Five Emails You’ll Want To Incorporate Into Your Workflow
Work Smarter…..Not Harder
A great bit of advice that we’ve all heard but don’t always follow. My first year in business…..I certainly wasn’t working smarter. And let me tell you, working harder isn’t fun. I’ll say it again……working harder isn’t fun.
When I transitioned to full-time photography, I really thought I was living the dream. I loved taking photos, and I would be doing that full-time. How did I get so lucky? I didn’t give any thought to everything else that is required to run a successful business. If you had told me that I would be spending 80% of my time on the computer and only 20% of my time doing what I loved, I would have told you that you were wrong! I was the one that was wrong.
Yes, you must be a great photographer and take amazing images to have a photography business. But you also have to be able to manage everything else that comes with being a business owner and entrepreneur….scheduling, invoicing, contracts, taxes, contacting leads and clients. The list goes on and on.
And I’ll be honest, I was terrible and all of the other things starting out. I was barely keeping my head above water and wasn’t enjoying it. The dream quickly became a nightmare. I needed to do something different.
Did you know that 60% of photography businesses fail in the first year?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you didn’t become a business owner, only to fail within 12 months.
The reasons that a business might not succeed are multi-faceted, but I believe that developing smart workflows and systems increases the chances that your business will succeed.
What Are Workflows and Systems
Simply put, a workflow is a series of steps needed to complete a task. A system is the framework within which the workflow function.
You may already have a workflow in place for your sessions, even if you don’t call it a workflow. Your workflow consists of the steps you take before, during, and after each session.
But the need for an efficient workflow starts the moment you are contacted by a potential client and I belive that implementing workflows, including email templates, that start the moment a potential client makes contract ensured that my business didn’t become a statistic. Here are the five templates that need to be part of your workflow.
Five Emails You Need
#1 – Inquiry Email
Your first email should be sent to every lead as soon as possible. What do I mean by, as soon as possible? Well, research shows that the faster you respond to a lead, the more likely you are to convert them into clients. In fact, responding after 5 minutes decreases your chances of converting the lead by 80%.
This email sets the tone for your relationship with the client. This is your first opportunity to educate your client; an educated client is a satisfied client.
You help ensure that the family’s vision of a session matches your photography style by including links to your website, portfolio, and blog posts.
My initial email looks something like this….
Hi _____, Thanks so much for your interest. I’m a photographer, but I’m also a mom, and helping other moms (and dads) capture important moments in their lives is what I do! My style is laid-back and fun. My goal is to capture your family exactly as you are during this phase of life. No fancy poses, no fancy wardrobe, just your family doing what you love. Below is a link to my calendar where you can choose a date and time.
I have a separate email template for each type of session I offer; Newborn, Family, and Day in the Life.
#2 – Thanks for Booking Email
As soon as I receive a signed contract and retainer from the client, an automated email goes out confirming their session’s date, time, and location (if chosen upfront). They are provided with a username, a link to their client portal, and instructions on creating a password.
I created a client lounge on my website, and I direct them to the client lounge, where families will find answers to FAQs, style and location guidance, and a step-by-step guide to what to expect going forward. I also include a product guide so that they start to see the options available in their gallery store.
Directing them back to my website improves my SEO and continues to ensure that at every touchpoint, the client sees my style and understands what to expect from a session.
My goal is to educate families with every communication we have during the entire process, from booking to choosing products in their galleries.
#3 – Getting to Know You Email and Questionnaire
Every family is unique, and I want to capture that uniqueness and give them an experience that is tailored to them.
The more that I know about a family before the session, the better equipped I am to create a memorable experience from start to finish.
My goal is to have a legacy business; I want families to come back year after year, so it’s important that I get to know them.
Immediately after the previous email, I send an email with a questionnaire that covers everything from who will be included in the session to what a typical day looks like for the family.
#4 – Day After Session Email
Educating my family clients doesn’t end when the session is over. When you’ve had a great session, the last thing you want to do is leave them wondering what’s next.
Twenty-four hours after the session, I send an email thanking them and detailing exactly what the next steps are. This isn’t new information for them; they’ve already seen it in the client lounge, but educating every step of the way improves satisfaction.
I include information on when to expect their gallery link, a video on navigating their gallery, and another link back to my product guide so that they can start envisioning their images as art.
#5 – Thank You Email with Follow-up Questionnaire
I feel honored whenever a family allows me to share their moments and capture memories for them, and I think it’s important to convey that to my clients. One month after every session, I send an email once again saying thanks and asking for feedback and a review.
It’s important that it is easy for your clients to leave a review. How often have you had great service but not left a review because it was too difficult? I’m definitely guilty of that. I give easy instructions for each platform, Yelp, Facebook, and Google. (Of note, some platforms will penalize you for a review that comes through a link. Yelp’s algorithm is designed to weed out such reviews.)
I also include another questionnaire asking about their experience from start to finish and ways that I can improve. I find this information invaluable.
If you’re where I was starting out, I can help. Join the waitlist for my course, Getting Back Behind the Lens with Workflows That Work, coming in June 2023. Join the waitlist to secure your spot.
Leigh Ann – Your Oakland, CA, Family and Newborn Photographer and Educator. I help photographers create a thriving business by working smarter, not harder.