I’m an organizational geek.
With my new biz, I decided to get a new organizational program to help me track leads, schedule “to-do’s” and make emails pretty. I’ve been checking out a couple of different programs. I don’t know why I get so excited about organizing information and creating systems – but I do!
I remember when I discovered this about myself. I was in high school and was able to sign up to work in our school’s library for one of my classes. It was “my job” to deliver films and AV equipment to the teachers. When teachers were done, I would collect the equipment and mail it back.
I know I’m dating myself here. You Millennials and Gen X peeps probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, but this was the 70’s.
I got my own little office and discovered that the tracking system was a mess. I gave it a complete overhaul and made some much-needed improvements. The library staff was impressed. I was able to keep my job at the library for two quarters but then had to give it up so another student could have a chance.
I recognize that not everyone loves creating systems as much as I do, nevertheless, I do advise you to create a system and workflow for your photography business.
Remember when you were first starting out? You could easily keep up with your client list and schedule on your calendar (or maybe even just a post-it note!) and you probably knew exactly what photography shoot was next right off the top of your head.
Then you started to grow.
It became harder and harder to keep up with where you were supposed to be and when.
You may have even- gulp!– double booked a client without even noticing!
With success comes a whole new set of challenges.
Staying organized and up-to-date becomes harder and harder as your client list grows larger.
So what do you do?
Enter CRM or ‘Customer Relationship Management’ software- a photographer’s best friend outside of your camera.
CRM for photographers
CRM software is used to help consolidate, organize and manage all of the information you have for everyone you interact with through your business in one place.
More than just an organizational tool for you, it also doubles as a great interface for your clients to know exactly where to look for any information they may need regarding the exact services they are looking for. It’s way more convenient than searching through an entire website hoping to find what they need.
While there are a wide assortment of CRM options to choose from, I personally love and use Sprout Studio, a CRM program developed specifically with photographers in mind.
Beyond just the basic CRM organizational tools, Sprout Studio gives photographers and clients a wide assortment of “extras” they can access through the software like: an attractive and user friendly client portal, personalized online photo galleries, email marketing tools, aids for pricing and product lists, and much more!
Here is my personal list of reasons why using a CRM software is worth the investment.
1. It let’s you focus on the photography side of your business: Look, I’m a photographer for a reason. While I may be more analytical than the average artist, I still hate dealing with most of the practicalities that come up when running a photography business. Having a set space where both the client and I can see all of our correspondence, financials, calendar and more helps free me to focus on what I love- taking and editing pictures.
2. It makes you look good: Image is everything. When you give a client a link to their personalized CRM page containing all the information they need, you automatically look way more professional and organized than you would just by communicating through email. This creates more respect and trust in you and your company which in turn creates a client that is more willing to pay what you ask.
3. It allows for better communication between you and your client: Having all your information in one place makes it easier for both of you to go back and see exactly what has been agreed upon and is expected. With both of you well informed, miscommunication and unreasonable expectations are minimized which will create a more satisfying experience for everyone.
4. It helps you set up automatic reminders when/if necessary: Am I the only one that hates sending out an email reminding a client that a deposit is due? Or that I can’t do anything until they remember to sign their contract? Sprout (and many other CRM’s) will send out the reminders for you automatically so you don’t have to be the bad guy.
5. It makes scheduling a breeze: How many times have you and a client gone back-and-forth endlessly trying to find a date and time that worked for both of you? Sprout includes an interactive calendar so choosing a time is hassle-free!
Working with Sprout, or another CRM, is the perfect example of working smarter and not harder.
Curious to learn more? Visit Sprout Studio.
While there is an initial investment, what you spend should be easily made back with all the time you will have saved and the clients you will have gained.