In our early years as photographers, Eileen and I spent a lot of time waiting for inquiries to come in. We’d hope that someone would see our work or discover our website…we’d hope that past brides would share our name with their friends… and while those things certainly do bring in inquiries, we realized that we needed to be more proactive in creating inquiries ourselves. But what do I mean by that?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as small business owners, it’s that we can always be more creative at reaching new groups of potential clients. There are incredible opportunities waiting for us…all it takes sometimes is thinking a bit outside of the box. For us as wedding photographers, that means thinking about how we might be able to get new wedding leads…
Usually, we receive inquiries from couples once they’re already engaged. But what if we could build relationships with more couples even earlier? What if we could get in contact with guys before they propose? Then we’ve already established a trusting relationship with the couple, and they’re more likely to hire us for later engagement pictures and wedding pictures.
Of course, ‘guys planning on proposing soon’ is a rather hard target audience to find and nail down. But why not cast a wider net? Usually the guy isn’t the only one who knows a proposal is happening soon. He’s probably told family members and some close friends as well. So, we thought, why not reach out to them too?
Here’s what we did…
What makes this marketing strategy so wonderful is its extreme simplicity. All we did was create a Facebook post asking people to private message us if they knew of someone getting engaged soon. All of the nominated couples will receive something of value, while a few lucky ones will win a free proposal session! What’s the benefit for us? We’ve built a trusting relationship with all of these couples now, and we’ve already offered them a gift of real value. As they move forward post-proposal, we’ll be at the top of their minds for engagement and wedding photos (whether they won the proposal session or not).
If you want to hear more in-depth about the thoughts behind our strategy, check out this video!
The Results…so far
Within a few hours of posting, I received a private message from a friend saying she knew someone who was getting engaged the next day! She got me in touch with him, we talked back and forth a bit, and then I drove to Atlanta the next day to photograph his proposal. Honestly, this fun strategy worked even quicker than I imagined! Enjoy some more of the photos below…
Bonus Tip! Now that we’ve done one session, we can include the images from it in our future contest posts. Our first post got the message out, but this second post does so much more…it gives people a taste of exactly what they’ll be getting when we capture their proposal. Who wouldn’t want to nominate a friend (or themselves) when they know they could be winning such beautiful portraits?
While this specific strategy applies directly to wedding photography, there are a wide variety of similar techniques you can use for any kind of photography: portrait, newborn, pet, and more! We timed our post near Valentine’s Day, because, let’s face it, tons of people get engaged right about now. But there are all kinds of different holidays and seasons that you can capitalize on…all it takes is a bit of thinking outside the box.