When I was shooting weddings I used to send my customers a questionnaire about the wedding day, roughly a month or so in advance. In the form, I would ask for information about their family photos, start/stop time for the ceremony and reception, what the addresses to key locations where and for alternate phone numbers so that I could get hold of the wedding party even if one person’s phone was off.
I also made sure to ask for information about their venues. I would get my clients to tell me who else they hired and how I could contact them so that after the wedding was all said and done I could send the vendors some photos that they could use.
I can assure you that no vendor out there is going to say no to getting free pictures from any photographer. They might just end up using them on their website or blog. They hopefully will credit you but even if they don’t….who really cares?
This isn’t about plastering YOUR name all of THEIR company. That’s thinking small. This is about something even better. It’s a sweeter prize. What we’re doing right now is planting the seeds of our future partnerships and we’re doing so by scratching their back without asking for anything in return.
This isn’t the fastest form of marketing but it’s the most powerful.
The reason why it’s so powerful is that it takes advantage of the human side of businesses. The part in all of us that likes to work with and refer our friends. The part that looks out for the people we care about. We want to build up a network of people that WANT to help us. Eventually we’re going to infiltrate their customer lists and get them working for us. Like being a parasite….but we’ll do it in a nice way.
Don’t expect this to add up to a windfall of new clients knocking on your door instantly. After all, giving vendors some images for their websites isn’t a groundbreaking technique. But we’re building something good. This is a method that takes time and this is just your first step. Ultimately what we’re working towards is having a web of people referring you so that your name is mentioned frequently to more brides by people they already trust.
I’m going to be creating posts each week that covers how to build this strategy and how to have a web of partnerships that refer to you consistently and from time-to-time, I’ll also cover other helpful business strategies. For now, just start getting into the habit of providing images for these industry partners and building some friendships. We’ll take it a step further when I write next time.