Chasing your Target Market

Photography Credit: Peachey Photography

I’m asked over and over again by wedding suppliers how they can target and book alternative wedding clients – i.e. the type of readers that my blog attracts. While saying ‘stick an advert on my site’ or ‘get featured on my blog’ might be easy answers, they’re not necessarily the right ones, and simply paying a monthly fee to have your logo in front of those alternative eyes isn’t enough. It’s a good start mind you, but this action alone isn’t going to see your inbox flooded with enquiries from my readers.

The best piece of advice I could give would be to ask you to question yourself and at every turn ask yourself why. Why do you want to attract these types of clients in the first place? What is it about these kinds of people and their weddings that you like. Be specific. Only when you know the answer to these questions can you take it to the next step – the how.

It’s also vital to keep up to date with what you ideal client is doing outside of their wedding. What magazines do they read? What TV shows do they watch? Where are they shopping? What activities are they doing? Only when you know these things and question why they are doing them can you offer a product they will instinctively want.

Another important idea to think about is the one of shifting your expectations. I’m going to be brutally honest here, if you’re a middle aged guy with a penchant for camera equipment and World of Warcraft, you’re probably not going to be attracting uber cool hipster types. And that’s great! Focus on a market that works for you – maybe graphic designers, photographers, geeks, gamers. Also, ask your past clients what it was, specifically, that they liked about you and build your brand around that. It’s easy being yourself and you’re probably doing something right without even thinking about it! Wedding photographer David McNeil noted the same thing and actually completely changed his branding ideas because of what his past clients told him.

“It’s important to listen to what it actually is those clients like about you, and what they perceive your strengths are,” he advices. “For a long time I thought my couples were booking me because of my edgy portraiture style.  However, when I actually listened to what images they liked, and read their feedback emails I realised that what they really liked was the informality, the laid back approach, and the natural moments of laughter I captured.  So I scrapped a radical re-design of my website that was black, neon and angular and went for a warm, rustic, natural feel instead.  My couples are now not expecting Mr Cool Dude, but Mr Chilled Out – and that’s what they see when they meet me  – it’s the real me and that’s so much easier to portray than a fake, polished version of myself!”

Photography Credit: David McNeil Photography (full wedding here)

I say this again and again to people, but I will do until I’m blue in the face. Ultimately what makes you you is what’s going to attract a certain client and repel another. I’d encourage you to look interally and ask yourself what it is about you that makes you unique and different. This will be your biggest strength. This is what will make you perfect for a very specific kind of bride.

Everyone photographer shoots with a DLSR and uses Photoshop to edit. Everyone has a nice logo and a cool website design. Every stationery designer does custom designs. Every dress designer can make their dresses in different colours and fabrics. Every headpiece designer is inspired by the past. Every florist sources seasonal flowers. Every caterer using local produce. And everyone has a blog.

These are not things that make you stand out. Being you is what makes you stand out.

Photography Credit: Emma Case Photography (full wedding coming soon!)

Your perfect client is out there, desperate to find you. All you need to do is make sure you market yourself in the right places and that your branding yourself in a way that will attract them specifically. Easy!

9 comments

  1. Love it! I am setting up my own business at the moment and am sick of people trying to push me in different directions that they consider appropriate. I want my company to be based around all the things I love and are inspired by every day, most importantly produce things I would wear myself! Thanks RRB x

  2. I think this is so true. If your not projecting a reflection of yourself in your business your going to end up with a really mixed messages to clients who will have no idea what to expect of you.

    I can be quite brutal in knowing what clients I want and what clients I don’t and I have not shied away from saying this. But it’s all about managing expectations and you don’t want to end up disappointing people by delivering something you are either not proud of or not what the client expects.

    I think sometimes we can think of markets in too broad terms ‘budget’ ‘luxury’ etc but there are markets within markets and I think people need to decide where they lie, unless your Tesco and have millions of staff to run around trying to please everyone.

  3. I adore this post! Everything you’ve said is so spot on! People will buy into you, they invest in you not some marketing gimmick or an idea of what you think you should be. Just be yourself and your clients will come 🙂 x

  4. Excellent post! Until you understand what is appealing about your work and who it speaks to, you can’t begin to market to that pool of potential clients. Doing it the wrong way round – deciding on who you want to attract and trying to make yourself fit that – is generally going to end in disappointment.

    Many of my clients are Londoners who want to get married in the country, but they still want a chic, arty ‘city’ or fashion-led feel to their images. I had a long conversation with a potential client on the phone the other day, who told me that they had looked through endless websites and not only did my style appeal and fit with their sense of art and visual design, but also the way they had been presented on the website, from the web design through to the branding, was coherent and consolidated how they felt about what I could offer them. Generally, I’ve found that this can’t be cynically created; it’s a case of it happening organically, because the style of the branding and site design which appeals to me works well with my images as it’s all my own vision, not one I’ve copied from someone else.

    You can’t be all things to all people, and you shouldn’t try to be. I’m happy that not everyone will love my style of work, because I know that the people who do love it will be the kind of people I enjoy working with 🙂

  5. Great advice! It’s taken me two years to feel comfortable being me in the wedding world. I went back to my crayola hair and recently began re-branding my business accordingly. My intern asked me what would be appropriate when going to bridal shows or meetings with clients and I told her that whatever was comfortable for her. When it comes to a wedding day, we just wear something that won’t attract to much attention to us or that won’t rob any of the couple’s limelight. We both have tattoos and visible piercings and I truly believe that if someone won’t hire us for their wedding based on how we look, then I really don’t want them as clients. My new brand is all about being authentically you whatever that may be. This post helped me confirm that I’m on the right track. Thanks so much!

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