Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 2
Directories and ‘We’re from Google / Facebook / Some alien planet where reason doesn’t exist’
In this section I’m going to talk about my experience with cold calling Google / Facebook companies and Directories. In a way this section is in two parts but they do share some similar aspects worthy of one classification.
Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories and Cold Calls (You are here)
Chapter 2b: The Hitched Directory
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me
Advertising in Directories:
My definition is a site or entity that lists you amongst others of the same business and location somewhere that is part of your target niche, like a wedding forum or business directory.
Two immediately spring to mind, Freeindex and UK Bride. There is a clear distinction between these two. One is free, the other costs you money. Starting with free, because free is fun. I have a listing on Freeindex and whilst it hasn’t netted me any enquiries it has helped me establish a presence outside of my main website.
This searchable visibility is generally good because it shows you aren’t just someone with a website and a mobile number. Sometime people can leave reviews on and that’s even better.
Free web presence is good. Don’t forget that, (just as long as the company you’re keeping is reputable too). As with everything free there tends to be a catch or financial incentive somewhere. Freeindex likes to try and up-sell you premium services which you don’t need and leads you don’t want. There is another problem….there’s hundreds of directories out there. Which is why you should pick a couple and walk away from them. Their value is limited.
This practice is carried along with other directories like the rude maniacs that are Yell who once you have a free listing try their utmost to get you to upgrade. I was called 4 times in a week and they were so persistent I had to hang up on them. Don’t use Yell. Like, everrrrr. Other directories will take your details and sell them on to similar related services like moose milking.
Also enterprising people will try to create their own directories from other directories in the false belief that there’s a gravy train pulling out from St Pancras and they have to be on it. For example, NPS copied member data from the SWPP directory and created their own directory. Under each SWPP member there was a comment that ‘This person is NOT a member of the NPS’ which came across as derogatory statement and of course in order to correct this you had to become a member.
Understandably people were angry at that.
Sadly morals go out the window when money is involved. Cold callers use directories to source leads as well. When I used Google Adwords I got 5 times as many cold calls because I was more visible and this is pretty much the same for all types of advertising. Visibility can cost you a lot more than you bargained for. So choose wisely.
UK Bride I was (cold called) from UK bride who for £400 (recurring, which I wasn’t told about) would have my ad on every page, a listing in their regional directory and my own microsite. For an entire year with them I received only 37 clicks to my Website.
But their figures suggest otherwise:
The endearing part of this deal was that they’d supply me with quality qualified bridal links every month so I could contact them offering my services…. BY MAIL ONLY Say what? They never told me that. They spent an hour on a web conference call with me so they’re up to speed with technology. If I wanted to follow up these leads I would have to put a stamp on each one? Email details cost extra? Again, wasn’t informed of this. I assumed in this day and age it would be an obvious thing to do.
Anyhoo, I did the mailers. 6 months in I get the call to ask how I’m doing and I’ve had zip, truly not a bean from it. The lady at the end of the phone is adamant it’s me, not them and they’ve had loads of happy successful photographers. So I did some digging and this is typically what I found:
‘I did it for a year. £150 for 50 leads a month, names and addresses. Not a single response.’ ‘Sadly I once signed up for UK Bride and I have never had a single enquiry through them.’
Now since posting this set of blogs I’ve had lots of comments and input on my writings, one was from the Owner of UKbride Julian Wilkinson:
Hi Chris, I read your blog with interest. Perhaps you can get in touch I’m happy to see how we can make your campaign work for you with UKbride, for FREE for one year… I’ll personally help with marketing advice. Emails are included in UKbride campaigns now (they’ve always been available, but I guess you didn’t choose this option). Most of the clicks on your report are link to internal pages of UKbride, this is why there appears a big difference in clicks. UKbride attracts over 1.5 million unique visitors each year 95% are from the UK. We have over 72,000 new members each year. I’m happy for you to visit our office and witness this at first hand, check our members, email them, call them, I’ll even show you our Google Analytics report so that on this blog you can verify that I am telling the truth. Although we can’t please everyone we do have many happy clients – please read this and feel free to call our advertisers – http://www.ukbride.co.uk/feedback. Please get in touch, and I can show you the power of UKbride. Kind regards Julian Wilkinson, owner of UKbride – 0800 112 3 112
Now this comment was left a month ago in the comment section of my blog, and I didn’t post it as I wanted to respond properly, and I advised Julian of this, yet this morning I get another one:
Im starting to get very concerned that you are offering your readers a VERY biased view of my website. I have now sent you a few posts over the past few weeks and you are purposely choosing not to publish them.
Please can you ensure my full response, which you have, is added TO THIS PAGE within 7 days of the date of this post.
Owner of UKbride
Nice chap isn’t he.
So look, Julian, thanks for the offer but no thanks. I feel I wasted a shed load of time with UKbride so have no interest AT ALL in using them again. If any of my readers want to share their experiences with UK bride please do so via the comments option below.
(Please note though that in order to remain transparent qualify your comment with your website URL.)
There are other directories which are quite notorious too. CD’s on the front of Magazines which nobody looks at, Advertorials (again quoting millions of readers – usually based on four people per household and on the print run not actual sales) and there are the ads in booklets and mailers supplied to brides in shops.
On this front I’ll only quote my most recent experience with the Wedding Dress company Tobi Hannah. It’s not a blanket comment on small business supplier referrals but those who inbox me for £120 and try to pull a fast one…. that deserves a cheeky mention.
The story of Tobi Hannah: I was contacted by their representative via email, said they loved my work and wanted to add me to their supplier list for a fee. Fair do’s I thought. I’m not adverse to spending out for trade. I have a budget and I’m not afraid to use it. However, being burnt in the past I thought I’d counter offer with my now quite common ‘put your money where your mouth is’ approach. Which in this case was instead of paying £120 for a year with them, I’ll pay £100 for every booking I take based on their recommendation. My reasoning being that if something was that good they’d tear my arm off. It’s a good test of seller confidence. They didn’t and this is the reply I got:
Hi Chris Thanks for your email I think I need to explain what we are offering, currently we have 3 photographers on our books and they have many dates already filled so we decided to add a couple more. We actively promote the people we have on board to every bride that walks through our doors If we wanted to make money from this we would be charging way more than 120 a year. Our motive for doing this is not financial related so whilst we appreciate the offer it is not something we are currently considering. Attached is an example of a pdf we give to every bride at her appointment as well as sending it to our mailing list.
Ok I thought, let’s do some digging via their attached supplier booklet. Firstly I called one of the three photographers listed. They’d only just joined up 4 days prior. Ok….but the real kicker was that the other person I called listed in the book didn’t even know they were in there. Then a few days later they received the same offer email as me, despite being in the booklet sent out! Are you in the book? Read the example PDF The underhand techniques from staff at Confetti.co.uk: I received an enquiry via my contact form:
confetti.co.uk —————————————- Name:: alex Email:: email@example.com Message:: Can you do my wedding 14/10/13 How_did_you_hear_about_me?:: a friend found you
The intriguing thing about this enquiry was that it was for a Monday and that the senders server name was confetti.co.uk, usually it’s BT.blahblah or virgin.net or something domestic. I answered it as normal but suspiciously reverse searched the email address on Facebook and found it didin’t belong to someone called Alex but someone else entirely who works at Confetti.co.uk. In the marketing department. This was odd and 24 hours later I received a pdf pack from confetti trying to sell me advertising.
At the time I didn’t have a direct email address on my contact form, just the form so they faked an enquiry in order to get my email and sent me a press pack.
As already said in part one, when it comes to money, or someones ability to pay the bills their integrity, honesty and duty of care to you often goes out the window. It’s really hard to remain happy in this industry when everyone appears to want to rip you off.
Confetti have been in touch:
‘Thank you for discovering this tactic from *******. This certainly isn’t a method of marketing that we condone at Confetti. Please rest assured that this was an unauthorised method of communication. The employee in question is no longer employed at Confetti. We would also like to state, however, that obtaining contact emails is a common marketing tactic, although that does not excuse nor condone *******’s approach’.
Confetti are correct, the person has left. They are now the Media Sales Manager for a wedding directory somewhere else in the UK.
Section 2: Cold callers who say they’re from Google or Facebook. I’ll clear this up now. They aren’t from Google and they aren’t from Facebook. They aren’t even representing them or have any license from them. They are outright lying to you and should be hung up on immediately because they’re trying to deceive you at the pick up.
In all cases the Facebook callers are trying to manage your Facebook ads account for you. To run ads at a markup. So something you could run yourself for 20p a click they’ll charge you out at 30p. Pure and simple.
Companies that claim they are from Google will be trying to do the same with your Adwords account. ‘We’ll get you on page one of Google’ (via Adwords).
Look, there is no way you can game Google to get on page one without payment. It doesn’t work like that and in the case where I took on a company called Search Engine Easy I had 18 clicks from a £99 spend. That’s a really bad campaign. Obscene even. For many people new to the business they are susceptible to these sorts of calls because they don’t understand Facebook or Google. Be that the way they work or how their ad system works.
In general people get easily burned with these guys because they have no prior experience of them until the call, a mistake I made too
It is truly confusing and Google adwords is some crazy voodoo requiring a degree from the house of Zoltan on the planet wibble to truly know what’s going on there. This isn’t to say that if you researched an SEO company you wouldn’t find a stellar source of advice worth every penny. It’s just the cold callers you have to watch for. As I mentioned in my previous chapter, if something is worth having people won’t need to call you to sell it. Comments are open, share your stories.wedding photography, wedding photographers, confetti.co.uk, directory advertising, facebook ads for photographers, facebook ads for wedding photographers, facebook advertising, facebook cold calls, freeindex, google adwords, google adwords for photographers, google cold calls, how to advertise wedding photography, page one of google, search engine easy, tobi hannah, venue supplier lists, wedding directory advertising