Advertising? The Knot / Wedding Channel ? Elsewhere?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by anna_p.|2, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Hello! I am new to these forums and would like to say hi to everyone!
    I wanted to know if anyone has ever advertised with The Knot / Wedding Channel websites? I have heard mixed reviews and am interested to know what the majority of posters here thought of advertising with them. I need to find a way to advertise my wedding photography but I can't afford to pay the high prices that advertising with The Knot costs if it isn't worth it. Also, if anyone has any recommendations that they would like to share for advertising and getting clients I would really appreciate it!
    Thanks so much,
    Anna
     
  2. Anna, I posted this thread yesterday. Doing things like this are SO much more effective and affordable than running ads or being listed on these sites (though you will get some leads from them).
    Now, if your particular geographic area has good penetration with The Knot, you may do alright with it. I was not as lucky. I signed on with The Knot a year ago for 6 months, at $100/month for internet only. I posted some great pics and my logo with the listing. I probably got about 8 calls over that 6 month period from the listing, and only booked one actual wedding with it. The problem was that I was getting calls from brides in another part of the state who were looking for someone in that area. My area (Florida panhandle) is lumped in with the east coast area (this is how The Knot does things, instead of having a better division). The Knot doesn't have the penetration in this market that they have elsewhere. I didn't get ONE call from any brides in this part of the state. I had to travel to the east coast to shoot the wedding I did book.
     
  3. I looked into the Knot awhile ago and chose not to get involved. They did not have the statistics I needed to judge their performance.
    I'm using direct mail to reach high-income brides.
     
  4. How's direct mail working for you, Steve? I'd love to tap into the higher end market.
     
  5. If you are looking for proven ad platform designed for small business owners who want to generate traffic to their website. Visitors that are actively searching for their product such as "orlando wedding photographer" or tampa portrait photographer..AdWords is very effective. Hope it helps.Art
     
  6. I won't use the Knot any more. Wedding channel are the same company. Had bad experiences with them in the past.
    I know they bring in the brides, but I don't want to be associated with them. Too W-Mart ish.
     
  7. Thanks everyone! Steve, thanks for linking your thread too - sorry that I didn't see it, great ideas. Art, I like your idea for the AdWords, right now I think you have to use my full name to be able to google me. It's hard trying to start off, especially since I can be impatient! I made a few phone calls today to some local photographers to see if they would be interested in an Apprentice type. If you know of anyone that might be in the Northern Virginia area please think of me!
    I am lucky that I have a wonderful friend that is a successful DJ for weddings in my area and have gotten 2 referrals from him. I have found that from the small number of people who have contacted me they seem to have a very unrealistic idea in the price of wedding photography and I am very affordable as wedding photography goes since I am so new! I had one girl tell me that she loved my photos but wanted me to shoot her whole day from 10am - 5pm for $200!
     
  8. Steve C- My program is new so not a lot of results yet.
    Having tried other ways to reach people, I think this is my best chance.
    I have an Adwords account = zip.
    Had I been born rich I wouldn't have to do it this way :)
    I sent an email to Dennis Reggie asking how he got into the high end- no answer...
     
  9. I looked at the Knot and decided it was't for the clientel I was after. ( Low budget, proofs and CD's)
    WedPlan, Wed Alert adn Craigs List do JUST fine for me.
     
  10. Don't overlook the concept of networking with other photographers. Shooters in your area will come in all shapes, sizes, types, price ranges, and temperaments. And, each will have a different level of willingness to send folks your way when they're already booked. I've gotten a number of great wedding clients from my fellow peers. I try to seek out only the ones whom I would use to shoot my own wedding in terms of professionalism, quality, and product offerings. Even if they're above or below my price range, it doesn't matter. I run across clients whom I can't serve because of a booking conflict, and I may want to send them to a higher end shooter, or to a lower end shooter, depending on their budget and desires. Knowing and networking with these folks can pay you tremendous dividends, as long as you (and they) are able to understand the concept of working together for mutual success.
    If I had all the wedding bookings in town, I'd be dead trying to shoot them all. Any area needs a good talented pool of pros to handle the business, and there will always be clients who need us. Once you and your local peers start seeing each other as part of a win-win situation, and start sending clients to each other, then it's no longer just YOUR marketing efforts winning clients for you; it's the COLLECTIVE marketing efforts of you and your peers winning clients for all. I guarantee, if you seek out these folks and foster that kind of relationship, you'll both win. You'll learn a lot, swap war stories, talk shop, and develop an important pool of backups who could possibly help you with a wedding if you're sick, break a leg, get in an accident, or some other calamity.
     
  11. I estimate there are 35,000 weddings per year in the metro where I live.
     
  12. I's stay away from The Knot. Six months and $2000 later, I have yet to get any booked weddings from them. Invest your money elsewhere! I've been trying to cancel but the sales reps have been pushy asking me to reconsider.
     
  13. "I have an Adwords account = zip."
    Steve , just curious what happened? I normally see great result..were you focused on building a list or making the sale? were you targeting your local market or national? Art
     
  14. Manuel, what area do you live in? Sorry you spent that money without a good result. I was very disappointed that all contracts last a full year with them and that you can only cancel early after 6 months by written notice. It is such a commitment and it was a little bit of a red flag for me that I couldn't have a trial period for a few months. Still I am a bit curious if it might be worth it in my area. In the Wash DC / NOVA area there are 4600 new brides that sign-up per month to the website. It is tempting but I can't afford the risk at this time (getting ready to have a baby).
    Networking with other photographers is a great idea. What is the easiest way to meet other wedding photographers in the industry? I called 2 photographers yesterday about apprenticing and I received a call back from one last night and I am going to meet with her. Her website looks fantastic and I am really excited!
    Anna
     
  15. Anna, the best way to network with other shooters is to seek them out through bridal shows, internet searches for wedding shooters in your area, picking up their biz cards in bridal shops and wedding venues and anywhere else brides congregate. And, you'll see that some of them operate studios as you travel around in your town. You should not only talk to the shooters themselves, but do some background research by asking other wedding vendors who they like and why. It's kind of like picking a boyfriend or girlfriend. You want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assume they're all up to par and above board, but you kinda want to check them out a little too. You would not want to partner up with someone who has a secret reputation for not being such a great service provider, or who might be a jerk in some circumstances. You have to be a good judge of character in all your business dealings, so a referral to a bad vendor doesn't reflect poorly on you later. And there ARE bad vendors out there.
    Another good resource is local bridal vendor associations who publish wedding guides. These can be a good place to advertise and network, but I would not invest a huge amount of money in ads, maybe just a smaller ad to have a presence there.
    As you apprentice with other shooters and gain experience, you'll transition into a more experienced and established shooter yourself. Then, you'll have others wanting to apprentice with you!
     
  16. Art- nothing happened. All my search terms were for the local area- SF Bay.
    Basically, I don't care because I'm not interested in promoting to "everybody."
     
  17. Steve,
    Your work is awesome..I would have to look at the account details to give you a valid answer as to why your account didnt work in your local market. I could review the data and share the insights with the rest of the community. Happy Holidays,Art
     
  18. Are: Thanks for the compliment and the offer.
    I'm not sure what data I can get.
    My words were many variations on "wedding photography san francisco."
    I have gotten some hits on Craigslist, but my marketing effort is now targeted strictly at the top 10% of income. If other groups stumble across me, fine.
    One thing is that google is not neutral. In big markets, I suspect that those who pay more get more.
     
  19. Hi Steve,
    If you have keywords, ad copy and landing page used. Along with the keywords I would need match type. If you run an ad report and keyword report that has all the data and check all the boxes which includes conversions, transactions etc. Were you tracking conversions?
    Happy Holidays!
    Art
     
  20. Steve,
    Also I would need to see you geo settings...were you targeting a national market or did you specify San Francisco only? Thanks,Art
     
  21. Thanks, Art. I'll have to look closer at that because I am interested in things that work. My source for mailings is infousa.com.
     
  22. Steve,
    Sounds good..I will be interested to hear what you find out.
    Best regards,
    Art
     
  23. Art - I went into my account, which I have not touched for several years.
    I was basically an early adopter and it was pretty clunky, so I gave up.
    The current version is much better, so I rebuilt it using your suggestions.
    Their estimator says that for 25 cents per click-through I should get 1 a day.
    50 cents a click-through would get me two.
    What rate works for you?
    Thanks for the reminder :)
     
  24. I advertised with the Knot for a year, and was not impressed-I spent almost $1000, and got maybe 4 or 5 referrals and 1 booking. It may work out alright if you're in a major metro area, but it really didn't work for me-I've gotten much more work from referrals and simple google searches. I haven't tried adwords, but I agree with Art that that may be the way to go-there are far more brides using Google than any of the wedding websites.
    One of the major drawbacks of the Knot is that brides have to create an account to do anything. A lot of people don't want to need to jump through hoops just to browse a website. They also provide no tools for advertisers to update their profile or track stats-everything must be done via e-mail.
    I just started advertising with onewed.com-it's about 1/3 the price, month-to-month contract, and they provide tools for their vendors to track traffic and update their ads.
     
  25. Anne,
    I have my listing in the Cincinnati/Dayton OH area. There are great opportunities especially in the Cincy area. I've booked many weddings but all came from Google ad words and referrals. The Knot just turned out to be a flop. I definitely could have used the $2K elsewhere. As mentioned above, networking and getting in good with venues are great for business. Best of luck!
     
  26. If you live in a small enough town, miles and miles far away from the next nearest town, and where you're the only photographer, and the only other people that live in said small town are the future bride and her groom, I still doubt that the Knot would bring you any business.
     
  27. Steve,

    Are you using this url for your google adwords?

    http://shovland.home.mindspring.com/

    If so, you are paying more than you should. I used the Google website analysis tool and they find these phrases relevant on your current domain.

    new york city real estate
    employment application form
    stuffit download
    birmingham real estate
    dropstuff
    international employment
    form 1003
    business loan application
    online conference registration

    I recommend buying your own domain...www.stevehovland.com or stevehovlandphotos.com or

    STEVEHOVLAND.COM is available! I checked godaddy and its available.It will cost you $9.99

    Sample of keywords you might use in your adwords account. I would take the recommended bid and cut and half..set at exact/phrase match. These may not all apply.
    wedding portraits
    california weddings
    san francisco wedding photographer
    san francisco weddings
    bay area wedding photographer
    san francisco wedding photography
    bay area photographer
    san francisco to napa valley
    bay area wedding photography
    san jose photographer
    bay area wedding locations
    black and white wedding pictures
    wedding photographer gallery
    san jose photography
    san francisco portrait photographer
    headshot photographers san francisco
    sf weddings
    fashion photographer san francisco
    certified professional photographer
    wedding photo san francisco
    wedding photo art
    santa cruz wedding photography
    natural wedding photography
    wedding fashion photography
    palo alto photography

    Set up conversion tracking and drive visitors to a unique landing page on your site.
    Set local targeting for san francisco and outlying cities only.

    Landing page content recommendations..photos/testimonials/packages/contact info/terms of service/privacy policy/aboutus. Clean and Simple is best..Google wants visitors to have a great experience when they land on your page and I expect they will.

    Ad groups should have 2-3 words max with keyword variations like..san fran photographer/san fran photographers/san fran photography in one adgroup

    Before you set up the account use the Adwords tool and select URL and let Google spider your site with the new domain and your unique content. If you dont see the phrase san francisco photographer..you will have to add these keywords in your meta data..title tag, keywords, keyword description and alt tags for images.

    This is a start and would require day to day review to optimize performance... Hopefully this helps. Art
     
  28. Steve,
    Sorry here is a screen capture shot with some recommendations.
    [​IMG]
    Art
    http://screencast.com/t/HPrRRdm4rYu
    Free adwords tool
    http://www.google.com/sktool
     
  29. Thanks, Art. I'll probably kick it up to 50 cents to get the two hits and add a few key words you suggest- I used their area select for Bay Area but it might be good to have San Francisco in the key words.
     
  30. I would bid on many of the phrases and spend an amount that you are comforable spending.
    The goal is to build a tight nucleus of keywords that are exactly what you offer for starters..once you build up a solid history with Google, than you can start to expand.
    It comes down to ROI...if your sales price is $5000 per shoot..how many inquiries does it take generate one sale.
    General conversion rates are approximately 2%.
    For each 100 visits, they will convert to a lead..in this case 2 people will ask for a consultation.
    How many of those calls will become your customers.
    Hope it helps,
    Art
     
  31. I signed up for the Wedding Wire which is now also directly linked to Martha Steward Weddings.
    Not only is it working, most every lead is prequalified, and most clients that have signed have gone for my top end package. 2009 is looking up compared to the past 2 years because of them.
    I predict that the Wedding Wire will become the premiere site with-in 2-3 years. A real class act.
     
  32. Wedding Wire & Project Wedding will be the new sites to take off in the next few years. They have structured their sites to be very user friendly, and to give brides a way to provide vendor reviews in order to help keep the wedding market honest. It's actually free to have a listing on these sites, so I highly recommend everyone make the most of them.
    Personally - I do not find any value in the paid advertisements. Advertising is a very overcrowded marketplace and does not come with any inherent trust attached. Personal referrals will always be the best source of promotion. Take care of your clients and they will take care of you.
    I've written pretty extensively about how to market yourself, and you're welcome to read more of my thoughts [Moderator Edit: Click on Anne's name and you'll see a link to her blog on her contact page]
     
  33. Hi Anne,
    I think you are right about the marketplace being crowded and there is no inherent trust...paid search is more of an introduction to a photographer ..most of the results from paid advertising are centered around people seeking to find more information about a topic and following their own pace of analysis rather than having a message forced on them via traditional advertising..the visitors are actively looking for something and search ads are answering their question..
    I think its up to the photographer to instill trust and connect with the person looking for a photographer especially for the wedding day.
    Happy Holidays,
    Art
     
  34. In ampression of trustworthiness starts with your web site and collateral content.
    One rule I live by is "No one ever asks you to prove an understatement."
    Purge hyperbole and puffery ruthlessly.
     
  35. Hi Steve,
    I agree. Only the facts M’ am.
    PPC Ads set expectations and its up to the website to deliver.
    Art
     
  36. The Knot is such a large, cheesy site. They get their hooks in you and then forget about you. If all one is after is low end weddings, then they are the perfect place.
    Their business policies are so shady. I was totally dissatisfied in the short time I spent with them. Other wedding photographers that I personally know spend spend spend and get very little play from the Knot.
     
  37. Art- I have my position at 2.7 in my search area :)
     
  38. Steve,
    Are you tracking conversions? either a contact us submission or free download?
    2.7 is a good position if you cost per conversion is low.
    Art
     
  39. Art - So far I haven't had any emails or calls, but the program is really new and I've only had 15-20 click-throughs. My actual cost per click is less than my bid.
     
  40. Steve,
    A suggest a few things:
    Confirm your email is working on your site
    Add adWords conversion tracking to the thank you page.
    Create a "free offer" that will help you create a email list...checklists, top strategies for x, top7 angles most photographers miss..etc.
    Add Google Analytics tracking script to all pages on your site
    How does adWords performance compare to other marketing channels?
    What website are you using? did you purchase your own domain?
     
  41. Thanks Art.
    The site we use is buchananhovland.com.
    I'll check the other ideas.
    I use a simple mailto tag.
    I have a friend who does SEO etc for penthouse.com and his interpretation of conversion is "they buy something." So far no sales but these are new efforts :)
    I would say many photographers don't understand "pay to play" in the google world :)
     
  42. Hi Steve,
    I reviewed your site and you form would have to be converted to an "online form" along with a thank you page.
    The adwords conversion script would have to be added to the thank you page.
    Do you think a step by step tutorial showing the process would be helpful?
    Which process would be the most helpful?
    Art
     
  43. Thanks, Art.
    There is no form because I think forms are a barrier to entry. I personally hate it when some site requires me to fill out a form to get more information.
    If the mailto tag works then I have everything I need for an initial contact. If you'd like you could test the mailto for me :)
    I make most of my living from programming and I have done sophisticated web programming in the past. My current site is an example of my concept of "radical simplicity."
     
  44. Hi Steve,
    I submitted a test email.
    Hopefully you will receive it.
    I do think visitors appreciate a clean site with only the core elements.
    I didnt see any web analytics script on your pages. Are you reviewing your log file data?
    Best regards,
    Art
     
  45. Art: Email worked. Thanks. I think I need to tweak the subject line.
    I'm not sure about what you mean by log data. I can get analytics from earthlink.
     
  46. Hi Steve,
    Log File data generally includes referral data. Keywords and sites sending traffic to your site.
    I use Google Analytics which is probably the best FREE tool.
    How many people are visiting your site and exiting? Bounce rate is a key performance metric to study over time.
    Art
     
  47. Well everyone, I did it. I have signed up with The Knot whether it was a smart decision or not I will let you know. After reading through threads I had made up my mind NOT to advertise with them but I ended up giving it a go after a meeting with a photographer in my area who told me that she believed it would be the best bang for my buck (she herself advertises with them). I am new to wedding photography so if The Knot brides cater to lower budget weddings I do fit that bill and in my price range I will be 1 of 3 photographers which could be both good and bad???? Anyway, I am excited, lol. Fingers crossed it works out. Hopefully one day I will make enough money to be able to do a bridal show - which I know are expensive!
     
  48. Hi Anna - how is the knot.com working out for you in the last couple of months? I'm in the same situation, except targeting high-end brides.
     
  49. This is a really late response but check out www.mywedding.com it has worked amazing and is way cheaper than the knot
     
  50. If you are looking for a cheap, effective and user friendly website to advertise your wedding photography business, you should check out SnapKnot (http://snapknot.com). It blows these other sites out of the water. I think the site is relatively new, but its great for new and veteran wedding photographers.
     
  51. Hey guys It's 2011!! :D Anyone changed their mind about any of these places yet?
     
  52. Try WeddingWire.com... I got a lot of responses from a free listing so when they were running a deal for $490 for a year and I decided to try it out. Upgrading has SEO benefits and listing among a bunch of different wedding sites... Martha Stewart Weddings, Best City Weddings, Wedding Aces...etc etc!
    I will let yall know how it goes!
     

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