FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS: THE TOP 5 SOURCES OF MY WEDDING BOOKINGS: NO.3 GOOGLE ADWORDS

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Over the next five ‘MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS’ posts I am going to share with you the 5 places where almost all of my wedding bookings come from, and tips for how you can make them can work for your business as well.

The third of these 5 is Google Adwords.

Almost every one of my enquiries comes through my website. It is the front of my business, the place potential clients can learn about me and the services I offer, and view my work.
I don’t have an email address or contact telephone number on there. Enquiries have to use the comments box at the bottom of each page. For two reasons, it stops anyone and everyone calling you to sell you something or waste your time, and it also keeps your page fresh with new, keyword relevant content.
I take a lot of pride in my website and always take the time to keep the gallery updated, the text and information relevant and to post on the blog.

But, it doesn’t matter how good my site is if no one sees it!

Natural listings.
There are so many guides on how to SEO or optimise your website for the google listings. Some legitimate, and others more promoting more ‘black hat’ strategies. I find the simplest way to think about it is to remember that google is simply trying to offer the browser the most relevant website to match the words they are using to search.
Trying to ‘trick’ google into sending anyone and everyone to your site is a false economy. Google’s algorithms will quickly filter out anyting that isn’t genuine, because if people searching the web land on your site, see it isn’t what they are looking for, they will move on, and google will know this. If your site is what people are searching for, they will stay, and read and browse. Google will recognise the time spent and activity, i.e. flicking throughteh pages, and note that your site is relevant.

So I don’t suggest wasting time trying to use sneaky tactics to drive traffic to your site. It’s a better idea to make your website as relevant, clear and intuitive as possible for anyone landing in it. By doing this, you will naturally have the relevant text in there, i’e. wedding photography related language, your location, about you. Everything that is searchable and relevant. And people will naturally stay longer and hopefully send yo jan enquiry.

Adwords.
While you are waiting for your website to gain recognition and move up the natural listings, there is absolutely no harm at all in using paid website promotion if done right.
Coupled with a relevant website, it is a great way to bring traffic to your site, and if done smartly, will convert into enquires.
It works especially well for our kind of business, because the product we are selling is of relatively high value. It wouldn’t make such good business sense to invest £200 a month in paid avertising to sell sweets by the penny.
There are lots of paid ways to promote your website.
Facebook advertising and Google Adwords are the two biggies.
Facebook advertising should be the best, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. It should be, because you can target specific demographics, like women, who have recently changed their relationship status to engaged, and therefore place your ad in really relevant areas.

I tried it for a few months, but when compared with how effective Adwords is, it just didn’t compare.

I cite Google Adwords as one of the reasons I was able to establish my business so quickly. Obviously you have to have a solid business to back it up, but this goes both ways. If you have a solid business and website, but no one sees it, then nothing is going to happen.

I was able to build a decent web portfolio quite early on, as I was very lucky with the first couple of wedding I had. They were amazing events, and the pictures were great.
It meant I had a solid portfolio to promote myself really early on.
I was not immediately going to rank well in the natural listings after only having the site for 2 months, so I turned to Google Adwords to help bring relevant traffic to the site.
This was 10 years ago, and I think I was very lucky with the timing. I think I was early to recognise the potential, so there wasn’t as much competition as there is now.
For a relatively low price per click, I was able to put my website at the top of the google listings searches such as ‘Wedding Photographer Gloucestershire’, ‘Wedding Photographer Cheltenham.’ and a few others.
You only get charged, when someone clicks through to your website. You can decide on how much you would like to pay per click, and how much you want your daily, weekly or monthly budget to be. The price per click to rank at the top of the results varies depending on how much competition there is for that specific phrase and how relevant your site is to those words.

At the time, I was able to have a budget of about £200 per month, and I was taking between 4 to 10  bookings from this directly. That’s £8k – £20k in turnover. It made great business sense.

A few things to consider are:
The time of year. For me, the majority of European bookings happen between January and May, so there’s not much point investing heavily out of these months.

If there isn’t a great site on the end of the click, it won’t matter how many people click though, they won’t convert into enquiries or bookings. So spend time bringing your site up to scratch before investing.

It’s free and easy to set up an Adwrods account, and you can cheaply and easily test out different strategies before increasing what you spend. It’s a lot of fun, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

I hope this is helpful! If you enjoyed this article, please ‘Like’ it, so that it will reach others.

I would love to get your comments on this article or topic in the comments below. If you have any questions, or feel there’s something I missed out, please do ask!

Next week I will post the fourth of ‘The Top 5 ways I get my Wedding Bookings’. If you would like to receive these articles direct to your inbox, please sign up to my blog on the left of this page.

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