by David Simm Published 01/02/2000
Others years I tried superbly composed groups, or breathtaking scenics, to show off my creativity I even tried a great shot of one bride doing a cartwheel at her reception, now that worked. The Chicago Bride wanted to know that photographers could capture fast action candids and I really shouldn't have been surprised. After all, the editorial style of the magazine was pseudo journalistic Kentucky Fried Snaps.
Sadly much of the readership were planning low budget weddings and while my phone was ringing off the hook most of the prospects couldn't afford my packages. I had to target a more sophisticated client, which magazine advertising wasn't attracting.
Other years I tried a spread of images that showed romantic portraits, three dimensional groups and fast action candids, again this just went to prove that however good my print advertising was it just didn't yield high quality enquirers. It is interesting to note that with each year that I advertised I did introduce substantial price increases. Prices, however, don't go into the advertisements and there is no barometer to inform readers which studio is expensive and which is cheap.
Going onto the Internet, I believe, was a good move, while it does not generate high volume traffic, as yet, the quality is high. Computer users to begin with are more sophisticated that shoppers who aren't computer literate. Even then it doesn't mean that all the Internet enquiries will have set aside a sufficient budget.
Only one area of promotion guarantees a very high conversion rate and that is personal referral. I can think of many new clients whom I have received from word of mouth, but one in particular sticks out in my mind. The bride who sent me seven wedding enquiries of which I booked six, the odd one called and said, " We just love what you do, but unfortunately we can't afford it". None the less it just goes to prove that the most cost effective way to generate new business is through existing clients.
Referrals also include clients sent by wedding and party coordinators, some of who are tremendous organizers, well worth the investment, sadly there are others, who entered the business after throwing together a successful Bar or Bat Mitzvah when their kids turned thirteen, overnight they are expert wedding consultants. Payola to consultants may at the outset appear expensive, but unlike print advertising there is no wastage, you only pay when a referral books.
In spite of meandering off in all kinds of directions I am still committed to a small amount of print advertising for wedding promotion. The future style of my advertisements, however may revolve around the website. Instead of advertising the studio and my pictures on a large expensive layout, perhaps I should economize on space to and just do a Beanz Meanz... for those of you who remember that very skillful ad campaign by H.J. Heinz Company. Something to get readers to go to http://www.davidsimmphotography.com for all they need to know about wedding photography. I also intend to forge a stronger working relationship with the top handful of wedding consultants, staying well clear of the overnight Prima Donnas.
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