When starting out in business the obvious target for your marketing is your potential clients. Right? Wrong!! Not in the wedding market. So many of us make the same mistakes by targeting brides-to-be, or engaged couples. We do this through print adverts, attending bridal or wedding fairs and having a strong online presence, be it social media or a well constructed website. There is merit in this thought process, however you will achieve more long term and sustainable success when you target the trade.

Let’s look at a scenario where a couple get engaged on a Saturday evening. Sunday morning Facebook and Twitter are a buzz with congratulations and well wishes. Now starts the long and laborious task of coordinating her wedding. The most emotionally valued event in her life to date. Her mind has now switched to gathering information, be it ideas, pricing, recommendations and general advice. Everything wedding is now interesting to our bride-to-be. She will be walking down the high street and will now be interested in the florist she never recognized before, or a wedding dress outlet that she past every day, without the need to go in. She now frequents wedding vendors with enthusiasm and intent.

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Let’s look at what happens when she enters the florist and speaks to the owner or floral designer about her wedding. The florist is going to show her images of work that she has previously done and as we know, or have seen, these images will have been taken by the florist at the end of a long day getting all the flowers ready in time for the ceremony or reception. They are usually taken with a mobile phone, or at best a compact camera. As seen in the image where our wonderful florist is taking snaps of her beautiful creations. The resultant image may make us giggle as the composition, lighting and intruding finger may not result in an award winning photo, but bare in mind that we can’t arrange flowers like she can!

Our bride-to-be starts looking through the amateurish photographs of wonderful flowers and suddenly “pop” a great photo that stands out from all the rest, because it was shot with a great camera and a fast lens with a shallow depth of field. The logo of the photographer is discreetly placed on the image and for the first time the bride has now seen the name “Brett Florens”.

She continues to look through the portfolio and every so often a professional image pops up and every time it has “Brett Florens” on it. Now this doesn’t mean that she will rush to contact me, however the seed has been planted. In conversation, the bride-to-be asks for some advice as her friends and family have been giving her all the advice in the world and she wants to know what the industry recommends. “Which photographer would your recommend?” she asks, bearing in mind she could be asking about dresses, hair and make-up or anything wedding.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The florist may have worked with many other photographers who are much better than I am, however she has never seen their work or had any interaction with them besides seeing them shooting details at the wedding. She is going to recommend the photographer that gives her great images of her work. She may have been promised images from her previous clients, however after the wedding is all over the bride is not really in the frame of mind to deal with all the administration of getting images to all the vendors she employed at her wedding. This rarely happens. I have also heard of photographers who refuse to give images to other vendors, insisting they pay for them.

Now if you have been diligent enough to send out images to all the vendors that you work with and would like to work with in the future, the conversation will repeat itself at the hairdresser, make-up artist, dress designer, jeweler, venue, cake-designer, wedding coordinator or any other vendor you have supplied images to. It continues to cement your position as the industry approved choice of photographer. On the topic of industry approved, this hold so much more weight than a word of mouth recommendation. If you were looking to buy a bottle of wine as a gift for someone special, would you take your friend’s recommendation, or would you ask the expert at a Wine Cellar?

I would want to know what bottle of wine they had with their meal the previous night, as I would assume that someone who is in the industry has more knowledge of the industry and therefore can offer expert advice. When it comes to other vendors in the wedding industry, be generous with your images and help others to market you better than you ever can yourself.