Wedding photographers are just like other creative small business owners; they rely on their portfolios and client reviews in order to attract clients. Small photography businesses often receive minimal traffic or get bombarded with useless traffic that never leads to sales.
In this post, I’ll highlight a few of the high-growth tactics that Incify.co employs for our wedding photography clients. Some of these tactics have allowed us to double our clients’ traffic and conversion rates in incredibly short time spans.
Start With the Right Foundation
Many wedding photographers focus on the creative side of their businesses and are prone to neglecting the technical side of the coin. Having a beautiful website means nothing if it fails to rank for keywords. It’s just like having a lovely shop in the middle of nowhere.
The right foundation is a site that follows Google’s SEO guidelines. It must adhere to the following:
- Be technically correct (i.e. have clean codes)
- Load within three seconds
- Work as well on a mobile platform as it does on a desktop
- Use a clear structure that takes visitors from point A to point B
- Have clear CTAs (Call to Actions) that lead to successful leads and inquiries
- Be operated with the proper goals in mind
- Have the correct meta tags in place (i.e. title, headings, meta descriptions)
- Implement schema maps correctly throughout the site in order to allow spiders to better understand the site content
- Utilize a proper sitemap.xml and robot.txt
Our first step during any partnership with a wedding photographer, or any creative professional, is to evaluate their site with a technical audit. This audit allows us to highlight any and every technical problem within the site before we rectify the underlying issues.
We know that it’s challenging to balance the technical and the creative in an artistic business endeavor. As a photographer, your first instinct might be to create a beautiful website that represents your creativity– and that’s fantastic! Implementing practices that align with Google SEO guidelines, however, is equally important for your business success. You can achieve a website that is both beautiful and technically sound.
The secret is proper planning.
Focus on Your Content
Another mistake that creative business owners often make is neglecting the quality of their website’s content.
SEO is added to quality content so that it is part of its natural structure. Think of SEO and content as two sides of the same coin. There is no content without SEO, and there is no SEO without content.
Use Keywords Well
Content and images are tied to keywords. Those keywords are the words or phrases Internet users input to find services like wedding photography. Your keywords can be generic, like “wedding photographer” or long-tail like “affordable wedding photography + city.”
You can optimize your images to rank on the image search. However, it’s not as simple as adding keywords to images and suddenly having new clients. The important missing ingredient here is quality content. For example, if you want to rank for a local inquiry like “wedding photography + city,” where every photographer in that city is trying to win clients, you would need quality content to win that game. While optimization is necessary, quality content is equally important.
A keyword can also be an entire question, like “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” Your content should cover all of the questions asked by answering them through in-depth posts on your website. Again, this comes back around to the necessity of high-quality content. A good practice is to include a FAQ section in the service pages to answer every possible question, which will add more value to your content.
I personally prefer to break down the content into two parts:
1. Content pillars and topic clusters: This includes cornerstone content about a service that is offered, like “wedding photography,” “wedding videography,” “pre-weddings,” “engagement photography.” Topic clusters are a derivative of the content pillars. Once I have both planned for, I internally link them together, which provides me with better content structure.
2. The blog: Your website’s blog is your money machine. I’m surprised at how many photographers neglect to have blogs. Your blog is your playground, and a gold mine of opportunities to bring traffic and position you as a thought leader in your industry. You can share your personal voice with your customers through your blog. It can be turned into a personal journey where you are fully transparent with your audience, sharing your life, passion for photography, and customer stories. Or, it can be a publication house of its own, like the Knot or Honeyfund.
You might wonder what kind of content a wedding photographer can write about? And believe it or not, it’s not only about photography.
Let me ask you a question, after ranking for your primary keywords (wedding photography + city, pre-wedding photography, engagement shoots, etc.) what else? You are not going to stop there, right?
Your main pages, including services and price pages, will rank for those primary keywords, of course. However, your blog is where the world will find your high-quality content. That’s where you will rank for all of the secondary keywords specific to your business and site.
To give you some examples, let’s say you wrote a blog post about the best wedding venues in your city that you personally recommend. That blog post starts to rank for keywords and generate traffic for you. The keywords you might rank for from that blog post can be something like “best wedding venues + city.”
Did you know that engaged couples always book a wedding photographer after they book the venue? And imagine that the same couple who read your blog took your suggestion and booked a venue from your list?
The same couple will then book you.
From one of our clients, you can see how did we ranked them for high intent keywords like affordable wedding dresses Australia, cheap wedding venues.
The next important step is a double-edged sword technique. Let’s say you now have great content and a website that is both beautiful and technically sound. It now needs to be actively promoted.
One common myth is that if you build a beautiful website with some technical SEO work and good content, you will generate traffic instantly. That’s wrong.
From years of experience working with all kinds of sites, from small businesses to big brands, the best you would be able to do is rank on page 2 or 3 if no one else is competing for the keywords.
We call page 2 and 3 “the graveyard.” Why?
No one goes there. They will simply search a different keyword rather than trust a lower-ranking option. Why? Because people trust Google and are impatient.
To push it to the front line (where everyone is trying to get ranked), you have only two choices: 1. Add links to your content and 2. Buy ads. There is no way around that.
One of my favorite link-building strategies is the look-alike links-building collaboration, where a wedding photographer teams up with a venue, florist, music band, or catering service to contribute to each other’s blog posts.
I love this technique for a simple reason: It’s real. Because it’s genuine, it creates value for the audience (because all those vendors share the same audience). It creates links that are naturally owned and naturally linked.
Not only that, but you will also end up with a guest post from that vendor, thereby providing even more value for your audience.
What’s not to like about that?
All of this, plus the networking opportunity that it naturally lends itself to.
Nurture Your Leads
Last, it’s essential to nurture your leads with irresistible offers and engaging contests. A wedding photographer typically receives dozens of inquiries from early-stage prospects who are just looking for options; the most common inquiry is the pricing question.
By understanding your customer’s journey, you can be one step closer to bringing them closer to the sale by nurturing them more.
Offers and discounts nurture prospective wedding photographer clients because pricing is an essential factor in their decision making.
Timing is critical at this stage. By finding ways to staying in their mind before they make the decision of hiring a photographer, you more likely to win them as a client.
My favorite method of nurturing leads is by using a combination of email campaigns plus re-targeting; by doing that, I stay on their mind wherever they go.
Following these 5 tactics, we managed to rank our client for competitive keywords like “wedding photography” at the top, with 5-6 months of continually building and promoting content with quality guest post and outreach tactics.