How To Book More Weddings – 7 Marketing Strategies

How To Book More Weddings – 7 Marketing Strategies

Get more clients and increase your wedding photography bookings with these 7 marketing strategies.

It doesn’t matter where I go and who I talk to, the number 1 struggle I hear from photographers is always “how do I get more clients?”

This is a complicated question, because there are many factors to booking more weddings and finding clients in photography business:

Web design, emails, branding, seo, advertising, social media, networking, a beautiful portfolio – All essential items on the photography marketing checklist.

It can be hard to know where to start, which is the reason I started the Photography Marketing School – To give a comprehensive guide to each part of the business & marketing process.

But if you’re looking for some quick and practical tips for getting more wedding bookings that you can get started on TODAY, I’ve put together an essential list of things you can do to jump start the process:

#1 – Reach out to planners + venues + vendors (and provide value upfront.)

The single easiest way you can book more photography clients is through effective referrals. If you have clients and other vendors around town RAVING about you to couples they know, that kind of reputation makes booking more weddings a pretty simple process.

But how do you get those raving fans in the first place?

It’s all about the power of networking – Which starts by GIVING first.

Whenever you meet a new vendor or new photography client, always place your focus on what you can do for THEM – Not what they might be able to do for you. What extra gift or service can you provide that will make them go “Wow”?

Here is what most photographers do when they reach out to a new vendor or venue:

“Hey, I’m so and so – Here’s my portfolio, I’d love you to work with you”

This is 100% focused on what THEY can do for you. We want to flip that approach upside down.

What if you reached out to a planner with this instead?

“Hey, I’m so and so – I LOVE your work – I saw the (specific compliment here) that you did and was blown away! Anyways, I’m always looking to meet and work with new creative people – I’d love to get to know each other. Perhaps we could meet for a coffee this week sometime? Also if you’d like some updated headshot photos I’d be happy to take a few for you while we’re together 🙂

P.S – I was so impressed by those ______ you did I left you a google review – Hope that’s okay!”

Instead of just asking for a planner, venue or vendor to do something for you, start by offering to do something for them (Or better yet, do something for them without them even knowing!)

This might look like going to that popular venue in town around sunset and getting some really amazing shots of the venue. Or leaving a glowing 5 star review for the planner you’d like to develop a relationship with.

When it comes to clients, a simple surprise gift or service they didn’t expect or pay for can go a LONG way.

Sit down, make a list of the vendors and venues you’d like to connect with, and then brainstorm the ways you can provide massive value upfront without asking for anything in return.

#2 – Increase perceived value + scarcity + urgency

When customers make buying decisions, they are always asking ONE question:

“Is this worth it?”

If your client thinks the value of what you’re offering is clearly worth more than what it will cost them to buy it, they’ll book. Likewise, if the value of your services isn’t worth what you’re charging in their eyes, they’ll never book.

The key to increasing your bookings is increasing the perceived value of what you’re offering.

This can be tricky because you need to figure out what the CUSTOMER values – Which is going to be objective and vary from customer to customer.

The best way to figure this out is simply to ASK.

Ask every couple you book WHY they decided to book with you and what made it worth spending all that $$ on their photos.

Likewise, whenever a couple decides NOT to book, ask them why they decided against it.

You’ll get some very surprising answers to help you improve.

Another strategy you can use to increase perceived value is through scarcity.

Scarcity is just the law of supply and demand. If your services are perceived to be hard to acquire and exclusive, it will increase their perceived value.

For example, on my photography website I have a banner at the top of the page that reads: “currently accepting 5 more weddings for 2020” (Or whatever number I have left)

This lets visitors to my site know that I have a limited amount of space open in my calendar. On a subconscious level it’s communicating “If you want to book this guy, you better do it quick”

The same goes for my email responses.

When a couple reaches out to me, I congratulate them on their engagement, and then let them know that fortunately for them, I still have a few bookings available for this season, and their date happens to be free.

The reality is that EVERY photographer has a limited number of weekends available – But by framing it this way, I’m communicating that my services are valuable and in demand.

One last way to increase perceived value and urgency simultaneously is with time sensitive pricing.

This is a technique I dive into more deeply in our client meetings workshop, where I provide clients an incentive to book within 24hrs by offering them a large pricing discount.

For example, your regular pricing might be $2500 for a full wedding day.

To use this technique, you could change your pricing to $3500 instead. Then when a couple reaches out you can let them know “my prices are $3500 for your date, however I’ve found the best couples to work with are the ones who make decisions upfront, so I offer my services at a discounted price of $2500 for couples who are ready to book right away. Are you guys ready to book in the date?

Instantly by reframing your pricing this way, you’ve added $1000 in perceived value and an INCREDIBLE amount of urgency to your offer, without actually changing your final pricing at all.

For a full breakdown of time sensitive pricing and client meetings, check out the Client Meetings Workshop (Which is also included in our Photography Marketing School)

#3 – Freshen up your portfolio

One of the common problems I see when reviewing the websites and branding of other photographers is that they forget to keep their portfolio consistent and up to date.

As you grow as a photographer and improve your work and editing, it’s important to add that new work to your site and social media.

Equally important however is that you REMOVE or update your old and dated photos / edits!

Remember: Quality is far more important than quantity. It is far better to have a smaller, high quality portfolio with a consistent editing style than to have a jumbled heap of all the photos you’ve ever taken.

If your portfolio lacks consistency, you clients will wonder what to expect. Can they trust you to produce your best photos?

Ironically, your portfolio is NOT the most important part of your business.

Good marketing, branding and positioning has made very successful photographers even with inferior work to photographers who have amazing portfolios but lack the marketing fundamentals. That said, a strong portfolio is going to make your marketing efforts 10X easier and more effective, so make sure to keep yours updated.

#4 – Update your website + social branding

You know what’s interesting? You don’t need a website to run a photography business. *SHOCK* In fact, I’ve come across many amazing photographers who are in high demand simply from a strong social media presence and GORGEOUS work.

That said, I think the reason they are successful is probably because their work is SO GOOD, they overcome the obstacle of not having a website.

In 2020 and beyond, making a website is so simple, easy and affordable, you really have no excuse.

If your website is old and dated, giving it a facelift, updating the portfolio and keeping things fresh is a part of maintaining your brand. I try to do this every year so that my best work is up front and I’m keeping up to date with new trends.

The beauty is that most photographers have pretty sub par websites, which means an easy way to set yourself apart is by creating a better design.

Make sure to do the same for your social media – Delete any old photos that don’t line up with your current style, keep your contact info and bio’s up to date etc.

This is important both for branding and for SEO purposes. Google looks at how often you update your website, social etc as a factor for ranking – Which takes us to idea #5…

#5 – Improve your website SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO for photographers is about knowing what google wants to see on your site and elsewhere in order to rank you in google search and show your website when people search for things like “wedding photographers in my city”

Here are the key SEO elements you need to focus on:

Site age – How long your site has been around. How long articles have been around. In general a domain takes at least a year before it starts ranking in a substantial way. Content articles also take time to “age” before they rank. Typically 2 to 10 months.

Active Content – New posts, comments on posts, social shares etc all indicate your website content is relevant and active, which is big in googles eyes. Relevant content is content they want to show searchers.

Load Times – Nobody likes a slow site. Google knows this, and will penalize your site if it takes a long time to load. Faster site speed = Increased rankings.

Backlinks – Think of a backlink like a recommendation from a friend. The more recommendations, the more likely google is to assume you’re trustworthy. The higher quality the recommendation, the more it counts in googles eyes. (Ie PThe president vouching for you vs your Aunt Sallie… Who has more credibility?

Relevant Content – How closely does your content answer the question / search intent of the viewer? For example, someone searching for “wedding photographers in Detroit” would more likely want to see a website titled “Detroit Wedding Photographer” than one titled “Destination Wedding Photographer In Michigan”. Creating additional pages on your website to target these different keywords can be a very effective SEO strategy.

Web Traffic – SEO is a little bit of a popularity contest. Google looks at websites with lots of organic traffic and assumes because they’re popular, they’re likely highly relevant and worth showing in search.

Security (https) – The single easiest way you can increase your rankings TODAY is by upgrading your site to https. The “S” stands for “secure” – And is super easy to add. Depending on who is hosting your website the process will vary. Siteground and Squarespace both include this for free. Hostgator and GoDaddy charge extra. Well worth it either way, but personally I hands down recommend switching to Siteground if you’re using a WordPress website. It’s the same price range and will give you WAY better website speed, awesome customer support, free https and some other awesome features you won’t get from Hostgator or Siteground. When I made the switch my rankings improved considerably.

Click Here To Check Out Siteground For Yourself

I’ve done a free 45 minute workshop covering the basics of SEO for photographers.

For an in depth, step by step guide to ranking your website, you can check out our full SEO Workshop here (Also included in the Photography Marketing School)

#6 – Increase your number of reviews

In today’s world of online shopping, customer reviews are becoming one of the most important pieces of marketing. In fact, I won’t even buy something on amazon if it has no reviews!

With this in mind, it’s incredibly important that you have as many awesome reviews as you can on your website and social media. Doing so not only adds extra credibility to you and your business, it also helps with SEO and ranking on Google Maps!

Getting reviews comes down to 2 things: Doing a great job, and ASKING multiple times. Very few people will leave a review all by themselves, but most people will do so if you ask them!

I’ve already done a full in depth post on how to get TONS of google reviews (Even if you don’t have many clients yet!) Click here to learn how to get more google reviews.

#7 – Differentiate yourself + Challenge “normal”

As cameras get cheaper, more and more people are calling themselves a photographer and competing for the same number of clients. While this may be a challenge for photographers starting out, I don’t think you have much to worry about as long as you differentiate yourself from the pack. 90% of photographers have the same website, take the same types of photos, do the same things on social media etc etc etc.

One top tip I can give you is to always challenge the status quo.

Always ask yourself

“Am I doing this because it’s popular, or because I believe it’s the best way it can be done?”

“Is this really necessary, or just a distraction?”

“What could I do instead that would give me better results?”

“Why is this popular?”

If something is only popular because everyone else is doing it, then you can eliminate it from your life and spend that time and energy on something more worthwhile.

Here’s one example of an area I think we’re going to see changing radically moving forward: Photography Pricing.

Why? Because for most photographers, what they charge is only based off of what everyone else is charging. There is no real REASON for what they are doing.

I’ve noticed something interesting talking with couples: MOST of them don’t care that much about the morning photos, and many don’t care about the reception either.

So what if instead of just doing what everyone else is doing in your area, you tried a different pricing strategy?

Say a full day of photography is $3000… Why not be the photographer to shoot weddings for $1000, but only photograph the ceremony & photoshoot, with the option to add more time at an hourly rate?

This would allow couples who don’t have a huge budget for photos to still work with you. Plus, we all know that the ceremony & photoshoot are the most enjoyable part of the day to photograph

Potentially you’d book quite a few more weddings, while enjoying your work more because you’re not working until 12am photographing the reception.

This is just an idea – I don’t know if it would work or not, but it’s a clear example of how many photographers just “follow the crowd” instead of coming up with their own way of doing things.

Sometimes this is wise, sometimes it isn’t.

The trick is to evaluate everything, and then decide for yourself.

Time to apply these 7 photography marketing tips to increase your bookings

Remember that most of all, taking ACTION is what will build your business. Reading and learning are essential, but unless you act on what you’ve learned you won’t see progress.

Which of these 7 marketing tips can you act on TODAY to grow your photography business?

So many photographers waste way too much time on things that don’t really matter, and neglect to do the things that will get them real results.

It can be hard to know where to start, which is the reason I started the Photography Marketing School – To give a comprehensive guide to each part of the business & marketing process.

If you’re interested have a look. Have questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Here’s to your best year yet!

-Ryan

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Comments (3)

  1. What marketing strategy are you working on for 2020?! Personally, I’m going to be focusing on branding that is less generic and more focused on my ideal clients.

    January 11, 2020 at 1:13 am Reply
    • I think in 2020 I will be trying to think of making packages for my clients more extensive & adding things that are unique and different.

      January 11, 2020 at 5:33 am Reply
      • Great ideas Marielle! Certainly the more you can differentiate yourself from other photographers the better 🙂 Good luck!

        February 17, 2020 at 9:47 pm Reply
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