Inside Benfield Photography: Advertising and Marketing

Dale's Mug

Hey everybody!

Last week we discussed what was in my camera bag, as it’s a question I get daily from photographers. Today I want to share my answers to another FAQ: Do I advertise?

As a disclaimer, let me say that I have no intention of giving you advice on how to run your business. I don’t know all there is to know about you, your business, your market, or your competition, which are all factors in determining your marketing strategy.

At Benfield Photography, we don’t do any paid advertising. Over the course of 12 years, I’ve tried it all. A lot of it worked a little, but none of it worked a lot.

For what we do, which is deliver a great client experience and offer unique products (hello MpixPro!), we found it difficult to create an advertising campaign that was able to clearly show this. Instead, we focused our dollars in ways that allowed us to deliver a better client experience. Taking a page (or chapters) from Zappos’ figurative book, we put money into our customer relationships to develop loyal clients, instead of seeking out new clients through traditional advertising methods.

For example, we (on multiple occasions) have sent flowers to a client in the event of loss in her family. Definitely an unfortunate situation, we wanted her to know that we cared about her and were there for her is she needed anything. We didn’t plan this as a reason for sending flowers, but in all cases that we’ve done this the bride bragged about us to her friends. This goes farther and deeper than an quarter page ad in the regional bridal magazine, in my opinion. Plus, it feels good to care.

Just because we don’t buy paid advertising, though, doesn’t mean we don’t market ourselves. We market ourselves like crazy! We are constantly trying to come up with new ideas to reach out and connect to brides. Though it’s not new, facebook has been key for our marketing. Meredith has done a tremendous job keeping us connected to vendors, clients, bridesmaids, etc. (I should get her to do a guest post on here… would you like that???)

The exception to paid advertising that we take part in is wedding fairs. This is, in fact, paying for advertising. We love bridal fairs and have great results from the because we take a unique (though very easy) approach: go big or go home. We always get at least a double booth so we can show off our big ol’ albums and prints, and we jump out to the brides walking by. We also pair up with our vendor friends and try to get the same row or area so that referring during the bridal fair is easy and effective.

Speaking of vendor referrals, that’s another great marketing technique. We have some really great friends in the wedding industry that we love to share referrals with. It’s so nice to have a wedding planner, DJ, videographer, stationary queen (as I like to call her), and famous cake star in your referral group. Also, we have a handful of photographers we spread the love with.

For us to book 20 weddings, it doesn’t take much. Usually word of mouth and facebook take care of them all by themselves.

I’d focus on doing one thing really well; maybe it’s facebook marketing, or maybe it’s vendor relationships. If you rock it harder than your competition, you’ll start booking more jobs.

Talk to you soon,

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