Chasing your Target Market

March 6, 2012

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!