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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 16 Dec 2013 (Monday) 13:56
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Online advertising successes and failures (and a big thank you)

 
SMP_Homer
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Jan 12, 2014 19:11 |  #16

Pretty much matches my findings/views on ads...
I'm a sucker for print ads... Rep I deal with is a real looker - could probably sell ice to Eskimos... 3 years I renewed, and last summer was first booking from it... And so far this year, 3 WOM referrals from that one particular wedding...
I gave up wedding shows years ago... About to totally drop print ads...


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Gel
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Jan 13, 2014 03:58 |  #17

umphotography wrote in post #16592219 (external link)
Chris thanks for sharing this. I shared it on our FB page that is shared by 1500 professional photographers.

Thanks!

Word of mouth it's true is just one source. I've always kept tabs on where my bookings came from but this year I'm also recording where ALL the enquiries came from (even those who I'm already booked for or who don't reply to my email.

So far this year (so in the last two weeks):

3 x past couples
1 x Wedding blog (first enquiry from this method in 5 months)
3 x Direct Google search result to a specific page.
1 x Venue supplier list
1 x Florist
2 x Facebook
2 x Wedding fair at a specific venue I supply for.


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rejay14
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Jan 13, 2014 23:05 |  #18

PhotoMatte wrote in post #16599176 (external link)
Indeed, I get many referrals from former clients that lead to bookings with new clients. Word of Mouth is merely one tool in the toolbox, however. It is dependent on former clients referring me to their friends and family (most of whom were at the clients' weddings to begin with, and will have already known of me from those events). The thing is, not all former clients have a pool of soon-to-be-married friends that just happen to be looking for a wedding photographer. I have to compete with photographers up and down the west coast of the United States, a far larger region than, say, Perth. While it is true that WOM is important, I will never rely on it to be the largest factor in attracting future clients. One thing I have done, however, is to offer previous clients discounts on albums and other services for every successful referral they send my way. I also offer incentives to my favorite wedding venues, asking them to recommend me (since the venue is almost always the first vendor to be booked in any wedding), and I keep a close watch on how my products and business cards are displayed at those venues.
As I said in my original post, my first print-ad was incredibly successful while subsequent ads, in the same publication, have not been as successful. While I am considering dropping my ad from that publication, it's a hard decision to make: the initial success of the ad has still outweighed (in terms of cost/benefit) the subsequent failures.

What incentives do you offer the venues specifically?

OP: Additionally, excellent post. My sentiments on print advertising exactly.


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Jan 14, 2014 01:56 |  #19

Great to see you being honest. Thanks for sharing your experience with us all.


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nathancarter
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Jan 14, 2014 12:30 |  #20

rejay14 wrote in post #16603758 (external link)
What incentives do you offer the venues specifically?

This is a pretty good question.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 15, 2014 17:44 |  #21

Gel wrote in post #16601195 (external link)
Thanks!

Word of mouth it's true is just one source. I've always kept tabs on where my bookings came from but this year I'm also recording where ALL the enquiries came from (even those who I'm already booked for or who don't reply to my email.

So far this year (so in the last two weeks):

3 x past couples
1 x Wedding blog (first enquiry from this method in 5 months)
3 x Direct Google search result to a specific page.
1 x Venue supplier list
1 x Florist
2 x Facebook
2 x Wedding fair at a specific venue I supply for.

Personally I keep more of a track as to where the people that book come from. Then apply the 80/20 principle and don't worry about the low quality sources and concentrate on the high quality ones. e.g. For me venue supplier lists and florists are often very low quality as they are often not pre qualified and speculative. Pretty much like a Facebook message wedding enquiry. For the past year or so I've only had messaging turned on on my page for some test periods. The enquiries that have come through it have by and large been time consuming and poor returns. After turning it on for a week or so over the New Year I'm turning it off again to concentrate on getting the people who may enquire through it to my website first so I can pre-filter them. Thus saving my time which would be wasted otherwise.

That has left me with 2 sources I am concerned about as pretty much all more bookings come from one of these sources.

1) Organic WOM (including social media WOM)
2) Organic SEO

Over here referral selling is illegal. Not only that but the rave factor of a referrer who does it just because they love what you do/did for them rather than for a benefit to themselves is much higher. Work out how to get people raving without an incentive and you'll garnish more and better referrals.

If your WOM referral rate isn't increasing over time you really need to look at why that is the case. It should be growing every year. More prior clients mean a bigger referral pool.

At the end of 2010 my referral rate was 27.5% for the previous 2 years on average
At the end of 2012 my referral rate was 41% for the previous 2 years on average
At the end of 2014 my referral rate is currently standing at 51.5% for the previous 2 years on average (I'm not far off fully booked for 2014 which is why I can give the stats now).

Concentrating on WOM and how to encourage/increase it cuts advertising costs dramatically and reduces time on speculative enquiries. People start contacting you just saying outright they want to book (no meeting or conversation required).

Bottom line. Keep records. Analyse the stats. When you find what is working best... do more of that.

The other bottom line... maximising the number of enquiries you get shouldn't be the goal. You only need enough high quality enquiries who book each year to fill your quota and you're all set. Dealing with a high volume of speculative enquiries wastes time, effort and money.


Peter

  
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Jan 16, 2014 17:28 |  #22

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16608800 (external link)
.... maximising the number of enquiries you get shouldn't be the goal. You only need enough high quality enquiries who book each year to fill your quota and you're all set. Dealing with a high volume of speculative enquiries wastes time, effort and money.

This sounds so beautiful Peter. I need to work smarter :)


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smorter
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Jan 19, 2014 09:56 |  #23

Personally I think SEO is a load of crock. If people really knew everything about google's algorithms all the SEO joints would be out of business. As it is, it's like a massive spam race.

And then you just get weird stuff. Like for my website, I have never spent 1c on SEO, and have never optimised my website at all, yet I rank (www.clartephoto.com (external link)) on page 3 when googling "Melbourne Wedding Photographer" "Melbourne Wedding Photography" "Wedding Photography Melbourne" and pretty much every term.

And my mates spending $$$$ on SEO come to page 1 and 2 during big spends, and then immediately after drop to like page 100+


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Jan 19, 2014 11:52 |  #24

smorter wrote in post #16618175 (external link)
I rank on page 3 when googling "Melbourne Wedding Photographer" "Melbourne Wedding Photography" "Wedding Photography Melbourne" and pretty much every term.

And my mates spending $$$$ on SEO come to page 1 and 2 during big spends, and then immediately after drop to like page 100+

Is there a difference between page 3 and page 100? :D


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CadenceandGrace
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Jul 08, 2014 04:48 as a reply to  @ post 16599176 |  #25

Just a quick message to say THANK YOU CHRIS! I am starting out and this is such a fantastic resource! :)


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Jul 08, 2014 13:29 |  #26

I was looking for this thread and couldn't find it a couple weeks ago. Glad it was revived!

Thanks for all the info Chris!


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Jul 11, 2014 14:52 |  #27

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16592276 (external link)
Organic Word of Mouth. Not just referrals but raves. Past, present and future clients (and their families and friends) who just won't stop promoting/talking about you to everyone they meet. They do it because they want to not because they have been asked nor because they have a financial incentive / rewards for doing so.

It is entirely possible to generate WOM from a client before they have even booked and before you've taken a single photograph. If you can get people that excited about what you do they'll rave from the day they find out about you.

Read up on the psychology of how people think, how they make decisions, what major brands have done to leverage WOM and create buzz, how networks (people) fit together... All of those things and more go hand in hand with gaining an understanding that WOM can be maximised. WOM can be moulded and encouraged without people even knowing you are doing it.


The problem with advertising in our industry is the complete lack of creativity in how people go about doing it. Just look at any online wedding directory and you could copy and paste text from one add to another. Everyone claims to be unique yet offers the same as everyone else. They're often all "affordable", "award winning" etc.

Take pricing and packages... everyone does the same for fear of stepping out of line. All the workshops teach the same techniques.

Why is it so many wedding photographers (and photographers) in general are struggling? Because they are unremarkable... easily forgettable... if you advertise yourself as one of the crowd then you can expect to be perceived as just on of the crowd.

I might have critiqued you in the past without really thinking about my post and big mistake. I apologize. Your site is truly amazing. Great post here on what is needed. I found myself dragging and pasting prices from other sites and doing what everyone else does and realized lumped into the group when need to be different. Thanks.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 11, 2014 23:11 |  #28

I've just spent $500 on facebook targeted promoted posts over a two month period. The return so far stands at just shy of $50000 worth of bookings.


Peter

  
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fontanka
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Jul 18, 2014 14:58 |  #29

After promoting your fb business page's posts for certain area/clientele you have booked 10-15 weddings during two month period? This sounds pretty impressive to me.
Could you elaborate please?


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 18, 2014 16:56 |  #30

fontanka wrote in post #17040197 (external link)
After promoting your fb business page's posts for certain area/clientele you have booked 10-15 weddings during two month period? This sounds pretty impressive to me.
Could you elaborate please?

Targeted promoted post to the demographic who are my target market. Main content of the post being promoted stating why people should NOT hire me.


Peter

  
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Online advertising successes and failures (and a big thank you)
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