Book More Weddings with Free Engagement Sessions
Today we are sharing our favorite way to book more weddings. Now is a great time to begin filling your schedule for the next few months and to book weddings for next year. Free engagement sessions are our favorite way to bring in new clients to your wedding photography business. The best thing about this method is that it doesn’t rely on spending hundreds of dollars on advertising or doing anything outside of what you are already able to do in your business.
How It Works
The strategy here is to offer promotion to win a free engagement session. You are going to capture tons of leads from this process and extend the free session to all qualified leads. Here is how it works.
The Signup Form
Duplicate your current contact form on your website and add a few additional fields to it on a new page. Here are the items we recommend to put on that form.
- Partners Name
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Wedding Date
- Wedding Location
- Wedding Photo Budget
- Wedding Video Budget (If you offer video)
- Do you already have a wedding photographer?
- Do you already have a wedding videographer? (If you offer video)
This data will set you up to choose the best winners for your business. Remember this isn’t charity this is a marketing campaign. Your goal is to find the clients that will meet the goals of your business.
Tell the World
Shout it out from the rooftops if you have to, but it is probably easier to just post it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I would also recommend you boost the post for the duration of your contest. Three to four weeks is usually best. You don’t have to put a lot of money into your boost to make it effective. Your post should have a great engagement image associated with it and a link to your entry form. A bigger budget can help but $20-$30 in a Facebook boost goes a long ways when you target your local market.
You get an engagement session, you get an engagement session, you get an engagement session! (In my best Oprah impression)
When your contest ends it is time to look at your leads. Most contact forms allow you to export the data to a spreadsheet. I find that easiest to work with. Now start to narrow down the list to the best leads. Here are the steps I like to use to narrow down the list.
- Remove any duplicates and people who both people entered. (Hint, let the guy win if possible)
- Look at wedding dates. If you are already booked on a date take those out. Also be careful choosing too many people getting married on the same date as it limits your potential to book those weddings.
- Look at wedding budgets and locations. Don’t put too much into it though. People don’t usually know what their budget is or it is a little flexible. I tend to just make sure that destination clients have realistic expectations of budget going into it.
- Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can realistically do. Your goal is to absolutely WOW these winners. You can’t do that if you are overcommitted.
Now that you have them narrowed down this is the fun part. Give them a call and let them know they are a winner! Be prepared for lots of questions. Here are some common FAQs. With our recommended answers.
Q: What is included?
A: This covers the 2 hour engagement session fee. A $XXX value. Prints, albums and digital products are available for purchase after the session.
Q: How much are those additional products?
A: We will send over the full list of pricing in an email but most clients spend about $X,XXX with us. Also, as an added bonus we will include the digital images for free as well if you end up booking your wedding with us.
Q: What’s the catch?
A: There’s no catch! You have no obligation to purchase any of the images after the session.
Q: What is the next step?
A: We will email over 3-5 available dates and times over the next few months and lock in a time for your session. Sessions need to be scheduled by XXXXX.
This is where a lot of photographers drop the ball. Treat these new clients like VIPs. Return their calls and emails quickly and be as accommodating as possible. Be your sunny self at the photo session and get their photos back to them in record time. Once the photos are ready bring them in for your normal sales and viewing session. Hopefully by this point they are sold on how great you are and once they see the photos they will be over the top happy.
If you have given it your all up to this point it should be a pretty easy deal to close. Offer them free digital files from the session if they book with you during the sales consultation. If they aren’t quite ready to book at that time be sure to follow up with them 30, 60 and 90 days out.
I hope that this simple system works for you to help you book more engagement and wedding sessions for less work than ever before. Spend your time taking photos and interacting with clients. Let us handle the rest! Happy booking!
Here are some examples of ad content I have used in the past to book free engagement sessions.
For photo ads you can simply take some of your most eye-catching images and keep the message simple.