Okay so something really amazing and exciting happened this year! After my 10 years of booking and photographing weddings, I started offering AND I booked my first 5-figure wedding package, and then something crazy happened 2 weeks later… I ended up booking ANOTHER 5-figure wedding.
So I booked 2 5-figure weddings within 2 weeks of each other!
And this is a huge milestone for me in my business! One I definitely wouldn’t have imagined for myself when I booked my first wedding at $900 all those years ago
But this obviously didn’t happen overnight and it definitely didn’t happen by just throwing out that package as an option and hoping someone would book it. A lot of intentionality, hard work, and building a solid business went into being able to even offer this, and to even book it.
So in today’s episode, I’m going to break down my signature method that I created which got me to this point to be able to do this.
How I booked my first 5-figure wedding
Obviously this is a huge milestone for me and my photography business and I’m SO dang excited about it!! But I want you to know this didn’t happen overnight.
And I also want you to know that premium clients do not always equal high-end or fine-art luxury clients. In fact, I know that fine-art luxury clients are not my ideal aligned people to work with. There’s a difference!! Because I think when people think of luxury clients they think light + airy fine art photography.. which again is not always the case.
My premium clients are ones who value the experience, adventure, and imperfections of their day as it is. So if that means an adventure session in the mountains and a backyard wedding back in their home state.. Those are my people. Not the ones who are getting married at the chateau with diamonds for detailed decor and brand name everything who want picture perfect fine art styled photos.
I think there’s a big misconception on that! Because although those weddings are FREAKING phenomenal and gorgeous and I truthfully wish I could photograph that way… the truth is I just can’t. That’s not my style, those aren’t the clients I can serve my best work to, but that’s okay…
Luxury clients do not equal premium clients! YOU can choose what “Premium Clients” look like to you.
Before I dive into giving you a general outline of things that really helped me.. I want to go over my signature method called the Premium Client Pyramid.
What makes a premium client?
First off, you might be asking what a premium client even is and what qualifies as one. In my opinion and experience, a premium client is someone who values a photography experience and is willing to pay at a higher price point to be able to receive that.
BUT that doesn’t mean that they’re not necessarily a premium client if they don’t come running to you willing to pay you whatever you charge or that they’re not your ideal client if they don’t fit your budget all the time.
But it’s also not as simple as just saying that you want to book premium clients, you need to have the business to attract, connect, nurture, and deliver a premium client experience too.
So how do we do that? This is where my signature framework of the Premium Client Pyramid comes into play:
Social media… Is it necessary?
Most people think you need primarily social media when it comes to your marketing strategy in attracting premium clients… but that’s actually only a small portion of roughly 25% of what you need.
And a lot of photographers remain at this bottom level thinking it’s the most important thing they should be focusing on, leaving them to blend in in the industry, and stay stuck being like the rest.
This is what a vast majority of photographers are doing, BUT to really position yourself to be an industry leader you need to be doing these other 3 strategies to elevate to the top to being an industry leader.
This is also something really important to think about WHERE your ideal clients are. Especially if you are wanting to serve premium clients, they may not even BE on instagram!! So that is why it’s so important to not only KNOW your ideal client, but know where they are hanging out or where they’re getting their referrals from.
So let me dive into a few things that helped me really focus and make the shift into attracting and booking more premium clients which lead to my first 5-figure wedding being booked.
Branding and how you’re translating that through copy
I’m willing to bet if you opened your website right now that your copy would be a lot about you.
This is a mistake I see almost every Photographer doing is making their website or marketing strategies about THEM. Why THEY love shooting at specific locations, how THEY got into photography, how long THEY’VE been doing it, what THEIR experience is, and so on!
Their copy is all about them rather than speaking directly to the viewer on how it’s about them and how your services can serve them.
Or it could also be that their branding doesn’t match or translate across all online platforms and then translate in person as well. If you say you’re a fun, bubbly styled photographer, but they get to your website and see all your photos are more serious, or moody, or very editorial, it’s not going to make sense.
Same thing goes for how you portray yourself online to match who you truly are in person. This is why copying anybody else’s branding, fonts, colors, voice, content, etc. is a HUGE disservice to you and only makes you blend in instead of stand out in the industry.
When you can have these 2 elements dialed in to fit YOUR brand and what type of service you provide, it’s going to make so much more sense when you’re attracting premium clients.
This is a big piece in the attracting + booking phase of the premium client pyramid because clients need to know about how you’re the best fit for them, and not so much about you.
A killer referral system
And next is you need a solid, kick butt referral system that leaves people RAVING you to others, bringing in a flood of inquiries, and being able to choose the aligned premium clients you want to work with because you have built social proof and credibility through your marketing strategy.
Yes social media is great for visibility in your business, but word of mouth is the most powerful thing you can have when it comes to running a service based business. Think about when you are looking for a good restaurant in an area and ask other people where to go… what are you most likely going to do?
You’re going to go to the place that was most recommended by people because obviously it must be good!
It’s the same thing when it comes to your business. The more you can have a solid system down to have people raving about you, the quicker those flood of inquiries are going to come pouring in because you have established that demand and authority
This is also a HUGE factor when serving premium clients because most of them are getting their referrals from other vendors or people rather than just social media!! But how do you make sure you’re getting awesome referrals?
Having a solid referral system or workflow set in place is a huge part of it, but also, having a really elevated client experience is also the biggest part of it as well. If you don’t have the client experience to back up everything else you’re doing in your business, it all falls apart and doesn’t make sense.
Which ties into the next tier…
Elevated client connection
Last but not least on the Premium Client Pyramid is: client connection. Which is the way you connect with your current clients, deliver them an awesome session, wedding day, and experience that really focuses on driving connection. And also the way their entire experience with you ties together and makes sense.
Premium clients want an experience from your services, and in order to do that, you must connect with them. The stronger connection you can create with your clients, the easier it will be to attract in other premium clients because you will be establishing credibility, building social proof, and the referrals will come flooding in.
Most people will stop or put all of their efforts into one of these pillars, but when you can go all the way to the top and perfect all of these elements, that is when you are going to be able to start attracting dream premium clients.
To bring in premium clients, you need a combination of all of these things, and if you’re only focusing on one, you’re missing key elements to an elevated brand. But it doesn’t just stop at Client Connection, the most impactful thing for me to booking premium clients is vendor connections and relationships too.
It’s been my BIGGEST lead generator even when I take time off social media or even just take a break from my business… the inquiries still roll in.
So that is a quick run down of my signature Premium Client Pyramid method and why you should be applying it to your own marketing to help you transition into booking less clients at a premium level, if having more free time while making more is something that feels aligned with what you want to do in your business!
If you’re a visual person and you haven’t already, watch my FREE TRAINING on how to leverage this exact method, make sure to watch it in the show notes of this episode.. There’s EVEN MORE signature methods and ways to make this switch and I promise it will help you re-think the way you’re approaching your entire business!
I believe that using this signature framework is what helped me market, nurture, and book my first 5-figure wedding so it gives me confidence that it will help you do the same.
Make sure to check out part 2 of this topic as I talk more about how to consistently book 5-figure weddings – it’s a good one breaking down specific areas you and what you can do!
Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes here!