Running a wedding blog alongside my photography business, I network with a lot of other wedding pros. And when I launched the Adventure Wedding Collective, the supplier directory on We Are The Wanderers, I had a lot of interest from photographers wanting to reach the adventure wedding market. When talking about paid advertising during a talk I gave at a photography event, a lot of photographers expressed their frustration with paid advertising and how it wasn’t brining them the bookings that they hoped it would. And today I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experience on why this paid marketing isn’t working for your photography business.
Does Paid Advertising Work?
Paid advertising for your photography business can help you achieve the results you want. But with so many things in business, very rarely can you just drop money on advertising and wait for the bookings to roll in. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complex than that, and there are a lot of factors to consider. So let’s have a look at some of the questions you should be asking yourself before putting your money in to paid advertising.
What Is My Main Objective For This Advertising?
This might seem like an obvious question, but ask yourself anyway. Why do you want to advertise on this platform? What are you looking to gain? Are you looking to get enquiries from your advert, are you trying to raise your brand awareness, are you looking to increase your social following or do you just want to be associated with the platform. I’ll be completely honest. I advertise on a few platforms, and I have different reasons for each one. Some are for SEO (because I know they rank highly for my target keywords), some are purely for because I want to align my business with their brand, and others are because they generate leads.
Does This Platform Align With My Brand & Portfolio?
We all have places that we aspire to be featured and dream clients that we want to book. Before you give away your hard earned cash on paying for advertising, really ask yourself if you think your branding and portfolio is in aligned with the platform you want to advertise on. It’s really important to be realistic here. For example, do you think advertising as an Iceland elopement photographer is really going to bring you bookings if potential clients land on your page and see that 99% of your portfolio is traditional church weddings in the UK? If your current portfolio doesn’t reflect what it is that you want to be shooting, you may be better off investing that money in to working on rebranding your business before you shell out on advertising.
Are My Target Clients Using This Platform?
What platforms do you clients use and how do they use them? Do they read wedding blogs or buy printed magazines? Are they a regular Facebook user or do they prefer Instagram? I’ve wasted money on Facebook ads by boosting posts here and there and creating targeted adverts. For me these have never brought me much in return except vanity metrics of a few more likes and comments, but never any direct leads. But I know some people that have wild success with them. When I took the time to sit down and work out not only who my dream clients were, but also which platforms they used and how they used them, I knew exactly where my advertising budget would be better spent.
How Much Competition Do I Have?
Some of the biggest wedding publications have a huge readership. But they also have a huge number of advertisers. Whilst it might feel really good to be accepted for a coveted spot in their supplier directory, look at how many other people are also listed. Looking through directories with hundreds of other suppliers can be pretty overwhelming. If you main objective is to gain leads from your listing, you might be better looking at other options where the competition isn’t as crowded.
Do I Interact With This Platform?
The world of marketing has changed and so have people’s purchasing habits. I read an article recently that estimated that the number of touch points before a sale (the number of times someone sees your name/product before they buy) has gone from 7 to over 20, mainly because of the way that we consume digital media. I have members in my directory that sign up for a year and I don’t hear from them again. I also have members who frequently interact with the blog’s social media and send submissions over regularly for features. These ones that interact are far more likely to generate leads, because they are increasing their visibility on the platform.
One of the best ways of making the most out of your advertising budget is to know exactly who you are targeting and what message they need to hear. If you would like help in nailing your branding and your message, then I’d highly recommend considering working with a coach or mentor.
Having gone through this process myself, and experiencing awesome results, I’m now offering mentoring to a small number of photographers who are looking to move their businesses to the next level.