Chapter 2: Word Of Mouth
One of the most effective ways to market your biz is by letting others recommend you and refer clients to you. This includes primarily three groups (but referrals can sometimes come from the most unlikely places so remember to act and be a good representative of your brand everywhere you go and in what you do in your daily life)
Other wedding professionals.
The reason this is so effective is because you are building RELATIONSHIPS that others, new clients, can then rely on because they already trust the person who trusts you. People want to work with people they know, like, and trust. When you build strong relationships with other vendors they’ll want to work with you again and again — because they know, like, and trust you! So they’ll go out of their way to recommend you to their own clients and may even promote you to their followers.
When you’re shopping for something (especially something that is a big investment), you are more likely to trust a company/service/product that your friend just used and can't stop talking about than one you just saw a random advertisement for. Am I right?
No amount of paid-for advertising can compare with the power of word-of-mouth marketing. And this is how you get the ball rolling:
We've already covered this extensively in previous Modules: provide a stellar brand experience from beginning to end and beyond! Give your clients and experience they will never forget. But, if done incorrectly — not following through on your promises, having confusing or messy branding, etc. — your clients will still be talking about you, yes. But you won’t like what they have to say ;-)
The best thing I ever did, for my business and for myself, was to bond with other photographers and create referral circles. This way we made sure that as many of us as possible were booked throughout the season. The way to start is NOT to email other photographers whose work and brand you like out of the blue asking them to refer their clients to you. It is to build a relationship naturally and over time with photographers who are in the same area and roughly the same pricing level. Start referring clients to them when you are booked on the day in question, comment sincerely on their Instagram posts and their blog, and if/when the possibility of meeting in person arises to grab it with both hands.
Other wedding professionals:
Something I did early on was to create a recommended vendors list, at first as a pdf I sent to my couples when they booked me, and later a visible list on my website. This was a huge benefit to me in three main ways:
it provided me alot of genuine goodwill from vendors in the business because I was promoting their work for free, thus making it more likely they would recommend me in turn as long as I kept delivering a high standard of work and service
it was a great way to help my potential and booked clients navigate the sometimes vast and overwhelming wedding industry offers.
It meant that often I could navigate my clients into choosing vendors that I myself loved working with or would like to work with in the future.
In the next Module we will go into how planning a styled shoot can help you build a relationship and natural word of mouth marketing.