It's been a while and I miss you guys so I thought I'd write something for you.
I want to talk about the importance of word-of-mouth marketing for us as photographers (and pretty much anyone else who needs a better marketing strategy). Now, you're probably thinking, "Not another one of these word-of-mouth articles." Or maybe you're not and I'm the one putting words-in-your-mouth.
If you ever ask a fellow photographer how their clients find them, they'll most likely spew out the phrase, "It's all word-of-mouth, man". Well thanks for nothing Mr. Photographer guy, that clearly explains everything.
So I'll start off with what it is.
Word-of-mouth marketing is essentially getting your clients to talk about you behind your back (in a good way).
It's entirely free, it's easy to put to use when you understand how to use it and it's infinitely more effective than any other form of marketing out there.
To understand it we need to realise that photography is an extremely personal experience. Especially portraiture. When you're up in someone's grill with your big fat lens, you're in their personal space. You're providing an experience and not just a set of images. Don't get me wrong, you still have to produce amazing work but more than that you have to be someone your client feels comfortable with and can trust.
When you're looking for advice about something, whether it be buying a new toaster or choosing a wedding venue to get married at. Where's the first place you'll look? You'll ask someone who's already been through that experience before you, right? Reading reviews on this toaster or chatting to people who have had their wedding at the venue you're interested in. Unless of course, you're one of those people who buys the first toaster they see when they walk into an appliance store without doing a thorough background check on that sucker first. I for one, am not one of those people and will read EVERY review on that toaster before I allow it anywhere near my gluten-free, fat-free, nutrient-free, R3.00-a-slice loaf of bread.
We do this because we trust the experiences of our peers. We trust that they won't allow us to repeat the same mistakes or encounter the same problems that they may have faced when they went through a similar experience. The same goes for photography, when one of your clients' friends is looking for a photographer, (particularly if they have no idea where to start looking for one), the first place they'll go will be to their friends and YOU need to be the one they talk about.
How do you make sure that you're the one they recommend?
Simple. Give them the best damn customer experience possible! Offer something they can't get anywhere else and even if they can they wouldn't want to get it from there because it's you that they love and not just the work you produce. The best part is, that if you do this well enough, your clients will recommend you without even being prompted. Going back to my previous statement, getting your clients to talk behind your back. You, as well as your clients have to be proud to show off what you've created together. Photography is a collaboration of all those involved, both behind and in front of the lens. If your clients are proud enough and have a reason to show your work off, they become living, breathing, walking and talking advertisements! (We can only dream of a future where scientists create humanoid advertising robots that we as business owners can release into society as regular human beings just to sell our products. But for now, luckily this is as close as we'll get).
While typing this post out, I stumbled across the perfect quote to accompany it from internet entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, "The best marketing strategy ever: CARE". This couldn't be more accurate, if you don't genuinely care about the people you work with, like REALLY care about them, then you'll come across as a phony who's just in it for the money.
The truth is, that without my incredible clients recommending me, I'd be living on the street, sharing a tin of tuna cat food with my cat "Bubbles". I don't even like tuna.
If you guys have any questions or thoughts, either drop me a mail or leave a comment below. Always happy to chat to you about stuff and things.