Hi friends! We are Caitlin and Luke! Full time, wedding photographers and educators! The lightbulb moment is what we love about this job. Seeing photographers get to the point where they say, “I get it now!” With that goal in mind, we strive to make awesome content that is applicable and easily consumable! This post is for you if you want more ways to market your photography business for FREE! These are all actionable steps that you can do and need to be doing to run a business on a sturdy foundation! Enjoy learning about our 4 tips on Social Media, Blogging, SEO, and Client Experience!
1. SOCIAL MEDIA
Do you require your clients to tag you when posting the pictures you took of them? If you don’t require that, you are missing out! Here’s what we recommend: Create a templated email that you send to every client after the photos are ready to be delivered. Call it your gallery delivery email template or whatever you want!
Make sure to include a few rules: No editing or messing with your photos and make sure that they know to always tag your business when posting a photo online! We have 99% of our couples tag us when they post their photos and what does that do? It makes it easy for their friends to find us when and if they are engaged! Since doing this, we tend to have someone tagging us on a daily basis! It’s simple and effective, our favorite combination!!
Another thing we do is deliver ALL of our wedding galleries to vendors! Here’s how we do it!
First, send your clients a pre-wedding questionnaire! We send our couples an extensive pre-wedding questionnaire about 3-4 weeks before their wedding day, and we gather all the vendors’ email addresses in that questionnaire! (Get Our Questionnaire Here!!) This saves us SO much time trying to track down dozens of vendor email addresses after the wedding, and it often gives us the contact info for the exact right person to send a gallery to, which can make all the difference in the world!
We send the galleries out to all the vendors we have emails for (even the big companies!) right after we deliver it to the client. That tends to be 2 weeks after their wedding date! You’ll want to deliver these galleries to vendors quickly so that they can share on social around the time of the wedding to join in with the excitement! Galleries sent 3 months after a wedding won’t have the same reaction as galleries sent 3 weeks after a wedding!
You may not be able to get a gallery finished that fast! Don’t worry, it’s still better to send over a gallery to vendors late rather than not at all!
2. Blog Like Crazy
Blogging can be painful and it can be time-consuming! As an entrepreneur, you have a million things to do that HAVE to be done for your business to survive. Let’s be honest, blogging is not one of those things but what if we treated it like it was? What if your businesses DEPENDED on blogging?
How We Blog
Blogging is SO important when it comes to marketing and getting new clients organically rather than always paying for marketing! When blogging you are going to want to make sure that your Title includes a location. For example, here is a couple we had an engagement session with at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago!
We use the title ” Brock & Alexis: Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk Engagement Session Photos.” Having the location in the title makes it easier to be searched when other people are searching for engagement photos at Lincoln Park Zoo in the future!
Another important thing to do is make sure that you have the plugin “Yoast” (this plugin is only available for WordPress, so don’t go looking for it if you don’t have a WordPress blog!) Yoast simplifies SEO, which is what I am going to go into more detail in the next section! With Yoast, you are able to edit the title and meta description visible on Google. For this session, here’s what it would look like!
What to blog?
On top of blogging your sessions and weddings, it’s important that you create educational posts as well! Now, this is where you might feel a little unqualified but we are here to tell you that you aren’t! Just the fact that you have a camera, shot 2 sessions, or only shot a handful of weddings means that you have more knowledge than some people. Maybe not photographers that have done it for years but what about the bride that’s inquiring. Is it possible that you may know more than her, even if it’s only a little bit more?
When we first started and took the leap into full-time photography without a backup plan, Caitlin blogged 5 days a week! That PROPELLED our business farther than most things we tried to do to make money! We understand that it’s hard to think of ideas so we have another blog post to help get you started!
Struggle with Posing? Download our Guide!
3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
I have a full post on SEO so I won’t go as in-depth as I did in that article but let’s start with basics! SEO is all about creating a better experience for the end user! Google wants you to be found if you are providing a good experience for the user but part of that good experience is learning and keeping up to date with the basics of SEO!
The first thing I would recommend is to get a google my business set up. Here is a blog post that will help you with that! Setting that up allows for your business to be found on Google Maps which is really important! When setting this up you are going to want to use an address. The best way to do that is to NOT use your home address, rather purchase an address through your local UPS store. The address includes a mailbox that you can ship any size item to which is not possible with a USPS PO Box! Also, it helps separate your business from your personal things which is very important as you grow your business!
When you have this fully set up it will benefit you to add pictures to your account! The more the merrier so don’t hesitate to add your favorite images to date! It’s also important to update those on a regular basis! We try to update those images once every quarter or every 6 months! You can also add Posts to your google account which are basically like mini blog posts that people can see when searching for you! Here’s what they look like:
These posts help show that your business is active and alive! We create a post once a week, it takes me 5 minutes because I copy the blog post verbiage we already wrote and paste it along with a picture and a link back to our blog! It’s simple and easy to replicate so that’s how we do it! Feel free to take the strategy!
Figure Out Your Starting Point
Lastly, the first thing you should do right away is to figure out your starting point! There are lots of tools that will help you have better SEO but you need to know your starting point so that you know when you are getting better reach! Use SEOSITECHECKUP.COM to give yourself a good starting point! This site will give you an overall score and give you ways to fix the problems your site has to give you a better score! You are only allowed to check 1 site every 24hrs so choose wisely 🙂
4. Client Experience
CLIENT EXPERIENCE may be the most important way to market of the 4! Why? Whenever you are serving your couples well, they can’t help but talk about it! Put yourself in their shoes. Think about the emotions your couple is feeling as they plan for their wedding or about how they feel the day of the wedding. Think about how you can take away bad feelings and maximize the good feelings.
The Burger Example
Word of mouth is powerful, here’s an example of awesome word of mouth marketing at a burger place. After every order, the clerk behind the counter pulls out a deck of cards and fans them out in front of the person who just bought the meal.
That person then gets to pick a card, and IF the card picked is a joker then the meal is FREE! This could be one person’s meal or a whole soccer team! It doesn’t matter! The company has been in business for 10 years and hasn’t spent a penny on marketing, why? It’s because they get all the marketing they need when someone wins and posts on social media!
They are slammed all the time and on average, 3 people win a day. Here’s the kicker, when they do win they are SOOO excited and freak out! It’s kind of like winning a mini lottery! What are people saying about your business? “Man, they gave us a great deal” or ” They discount around the holidays, so wait to book until then!” Think about what people are saying vs. what you want them to say!
Ways To Give a Good Experience
Here are a couple of ways you can go above and beyond!
– Create a slideshow of 10-50 of your favorite shots from the day. When we have less time we only show them portraits but when we have a lot of time we will give them a mini blog post! Purchase a printer and print your favorite portrait from the day and surprise them with it!
– On really hot days bring cold drinks, towels, etc. Things to relieve your clients when it’s hot. Go above and beyond and purchase a bunch of mini fans!
– On really cold days, bring hand warmers! On raining days, provide all the umbrellas for the bridal party!
– Let’s say you aren’t even able to book a client, go above and beyond by doing the leg work to find other photographers available on their wedding day for them!
– If they tell you they are going out to dinner after your engagement session, call the restaurant and pay for a dessert, a few drinks, or even their WHOLE meal!
These are just a few ideas for you! We try to run our business following one simple rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” Remember that in the service industry, you aren’t a photographer. You are a servant. Sounds lowly right? What if I told you that learning to be a servant this year could possibly be one of the best things you do for your business?!
Change The Way You Think
Start to think of your business not as a means of making income but as a way to serve people. Start making decisions based on how it would affect your client. For example…we started using music during our engagement sessions…why? Because if it were us and we weren’t comfortable showing PDA, we might be a little anxious/uncomfortable. Music tends to relax people and take some of the awkwardness out naturally! Start putting yourself in your client’s shoes! I promise it will be worth the time investment!!