It is essential to have an excellent marketing plan – without efficient marketing you will not generate the worthwhile enquiries that you wish for. You want to be looking for leads that convert into sales. There is little repeat business in wedding photography and work from recommendations can take some time to trickle through. It is essential that right from the beginning you advertise carefully. Once established, you may thrive on referrals only. In the meantime, however, look at all the different and most cost effective ways of advertising and pursue them avidly. You must always remember that your potential client will look for ‘what is in it for them’, hence focus your advertising on their needs and wants! Think about all the benefits they will get when they book you and promote this within your advertising. It is all well and good to boast about how great you are as a photographer, but they will want to see the real benefits to them e.g. free DVD slideshow, two photographers on the day, back up facilities, years of experience etc.
It is very important to find out where clients have heard about you; you then know what is working for you. At this point, you can put more effort into these areas to make them even more effective. The best way of finding out is to ask your clients. If you advertise in magazines, you can use slightly different email addresses in each magazine, which are ultimately re-directed to your receivable email address. You can identify those coming from the various publications in this way.
Where to Advertise:
The Internet and links to wedding / portrait sites
If you are serious about your business you need a good website, which needs to be advertised well over the Internet, after all it will act as your shop window. This is one of the best and cheapest forms of promoting your business. It is very difficult for your site to naturally rank at the top of the search engines straight away. It takes time and lots of effort and be extremely cautious of those companies wanting to optimise your site via search engine optimisation.
Social Media Sites
This form of advertising should not be underestimated and it is FREE. Get yourself on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr and open an account. You can encourage your web visitors to join you on Facebook and keep posting some really interesting facts for your potential customers. This form of advertising does take time to build but once you have so many friends on your site, this is like having a free list of potential customers to target.
It is a well known fact that half of all visitors to the internet will use YouTube now to search for things they need answers to or search for things they wish to buy. Make sure you get a video up there (or several) of you and your business. This is relatively easy to do now with easy to use software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Also, digital video recorders can be bought for about £150 these days. It is easy to add your photos, titles and subtitles as well as music (Royalty Free music) to make a really professional looking video. You will need to choose keywords carefully when uploading your video. Try to choose those which are not too competitive as your video will be placed at the bottom and never be found. Refer people to your website from your video.
There are lots of video sites out there these days so do not just limit yourself to YouTube. You can upload your video to heyspread and they distribute your video across many video sites and this saves the hassle of doing it yourself.
This is a great way to help your website rankings with Google and it is surprising how many photographers do not bother advertising for free in this way.
You can use Google AdWords but this is a Pay Per Click method, which attracts visitors with fairly good conversion rates. This does not rely on your position being high up on the natural search engines. You pay to be at a certain position on google, as a sponsored link. Specify the geographical area that you cover in your advert as you do not want people clicking on your advert when you are Scotland and they are in London – this will cost you money with no potential for return. You must be extremely careful with your keywords and you must think of all the words that a potential client would put into google. For instance, if you only want to undertake weddings in Gloucester, you could use keywords: weddings photographers Gloucester, wedding photography Gloucester, photographers Gloucester, photography Gloucester and allocate for example 10p/click.
You will soon find out whether this is enough as you monitor your viewings on google. You may have to up it or down it, depending on how much competition is in your area. Also you may find that certain keywords work for you and others don’t and this can be changed as you learn more. It is worth having a look at the book ‘The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords’ written by Perry Marshall.
Linking to other sites
Specifically for wedding photography, you can pay to be advertised on another wedding suppliers website. As time has progressed, you see more and more of these sites, so the possibility is that the effectiveness of them has been diluted and it has become quite confusing. They are companies with websites that market all wedding services including wedding photography. An example of such websites are (at the time of writing):
Advertise with sites that have a good few wedding service providers advertising with them already, as these will be the more popular sites that potential customers visit. Website statistics can give you an indication of the number of visitors a site receives. However, if the site ranks highly on the search engines (try searching using the keywords that your potential client may use), this a pretty good indication that it is well established.
If you do a general search of ‘wedding photography’ in your county (eg. Derbyshire) you will find lots of wedding sites that you can advertise on for little money e.g. weddingderbyshire.You will need to put in ‘wedding photography’ and ‘your county’.
In today’s internet world there is only one way to get more people into your shop buying your pizza pie’s and that is with a website. If you do not have a website for your pizza company you’re not going to reach 70% of all the people near your shop looking for you.
The internet is a social place, there are more people online than ever before and they all talk to each other online every day comparing pizza and food and products of all sorts. If you really want to reach out to your local community then a website is what you need and you need to make it user friendly. So you just can’t have some pictures and text anymore, if you really want to reach out to all the people near your store that are shopping online for pizza or pizza delivery there are some key elements you will need on your website.
1. A Menu
A menu is the most important tool to have on your site. It should include pictures of all your food and I mean make me hungry for your food with your pictures. Do not just trow up general pictures found all over the web. Take a picture of your own creations and make them look delicious. You should also have a description and pricing of each item wright next to each picture so we can order each item as it compels us. Remember to change your pricing on the site if your prices change in the store, people hate not knowing the exact price of an item. Make sure your menu is clear and up to date and most importantly make sure your clients can find it on the main website home page.
2. A Map
A map of your service area helps your clients know immediately if they called the correct place saving both you and the customer time and money. Google Maps is easy to install and will also help you get listed on some of the search engines. I am sure you rather take orders for food in your service area than tell people were and who to call all day long.
3. Online Ordering
Online Ordering is becoming an invaluable tool. Humans are lazy and they want fast and now all at once. If your customer is online and thinks about getting pizza you better have the ability to take his order directly from the menu and get his food to him in a short time or he will turn to your competitor just down the street or just a click away.
Coupons are a huge draw for people on a budget and in this economy that is every customer you have. There is not one person out online not looking for a coupon and sometimes a dollar off is all the push they need to come to you instead of your competition.
These are just a couple of elements that are invaluable to any pizza business looking to advertise and market their shop. A website has to have a lot more sections and other things on it but these are the ones that will keep your customers coming back. Remember to use the social places your customers are on in order to reach them. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter are just the tip of the iceberg. Create accounts on each one and tell people how it’s going with your company, this is also a great place to put your coupons. You must also remember that just because you build it does not mean they will find it. Submit your site to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other directories once you finish it so the search engines and your clients can find you.
Offer good food and make your site easy to read with some of the elements we mentioned and you have the beginning of a good marketing program. One place we like to recommend to our pizza shop owners is pizza directories, look for companies looking to help you and sign up on every free website’s out their like yellowpages.com, Merchant circle, and Kajiji. The more your name is online the more chance you will have to get your pies sold. Good luck!
Advertising and internet marketing are just like cats and dogs. The dog (marketing) listens to you and is faithful. The cat (advertising) is also your pet but, his reactions are totally unpredictable, when you reach down to pet him, it is just as likely to bite you as let you give him a little loving. Yes, there are both pets but the reactions may be completely opposite of what you expect. Too many marketers, both newcomers and experienced, confuse advertising and marketing, believing that they are both the same animal. That’s a big mistake.
How many times have you devoted countless hours developing an advertising campaign and then watched it flop and do nothing more than swipe your hard-earned dollars. Then another time, a hastily built campaign made you a small fortune. Either way, advertising is only effective while you are pumping money into it and in the long term has no lasting results.
Internet marketing is much more like your pet dog. You develop a bond of mutual love and respect and when you walk through the door at the end of a long day, the dog is sitting there, wagging his tail and happy to see you. When you throw a stick into the field, you can always depend upon the dog to return it to you.
Advertising has it’s place and you will use it but, marketing will help you build a sustainable business. In marketing, you build upon a basis of mutual trust and respect and your clients will respond in kind. When you do advertise to your client base, only promote the best of products-products that you would use and believe in. If you ever promote a product that doesn’t deliver on what it promises, you are cheating your clients and ultimately yourself. You will lose all of the trust and respect that you have worked so hard to create.
An excellent example of marketing is in your choice of a stockbroker. A good stockbroker builds on the trust of his clients and if he ever leaves his current company, he takes his client list along with him. His clients trust him and not the brokerage firm that he is working for. He has helped his clients become successful and in doing so, he has also become successful. You never trust your money to some faceless company, you trust the broker that you respect and build a bond that overrides any advertising that his company may do.
Yes, go ahead and use advertising but, remember that the only long term results that you have come from building that bond of trust and mutual respect that comes from marketing not advertising. One final note, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Only promote products that you trust and respect.