We asked a list of incredibly successful photographers what they are prioritizing in their business right now during the COVID-19 crisis (and during any typical off-season), and this was their top response:
They’re auditing their client experience.
Why? Because successful photographers know that the client experience matters.
In the off-season, I take the time to review my client experience. It’s easy to lose touch with clients as time goes on and I am continually reviewing our client experience from start to finish to see where I can add value and take care of my clients better. (KT Merry)
We’re continuing our blog series, How to Audit Your Business in the Off-Season, with the second step in the process of auditing your client experience: using wedding photography email templates to educate your clients.
(Check out the first post in the series here: Audit Your Client Experience: How to Update Your Wedding Photography Website)
Many of these experienced photographers said that in their off-season, they begin with these steps:
- First, they freshen up their website
- Second, they review how they can better educate clients and vendors through wedding photography email templates
Because the BEST way to solve problems for your clients, your vendors, and yourself is to develop educational content.
So now that you’ve taken care of updating your website and improved the first-impression experience for your clients (ie your EXTERNAL brand), it’s time to focus on the person-to-person meat of your brand experience (ie your INTERNAL brand).
That’s right – it’s time to refine and systematize allllll of your client communications, and I’m going to share how to do it!
Successful Photographers Communicate Well
Updating your client communications will do two VERY important things for you:
It will make YOUR life way easier by saving you time and educating your clients.
It will make your CLIENTS feel taken care of and improve their experience with you.
Both of these things are going to directly impact the current AND future health of your business, so every bit of effort you put in now will pay off both now and later.
And that’s what we like to call a Win-Win!
To start, ask yourself these questions:
- What questions did I have to answer over and over again (for brides OR for vendors) during the busy season? How can I answer those questions before they need to be asked either in an email template, on my website, or in a guide?
Do they just keep asking:
… when will I get to see my images?
… what should I wear for my engagement session?
… how do I pick the images for my wedding album?
- What problems did my clients experience this year with their wedding planning or photography that I can solve?
… were they stressed about planning the wedding timeline?
… did they feel a little lost when it came to planning their family portrait list?
… were they too confused by the album process?
- What problems did I experience with my clients that I need to solve to make MY life easier??
Raise your hand if:
… the outfits your couples chose for their engagement sessions were always a little “blah.”
… wedding day hair and makeup ALWAYS ran late.
… it took forever to get clients to sign their contracts on the front end.
Don’t worry, friend. These problems may be easier to solve than you think!
There are three very simple tools you can use to dial in your communications, educate your clients, and SOLVE these problems:
- Pre-Written Email Templates
- Evergreen Blog Posts
- Educational Guides
From here, I’m going to walk you through the steps to audit, refine, and refresh your client communications using these three tools.
Step 1: Update Your Wedding Photography Email Templates
If you’ve got time for just one step in this blog post, focus all your efforts on this one, my friend.
The easiest way to solve your clients’ problems is to educate them in wedding photography email templates, so start here.
During this time, I’m looking to make everything just run even smoother than it did the year before. I always go through to clean up and update email templates that I use regularly so I can make sure I’m communicating as effectively as possible with clients and planners. I also love to take this time to update or create PDFs that I send my clients throughout the process to talk to them about engagement session outfits, creating a timeline, and tips for their wedding day etc. (CHARDphoto)
Beautiful client guides & blog posts are great to have…but can also feel overwhelming to complete (and client guides are often expensive to have designed).
Because of this, oftentimes photographers feel overwhelmed and discouraged that they can’t create the perfect client experience guide… so they just never end up educating their clients at all.
(And usually end up shooting themselves in the foot because of it.)
So here’s the quick win: start by creating an email template!
Once you have learned how to effectively educate your clients using simple email templates, THEN you can invest the effort, time, and money into creating complete guides.
Don’t Have Email Templates Yet?
If you haven’t created any email templates yet, start by thinking of the emails that you write over and over again for your clients or vendors, and then hunt those emails down.
You’ll want to really refine the content of these emails: make them SIMPLE and CLEAR.
Then, you can save them as templates in your CRM (we use Tavé) or in a Google Doc. It really doesn’t matter where you store them, as long as you have them written down somewhere that’s easily accessible.
Hot tip: Don’t shy away from using bullet points in your emails! The easier your clients can quickly skim and absorb the information, the better. We’re ALL guilty of not fully reading every email in our inboxes, so make it easy on your clients.
Not sure where to start?
Check out the six wedding photography email templates you absolutely need to have at this blog post (plus you’ll get three of our email templates totally for FREE!)
If you just want to get your templates done NOW, check out our full set of 42 pre-written email templates that we use everyday in our businesses. You can purchase them today and just add your brand’s unique voice as needed.
(Some of my faves? Our “What’s Next” and “Engagement Session Tips” emails have solved LOADS of problems for us over the years by answering our client’s top questions – and they’re just simple emails!)
Already Have Email Templates?
First things first, I’m sending you a HIGH FIVE, friend! You’re already saving yourself (and your clients) so much headache.
But, think with me:
- Where do your current templates need a little refining?
- What do you always edit when you send to a client, that could just be fixed NOW?
- What additional templates do you need to create to fill in any current gaps?
The goal is to make this year smoother, more efficient, and more enjoyable for you, your couples, and your vendors.
So, email templates or not, review your overall client experience and update your wedding photography email templates where needed.
Step 2: Create Evergreen Blog Posts
After you’ve created your email templates for your clients, creating evergreen blog posts is the next easiest step to answer your client’s questions.
I’m a HUGE fan of evergreen blog posts, because say it with me, my friend…
BLOGGING IS NOT DEAD.
These blog posts will serve a few pretty fantastic purposes:
→ You’ll stay consistent in your blogging
→ They’re relevant no matter what time of the year (hence “evergreen”)
→ They will boost your SEO (yessss!)
→ You can support your tips & tricks with plenty of imagery
These don’t serve as a replacement for your email templates – in fact, they serve as fantastic support for them!
Once you have your evergreen blog posts up on your site, you can link back to these posts in your wedding photography email templates so that every client gets their eyes on all this important content.
Again, the goal is to create posts that will solve problems for you, your clients, and your vendors – so you need to be consistent with getting the right information in front of them so that everyone can get in front of the problem.
So where exactly should you begin?
(Website: Sarah Bradshaw)
Here are the posts that every wedding photographer should have on their website for their couples to reference:
(Website: The Youngrens)
Once you’ve created those essential posts, here are some ideas for additional posts:
Yearly Round-Up Posts
This is super simple content to pull together – just choose a theme and run with it!
The best part? You already have all of the content: the imagery from your previous wedding season.
These posts are really helpful if you’d like to really emphasize a certain style or venue that you’d like your brand to focus on. You get to hand-pick what you’re highlighting, and you can use these posts to attract the right clients who also love this style of venue, florals, or details.
- For example, are you only looking to shoot super rustic weddings? Pull together a post about all of the incredibly Boho bouquets that your brides chose last year!
- Are you head-over-heels for the classic ballroom wedding? Feature all of your favorite black-tie weddings in a round-up post!
Be sure to customize your blog post title to include that language – because remember, this is all about attracting the right people with the right SEO language.
For example, “Our Favorite Boho Bouquets” is going to be much more powerful than simply “Our Favorite Bouquets.”
Here are some of our favorite ideas to get you started:
- Creative Seaside Wedding Details
- This Year’s Top Ten Timeless Bouquets
- The Best of 2019: Mix and Match Bridesmaids Dresses
- Our Favorite Wedding Venues in Southern California
- All the Wedding Hair Inspiration You’ll Need
(Website: KT Merry)
Just like with your round-up posts, collaborating with your favorite vendors is a smart move to connect the dots between your brand and a correlating brand.
- Do you love working with a specific wedding planner? Do her Dreamies line up with yours?
- Is there a floral designer who creates the most beautiful Boho florals for your Boho-lovin’ couples?
Vendor posts create an opportunity for you to associate yourself with a vendor who not only fits your Dreamie clientele, but also has more expertise in the subject matter.
Hot tip: Don’t ask the vendor to write the blog post for you – you’ll want to make it as easy on them as possible. Just ask them for their top tips, and then you can craft a post that fits your objective for your own blog (in your own unique voice).
Here are a few ideas:
- How to Envision an Amazing Ceremony Arch with [Floral Designer]
- Getting Your Guests on the Dance Floor with [DJ]
- The Top 5 Wedding Planning Tips For Every Bride with [Wedding Planner]
- How to WOW Your Guests with an Amazing Wedding Experience with [Wedding Planner]
Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks
You’ve probably had clients ask you a million questions about this and that…
I’ve had brides ask me anything, from…
“Which fabric photographs best in a wedding dress?”
“Is it okay for my mom to wear bright pink on the wedding day?”
“Can I bring my dog to the wedding?”
And after 14 years of photographing weddings, it’s safe to say I have an opinion on pretty much everything.
So my friend, don’t be shy in sharing your expertise.
Remember, the goal is solve problems for you, your clients, and your vendors – so if you spot ANY blind spot, get your thinking cap on and figure out how you could answer the question for your client in a way that serves everyone best.
These posts can also be fantastic for your SEO, so if you have an idea, run with it! Here are some to get you started:
- How to Wear Your Wedding Hair So It Lasts All Day
- This is one of our most popular posts! See it here.
- The Must-Have Bridal Emergency Kit (From Our Five Years of Experience)
- Long or Short? Our Bridal Veil Advice
- How to Wear Your Wedding Hair So It Lasts All Day
(Website: Abby Grace Photography)
Step 3: Create Educational Guides or PDFs
Once you have your email templates dialed in, and you’ve created a few evergreen blog posts, you can focus on designing beautiful educational guides and PDFs to enhance your client experience.
In the off-season, I prioritize working on creating new resources for our clients or updating existing ones. (Abby Grace Photography)
I want to begin with a disclaimer and a warning:
Disclaimer: Only focus on guides after you’ve completed Steps 1 and 2.
I want to reiterate that if you’re reading this section of the blog post and feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and bookmark this step for LATER.
Only focus on creating guides once you’ve updated your email templates and have some great posts on your blog.
And now, for a warning:
Don’t create too many guides.
You may want to go all design-happy on ALL of your content (because by this step, you’ve probably got a lot of it!).
However, in this case, less is more.
Just focus on one or two guides.
Any more than that, and you’re probably going to overwhelm your couple with information.
The goal is to answer questions before they need to be asked.
The goal is NOT to dump a bunch of unnecessary information on your couple.
(Especially all at once – be thoughtful about spacing out your educational content.)
Because truthfully, your couple is already being flooded with information about weddings right now, so sending them one too many emails might be a recipe for them just ignoring your educational content altogether.
So, what information is best suited for an educational guide?
There are a few key areas of your client experience in which a full PDF guide can help to support your brand’s proven process.
(If you don’t know what a Proven Process is, be sure to read our first post on Updating Your Website)
There are multiple ways you can utilize an educational guide to craft a more thoughtful client experience, but here are some of our favorites:
The Wedding Day Experience Guide
Right after your clients book with you, they’re at their MOST attentive. They’re in the thick of wedding planning, and they are probably feeling on cloud nine to have booked a photographer.
So take advantage of that moment, and welcome them into your exclusive club with a full Wedding Day Experience Guide.
Your Dreamies will probably be giddy being let in on your secrets – so you have permission to make this fun!
Right after they book with you, share this guide to answer their most important questions now, or provide a point of reference for when questions arise later on.
The Album Experience Guide
If you sell albums, prints, or wall art, the key to successful sales is educating your clients early and often.
And depending on who your clientele is and where they live, you may or may not have had the opportunity to educate your couple in person.
So an album or print products guide can serve to plant the seeds early on in the process and make post-wedding sales a breeeeeeze.
With everything going on right now, I’m working to create extra streams of income or improve the current income streams that I have. I love albums and many of my clients purchase them as part of their wedding collection with me, however I’m looking to improve how I can sell albums to clients that didn’t book it as part of their collection. (CHARDphoto)
This guide should not only answer their logistical questions about all of your offerings and pricing, but also instills the value behind your print products.
Bonus: A beautifully designed educational guide provides a high-end experience that really helps to support the sales of your high-end products.
The Engagement Experience Guide
When it comes to engagement sessions, you might have had varied success with sessions that really
Most of the time, couples feel totally clueless about how to choose a location, what to wear, and how to make the most of their engagement sessions.
Because most of the time… this is their first time in front of the camera together.
So be the voice that guides them through this process.
Don’t let them run wild on Pinterest or pull together outfits without your guidance!
With these guides in place, EVERY engagement session can be a slam-dunk.
- The best way to solve problems for your clients, your vendors, and yourself is to develop educational content.
- Always start with creating email templates to answer the most frequently asked questions for your clients and vendors – this is the simplest way to save everyone a headache!
- Next, to build SEO and keep your blog consistent, create evergreen blog posts that you can link in your email templates and share over and over again.
- Finally, design educational guides and PDFs to create a high-end client experience.
Next in our blog series, we’ll be walking through the final (and most FUN!) step when auditing your client experience:
Finding creative ways to delight your clients!
If you’ve been following along for this blog series so far, you know we’ve covered a LOT already – but I promise you that this stuff is incredibly important.
I can’t wait to dig into next week’s topic with you!
See you next week!