After launching my Facebook group in late 2022, one of the most common struggles that members share with me is this:
“I can’t get any inquiries!”
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!”
Understandably, the urgency in their tone was palpable. And of course, I totally get it. You’re trying to run a business to support your family, pursue your passion, or maybe you’re simply trying to get out of your 9-5.
But lemme tell ya: that ain’t gonna work, if you ain’t got no work.
Sure, you believe that your work is great, and you’re doing all the stuff that everybody tells you to do: SEO, Instagram, TikTok, trade shows, and even those expensive subscriptions at TheKnot or WeddingWire (don’t even get me started). But for some reason or another, it’s nothing but crickets in your inbox.
Well, there could be a number of things that could be giving you marketing headaches. But there is good news: these problems can go away with a little strategy and some elbow grease. So in no particular order, the reasons why you might not get any inquiries include:
- Lack of visibility
- Poor marketing
- Limited network
- High prices
- Poor online reviews
- Shoddy work
Also, I’d like to take a moment to remind ya’ll to not shoot the messenger :).
Lack of visibility
If the clients can’t find you, they can’t inquire with you. This means you have to show up wherever they might be looking. This includes your website in search results, your social media accounts, or even trade shows and (gasp) WeddingWire or TheKnot. Whatever platform you choose, you simply need to leverage all the tools available to you, through their respective platforms, which will enable you to reach your target audience.
- You’ll need to learn how to leverage SEO properly if you’re trying to get inquiries through your blog/website, etc.
- You’ll need to learn how to connect with your target audience on social media by showing the right kind of content.
Even if you are visible with your website and social media accounts, if you don’t have an effective marketing strategy, you may not be getting your target audience’s attention. You need to create content that speaks to your target audience, which showcases your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and differentiates you from all your competitors. In this day in age, having great work is simply not going to be enough. You’ll need to understand what your target audience is looking for, so you can serve them in a meaningful way. If you can accomplish that, the inquiries will come.
It goes without saying that referrals are the lifeblood of any business, not just the wedding photography business. This means network marketing needs to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Photographers who have good relationships with other vendors and venues are more likely to receive referrals. To get this part right, serve your colleagues in the same way you would serve your paying-clients. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you. Remember: these referral sources are the geese that lay the golden eggs!
If your prices are higher than your competitors, you might struggle to get inquiries. You need to ensure that your prices are in line with the value that you provide, and that you’re not pricing yourself out of the market. One of the biggest mistakes that I see new photographers make is when they pre-maturely raise their prices and their inquiries suddenly drop to zero. Any decision to raise your prices should never be a decision that you make lightly. When in doubt, just add more value.
Poor online reviews
If you have negative reviews, or no reviews at all, prospects may be hesitant to inquire. It’s important for you to have a good reputation (both online and IRL) and to actively seek out reviews from happy clients. At the end of the day, not only do your clients need to know and like you, they need to trust you too. If something doesn’t seem quite right, or if your reputation is in question, there’s a good chance they’re not going to inquire.
I saved this one for last, but it IS the giant pink elephant in the room that nobody ever wants to talk about: your work. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be honest with yourself: where do you stack up in the market? I’m living proof that you can still launch a successful photography business with a below-average portfolio, while demonstrating below-average skill. If you don’t believe me, you can see for yourself:
But the difference here is that I was always fully self-aware of my less-than-stellar portfolio when I first started out, and therefore priced myself accordingly. If you want to fix this part of the equation, simply submit your images for awards, get some CC in wedding photography groups, and attend workshops/classes to improve your craft. While your work “may” suck at this very moment, the long game here is that in the very near future, your work may suck a little less. In time – with better work, comes more inquiries.
So if you’re a wedding photographer who’s ever found yourself struggling with getting inquiries, the good news is that there are only a couple reasons why. The great news is that they’re all fixable, and they can all be quickly resolved within a matter of weeks (elbow grease and time are the main ingredients here). The important take-away here is that you’re constantly paying close attention to the marketplace, and that you’re completely honest with where you stack up in the market.
At the end of the day, getting inquiries is not rocket science: people need to know you exist, you need to have a sellable product, and you need to price yourself accordingly. If you can put together a marketing strategy that allows you to serve your target audience in a meaningful way, by incorporating everything you’ve read thus far, those inquiries will come – count on it!
If you’re a wedding photographer who still struggles with getting inquiries, I can help. You can check out my Sales & Marketing Course & Coaching Program by clicking on this link: https://benlau.com/education. In this program, I’ll personally help you with finding your dream clients, setting your sales & marketing on autopilot, and booking like crazy!