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Find Your Tribe

Lesson 3 from: Community Marketing for Wedding Photographers

Katelyn James

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Lesson Info

3. Find Your Tribe

Lesson Info

Find Your Tribe

Let me explain this to you people have asked us probably for gosh I don't know maybe three years, two years they've said things like do you think he'd ever going creative life? And I was like, I don't know probably not I'll be too nervous well, period um if you have always asked us to like caitlyn three years ago, why aren't you speaking conferences and dead honest? I didn't know what to say because I knew that like this stuff was happening but I didn't know why was happening like I had no understanding of what in our business was working, so I feel like I would just get in front of everybody and be like, well, this is what's going on I don't know what we're doing to make it happen, but then I read a book this is the book tries by seth code and if you don't remember anything at least remember to go buy this book because of this book and I got to tell you the whole story so we're on vacation. Michael has told me I'm not the best reader in the world, okay? I'm working on it jasmine alway...

s talks about all the books she reads it like well though your genius but I don't ever I don't read like I should and so we're on vacation and michael's like ellen you really need to read this book and I'm like, no, I'm laying out and finding probably instagram because that's really going to help me explain my business? I mean, it will, but it's not growing in any capacity, it's not teaching me new things, so michael says, we'll find I want to read it to you, so we're laying or laying out at the pool, and my husband is reading this book to me out loud like I'm a four year old just approved me. No, I think this is going to be huge for us, and we read this book and I'll be honest, he was one hundred percent correct. I was wrong. It changed everything because this book basically defined everything that we've been doing up until this point those who worked so well, it put a name and a system to our marketing approach in our community building process, and so if you want a more foundational a book that you can read, start to finish like the theory behind why this works the way it does, seth good and explains that in a way that I never could, but I will quote him and explain a little bit about the gist of the book he's basically he's basically describing the fact that for centuries, tribes of people have existed. This is not like a new thing that the internet created the internet just made it accessible everywhere but people are used to tribes tribes used to be they're used to a church tribe they're used to a gym tribe they're used to a work tribe you know that little cubicle how many of you are working photography and another job at the same time have you so if you have a little cubicle where you're working or you have a staff of people that you see every day that's a tribe alright tribes are everywhere and thanks to the internet they can be even further expanded because there's no limit so when I thought about this and like oh my gosh ok, so what's happening in my business is I'm creating a tribe and I just call it community so when I say tribal community they go hand in hand means the same thing not if you you're still tracking okay good. So tribes for me basically set the stage for what I was going to be teaching in my business going forward. I read this book and I thought to myself, ok, now I'm going to create a system and I'm gonna walk through every chapter and try to align it with how it would fit into photography business and this is the main thing that I took away I've got to stop reaching the masses doesn't that sound like an ironic thing to say to a marketer basically what I'm saying to you, it's, stop reaching people on and the reason I'm saying that is because when you reach the masses, you're missing your tribe and you're spending a lot of money to reach the people that aren't your people my people are certainly I don't have a slide on here that talks about the ideal bride, but I have ideal brides and so do you. You have people that you would rather work with and rather not work with. You have people that come into your business and you probably look forward to their engagement session because you can just tell from their email they're going to be awesome, and then you have the people that email and they scare the crap out of you because they're crazy just straight up crazy are you laughing because you've experienced that? Yes, ok, good, they're the same people that say, I just want to make sure you're going to get the kiss. Yes, we're going to get the kids. We're also going to get every other moment of your wedding they don't you worry, so stop trying to reach the masses. Find your tribe. This is what it looks like when we start marketing to the masses hears us in the center little grey dot and then all the teal dot they represent every bride in the industry so it represents really cheap rides that have low budget it represents brides who are way off the spectrum and have no budget. It represents brides that want traditional portrait of the bride looking down with a flash on the stairs with no natural light and it represents the bride's it would be more like my brides will be walking down the streets like on cobblestone and, like swirling a draft and laughing without flash that's not really my style so this represents everybody. So why are you? Why are we putting all of our all of our marking all of our resource is into reaching everybody because when you reach everybody, you feel like, ok, if I paid for this ad, I'm going to reach a bunch of brides if I pay for this vendor listing within reach so many people, the reality is the there are very few people in that massive group that are goingto be kj brides in that massive group there's probably only three or four that are represented by those steel dots it's probably only three or four people, they're actually gonna be my people, you know? So you get paid twenty five hundred dollars to shoot a wedding, and then you pay five hundred dollars for a print ad to go out in the local magazine that's what this is what's happening here you're spending all this money five hundred dollars if your only charge in twenty five hundred thing about that price point you are spending a fifth of your profit and to be honest after taxes you're spending more than a fifth of your profit to go into a marketing strategy that's not bringing you your people this is what it looks like to bring your people in have your community fell itself because the other slide I think I'll go back yes good this is fancy thie other slide this represents bridal shows it represents and let me just tell you about my brother show experience I did one bridal show okay one broader show I spent fifteen hundred dollars doing my fed up and don't get me wrong I know some people book a lot of weddings and broader shows I'm not saying they're wrong but I am saying this if you want to charge significantly more than everyone else in your market eventually in your business you're going to have a very hard time competing at bridal shows because those air not community building venues of advertising that is literally I have a budget I'm going to book somebody if you want to raise your prices and you want to create a community we've gotta let this marketing strategy go because I showed up to that bridal show and I had the's like ten foot walls that recovered with black fabric and I had life size canvases on each one of the panels my dad built it for me I didn't do any of it but it's been fifteen hundred dollars doing it. I also had to imax set up and then three ten by ten sample albums guess how many wedding that book one she said to you were high hopes yet one and guess why she booked because she won the raffle for a free album yeah that's the on ly reason and you know it was a stressful about that wedding is that wedding I felt like the whole day I couldn't give her what she wanted I feel like the whole day she was second guessing everything she wanted to go the gazebo and I wanted to be in the shade where the lights come to the tree just a little bit cause it's gonna be glowing and beautiful but guess where we're to take pictures at the gazebo how many of you are sick of gazebos? Yes no you know you're like maybe you don't think so but gazebos for us it's like everyone was pictures with his little tiny gazebo in the park where the light is horrible there's lines of light on their faces it's miserable those are the type of brides that I was booking in venues like a bridal show and to be honest, the hardest part wasn't that I only booked one bride it was that the girl across the aisle from me that had a vinyl plastic sign that was all wrinkled and then duct taped her table. She booked twenty three weddings. She booked twenty three weddings and I booked one. And I'm the girl. I literally looked like the taj mahal of wedding vendors. I had canvases and sample homes. I looked awesome and I realized this is what was happening. There were very few people, if any at all that could have been kj brides and I was trying to market in the wrong way. So this is our marketing strategy. This represents bob ingest bob and just sit down with their friend that just got engaged. It's going that destination wedding I told you about, they book then that girl has another girl and then bob and just have a sibling janica she's, not a sibling. She's watching sides simply she's like a best friend. But jenna's wedding is having next year. We just took that one. And then this is no one caylee and the no caylee take us to britney pretty and michael all these different I could go on and on and on but basically what's happening is this the second point I made earlier on marketers last forever? When you have a community, I don't have to do the work it's amazing. So what if we did on ly market to our potential tribe? That is the ultimate goal. So my question is, what do what do brides have really want this that's what I worry about? Because sometimes I get really wrapped up, and I get really excited about this, and I'm like, but I want to make sure I can prove to people the bride's riel life rides actually want this, so what I'm going to do is I want to show you a two minute video and just give you a quick sample of what it looks like to hear from actual kj brides okay, about being human, right? Is there is a cage, a ride where all the past through, right? Uh, hang out and talk and share experiences and it's, so cool, because so many girls like me and just being able to share an experience that so memorable as your wedding day and your wedding photography with feeling like that is an awesome thing to share their something so wonderful about being community evers I felt like it was work, even though I'm not getting you, but I saw her get her image is her block every day, and this because she's created a community it's just quoted connect with people that you wouldn't have the opportune no, but I think we often like we're friends just because way have the connection of keelin and michael probably the most unexpected but amazing thing I gain for munich eight james bride was the friendship I don't care what she really wanted to know he and that our story she really bested her time getting to l s when she arrived on the wedding day I was so thrilled this year she felt like an old friend and ever since the wedding we've stayed in touch and she's just somebody that I love and trust and I'm so thankful that her being my photographer has turned into a friendship it's just I've never experienced anything like it but it's just been such a joy to be part of it. Caitlin is just doing a phenomenal job building his name around her ran in and around her business and she's at the center geologist doing an incredible job so I had heard about caitlin a couple of years ago from another photographer friend from the moment I started reading her block I just remember thinking that she was the cutest thing ever and I just adored her so to say that my experience with caitlin was amazing is, you know, quite understand she treated bob and I not like clients but like friends and to me that it's just priceless I also never expected tio gain a lifelong friend out of my way so do you get the picture? Yeah, aren't they sweet girls? Yeah there's so sweet and to be honest there's tons of them this which is a little handful that I got to show you. But they're tons of them. And so this is what my world looks like. But I also wanted to make sure that I explained to you really clearly that it's not just me like it's, not just caitlyn. Oh, your bubbly and have a big personality so you can attract people like that. No that's, not the truth because a lot of people say also with those guys in the room like, well, that's, great! How am I going to track the ideal bride? You don't have to be a bride's best friend, but you could be a great resource for them. You can be sometimes we get called a bride's wedding guru because we helped them with every aspect of their wedding day that their other vendors aren't helping them with. So if you could become a trusted wedding guru for your bride, a resource for your bride while us female photographers khun b a trusted friend to our brides, it's not impossible and here's an example, this is an example of our good friends jordan, namie dimas so they're photographers in the scottsdale phoenix area of arizona on dh they've been shooting for amy's been shooting for a while, jordan joined on a couple of years ago, and they are a dynamic husband, wife, team. They do amazing things, I asked them, like guys, can I use you as an example? Because they call us one day after they heard this talk? I gave this talk at w p p I and they called us probably I don't know how long after it was, but they said, we just want to let you know that we've took your advice. We put our brides in a facebook group together and it's crazy like things are going crazy. So this is sweet little amy. We always joke because I just think she's the sweetest things you could just tell she sweet. So these air all their brides at a christmas party that they threw, they had a party for their brides and it was going to be them during the party. But all the brides got in the facebook group, and one day I was like, oh, we can have it in our house and then one brides like let's make it potluck, sow, and all of a sudden it was almost like they were throwing a party for them. For the photographers, it's not amazing, and the reason why is because these girls were all in the same season of life, and they just need to be connected. So don't look at me and say, well, that's, great, because it works for you, and don't look at them and say, well, that's, great for them there's, no excuse, mak kennedy and in vancouver has the same experience. His brides that love him and currents, and he is a main shooter. As a male, it is possible to do this.

Ratings and Reviews


She killed it... great instructor!!! This was a wonderful first impression. I love her southern charm, her mellow, soft spoken, laid back way of teaching. She had me at 'burrito'. She made me wanna be a KJ bride and I'm already married! I learned so much about what worked for her in marketing & they were great ideas that made sense. A lot of juicy tidbits to implement immediately. Congrats Katelyn James, your first time at creativeLIVE and you nailed it!


The last 5 minutes of the last video is worth 100x the investment of this course. While the entire series was a wonderful and insightful look into what a true community looks like ('s really not about you), those last 5 minutes brought home why you as a wedding photographer should ever want to pick up a camera in the first place. From one Virginian (though an adopted one!) to another, beautifully said Katelyn. And now...this guy needs to go find a tissue.


Katelyn is one of a kind. She perfectly balances the line between being a complete professional and also being incredibly personable. Such a great use time to get see a peek into her excellent marketing skills.

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