Tis engagement season, which for wedding photographers, that hopefully means our consultation season is also in full swing. This time of year really gets me wondering about how my name is getting out there and how I can improve upon it. What type of advertising I should or shouldn't do, how my current efforts are or aren't working, what are potential brides in my market looking for in a photographer? So please, as I make my opinions and insights known on a couple of these matters, please please please comment below with any of your own. I would absolutely love ANY additional feedback!
How I Currently Get the Word Out:
Right now my only means of 'advertising' is my website and blog, my Facebook page, my one bridal show experience a couple weeks ago, and word-of-mouth from past clients. I have a vendor listing on weddingwire.com, but considering I don't show up unless you specifically search Jamie Gellings Media, I'm not going to count that yet. (Pssst...past brides and clients: feel free to review me for higher placement! :)
Here are my thoughts on my ...
Facebook page: The inquiries that I have gotten from solely being on Facebook have never really amounted to anything. It might result in a message asking about pricing or availability, but after these initial inquiries I rarely hear back. Not sure if people are just price comparing or what...? And if that's the case, most likely these are not the couples I necessarily want to work with. I find the potentials out there that are MOSTLY concerned with price aren't going to appreciate the quality and effort I put into making wedding photos. So, so be it. Speaking of price comparing ~ I really try hard to get the couple or bride to set up a face-to-face consultation before sharing my prices. And there are lots of reasons for this but mainly, I want them to be able to get to know me, make sure I'm the right fit for them regardless of price. Make sure they like not only my style of photography but my personality too. But I mean, come on, what's not to like?!?! JUST KIDDING - see, perfect example. But all joking aside, I would like to think that after a couple gets to know me a little bit, if I'm a couple bucks higher than 'the other guy,' it won't necessarily be a deal breaker.
Website and blog: Not sure how much my website draws people in vs going there because someone referred them to it. If you search Jamie Gellings or Jamie Gellings Media, I of course come up right away because thankfully there aren't many other Jamie Gellings's. But because this industry deserves a whole new word for over saturated, I don't believe I come up when you search generic topics like West Bend Wedding Photography/er and such. But, I will say that the blog has already proven to be metaphorically worth its weight in gold. I have had more than a couple potential brides comment on how they were able to relate to different posts and I really believe them being able to get a quick insight into my personality and view recent work is and will continue to make a big difference in the number of future inquiries and potential bookings.
Bridal events: This is basically cold calling. You can read my immediate review here. Now, being a couple weeks later and meeting with a couple of potentials that called or e-mailed, my stance might waver a bit but mostly remains the same. It has resulted in three or four inquiries, but so far, no one has officially booked. I'm hoping that changes in the very near future. I have yet to decide to whether or not to take part in an upcoming March affair in Lomira... it depends on how many other photographers are going to be featured because the price is definitely right. If I do decide to continue participating in these type events, I need to be more on top of it during wedding season as that's when a lot of the best ones start to book. Figures.
Word of mouth and referrals: Out of all of them, I will definitely say the consultations I have with potential brides because they received referrals from past clients prove to be the most likely to result in a booking. There's something to be said about getting your info from a trusted friend or family member and probably always will be. Which I think is a good thing. I can promise you all day long that I have a great work ethic, that I can direct your group in a fun yet efficient way, that I will deliver beautiful images from your event, etc., but unless you hear it from someone that you trust who has actually worked with me and experienced my style for themselves, you don't know me from Tom, Dick, or Harry for that matter. :) I also think this is a great way to keep me accountable. It keeps my level of service up where it needs to be. It is necessary to make sure that my word-of-mouth and referrals are always positive and promote future inquiries.
Besides continuing the efforts mentioned above, there are a couple other ideas being tossed around like blog submissions and radio and newspaper ads.
Submitting images to wedding blogs: I decided that free time is overrated and that I will be submitting some of my favorite weddings to a couple popular wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes. It might be a long shot, but you never know and how awesome would it be to get chosen?!? Totally worth the time. You'll be the first to know if we get featured!!!
Newspaper: I don't know about this one. I know it can be a tad pricey. People have brought it up in the past, but honestly, I don't read the paper, and not sure how many people from my generation do. I would guess my target market age ranges from twenty-one to people in their late thirties... does this group still read the paper? Even further, are they looking at the ads? Comment below please...
Radio: Again, not sure how many people are going to call me because they heard an ad on the radio and I know this can also cost upwards of at least $100/mth. This might be a good avenue when offering discounted sessions or other special offers, but don't know how effective it would be in booking weddings and engagements. Again, comment below with your thoughts and/or suggestions!
How'd you find your wedding photographer and cinematographer (or videographer - which isn't actually a word) ? How much research did you do before deciding? How did you make your decision, what was it based on? What would make you refer one vendor over another? Besides price, name one deal breaker for you when booking a photographer or cinematographer?
Whew, this was a long one, thanks so much for taking the time to read it! I really appreciate it! I'm sending some good luck to any other photographers out there who are also busy selling themselves this time of year. We wear so many different hats as small business owners, don't we? But I love how it is impossible for me to get bored! Again, thank you so so much for reading and please, comment!!!
Until next time,