A guest blog by Justin & Ashley DeMutiis
Whoever said “If you build it, they will come” had a good theory… but they forgot to add in the part about MARKETING!
In today’s age of instant Google knowledge and "do it for the 'Gram" attitudes, it’s your job to place your business top of mind for your ideal customer. We know right now you’re thinking “I agree! I have an Instagram I post on five days a week!”. Now… we’ll be the first to say Instagram is an amazing tool to market yourself. But on the same note, we also feel strongly that putting all of your eggs in the IG basket isn’t a smart move.
After booking out-of-state weddings purely through Pinterest, pumping up our website traffic thanks to our blog, and increasing word-of-mouth referrals like never before with some unique ideas, we feel passionately that you can do the same!
So, we're sharing 15 marketing ideas to try today! I feel confident with a little bit of hard work (and breaking out of the “IG rules all” mindset) you can fill up your calendar with ideal customers in no time.
Take venue tours.
This seems simple, but has been so effective for our business. Each year we do a local venue tour series where I go into some of our favorite local venues, as well as any new venues that have opened, and meet the sales team.
We also film the space as we're on the tour with them and share it on our Instagram! Not only is this giving them a shout out they’re thankful for, they’re also able to meet me and interact with me so that we're top of mind as they’re giving the next tour to a potential bride.
Have coffee one on one.
Large-scale networking events have their benefits, but there’s nothing quite like taking someone out for a cup of coffee (your treat!) and getting to know them on a more personal level. If you’re trying to connect with a high-profile planner or other vendor who expresses they’re too busy to meet up, offer to swing by with some Starbucks for their team one day instead.
Offer something they can’t refuse.
On the same note as what we said above, if you’re trying to connect with vendors in the luxury market who you haven’t met before, they’re likely being bombarded with (and turning down) meet-up requests regularly. Instead of giving up, ask yourself what you can offer them to make it worth their time. Free headshots for the team (or even a family session for the owner of the company) is an offer most can’t refuse, and even better: they can now speak to the quality of your work.
Host a vendor event.
At most vendor events, you’re one of many photographers. How about turning the tables and hosting an event of your own? Rent a local event space and throw an anniversary party for your company, or host a holiday party. This is the perfect way to treat the local vendors you like most to a night of fun they won’t soon forget.
Create vendor galleries.
If you are a wedding photographer, you need to be doing this! After sending your bride and groom their completed gallery, create separate galleries for each vendor. The florist (or stationer, or baker, etc.) will absolutely be impressed and thankful to receive a gallery of pre-curated images that showcase their work instead of having to hunt down pictures post-wedding.
WORD OF MOUTH
Ask for reviews.
This seems to be something most other photographers I’ve spoken to are hesitant to do, and it baffles me! We typically ask for the review in the email that follows the complete gallery. This is a really natural time because usually we send the gallery, they respond with how much they love every picture, and we respond with politely asking if they’d be willing to help spread the word with a review. If you’ve given your clients the experience they deserve, this is an easy "yes"!
Ask clients to tag and post about you.
Again, something I’ve seen way too many photographers lack in! When you send the images to your client, there’s no harm in adding a line to your email like “If you love the images enough to post on social media, be sure to give us a tag! It makes us so excited to see what your favorites are!”
Host classes for clients with other vendors.
During this pandemic, we’ve actually hosted a few educational Zoom calls for our current clients with other local vendors. The day after we hosted a local planner, she sent us a lead. The day after we asked an officiant to get on the schedule, she also sent us a lead. People love to support those who support them!
This is also a great option to do in person—can you ask a florist to host a flower-arranging class? Can you ask a baker to host a cookie-making class? You’re giving these people access to your clients who will hopefully book them as a result, and your clients are feeling pampered with VIP treatment.
Give amazing gifts.
If a client has chosen you out of the many other options, a genuine "thank you" is in order. Handwritten cards go a long way, and the money you invest into a quality (and Instagram-worthy) gift will come back to you tenfold, we can promise you that firsthand!
Offer an experience that is worth talking about.
The simplest but most often over-looked. Word of mouth is the biggest referral source, but only if you offer an experience worth sharing about! The bride herself sees you in action through the whole process, as well as the wedding planner, as well as the friends and family attending the event. Are you pampering your client? Are you doing your job joyfully? Are you delivering an amazing product? Evaluate how you can elevate your experience to make each client feel valued.
Send IG direct messages.
You’re using Instagram to post on your feed and stories—but are you taking it a step further? When someone begins following you, check out their page in return. Are they a bride to be? If they aren’t yet engaged, do they seem like an ideal client? Reach out in a DM and say hello and thank them for the follow. If they’re a bride, what resources can you offer to help them with wedding planning right out of the gate? This is the type of interaction that separates you from the pack!
We're not going to go into the ins and outs of Pinterest here because we don’t have the space or time, but we’ll leave you with this: if you aren’t using Pinterest for your photography business, you’re absolutely missing out. Get on it! There are tons of free tutorials online to help you get things set up.
Hire a local influencer.
Identify a local influencer who is/attracts your ideal client to their page. Offer them something they can’t refuse, like an engagement session, headshots, family shoot, etc. This has worked wonders for our business and has pushed ideal clients in our direction time and time again!
Make sure you're blogging.
Blogging is not dead, and we have the Google analytics to prove it! How can you serve your ideal client with the knowledge you have from your years of experience? Write about it, keyword it, and watch the website views roll in.
Full disclosure: we haven’t dipped our toes into this yet, but it’s on our list! We’ve known YouTube to work wonders for many photographers, particularly those who have education aspects to their business. It’s one of the most under-used platforms for people in our field (while being the second largest search engine online!), so utilizing this tool can absolutely separate you from the crowd.
There you have it: 15 marketing ideas to try today! These are all things that have worked wonders for our business, and we know the same can be true for you. If you liked this blog, check us out at justindemutiisphotography.com or pop by our instagram @justindemutiis to say hello!