Do you guys find that there are many clients who schedule their wedding videographer only 1-3 months in advance? I'm thinking about whether or not it's worth it to advertise for the winter months in California.
I'm out of the wedding game for some time now, but my business, and the business of most everyone else I knew at that time that did weddings was heavily based on referrals. I never had to advertise.
When brides and moms consulted with a stills guy, they'd ask about video and I'd get referrals from the stills guy. Sometimes overbooked wedding guys would also refer clients to me based on my rep. Same with wedding planners and the persons in charge of catering and bookings at the major hotels. Reputation is everything in this business; a good one makes the people who refer you look good themselves. If you have no rep, fewer people will risk their own reps to suggest you until you've proven yourself. Once you have established a rep, these contacts become your own personal sales force.
I'm not saying you should never advertise, and often marketing yourself at wedding shows can be useful. I just say I never needed it myself, and could have worked every weekend if I'd wanted to, just off referrals. As I got older, married and grew a family, the free weekends began to mean more to me than the money so I got out. I miss the money but not the hassles, the angst, and the lost weekends and wearing monkey suits.