Marketing strategies are like diets, they only work if you do them.
In the past, my business went through hard years and I threw many pity parties for myself. I Facebook stalked, jealous of others who were finding their success while I was stuck. But just like the girls I was jealous of who were rocking a size four dress, I soon came to the same ending. I would get real. I would think “Okay, lady, stop. When was the last time you went to the gym? When was the last time you said no to fries? Went a day without Pepsi?” And similarly, I would think “Okay, when was the last time you posted to Instagram? Wrote a blog post? Visited a venue? Reached out to a planner?” So many of us KNOW what to do, we just don’t do it. We earn what we have and sometimes all it takes is a little tiny bit of action.
So here are 15 simple, easy, effective things you can do to further your business. You just have to DO them.
Have lunch with vendors. But really do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or given the line “Let’s get lunch!” and two years later, we never got that lunch but we sure as heck said it again the next time our paths crossed. The more someone has a connection with you, the more they will trust you. No harm can come from building relationships in your industry! To get more bang for your buck (really, who can afford lunch out on the daily?), go in groups of four! Mini lunch squads… #done.
Go to networking events. Ask a friend who is always going to “those things” and have them invite you when something pops up. It’s up to you to include yourself sometimes. Networking events are the perfect time to do so. Check out WIPA and WEN in your area and see if there is an event coming up!
Comment on others’ Instagrams! Think of how much you love and crave validation, now realize that everyone. else. does. too. You have the ability to make someone’s day! So go do it! Comment on the posts of the planners and venues you love so that when your paths eventually cross and you introduce yourself, they already know you AND they’re excited to meet you!
Visit a dang venue. This was a cuuurazy hard thing for me to do but this one time, I forced myself to go visit two venues in my area, and I ended up on the referral list for both of them. Wat? I didn’t see it coming… but it happened and I get at least five weddings a year from those two venues.
Thank and love the venues who you work for. If you shoot a wedding at a new venue, one, Rock It. Like, knock it out of the park. And two, send them a little 8×8 book from Artifact Uprising with a thank you note. On the last page, include a list of ALL the vendors. Make an Instagram post with a cute photo of the book and tag the vendors so they know you did a good thing for them and send it with a handwritten note to the venue.
Be available to serve. People won’t refer couples to you unless they know, like, and trust you. You have to give before you expect any kind of return. This can be in the form of free headshots, or event coverage for an event by the venue, or product photography for a rental company’s new furniture line.
Hand write that note. Send a thank you note to your couple’s parents with a couple prints from the day before the gallery posts. Parents rarely get wedding day love and being the person that does that will make you stand out. I also send handwritten notes after a consultation, after the engagement session, and at the couple’s first holiday season together.
Get featured. Two Bright Lights is a fantastic resource for Photographers to submit to publications. Every day so many photographers get published through their platform. It’s easy, inexpensive and will get your business tons of visibility.
Make some video interviews. After a wedding, ask your B&G to record themselves answering specific questions and then share share share. “What others are saying” is so powerful. Much more powerful than “Here’s what I say about myself.”
Post. I need to do this more too… I mean, not on my blog, I’m at the tail end of 100 days, but Instagram and Facebook? I need to post more. The key is to look busy. If you check a Facebook page and their last post was from June 2017, you start to wonder if they’re still in business.
Identify your ideal client and write down your Why/ Mission Statement. This is going back to basics but so many of us don’t have this defined and written in ink for us to turn to for answers when we start getting off track. Having a strong Why statement or mission statement or knowing who you’re supposed to be reaching is an important thing to have.
Plan a styled shoot. Reach out to venues to see if you can host a styled shoot with them. Once you have the venue, start assembling a team of vendors. Being able to say “I’m assembling a team of vendors for a styled shoot at *fancy venue* on February 20th” is a great way to start. This way you’re not saying “Hey… you wanna?” with no direction and no plan. Create a style board with Pinterest images and include them in your email. This gives you a great chance to show them how well you work, the amazing photos you take, and how publishable you are because you’re going to get the shoot published!
Be a guest on a podcast. Really. I mean, probably not one of the crazy popular ones but a local podcast is probably looking for amazing, colorful, creative people just like you! Listen to some episodes, comment on them, and then after you’ve given them some love and maybe shared an episode or two on your own feed, reach out and see if they’re looking for guests!
Make some videos. Are you a Sue Bryce fan? Me too. She uses Animoto to make some truly amazing videos that are simple but also incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Check this one out and tell me you don’t understand the power of marketing through video.
15.Give more than you take. Always, everywhere, in everything. I love that people are really encouraging right now of living in a mindset of abundance, but we need to also be making it a reality. If we all put out into the world more than we take, then we are living with abundance, not just thinking with that mindset. Does that make sense? I hope so. If someone leaves an encouraging comment for you, take it, be happy with it, and then go leave three comments for others in the industry. Don’t let kindness, joy, love, community stop with you. Continue the circle and be a part of its growth.
Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the 100 days. To submit a question, please click here! If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com
Denise Karis is an Arizona wedding photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris