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We serve brides who desire a stress-free, streamlined & joyful engagement & wedding by providing an experience that allows our couples to fully enjoy this special season & receive jaw-dropping, joy-filled photos they'll pass down for generations to come!

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We're an Illinois wedding photo & video team for joyful, classic Caitlin and Luke Brides, educators who teach business owners to be more than photographers, dog parents to our doodle Oliver, and a married couple living life in Central Illinois!

5 FREE Ways to Increase Your Wedding Inquiries

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April 27, 2020

One of the most common questions we get asked is: “How do I start booking more weddings?” As photographers, what we should be asking first is, “How do I get more wedding inquiries?” The truth is that the MORE wedding inquiries you get, the HIGHER your chances are for booking up! This is why we’ve always focused heavily on bringing in lots of inquiries each year, because the more inquiries we receive, the more chances we have for finding the brides who were truly made to be Caitlin & Luke Couples. 🙂 This post will break down 5 strategies you can use to increase your wedding inquiries, organically! Let’s dive in!!

1. FOCUS ON SEO

Our #1 tip when it comes to being found by brides organically {essentially, being found by brides without investing much or any marketing dollars as a business} is providing a fantastic experience to couples… both in person and online. Have you ever thought about your web presence as an extension of your client experience? When you start thinking about it that way, it completely reframes your online strategies. You have to start with your experience if you want to increase your wedding inquiries!

Think about it: One huge way to improve a bride’s online experience with you is by making your online user experience to be as easy as possible for anyone who finds you on the internet. How? We would suggest focusing on being EVERYWHERE online! That means getting your business’ name onto every free listing site out there. Some examples of great sites to have free listings include: Google.com, Facebook.com, Instagram.com, Bing.com, WeddingWire/The Knot & other wedding listing sites {such as Zola, WeddingSpot, etc.}, Yahoo.com, Foursquare.com, Hotfrog.com, and so many more.

Having all those free listings builds your local SEO so that you can be found in the town you serve! We recommend using Moz.com to help with this… and they’ll even take care of setting up free listings on many popular websites for you! We’re all about saving time so you can pour into other areas of your business.

Another way to improve your online experience, and thus increase the amount of organic leads you get, is to blog consistently… and strategically. Be sure you’re blogging every session and wedding you shoot! Then, add the appropriate locations of where you photographed to the titles of these blog posts so that they are easily searchable. Also be sure that you have location and venue specific keywords, image titles and image ALT text in your posts! You can even go back and blog sessions you shot in the past, but you never had time to blog. Here are 4 more SEO tips for you to check out!

Here’s an example of what we might title a blog post! Feel free to use it as a template. “Matt & Jennifer: Ewing Cultural Center Engagement Photos” Adding the location in the title makes the blog post easily searchable and gives you a better chance of being found organically. Think about it… when someone is searching for a photographer, they often will Google locations they want pictures at, along with using broad terms like “Best Photographer in Illinois.” SEO is the 2nd most important way to increase your wedding inquiries year after year (in our eyes)! Focus on this, and you won’t be disappointed!

Lastly, to help your SEO even more, focus on getting reviews for your business, especially on places like Google and Yelp! For more about how to use gathering reviews as a way to help build SEO, head here.

2. SERVE YOUR CLIENTS WELL

Serving your clients well is probably the best way to create a continuous flow of organic leads coming into your business. On top of continuous leads, you also will create lifelong customers and fans out of each of your couples, which is really good for your business. BUT, the key here is that we aren’t serving them to GET something from them. We can’t stress this enough!

If you want to grow the amount of inquiries you receive, serve the clients you already have SUPER well! Go above and beyond during every touchpoint of their entire experience with you, and give them millions of reasons to refer you to all their friends and family in need of a wedding photographer.

It’s our job as photographers to be more than photographers! It’s to go above and beyond in every single interaction we have with our couples, and that does 2 things:

One, serving clients well builds loyalty with your clients, which makes them more likely to come back with any photo needs that they have! It also shows them how much you genuinely care about them, and it reminds them that they are so much more than just another client to you.

Two, serving clients well makes them WANt to refer you like crazy… and that’s how you can increase the amount of inquiries you get from serving your existing clients well! If you serve people well and provide a fantastic experience, they can’t help but share about it with other people- because they WANT other people to have the same amazing experience that they did.

Serving your couples doesn’t have to be complicated. One way we really love serving couples is by showing up for them and being personal. A simple way to do this is by sending a handwritten note. You can do add one to your welcome boxes for sure, but sometimes it’s nice to get a handwritten note randomly. Let’s say one of our couples is going through a hard time, or maybe one of them got a new job! Writing a handwritten note has gone so far for us, and it shows our couples that we truly care. You can also send them little Starbucks cards out of the blue, just to let them know you’re grateful to have them as clients! It’s the little things that can have the biggest impact.

This is THE most important way we increase our wedding inquiries each and every year! Being more than photographers and going above and beyond during the whole experience will grow your referrals significantly. Your clients can’t help but share about that!

The best part? You don’t have to wait to implement this step, you can start today! Grab our PDF and learn 6 ways to start doing this TODAY in your own business- we’ve got you covered!

3. DEVELOP A PERSONAL BRAND

Here’s an obvious statement: You’re a real person, and so is an inquiring bride. Couples want to inquire with and book a real person who they feel like they know, trust and can relate to!

Are you positioning yourself to be that person? Friend, do not simply hide behind your work and your words on your website… show your face and help your couple get to know the heart behind all those beautiful wedding photos you take! When we mentor photographers, we always tell them that our goal is for their face to be on every single page of their entire website and at least in the first 6-9 posts on Instagram. Your Instagram story is also another great place to build a personal brand!

We believe it’s especially important to have a photo of your face right next to your contact form! Ideally, most photos of you on your website should be photos where you’re looking and smiling directly at the camera. This builds trust with a viewer and almost acts as a virtual, visual handshake!

If you want to get more inquiries, you need to stand out from all the other photographers out there. The good news is that since there is only ONE you, standing out isn’t the hard part- the hard part is just conveying the fact that you ARE different! That’s what we want to help you do.

We recommend highlighting who you are and how you’re unique on every page of your website and in every personal social media post you create. Just make sure that when you highlight who you are and how you’re different, you’re presenting that information in a way that actually serves your clients and helps them see how who you are will benefit or serve them… it will be much more effective than simply throwing a million fun facts at them without tying in some purpose to the fun facts!

When you build a personal brand, clients will be even more excited to inquire with you because they already feel like they know and trust you. Plus, people are much more willing to invest in a person and an experience than they are to invest in just a product alone. Let go of any fears you have with building a personal brand, give it a try, and see how inquiring brides respond!!

Grab our free guide to learn 6 tangible ways you can elevate your client experience TODAY!

4. BE SOCIAL

When we say “be social,” we don’t actually mean go out and talk to people. Though, that’s not a bad idea when it comes to networking, but we don’t want to freak out all the introverts out there! 😉

What we mean by being social is that we want you to be present on social media! Follow your brides and grooms on Facebook and Instagram so that you can be present in their lives from afar. Comment on their posts, like their new pictures they put up, and especially respond to any comments they leave for you or your business!

Along with being present on social media with your followers, it is important to be active on social media! This looks different for everyone, so here are a few ways to stay active:

One way to be social is to post 5-7 days per week. We know that’s a lot, but we promise you that doing the hard things each and everyday are what’s going to grow your business!

Another thing you can do is go live on one of your social platforms weekly. It’s a great way to stay connected to your followers, and we promise that if you add video into your workflow, you will not be disappointed in your results! These aren’t easy things to do, and we’ll be honest, we sometimes struggle to post 7 days a week- but we still do it. There are days we don’t want to, but we know it’s important to show up often online for our couples… both our booked brides & future inquiring brides! That is the mindset you have to have to take your business to the next level.

This is so important! Being active on social media has been huge for us and it will really help you increase your wedding inquiries in your business as well! It can’t be everything though; remember that as photographers, we don’t own our social media channels, so always put more emphasis on SEO and the place you DO own, such as your website and blog!

5. MAKE IT EASY FOR BRIDES TO INQUIRE

Amazon has a 1 click buy option. Why do they do that? They want to remove as many obstacles as possible that could prevent the shopper from purchasing! How many times have you placed an item in your cart, but never gone back to purchase it?

With that same mindset, let’s look at your own wedding inquiry process by thinking through a few questions together:

・ How easy is it for a client to actually inquire with you? 

・ When a client visits your website, do they immediately know where to go to inquire with you? 

・ Is your contact page easily accessible and linked in a variety of spots on your website? 

・ Do your contact forms work when you click “submit” on both the desktop and mobile versions of your website?

・ If a client prefers to reach out via email or the phone, do you have an email address and phone number listed on your contact page? 

・ Does your contact form work, and is it clear and to the point? {We love using our client management software, Honeybook, because they offer a customizable contact form that makes our brides’ inquiry process seamless, fast and on-brand.}

· If a bride finds you first on Facebook or Instagram, do you have contact info ready and accessible? {The longer they have to search for it, the less likely a couple is to inquire!}

If you don’t currently have a client management software, we would highly recommend trying out Honeybook and reworking your contact form with their amazing tools! Plus, using Honeybook’s contact form takes multiple steps out of our workflow and saves us so much time.

We would also suggest looking over your website and having a friend or family member inquire with you, so that you can ask them what the inquiry process was like for them. Was it easy, or was it challenging? Was anything confusing for them? Were any links broken, or was it hard to figure out how to fill out a field in your contact form? If you really want to go above and beyond, tell your friend or family member to inquire under a fake name at a random time when you aren’t expecting it! The feedback you get will help make the feedback as realistic as possible, which will only be better for your business in the long run.

We’ve seen exactly how these tips, over time, can dramatically grow your business and help you increase your wedding inquiries… and we can’t wait to see your success!!

Xoxo,
Caitlin & Luke

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