress with a pre-booking meeting and a full communication process throughout the experience. Finally, think of questions your clients will ask and have thought-out answers prepared. This can help you in the long-run when your clients share their positive experience with you to their friends and family.
17. Automate Workflow and Systems
As you begin to attract more clients to your business, your workflow may become overwhelming and stressful. So you can focus on the most important parts of your business, discover ways to automate your workflow and systems. These are areas of your business which do not require your immediate attention on a regular basis. Think about how you can quickly automate or outsource these tasks, such as your wedding photo editing and album design. Also, think about your post-wedding workflow and what type of shortcuts you can take with programs like Lightroom to finalize your images. Anything that does not necessarily require your attention can be given to someone else as a responsibility so you can free up more of your time to focus on attracting and booking more clients this year.
As it gets closer to the summer and busy season, take the time to make adjustments to your business that can elevate you and your brand. When you have a business which runs smoothly and has a strong and unique brand message, it can become easier to attract clients who are perfect for you and your business. Learn more about developing your brand message with our Guide, 7 Branding Mistakes Wedding Photographers Make (and How to Fix Them)!