My last post for Design Aglow on “25 Ways to Build a Local Following” was well-received in the photography community. One reader in specific asked for a similar article, but geared towards destination wedding photography. I love writing topics that are explicitly asked for, so let’s dive right in!
First I’ll step back from the specific topic of “destination wedding photography” for a moment and look at marketing as a whole and how you can create an effective marketing plan. Here is a proven 3-step approach to market anything to anyone:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where do they spend their time?
- What kind of message would they likely respond positively to?
Ready for it? All you have to do is #3 in #2 to book more of #1 – simple as that!
Let’s apply this to the destination wedding photography market in one quick example:
- Who? We’re looking to reach brides planning a destination wedding.
- Where? They are having meetings with their travel agent (booking their wedding/trip), they are likely also spending a lot of time online on Facebook (socializing), Pinterest (looking for inspiration) and Google (researching).
- What? They’d appreciate and connect best with advice/education that revolves around their destination wedding. They also love finding new inspiration and ideas for their dream wedding. It’s important to also understand why they’re planning a destination wedding as this will help you define a message. It could be because they want a fun getaway trip with all of their friends, or it could be because they are busy professionals and want to make their wedding a special trip with their closest family members to be together in a place of tranquility, relaxation and warmth. Figure out their “why” and you can frame yours to match.
Once you can define the who you’re trying to reach, where you can reach them and what you can put in front of them, it’s a much easier process to determine a marketing plan for destination weddings.
Here are 15 specific ideas for you:
- Create a “course” that helps brides plan their destination wedding.
- Promote this course through Facebook ads targeting local engaged couples.
- Run Facebook ads targeting “fans” of specific resorts that you’d like to photograph at.
- Work on your SEO for specific resorts – plan to come up on the 1st page when a bride types in “photography” after that resort name.
- Partner with a travel agency who specializes in destination weddings – offer a special package that they can offer their couples.
- Partner with destination wedding hotels (much more difficult, but still do-able with the right approach).
- Run Facebook ads targeting “fans” of high-profile destination wedding planners you’d like to work with.
- Get involved in online communities, forums, blogs and Facebook groups that revolve around destination weddings.
- Use Pinterest and Instagram for destination wedding inspirational images and your portfolio.
- Put on a free “improve your photography” workshop to the clients’ of a local travel agency.
- Run Facebook ads targeting “fans” of travel agencies who specialize in planning destination weddings.
- Use local media to talk about destination wedding photography and become known as the “go-to” photographer for destination weddings.
- Photograph business portraits for a travel agency to start a relationship.
- Offer to join the owners of a local travel agency on their next trip (on your dollar) to photograph the trip for them for their own promotional purposes. Build a solid relationship.
- Run Facebook ads targeting “fans” of other destination wedding resources/magazines/guides/websites.
All-in-all, while destination wedding photography has a slightly different approach in marketing to local wedding photography, the principles are still the same – it’s all about relationship, trust, education, and connection.