Too Many Emails: Un-Productive Photographer
Running a profitable photography business is difficult, to say the least. As nice as it would be to focus all our time on our photos, sadly, it doesn’t work out that way. Marketing your business is almost as important as the pictures themselves, and once you have your marketing plan in place, chances are that e-mails and messages will come flooding in. Answering a large amount of emails can be daunting, and can quickly become frustrating. Especially if only a percentage of people are still interested in booking a session once they receive the information that they are looking for. It is best to focus your time mainly on those who are serious about booking a session with you, but how can the prospective clients be distinguished from those who are simply “shopping around”? The best way to sort them out is with e-mail templates.
The Solution: Email Templates
E-mail templates are a collection of pre-written e-mails, created with a word processor and saved for later use, that can be quickly sent with only minimal attention to each email. It is a good idea to copy and paste each template into a “drafts” or similar folder in your e-mail account, so that they are easily accessible to you, even from a cell phone, tablet or public computer.
It’s simple to make your own e-mail templates, but it might be difficult to know where to start. The best place to start is with a basic questionnaire. I have found that the majority of inquiry e-mails I receive say things like, “Can you please send me more information?” or, “What is your pricing?” Therefore, the very first e-mail I send back is usually my general questionnaire. In it, I thank the person for contacting me, explain how answering these questions will help me give them the best information, and then I ask the things I need to know before I can easily respond. Typically, I ask what type of session the inquiry is for, when the session will need to be, the number of people the session will include, etc. You can customize your questions for whatever type of photography you specialize in.
The next templates you may want to prepare are ones with the information and pricing for each type of session. Because I offer three different types of sessions, I have three different templates saved for this. In these informational templates, I include the name and cost of the session that best fits the client’s needs. It may also be good to include some examples of your work, so that your pictures can leave an impact instead of just a price tag! This is a good time to show a little personality as well; just a touch of your own flair might be all that is needed to set you apart from the competition. Chances are, if the person responds again to this second email, they are serious about using your services and you are likely not wasting your time by corresponding with them further.
The previously mentioned templates are probably the most useful in my own business, but there are many other circumstances in which other templates are great to have available.
Some Great Email Templates To Have
- Template with a basic questionnaire
- Template with information and pricing for each session type
- Template for when the Client is requesting an unavailable date
- Template for when the Client is asking for a type of session you don’t offer
- Template for when the Client is asking for a special price or discount
- Template for when a client’s gallery becomes available for viewing
- Template to thank your clients after the shoot and/or purchase
- Template for a deposit or session reminder
- Template for a reminder that a gallery will be expiring
You can and should make a template e-mail for any information that you find yourself writing over and over again. Although this task may be somewhat time consuming at first, it will save you tons of time in the long run. Hopefully, your new templates will allow you to focus your time spent e-mailing in the right places. What templates do you have for your business? Leave a comment and let us know.
This article was written by Blythe Harlan, of Blythe Harlan Photography. She specializes in newborn, child and family photography in El Paso, Texas. You can also like her on Facebook.