I’ve tried it all and have intimate experience with how truly frustrating getting leads flowing in can be.
Wedding Shows: I planned for weeks, ordered samples, built an expensive booth, and paid the astronomical entrance fee, only to have 100 brides show up and book nothing!
Print Ads: I purchased a full-page ad in a popular magazine for several thousand dollars and paid more money for a designer to create the ad. The result? Crickets…I got no leads. And the magazine wanted me to pay another couple of grand six months later to keep the ad!
Online Listings in Wedding Directories: You name it, I’ve tried it. The Knot, Wedding Wire, My Wedding, etc. Even while I was doing it, I wondered: “How do I stand out in a crowd of a 100+ of my local competitors?” So, I paid the crazy expensive monthly rate to secure that top listing…even when leads weren’t guaranteed. Part way through, I wondered: “How many bookings do I have to book to justify what I’m paying them?” Worst of all was that when I stopped, I had nothing to show for it.
AdWords: $15 per click… Are you kidding me? Then I found out that my mom clicked the ad because she thought it was cool (?!?). And one of my photographer friends told me my ad showed up in their company Gmail screen. Really Google? You let my competitors cost me money… As if losing leads to them wasn’t enough!
Yelp Advertising: Did you know that Yelp will actually filter your good leads if you decide to cancel your contract with them? Yeah, I didn’t know that either until it happened to me.
And so my SEO journey began…
I knew our photography was better than most and that we delivered a stellar product and service. My husband, Josh, and I just needed to get more brides to talk to! But I’d had enough of traditional marketing.
So, I decided to teach myself how to get ranked in search engines organically while creating a cooperative marketing system that works.
At the same time, Josh and I decided to move our company from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California to be closer to our family and friends. That meant I had the unique challenge of getting our name out in a new town with virtually no marketing budget.
I hit the books (well, the net) and made it my mission to figure out how SEO works and how to implement it in my business. I used my own company as the guinea pig and experimented with lots of theories.
I’m not going to lie… I made some BIG mistakes. SEO can be very technical, and one small misstep can be messy to fix.
But eventually, I figured out a system that works. Leads started flowing in, and we were booking weddings for San Diego clients before we even moved! Now THOSE are some great results!
When we rolled into town several months later, our business already had a healthy start in our new town. We kicked ass on those first few weddings and used them to create a cooperative SEO marketing plan which benefited not only us, but the other vendors we met along the way.
Several years later, I’m happy to say that I haven’t spent another dime on any of those money-sucking, traditional advertising methods.
Our clients continue to find us online, almost like magic. With our systems in place, Continuum Photography runs like a well-oiled machine, and I have the time to focus on helping other wedding professionals get the same results… which is awesome! Nothing makes me happier than seeing one of my fellow wedding pros thriving.
Contrary to popular belief, traditional marketing isn’t where most leads and bookings come from—returns on your investment are often exceptionally small or a total loss when you use them.
SO, WHAT DOES WORK?
SEO, created and optimized specifically for your location, is where it’s at for people in the wedding biz—photographers, DJs, event coordinators, planners, cake decorators, etc.
The reality is that you have to be found online, because no one talks on the phone these days… And frankly, wedding shows are expensive as shit. You have to book multiple customers at each show just to break even, and that doesn’t actually build your business.
Paying for expensive advertising that lumps you in the middle of all your competitors gives you no way to stand out and get leads.
SEO did for our business and our clients’ businesses what all other marketing had failed to do… It got us local, PAYING clients.
However, there is a problem. You’re probably thinking, “How am I going to take the time to figure out all this techy, confusing SEO stuff when the algorithm for it changes frequently and I’m swamped running my business?”
You can do it alone, but I’ll warn you, it’s like running two full-time businesses by yourself while going to school to earn a new degree. In other words, it’s tough. I was crazy to dive in and learn it all myself, and as I said before, I made some HUGE mistakes.
Fortunately for you, I made those mistakes so you don’t have to. Once I understood how to get local leads and bookings, I knew I had to share it with other wedding pros. It makes life so much easier… It’d be wrong for me to not share.
That’s why I created MelissaMitchell.me.
I had no idea that getting totally fed up could lead to something I love so much, but it did!
HOW I DO IT: A BREAKDOWN OF HOW I HELP YOU PROSPER
PACKAGE #1 BASIC- WE DO A LOT!
- 2 hours of initial planning, keyword research, and competitive analysis
- 1- 2 hour phone intake conversation where we discuss your goals and uncover new leads
- Analytics and Webmaster Tools setup with tracking
- Optimization of current content on your website
- SEO plan for new content, with focus on your local area venues and vendor partners
- Local Optimization – we get your business listed in over 50 local directories across the web
- Social Media Optimization – we get your business social media sites up, running, and optimized
- 5 New SEO Landing Pages
- Custom Link Building Strategy
- Laser-focused SEO marketing plan
- Weekly homework assignments
- Email Support
- Access to private Facebook Group
- Monthly Progress Reports
PACKAGE #2 FULL SERVICE- WE DO IT ALL!
Includes everything in package #1 plus:
- 2 Blog posts written and fully optimized for you each month
- 1 Wedding Submission submitted for you each month, gaining you up to 10 inbound links per submission
- Weekly Social Media Promotion
- 1 Vendor Outreach/Cross Promotion plan per month
Getting ranked at the top of search engines for local leads is within your grasp. Not only will it give you more leads that convert to paying clients, it’ll let you focus on doing what you love.