When I speak to other photographers about their marketing strategies and ask them what marketing channels they’re using to attract clients to their business, the #1 thing they say these days is that they post on Instagram as much as possible. When I ask what else they do to attract new clients, most say that Instagram is where they focus all of their marketing efforts. If you are also relying on Instagram, take note:
Now, don’t get me wrong – a lot of my wedding photography clients find me through Instagram – but over the last 10 years of being a photographer, I’ve learned that it’s really important to not rely on any one lead source to attract new clients.
We’ve seen all too well how quickly the Instagram algorithm changes, and how a new feature on the platform can greatly affect how well our posts are seen by potential clients. If you haven’t hopped on the Reels bandwagon yet, your posts are already not being pushed out to your audience in the same way they were just six months ago. You’ve likely seen a decline in the views and engagement of your regular photo posts, am I right?
With roughly over one billion monthly users on Instagram in 2020, it’s quickly becoming increasingly crowded. When (not if) Instagram prioritizes personal accounts over business accounts like we see on Facebook, our posts will rarely appear organically in user newsfeeds. Remember how Facebook changed?
The way our posts appear in the feeds of our own followers changes constantly, but so does the way they appear under the hashtags we so carefully choose for our posts. Photography is a saturated market, and the number of photographers posting to the same hashtags on a daily basis makes it nearly impossible for our posts to be seen.
For all these reasons and more, this is why it’s important to not put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, you want to make sure you are attracting new clients through a variety of marketing channels. Having different lead sources will allow you to attract clients through different avenues, increasing the likelihood of your ideal client being able to find you.
I get asked all the time how I book out my year every year, and how I have enough leads to book weddings for my associate photographers as well. Today I’m sharing my top six lead sources with you so that you can think about which marketing channels you can improve on.
The number one way new clients are finding us is through Google searches. Through the years, I’ve worked really hard at making sure my website pages and blog posts are well-optimized so that they appear on the first page of search results pages when potential clients search for specific keywords. I also blog educational content for brides so that when they find my blog, they see right away that I’m an established photographer with years of experience in shooting weddings. This helps potential clients see the value I offer my clients compared to newer photographers, or experienced photographers who haven’t blogged in months or even years.
Instagram is my second biggest lead source, so I do try to be as consistent as possible on that platform. After all, a lot of brides are doing all of their vendor research on Instagram. This is why it’s important to have a clear Instagram strategy. Whether that’s maintaining a certain aesthetic in your feed or using a lot of personal marketing, have a plan for how you will attract clients through Instagram.
Pinterest is the platform that I find most wedding photographers ignore. Did you know that Pinterest has over 400 million monthly active users? And over 70% of those users are female! Needless to say, wedding photographers really need to be on Pinterest in order to increase visibility. In 2020, 56.7% of my referral traffic came from Pinterest – that’s more than my Instagram and Facebook referral traffic combined. Basically, if clients are finding me on another site before coming to my website, they’re probably coming from Pinterest.
Something I love about being a wedding photographer is getting to connect with other industry professionals. Over the last ten years, I’ve been able to connect with countless wedding vendors. From wedding planners to florists to stationers to bridal shop owners and more, all of the vendors I connect are potential lead sources for me. You just never know when they’ll meet a client who hasn’t booked a wedding photographer yet and who is looking for photos in my style. I definitely recommend establishing relationships with other wedding industry experts and cultivating those relationships as much as possible. Not only will they help your business growth, but it will also help you create community and have a sense of belonging.
Having a referral network among photographers with a similar aesthetic as me has truly been helpful to my business. Every year, I book a few weddings thanks to the referrals from my photographer friends who are already booked on specific dates. If you don’t have a solid referral network yet, brainstorm ways to develop one, as this can be another valuable way to attract wedding photography clients to your business.
Referrals from past clients are another way I attract wedding photography clients. This used to be the #1 way I attracted new clients, but as my wedding photography prices increased through the years, these types of referrals, although well-appreciated, often don’t pan out because clients from, say, 5-10 years ago, paid significantly less for their wedding photography compared to my current clients and when they refer us to their siblings and other loved ones, there’s a bit of sticker shock. So, although I do value word-of-mouth referrals, I know I can’t rely much on this marketing strategy.
Are these the only way I attract new clients? Certainly not, but this is how most clients find me, and even if I only had these six lead sources, I’m confident I could book out my year, every year. Make a list of the top ways you are currently attracting new clients and brainstorm ways to add to that list and improve upon the number of leads you’re attracting to your business. Remember that not every lead you attract will fit your ideal client profile and be able to afford your services, too, so it’s important to increase the number of leads in order to increase the chances of attracting the perfect fit.
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Hello there! I'm Alex! I teach hobbyist photographers how to take better photos and professional photographers how to build a thriving business. Here I share tips and resources to help you grow. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!