Fuel Your Photos focuses on online marketing for photographers. However, sometimes your online marketing and your traditional offline marketing can work hand in hand! Today we are going to go over an example of how you can use your offline marketing to drive more visits to your website, create goodwill with clients and generate more leads and referrals.

I especially love this idea because if you do it correctly, your clients will be doing your marketing for you and will even PAY YOU to do it!
For this post, we talked to Allyn Alston from YourVision Graphics and Designs about how photographers can turn save the dates into marketing masterpieces. Here are three key takeaways from our conversation!

1. Make sure you are actually offering save the dates to your clients!

You can’t get more clients from save the dates if you don’t even offer them as an option! Sure, some of your couples will probably make them on their own, but if you don’t have control over the design process, who knows what they might send out with your work.
The first step is to make sure that you mention save the dates on your website and in your pricing guide. Remember, these will become part of your marketing strategy, so even if you offer them for a very competitive price it can still be worth the extra effort. I’ve even offered to pay for the entire design and printing for couples as a bonus to their package. I’m not saying you should always make them free or cheap, but just consider the fact that you want to give your clients every reason to send these marketing materials for you!
Bonus SEO Tip: Often, couples are searching for engagement sessions so they can send save the dates before they ever consider hiring a wedding photographer. If you optimize pages or posts on your site to match this type of query, you may be able to attract a whole new group of engagement clients that will also become wedding clients.
For an example, you can see the blog post I made here: http://www.ablazephoto.com/save-the-dates/
Want to download this graphic so you can customize it for your own site? Allyn provided the PSD so that you can download it and use it on your own site! Click the image below, enter your email address, and I’ll send it right over!

2. Include a custom link on your save the dates to a page where guests can see photos and get info about the wedding!

This is where it starts to get good!
On your save the date, you should include a link so that people will visit your website.
Then, set up a custom page on your site for that couple where the guests can find more information about the wedding and see the rest of the engagement session!
This works well because people want to see more photos, and the information about the wedding (even if it is just a venue and address) will give them a reason to bookmark your site for future reference.
You can also use this as an opportunity for building your email list! 
Now that you have the undivided attention of people who are closest to your clients, see if you can get permission to follow up with them in the future. I like to do this by offering to update them when the wedding photos are finished after the wedding. Of course people don’t want to miss out on seeing the wedding photos, so you should get quite a few people subscribing. You’ll need explicit permission to send them any updates other than the specific ones they are requesting, but that is easy to accomplish with a notice or checkbox!
Here is an example of a simple client page that I set up for Andrew and Riley: http://www.ablazephoto.com/andrew-riley/

3. Include a message to guests to set the tone for the wedding day!

If you really want to take this page to the next level, this is where you can REALLY stand out!
I’ve seen so many photographers complaining about how guests “get in the way” at weddings. You see people promoting “unplugged” weddings everywhere online. I personally disagree with the typical sentiment behind unplugged weddings, because I think almost all of the problems can be solved with proper communication!
What if you could establish rapport with the guests at the wedding before you ever showed up on the wedding day? What if they trusted you to capture the shots, and respected you enough not to get in your way? What if they felt valued and respected as well and you helped them have the best experience possible at the wedding? Think you’d have more fans and referral sources? I guarantee it.
Here are some things you might want to include on the page:
  • A video where you introduce yourself and show your excitement to be the photographer at this wedding.
  • A welcome to approach you at the wedding and ask for photos.
  • Advice for capturing great memories without hindering anyone else’s experience.
  • Assurance that they will be able to download photos for their own use after the wedding (if you offer this).
  • Ask for referrals. People will be amazed at this personal welcome and will want to refer you even before they’ve worked with you!
I made a quick example that you can see here! Don’t worry about making it perfect… just the fact that you are taking this step helps you stand out from the crowd.

But what if you are not a wedding photographer or don’t offer save the dates?

Everything we’ve talked about in this post can also apply to any other type of card. This would work especially well with Christmas cards, baby announcements, birthday party invitations (think 1-year-old cake smash), or any other type of card where sending people to a website for more information would be helpful.
 If you’d like to partner with a designer to offer custom save the date cards to your clients, get in touch with Allyn today!
SHE SAID YES! Save the Date Design by Allyn Alston of YourVision Graphic Design
Bonus: Get inspired here with our Save The Dates board on Pinterest!

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