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Archive 2013 · some thoughts on marketing approaches
  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


As my second year is wrapping up, and I'm considering where to put my marketing money to build up 2014, I have to make some decisions.

I'm spending way too much for a premium listing on The Knot. While I get inquiries from there, they're few and far between, and I don't even think the contracts I get from Knot inquiries gives me any return on my investment there. When I talk to The Knot reps about this, they always say the same thing: change your thumbnail pic, add more pics to your portfolio.

I have done email blasts through The Knot/The Wedding Channel that worked really well. I offered e-sessions at a lower price with the idea that I would book weddings from it. I did, maybe not as many as I hoped for, but still got a considerable number of 2013 weddings from that run last summer/fall.

I just invested in a Chicago Wedding Style magazine that's coming out next month, so too early to say how the ROI will work there.

I'm about to change my website to a RawFolio design, so looking forward to that.

I'm now thinking about whether to use GoogleAds, Facebook Ads, or what. I did GoogleAds last year and drove some traffic to my website, but the traffic comes and goes. Nothing is captured. I can't follow up. Lately, I've been focusing on promoting my Facebook posts, and that's been driving up the likers on my Facebook page. I've increased my number from the low 300s to 417 in about a month. My goal is to hit 1,000 by the end of 2013. The thing I like about Facebook is that if they like my page, they're captured in a sense. They'll see my future posts, and will continue to follow me. But... I don't remember booking a single person yet who came from FB. Maybe I just need to be more patient there, give it more time.

Just thought I'd put this out there, and see what others thought of these strategies. My goal is in the next year or two, basically be booking almost completely through word of mouth, and have little or no marketing. Facebook will be a big part of that, as well as networking with vendors.

I should add that what works for one photographer, or one location, does not necessarily work for another. We're all dealing in different markets.

Thoughts?



Jun 13, 2013 at 03:54 PM
morby
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Vendor partnerships has generated a lot of business for me. The day of a wedding I make sure to connect with all of the vendors and follow up with them after the wedding. From that I've been able to partner with a lot of venues, videographers, caterers, etc. I also partner with some local photographers and we pass each other business if we are booked. I'd say that roughly 30-40% of my recent business has come from partnerships.

I also get a lot of referrals from friends and previous couples. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the "stickiness factor." Creating a memorable impact on someone so that you remain active in their mind. I pour a lot of thought into making a couples experience with me memorable. My goal is that I'll be the first thing to come to mind when they hear that someone is getting married.

The advertising route helps fill in the gaps, but my experience with them hasn't been very beneficial.



Jun 13, 2013 at 04:25 PM
canerino
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


morby wrote:
I also get a lot of referrals from friends and previous couples. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the "stickiness factor." Creating a memorable impact on someone so that you remain active in their mind. I pour a lot of thought into making a couples experience with me memorable. My goal is that I'll be the first thing to come to mind when they hear that someone is getting married.



I think we talked about this before and I agree with you (well, Gladwell). The flaw I see with this becoming an effective 'marketing' tactic is that it isnt operational or measurable. I also think that everyone thinks they already are 'sticky' (but as Gladwell points out this certainly isnt true). My friend and I have this theory. Fat people generally know they are fat, unattractive people generally know they are unattractive. We tend to know our shortcomings and construct our lives accordingly. But no one thinks they are uninteresting. So I think when the 'sticky marketing method' fails, people point fingers elsewhere rather than within because they cant believe someone else didnt find them 'sticky'.



Jun 13, 2013 at 04:33 PM
morby
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


canerino wrote:
I think we talked about this before and I agree with you (well, Gladwell). The flaw I see with this becoming an effective 'marketing' tactic is that it isnt operational or measurable. I also think that everyone thinks they already are 'sticky' (but as Gladwell points out this certainly isnt true). My friend and I have this theory. Fat people generally know they are fat, unattractive people generally know they are unattractive. We tend to know our shortcomings and construct our lives accordingly. But no one thinks they are uninteresting. So I think when the 'sticky marketing method' fails, people
...Show more

It's definitely not measurable, but I feel it's a key component in the success of any business. Even with my vendor partnerships I need the stickiness factor to come into play. I think properly branding ourselves so that clients, friends and vendors have something specific to say is a step towards making an impact. Chuck, you do a great job with this. Your work is very specific and recognizable. When talking about you I have something specific to say, which in turn will motivate people to check out your work.



Jun 13, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Ghost
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


In stark contrast, I spent $0 in marketing ads. No Facebook 1000 Likes contest ever. Never quite believed in them after speaking with many veteran photographers. Learned from their past experience I suppose. The ROI is seldom realized.

One thing I made clear when first starting out was to not simply go on a spray and pray approach with ad blitz on Google or Facebook what have you. Facebook wants you to Buy Likes. I am just not sure what is the value. You can get lots of Likes from emerging markets such as India or Africa or China even. That may pad up your FB page Like Count. But are these really your target market?

I did however put effort in SEO so we're on page I for our key phrases now. This has brought in some work which is great. I was skeptical at first.

Portrait/Wedding photography is really about people and relationships. It's about good happy experience. People remember that. It's our utmost goal to ensure our clients have a good memory working with us and that transcends to great word of mouth.

These whole FB buying Likes and Google Adsense for photographers really remind me of that old Unreal Tournament game where everyone is running around trying to shoot something that moves.



Jun 13, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


friscoron wrote:
I should add that what works for one photographer, or one location, does not necessarily work for another.



So true... I've been told by one $6 to $10k photog that bridal shows are the ONLY way to go.

Others, some as authoritative, others not, have said that Generation Tech hates personal interaction, and web-based marketing like making your site mobile-friendly, and other things that you already mentioned, are the way to reach Generation 3" LCD.

I dunno... but would love to hear still more opinions.



Jun 13, 2013 at 05:10 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · some thoughts on marketing approaches



Ghost, I don't think you're the only one who spends zero to little on marketing. But when you first start out, and you don't have vendors to network with, and you don't former clients to get you referrals, then you have to do something.

personally, I'm over that hump now but still need to get to the next level. So I'm just trying to be smart about how I'm going about this. LIke Nikon_14, I'm eager to hear more opinions.



Jun 13, 2013 at 06:55 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Nikon_14 wrote:
I've been told by one $6 to $10k photog that bridal shows are the ONLY way to go.


Hey, 14.

I know some photographers who keep doing the shows year after year so they must be getting a return on the investment. I've never done a show but I would imagine you'd get some bookings out of them. The big shows by me charge like $1200 for the weekend. Of course, realistically it's gonna cost you a lot more than the 1200 once you look at displays, furniture (if you go that route), brochures, etc. I know one guy who brings his own flooring!


Edited on Jun 13, 2013 at 08:18 PM · View previous versions



Jun 13, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Sergio Mottola
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


stop marketing and start networking.


Jun 13, 2013 at 07:50 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Sounds like throwing a lot of money at the problem but none of it is directly going to generate business. It is a chain of maybes - as in maybe this will happen, which will maybe lead to this or that. A lot of "maybe's" have to fall into place for that type of expenditure to generate even one job much less generate enough to make a reasonalbe ROI. As Sergio mentioned the best way to build a business isn't behind a keyboard - you have to build actual relationships.

- trr



Jun 13, 2013 at 08:02 PM
 

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Nikon_14
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


D. Diggler wrote:
The big shows by me charge like $1200 for the weekend.



Wow, I guess DC_NoVA isn't so expensive after all... here it's "only" $800, $900 for an 8 x 8 booth. Oh, and that's not including electric, either- that's another ~$35.



Jun 14, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Sergio Mottola wrote:
stop marketing and start networking.


That sounds so nice and sweet... until one factors in that it's easier to network with the credibility of an ad on WW, The Knot, or being a neighbor at a bridal show.



Jun 14, 2013 at 01:27 AM
TRReichman
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


You don't need any of those things to have credibility. I've rebuilt a business from the ground up over the last few years purely through networking without any of that. Anything you can purchase like an ad or booth space can't really give you credibility.

- trr



Jun 14, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Nikon_14 wrote:
That sounds so nice and sweet... until one factors in that it's easier to network with the credibility of an ad on WW, The Knot, or being a neighbor at a bridal show.


Only if the people you're networking with value paid advertising. We've built lots of great relationships without ever spending a dollar on advertising.



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:00 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · some thoughts on marketing approaches



I like what you guys are saying, Tony, Sergio and Todd. That's the direction I'm going. Do you guys put any money in toward SEO?



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


friscoron wrote:
I like what you guys are saying, Tony, Sergio and Todd. That's the direction I'm going. Do you guys put any money in toward SEO?


Nope.



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Tony Hoffer wrote:
We've built lots of great relationships without ever spending a dollar on advertising.



Yes, but you're at the pinnacle of this industry... your reputation precedes you. Everyone knows you. Noone knows me, save 2 people I've met from here in person. You started out in a time when there weren't 5 terra-trillion competitors.

When I make networking calls to vendors, I consider myself fortunate if they even return my calls. Gotta start somewhere, and for me, paid advertising is better than no advertising.



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:51 AM
TRReichman
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


No offense to Tony, but he's a regular guy just like you. Everyone who gets anywhere in the industry built it from the same or worse position that you're in now.

- trr



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Nikon_14 wrote:
Yes, but you're at the pinnacle of this industry... your reputation precedes you. Everyone knows you. Noone knows me, save 2 people I've met from here in person. You started out in a time when there weren't 5 terra-trillion competitors.

When I make networking calls to vendors, I consider myself fortunate if they even return my calls. Gotta start somewhere, and for me, paid advertising is better than no advertising.


Even if that were true (and it's not), no one just lucks their way to success in business. Some have advantages (my height is one of them) but that's about it. I started in 2007, which is basically the same or later as every pro I know. I've had countless emails and phone calls unreturned. I've shot awesome work and offered them to brand new venues who couldn't care less...

So while I appreciate the compliment (sincerely), I hope that there isn't a perception that success in this industry is attributed to anything other than a bit of hustle and a bit of kindness.... because I've spent the last 6 years doing nothing but those two things and I'm just getting started. We've never spent a dime on advertising, bridal shows or albums for venues... but that doesn't mean it has come easy. While others were buying advertising I was practicing like a dog and re-working images to make sure my clients were happy enough to tell people about us. There are different avenues to marketing, but don't mistake success with luck or fortune.



Jun 14, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · some thoughts on marketing approaches


Nikon_14 wrote:
Noone knows me, save 2 people I've met from here in person.


Just to add on to this point...

Do you know what the single most important thing has been for us gaining even the mildest level of recognition from photographers? FredMiranda. Seriously. I've probably met 200-300 photographers from this board over the years. That's how people know me. I wish I could say that it's because they think I'm cool, but it's not. It's just that I know a lot of people... mostly through this forum.



Jun 14, 2013 at 03:30 AM
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