Magazine Article


7 Ways to Increase Your Referrals
Marketing Strategies to Build Your Business

Erin Hession-Wooton

Erin Hession-Wooton

Erin Hession-Wooton

Erin Hession-Wooton

Wouldn’t it be great if 75 percent of your bookings came from referrals each year? Statistics show that it’s much more expensive to find a brand-new client than it is to sell your service to or ask for referrals from satisfied customers. If you’re looking for new ways to increase your customer satisfaction rate and subsequent referrals, here are seven ways to help you reach your goal.

1. Communication.

The key to any successful business is staying in the forefront of the consumer’s mind. This includes the basics, such as returning phone calls and emails promptly, sending thank-you notes when you receive a referral, and keeping clients informed about their order status.

When a visitor logs on to view one of our events online, we have a system for capturing the email address and placing that information in our Constant Contact database.

This system, our main point of contact for clients, allows us to send reminder notices when event websites are due to expire, promotional emails to gallery visitors at any time, and a weekly email showing the status of all lab orders and albums. It eliminates customer emails asking when their orders will be ready and helps us run our business more efficiently. Keeping our customers informed and happy leads to more referrals from their friends and family.

2. Strategic Packaging.

Contact makeup artists and hair stylists in your area. If you find one who consistently does a great job, you will truly add value to your service and easily separate yourself from your competition. Our wedding photography service includes a professional hairstylist and makeup artist from Karen Hall & Company ( Karen and her staff use professional airbrush makeup, which lasts longer than traditional makeup and softens the appearance of uneven skin tones by hiding blemishes. Take a team approach to providing the best possible look and images for a once-in-a-lifetime event.

3. Preparedness.

You never know when something out of the ordinary will happen at a wedding. You can be the hero when an emergency strikes if you are prepared. We include our famous emergency kit with our professional services. When a bride looks back at her wedding and she’s able to remember what a tremendous help you were that day, she can’t help but tell all her friends about you!

We had so many vendors ask where they can purchase a kit like ours that we’ve made the Totally Prepared Bride’s Emergency Kit available on our website.

4. Reception Marketing.

One of our most popular referral sources is the gift folio we present to clients at the reception. During dinner, we choose eight of our favorite vertical 4x6 images from earlier that day and begin printing the selections. We bring a small HP PhotoSmart printer and a black folio with our business card taped to the front. When we’re done printing, we just slide the images into the folio and present it to the couple before they leave.

They love having samples in a folio that they can take with them on their honeymoon. Usually, the couple walks around the reception hall showing off their images to relatives, many of whom ask for our business card before we leave.

5. Associations.

Associations and organizations help add credibility to your business and can provide great member benefits to those who join. For example, a few wedding organizations were created to showcase the most dedicated wedding professionals nationwide. Members who join typically experience increased Web traffic. Best of all, it adds validity to their business and can be a source of free referrals, such as our organization’s website:

6. Blogs.

One new way many businesses market themselves is a daily blog. By using or, you can quickly upload photos, share stories, and create a buzz about new products your company is developing. Blogs give clients another reason to visit your site often and help create a loyal following. Our blog has become a source of additional referrals and we highly recommend this idea to other photographers.

7. Giving Back.

We frequently receive referrals from our “Photography for Charity” program. We designed this program to give back to the community by providing low-income, deserving couples photography at their wedding free of charge. We choose a few winning couples each year, based on their situation and financial need.

It’s one of the best programs we’ve developed and encourage other photographers to do something similar. The stories are absolutely amazing and the couples are always so appreciative!

You never know what good things will happen when you give back to the community that has supported you.