This question is focused towards wedding pros. We all know that word of mouth is the most powerful mode of marketing. I would like to know if there's any other means of marketing that is also useful in generating new clients.
Posting in forums such as Clubsnap
Advertising in bridal websites like SGBrides
Pay per clicks Ads in Google/Facebook etc
Advertising in bridal magazines
word of mouth anytime....
but theres still some photographers who pose as couples and sneak into some forums and self-advertise..... and they think the mods there didnt know....
i think such tactics are bad... reflect badly on the photogs themselves....
but word of mouth and reference jobs are quite common.
For me you have to be VERY GOOD at what you are doing.
QUALITY work will leave people looking for you.
With a good character your service will go a long way.
Melvin, it depends on which market and the kind of clientele that you're targeting. I started off with most of my jobs coming from sgbrides, and we're talking about a very price sensative group of folks from there. The general perception I get from the photography/videography section is that everyone's out for a good bargain there, not sure if you agree with me on that I still advertise there because it still gives me about 5 - 6 clients a year, which covers my advertising fees there.
I do agree with trucatus about quality work and to me, nothing beats having a happy client raving about your works to their friends. For me, it's about investing a lot of time with my clients because they are going to be my ambassadors...but that also means that I won't be able to do like 100+ weddings a year. My hit rate with client referred friends is almost 100% now and trust me, they stop looking at prices at that point.
When it comes to the day when clients are willing to do anything to make sure they get you to cover their wedding, and believe it or not, to the point that some even change their wedding dates to suit your availability, you know you're somewhat up there already
Thanks all for your valuable input!
Like all newcomers I was thinking of ways to find more clients as my current base of clients is still small. Added in the fact that when you start to increase your price, your previous client's friends might not be able to afford the new price. Thus the need to find new clients that could via other means.
At the same time, it's also difficult for a new player to pitch themselves at upper mid range on their own, and so far one of the ways to do that is to work as assistant/ associate photographer for the established pros.
Back in the days when SGD$3k wedding photography were unheard of (we're talking about back in 2003/4), it took some of us 4 years to move to the SGD$2.5k ~ 3k mark. Now we're seeing new associates / assistant photographers hitting the $3k mark within a year joining the establishments.
other than clubsnap n sgbrides, what other websites are there to find clients/?
I'm not sure about others, but for me which I'm in the 1k and 1k+ sector i am starting to get hit really bad. Luckily cheonged last year from around Oct to this Feb or so and so at least I have 50+ ROMs/ADs now. But from mid March to now there has been a lot of enquires which I roughly estimate around 30-40 couples, but only 2 signups. I tried massive discounts to even $700 for a basic package (DVD return only) for the weekday weddings but no effect. Lately there were 4 couples who cancelled (6th Dec being oen of them). WTH.... Seriously I don't know what effect would advertising have....
Just trying to stay alive with normal day job, my other small biz and US stocks as lobangs. (its actually gambling nowadays LOL!)
I've seen for myself some cases in couples and friends who are much worse off......
The wedding photography sector has been hit as in many other industries as well recently.
Though this happened, the client base for premium quality service will not diminish. Hence, satisfied clients will always refer new clients and word of mouth marketing will still tilt the decision process in the favour of the photographer who consistently delivers quality.
Have you considered one of the better methods to generate new clients is thro affiliations? This is already being done by the more successful p'ger(s) but I don't see anyone highlighting the method. So allow me to share a bit about affiliation.
BENEFITS / COSTS: Through affiliation you join a more successful team ("the host") and leverage on the success of the more established p'gers. The more successful p'ger can refer those clients he is unable to handle to the new affiliate. But the host also benefits, coz sometimes he may get a referral / enquiry that is below his service rate. Now, instd of turning away such enquiry, he cld ask the affiliate to handle and get a "cut" (there is no free lunch!). Depending on the host, the cut may be a small referral fee to cover overheads, etc.
Now, let me suggest a workable formula on the 'cut' that makes money sense to both the host and the affiliate. Suppose the host's normal rate is $2k per assignment, because he's been in this line for the past XX yrs, has established his name, blah, blah. The affiliate may be someone just starting out full-time but has been shooting free-lance or part-time for some time, and has a reasonably good portfolio to show the host. He pitches his rate as $500-800 per assignment.
See the wide price differential b/w the successful host and the affiliate? That is where the host can leverage on his success, image, popularity, blah, blah. He may quote a figure lower than his established rate, say, $1,000 advising the prospective client the assignment would be handled by the affiliate, as he's already scheduled. The client would hv seen the affiliate's portfolio and if the client accepts, the affiliate would get the job. The affiliate rate of $500-800 is prior agreed at the time of affiliation, the host will get his cut to help cover overheads and make it worthwhile. The affiliation rate will go up as the affiliate gains experience and enuf clients commended his (good) work. It is obvious the host will ask the client's feedback as SOP. Note a bad-egg or unethical affiliate can be damaging to the host.. [you can imagine why... but it cuts both ways.]
Obviously the host wld only provide affiliation to those who meets his minimum standards of photography, amongst other criteria, else his firm may take a hit if the affiliate p'ger fails to perform on the AD. (Note failure, aside from photography skills, may take the form of no-show, poor manners, lack of communication, honesty, etc -- these are other criteria the host will consider b4 accepting the affiliate). I know one case where the affiliate did well enuf to become inducted into the firm as a regular member of the team i.e. "graduate" from affiliation.
To keep this post brief, I shall not go into the other immense benefits (eg exposure, insurance ag eqt failure, skill set) accruing to both host and affiliate here, hoping the more successful p'gers who hv gone thro the route will add to the discussion.
A little OT here, but if you think your work deserves more than that, you should be looking at the next price bracket of about $1500 onwards.
D3s / D3x / 18-55 f3.5 - 5.6 / 55-200 f3.5-5.6 / 50 f1.8
Marketing is one of many cost of operation and should be a budgeted cost of 10 to 15% of your takings. It’s a necessary cost to start with, it’s also a “must have” in any business.
Starting out fresh, you need to spend more on A & P. It’s not one or two as suggested in the poll but a combination of all. Most start-ups failed to budget this in as capital investment, branding is an investment.
When you are established, you still need to spend on these activities or you’ll be forgotten. It will be part of your overheads.
Every channel has a value. Higher cost = better exposure, cheap maybe lower view.
Last edited by Winsonapm; 14th May 2009 at 11:31 PM.
just1book, no kidding!
Ask my client to write good thing about me and my photos in forum.
Please Don't Report This Post To A Moderator
you've left out one very important tool - social media such as facebook and twitter...
The abovementioned methods are generally expensive but producing less than ideal result.
Have you guys thought of working with service providers who is constantly looking for ways to survive in this field? if not, you should be looking now as good one only works with very specific people.
Look at example like Chris Ling photographers... they are one of those who is very good in this area.
Lets face it, words of mouth are generally misunderstood by many and it is not as powerful as many thought it will be? why?
Here is why... the heat is only on the initial phase when the couple got married, they may be very very happy with your work and service, but do you really expect them to talk to anyone about it? probably last will be mentioned. even if they mentioned your name to their friends and family, do you think they will remember, if they do remember, do you think they will bother to look up your website if they are not planning on a wedding? the list goes on...
However, if you are working with a florist, then of course, you will have to work with them too.. don't you think they will push it for you?
however, as Winson mentioned, you will need a lot of media to create "awareness" and the more times your name pops up the better. 10-15% is very much the conservative value that you have to spend on your A&P. generally, you will have to factor in 50% on the first year, 30% on second and 10-15% on third year onwards. Many businesses fail in the first 3 years because they don't "invest" in their branding.
By branding, I am not saying it is just the logo, it is "everything" you do... that is branding... I mean everything and of course everything that you don't do... scary isn't it?
So start looking for people who has similar prestige as your business and find a common ground that you guys can work together. It is often free but produce high amount of work.
For those who spends hard earn cash on the trade show, do you stay at your stand? if yes, you should think again... I generally go around "talking" rather than staying on my stand. I don't expect nor want to book someone on my stand. think long term...
Just a method that works for me... thought sharing with you guys... however, I don't shoot wedding actively...
Just my 2 cents.
Very informative discussion....
Words of mouth dies when the client's marriageable pool is depleted...
Fortunately, this is just a wkend income-generating hobby of mine in Melb but I'm facing a depleting pool...lol
Last edited by Fallenphoenix; 23rd February 2010 at 10:38 AM.