9 ways to market a wedding photography business
Oh me oh my. You're an AMAZING photographer. Like no other on the planet. But how, oh HOW do you get the word out there so everyone can be blown away by your pure and unadulterated talent?

THAT is precisely what I'm going to share with you today. Nine ways to market your photography business.

My approach to marketing has always been to work on my long game. Sure, I can throw money at advertising online and in print publications, or I could do a bridal show and book a few weddings for the upcoming season (which I did when I was first starting out) but all of my very favorite tried-and-true marketing strategies are targeted toward building my brand for the long-term. To get the word out there in a way that will fuel and sustain my business for years to come. So let's dive in!

These 9 marketing opportunities for photographers are in order of importance. And many of the later options are best implemented after those that come before. So if I were a newer photographer, I would focus on these in order.

#1 -- Website
All other marketing efforts will be energy wasted without a killer website. Imagine if you email a top planner and he or she clicks through to your website and what they see doesn't impress? You've just wasted your one opportunity to make a great first impression. There is so much to say about this topic in and of itself -- that's why I've written multiple blog posts about it:

5 Must-Haves for a Killer Wedding Photography Website
Why You are Not Booking the Clients You Want
How I Launched a Website in 3 Days

So whatever else you do in marketing your photography business -- first things first: Create a professional-looking, simple and clean website. And if you're looking for a good place to begin -- may I suggest starting with ShowIt and a GoLive pre-designed ShowIt theme?

#2 -- Blog
Blogging is next on the list because it's just so dang POWERFUL. Blogging builds brand trust and a tribe like nothing else can. Because building trust is the number one hurdle we need to overcome in order to book clients, blogging, when done well, can almost single-handedly drive sales for a small business. I've found that by blogging and forming a connection with my readers, I don't have to be as much of a direct salesperson. My blog, and what I share there, does the work for me by building a genuine relationship and fostering trust. Click on these blog posts to find out why I put blogging in front of social media as well as some helpful tips for blogging effectively:

5 Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Blogging
How to Curate a Wedding Blog Post
How to Blog to Attract Your Ideal Bride

#3 -- Social Media
Social media is where people are hanging out. So you've simply got to have a presence there. But again, make sure your website and blog content is in order so the people who are intrigued by you on social media find real value for their effort when they click through. There are SO many social media channels out there that I think it's wise for us small business owners to hone in on 1-3 channels where the bulk of our ideal clients are hanging out and do those WELL. Click here to find out which three I focus on and how I manage each!

#4 -- Networking
Building genuine relationships with vendors and venues in your local market is such a smart long-term marketing strategy. Although your clients may refer you to their friends for a year or two, they will eventually stop because they grow out of that season in life where all their friends are getting married. But one quality relationship with a vendor can be a source of referrals throughout your career. So get to know your local market. Find out who’s who and actively build community with planners and vendors whose work you love. Buy them lunch, follow them on Instagram, comment, get to know them as people. And then join a local wedding network association. Attend as often as possible. Make one quality connection at each networking meeting. Focus on quality of relationship over quantity. Follow up with that one contact and go to lunch. Ask them how you can help their business (maybe they could use an updated head shot?) then follow-through to help in that way. And then photographers -- don't be stupid! -- when you DO get the chance to work with a vendor or venue you LOVE, bless them with images. This is the #1 marketing opportunity that most photographers are missing!

#5 -- Serve Your Current Clients Well
Your current clients are your next best referral source. And if you serve them well, they won't be able to stop themselves from raving about you to all of their friends. Read these posts for some inspiration on how you can improve your client experience:

Behind the Scenes of My Wedding Day Prep
Genius Hack for Speedy Emails
A Handy Tool to Personalize Your Client Experience
A Favorite Tool for Wowing Potential Clients

#6 -- Email List & Newsletter
Building an email list is one of the best practices of a long-term marketing strategy because it is part of a systematic strategy that will grow your business and increase your leads exponentially over time. And if you start early enough, your email list will grow with your business, providing wider brand awareness and income-generating power. Your list has the potential to become your business's greatest asset. Click through to these posts that will help you get on your way with this powerful marketing strategy:

7 Reasons You Need to Start an Email List NOW
How to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

#7 -- Grow Relationships with Other Photographers
Believe it or not, your competition can also be a huge source of referrals! After all, we can all only do one wedding per day on our own. Plus there are just too many other benefits to developing a strong community among your local photographers to count. I have been SO blessed over the course of my career by true friendships with my colleagues. So find community with other photographers in your area either by attending an existing networking or shooting group, or by starting your own! Then as you develop relationships find one or two other photographers similar in style & price-point and start a referral group. You'll be helping one another get booked up in no time!

#8 -- Publications
If you want to try advertising in online or print publications you are welcome to do so. Some photographers have found success with this. But for me, I feel like I'm pouring money down the drain going this route. For me, it's just not lucrative enough, nor does it create enough long-term value like many of these other options. BUT -- I do find value in getting real weddings published in magazines or on wedding blogs! It is great exposure. And it can can be a low-cost form of marketing that builds trust and generates buzz for your brand, as well as getting your work in front of potential clients and industry professionals. Click here for my tips on how to get your wedding photography published!

#9 -- Bridal Shows
Participating in bridal shows rounds out the list. Bridal shows vary in effectiveness as a marketing strategy depending on your location and market. Here in Phoenix, the large bridal shows tend to attract price-shopping couples and the entire experience is quite overwhelming. You might make the money back that you put into the show in bookings, but from my experience, it's not going to be a huge revenue-generator or create a lot of long-term value. I did a large bridal show when I was first starting out and the one benefit I got from it was that it introduced me to the local vendors in our industry. They saw my booth and the effort and quality I put into my printed materials and it helped me get to know some of them. I no longer do large bridal shows, but occasionally I will do the smaller open houses held by venues (that are by invitation-only and free) to get in front of potential clients. These opportunities are great for strengthening my relationships with each venue and they are much more intimate, creating more of an opportunity to connect and have real conversations.

What other creative ways have you gotten the word out about your photography business? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

----------> Just starting your photography business? Click here to download a FREE list of 50 Goals for Your First Year in Business that is sure to give you some ideas to get you started on the right foot!
50 goals for your first year in business
Nine of the very best ways to get the word out and market your wedding photography business!
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