When it comes to getting on the venue’s preferred photographer list, do you even have a chance?

Not the way most photographers go about it.

In my previous article, we explored the mistakes most photographers make that blow it with venues. Now it’s time to learn what does work to earn those referrals.

What’s In It For Them?

If you want wedding venues to send you referrals, it must be 100% in their best interest. Yes, I’m sure you’re the best photographer around, but that simply isn’t enough.

If you want them to refer you over the competition, you have to find to not only win them over, but to create a situation wherein promoting you makes them look good, too.

The Secret to Venue Referrals

Create a promotional piece that makes BOTH your businesses look good, and they’ll share it with every couple who walks through their doors.

  • It must be easy to use, requiring little or no thought or effort on their part.
  • Its purpose and benefit should be instantly recognizable.
  • You need to show them exactly what to do and do the legwork for them.

The closer you can get to doing all the work, so that you’re literally promoting their business for them, the more quickly you will earn those referrals.

Hey, I know this is a tall order to fill. But we’ve uncovered two tactics that work like gangbusters to turn a venue into your #1 lead source.

Warning: this strategy should only be used with the top venues you’d like to work with. It does require some time and energy invested on your part, so choose your targets wisely.

It also helps if you already have gorgeous wedding photos of the location in question, or you’ll need permission (and models) to get them, which is more complicated.


The Digital Promotion Partnership

What do wedding venues want that you can provide? Great photos that make them look awesome.

The problem is that every photographer is showering them with pretty photos. It’s almost impossible to stand out, especially when you’re competing for the attention of the very high end venues.

In addition, it actually takes work on their part to remember to give out your business card, and anything that requires work or effort quickly gets discarded by a busy event manager.

Here’s the trick: present the venue with a professionally designed digital brochure they can use for promotion, with your contact information and credit as the photographer discretely included.

It’s completely free and instantly ready to use, so giving it to their couples is a no brainer. With your contact information embedded right there, they’ll be promoting you to every couple who walks through their doors.

The Tools

It’s a great idea, but how do you pull it off?

Fortunately there are a couple tools that just made your life a whole lot easier.

Sticky Albums – Create a mobile app the venue can download and share with their couples using a simple link.


Sticky Albums makes it easy for you to upload and create an app that includes your contact information as the photographer. Present it the venue and give them free reign to share it.

The photos in your custom app show off the venue’s best features and make it easy for them to share their portfolio with couples. You get free exposure to every couple who views the app. It’s a win-win.

Sticky Albums is a cool marketing tool to begin with, but photographers who’ve used it to mutually promote a wedding venue are laughing all the way to the bank.

Flip Magazines – Create a digital magazine using an online template. Embed slideshow videos and photos, then give it to the venue to share with their couples.

This is an incredibly dynamic way for the venue to promote their features digitally, and you can include discrete links to yourself as the featured photographer.

Why This Works

When you create a promotional piece for a wedding venue, it makes it easy for them to share it and promote you in the process. It’s completely in their best interest and requires no effort or thought on their part.

It also kicks in the psychological principle of influence called Reciprocity, causing the venue to feel an unconscious pressure to return the favor for you. Not only will they be endorsing your business every time they give that digital brochure to a couple, they’ll feel compelled to recommend you verbally as well.

So get moving, get cracking, and earn those venue referrals!

What do you think about this strategy?

Wedding superheros Stephanie Padovani and her husband, Jeff, share oodles of wedding marketing tips like these at http://www.BookMoreBrides.com. Sign up for their FREE report for wedding vendors to learn how to get more leads and book more weddings. Huge thanks for their post and for being a part of Digital Wedding Forum!




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