This lockdown is hitting differently than the rest, isn’t it? As a London Ontario Wedding Photographer, I’m just wrapping up the end of “off-season” and have really been looking forward to all of the sessions I had booked. If you’re like me, you’re trying to use this time to get everything in order for spring instead – meaning it’s the perfect time to get everything in your business running more efficiently. When the day finally comes to grab those cameras again, you’ll have more time to spend doing what you love, and less to worry about in your office!
Well-running systems and workflows can save upwards of 10 hours or more of actual work per week. IMAGINE what could you do with 10 extra hours to yourself every single week?!
Before I jump in – this isn’t a ‘how to’ about my systems and workflows. The individual aspects (things like turnaround times, how often to follow up with a client, etc.) may not look the same for everyone. And that’s ok!
The larger aspects – how I connect it all together and why it works – are what we’re going to focus on instead. You’ll have takeaways that you can easily apply regardless of how you structure your business or what method you’re using to stay organized!
Three systems and workflows that made the biggest impact in my business:
1. Sneak Peeks
I used to spend WAY too much time on sneak peeks. Not having a system in place created moments where I was spending so much time on sneak peeks that I started getting behind on full galleries. There were always more sneak peeks to edit, and that’s where my priority was. I also had no consistency in how many I was doing per client, either, so I would often get requests for more.
My new sneak peek process is:
– one or two photos right after the session
– a full blog post around the two-week mark
– That’s it.
I reminded myself that a ‘sneak peek’ is just that – a sneak peek. I know our clients are excited to see their photos, and we want to keep serving them throughout the entire experience. But reassure them that it will be worth the wait! You’ve created these turnaround times not only to manage your workload but to also make sure you’re giving the best quality product. So it’s important to stick with that!
Automating the process of asking for reviews by building it into my workflow is next. This can be done easily with a CRM system! (Client relationship management system, if you’re not familiar with this term!) You can also use template emails and schedulers through a service like Gmail if you don’t have a CRM system in place.
Asking for reviews used to be so intimidating, but it was an area I knew I had to push myself out of my comfort zone in.
Getting reviews from your clients gives you social proof on many platforms. It also gives you feedback on what is working and what isn’t, and let’s be honest – nothing feels better than getting raving feedback after a session.
Since I created this system, I haven’t received any negative feedback at all. That’s not to say I don’t have room for improvement! It’s just that people have a much harder time saying negative things when the information is going directly to you. Don’t let the possibility of negative feedback stop you from asking for reviews! It’s how we grow as photographers – with the good and the bad. I’ve also received more reviews and feedback in the last 8 months than I have in the last 5 years thanks to this!
I have a questionnaire built into my CRM workflow to help. 2 weeks after delivering a gallery, an automated email goes out with the questionnaire, asking for feedback AND a review.
Creating a system around this and building it into your workflow takes the energy away from you having to remember and send the emails yourself.
3. Online Booking
Since I implemented an online booking system, I’ve saved countless hours eliminating the need for back-and-forth emailing giving possible dates and times!
I don’t have the booking page available on my website because I want potential clients to contact me first. From there I can make a personal connection and send pricing information if needed! And then finally send the booking link when it’s a good time to do so.
A potential client can click the link, view my availability for the next 3 months, and pick whatever date and time work best for them :)
I use Calendly because I love that it is super user-friendly and offers the option to embed the booking forms into my website. A lot of CRM’s have scheduling software and workflow options available. You could do this within your system and not have to use a second service like Calendly! Personally, I don’t like Honeybook’s scheduling system so I stick with a two-part process here.
All-in-all it provides my clients with an easy, user-friendly, branded experience. Plus, it’s organized and streamlined to save you time! If you use an option that lets you build your booking page directly into your website it has endless SEO benefits.
Why you need a CRM
If you aren’t using a CRM system, I recommend you consider starting in 2021! There are so many options – I use Honeybook, I’ve also used 17hats, Sprout, and ShootProof. I’m a little obsessed with systems and workflows so I’ve tried out a lot of what there is to find what was right for me! Dubsado is another popular option for photographers.
I hear a lot of people say, “I don’t have that many clients yet, I don’t need a CRM system!” But I encourage you to flip that thought process and see that this is THE perfect time! You can get your templates and workflows set up while you might have more flexibility in your schedule. Some platforms are now starting to offer smaller plan options for this very reason! Honeybook has plans starting at $10USD/month – but I have a referral code to get you 50% off your first year!
A quick recap:
*Rethinking the way I handle sneak peeks – limiting how many I do and when I do them
*Automating asking for reviews 2 weeks after delivering photos to a client
*Creating an online booking system for clients so they can view my availability and book a spot on their own
I’d love to hear about any systems or workflows you’ve implemented into your business that have been a total game-changer! Or, if there’s a specific system or workflow you’re wanting to work on this year, let me know in the comments, too!