As wedding photographers, a good chunk of our business comes from referrals: other wedding industry professionals, photography colleagues, and, of course, our couples themselves. In particular, we love connecting with wedding planners and wedding venues, because, between a planner, a venue, and a photographer, a couple looking to get married is definitely going to book one of those three first. And here’s where a bit of in-person marketing strategy comes into play. Why? Making a good first impression counts.
But before you connect with other professionals, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Here are five simple strategies to help you make those valuable in-person connections effective.
- ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS
You can certainly meet people online, but even our friends who have successfully found their true loves via online dating services had to meet for a face-to-face eventually. At some point, you’re going to have to be brave and go out and talk to some people. And it’ll be loads of fun; we promise! A bit of social media leg work should get you in the know, and some solid hustle could find you hitting up your local photography equipment shop, print lab, or wedding dress boutique.
Ask around. There are sure to be numerous weekly events from which you can choose. You simply need to take the time to go.
- JOIN LOCAL, PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS
Social media can be an extraordinary waste of time or a fantastic tool to propel your business to the next level. We prefer the latter. Simply searching Facebook for “[insert name of city of state] photography or photography group” should send you in the proper direction and get you started with connecting with other professionals online.
Connecting with a community of photographers online can help you in all kinds of ways. You’ll not only get access to second shooters and be up to date on any local photographer hangouts, but you’ll also have plenty of people to tell you about the vendors that you might want to connect with and the ones that might best fit your style of photography.
- HAVE A WELL-BRANDED MEANS OF CONTACT
We like to give other vendors a business card. People still use those? Yep. Sure! But you’re going to want to make sure they look good and have a unique edge so that they are less likely to end up in the trash. Or so that they at least save your contact info before trashing it!
- SHOW YOUR BEST WORK/SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS
Showing off your work is also key. Others are more likely to check out your work later (actually go and follow you on Instagram, for example) if you show them some of your images while chatting. Sure, you could definitely pull up your Instagram page and show off some of your best images and you could even take out your phone and follow each other. That’s a bit cheesy though, and we want to be a bit more memorable, unique. To that end, we always carry around a portfolio of our best images.
Since we’re fans of printing images, and talk about it a lot, we always keep a portfolio of 8X10 photographs. These are photographs that we print ourselves in our own studio.
- TAKE YOUR TIME TO MAKE A PERSONAL CONNECTION
We’ve found that the couples who book us love our images (obviously) but also take a personal interest in us as humans. And it’s the same with vendors. If we’re at an open house or any kind of social gathering for wedding industry professionals, it can be crowded and our ability to make a connection can be tough. Our plan is to show images, give a card, and share a personal anecdote. We want the vendor to remember us for when we send a follow-up email, but we also want to remember something about the vendor to make that personal connection in our follow-up contact.
We’ll send an email the next day saying, for example, “It was so great chatting the other night at the open house. It’s so great that we both love to surf!” And if the vendor is high value (a venue we really want to shoot a wedding at but haven’t yet had the opportunity), we’ll do our best to set up a time to chat more extensively, and we’ll try to set that up the night we meet or in our follow-up email for sure.
We have no doubt that you’ll find word of mouth to be an extremely valuable means of getting future leads and, hopefully, business. You’ll definitely want to connect with our industry professionals so that you can trade leads, get your name out there, and possibly establish some solid, lasting relationships.
What tips do you have for connecting with other vendors? We’d love for you to join in the conversation! Leave a comment below!
All images are by Sunshine & Reign Photography and are copyrighted and have been used with permission for Resource Weddings. Do not copy, modify, or re-post this article or its images without express permission from Resource Weddings or the authors. (Share the heck out of it on social media though!).