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The A&V Experience 101 – Sweet Talking Winning the First impression with Your Emails!

August 2, 2016

We are so excited that you can join us! We are just starting our new series on giving your client the best experience possible from the moment they first see your work on your website to even months and years after their wedding. Word of mouth is THE BEST way to get those ideal clients that you will love just as much as they will love you and giving the best client experience possible helps to ensure you take your clients from just ordinary to Raving fans! So follow as we go over things like your website, email correspondence, client gifts and more!

Part 1 – You Had me at Hello (Your Website)
Part 2 – Sweet Talking Winning the First impression with Your Emails!
Part 3 – Wine & Dinning – Winning Your Client During the Consultation!
Part 4 – Giving Immediate Value – Growing your business exponentially with Client Gifts!

Here comes the Bride!

Awesome, you got that bride to look through your website and send in an inquiry. Now you are faced with one of two choices.

  1. Pick up the Phone
    • We always get the clients phone number in our inquiry form but only call if we feel it’s necessary. I do feel like you have a much much higher rate to succeed and book if you can get the client on the phone. Phone calls are far more efficient than emails and here is a good recipe to remember:

      emails = phone call – nuance. And nuance is everything.

    • What is nuance? According to Webster, Nuance is a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound. The fastest sense we have is hearing so HOW something is said is much more important than WHAT is said most of the time. Your tone carries so much weight and effects the way someone FEELS. It is much easier to portray feeling and build trust on the telephone than what could EVER be done with an email. I once read an article on Entrepreneur that sarcastically said that the most efficient forms of communication go like this, in order:
      1. Face to face conversation
      2. Skype
      3. Phone Call
      4. Morse Code
      5. Flag Waving
      6. Eye Winking yes or no
      7. Email.. womp womp
    • Yet we are so quick to use email. Get over that hump and build trust with your clients! We have one client that I called when she inquired and it took her 3 months to find a venue yet she KNEW she HAD to have us. I believe it was because I picked up the phone and built an immediate connection and trust with her. I bet no one else did that.
  2. Send an Emil
    • This is a little more in depth so I’m going to create a large subheader point for this!

Getting it right with email.

Sweet Talking with Email

I really wanted to title this one “Talk Dirty to Me” but now only the people that have actually read this article will get that little nugget!  This is HUGE! I would say that 80% of our correspondence is done over email and it is an extremely important part of our running our business. From the initial email to the follow up, to the very last time we press send. Every time you send an email you are representing your brand and putting yourself out there so you have to make sure that your words are carefully chosen.

  1. The Inquiry Email and the Great Dilemma 
    • In the service industry, especially among photographers the Great dilemma is answering the question “How do I weed out price shoppers?”Because of this question, a lot of photographers don’t send their prices in their initial inquiry email. Instead, they will send a couple of questions for the client to answer in hopes that it will weed out the people that just want to price shop.  We prefer not to do this but we completely understand why you would want to do this! We prefer to send a fairly detailed email that has a link to our pricing (DONT MAKE THEM DOWNLOAD ANYTHING), an initiative to get them to schedule a meeting with us, and links to our social media and blog posts that MOST represent our brand and work! Here are some of the reasons why we send this and not follow up questions to their email.
      1. When you send questions, you are creating another barrier to them booking you. You are literally saying, “I know you want to know how much it is, but first, tell me why you want it?” BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BOOK YOU! Imagine as a customer you went into (insert favorite store here, we prefer J Crew or Anthro) and you kept asking for the price of something and you had to answer 7 questions about you before you can get the pricing, this isn’t a contest, don’t make them work too hard to book you! They might have already moved on to someone that will make it easier for them to spend their money.
      2. Our Guide is extremely informative and educational so brides get it and feel like we are offering them something and giving useful information instead of just a price sheet. This builds validation and makes us their trusted advisor. When you give information they will feel like they can ask you anything and trust that you know what you are talking about.
      3. Lastly, it helps us to get them in the studio sooner rather than later. In our experience, the longer someone goes without meeting with us the lower our chances are of booking them. Generally when people meet with us, they book us within a couple of days of meeting. They don’t go on and meet with anyone else, that meeting solidified their decision in us, even if they wanted to, they don’t feel the need to meet with anyone else. Imagine you wait… Send questions, wait… Send pricing.. wait.. Schedule a meeting, wait… Then meet with them. In that time they could have met with a couple of other people and your odds of booking drastically decrease when you are competing with other people that made the same pitch you just made, and you are the 3rd time they heard it!
  2. Make it Easy For You! 
    • Let’s be honest, in our field, there literally is NOTHING worse than having to write the same email over and over and over and over again! Create template emails! This is a life/time saver for us. We have templates for most of our emails that go out to clients but the most important thing is to make it feel like it is not a template email. American philosopher, William James once said:

      “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated”

    • Imagine getting a template email that makes you feel like, its a template email. You know what I’m talking about. Not personal at all, and you can tell where they just put your name in the  “insert bride’s name here” box. It feels like a robot is talking to you. You HAVE to make people feel loved and valued in this industry or no one will ever want to work with you. Personalize the templates as much a you can, mention their venue, mutual friends or whoever referred them to you. Make it as personal as possible! Historically here are some of the ways that we have, or currently create, template emails:
      • Tave – This is our office management system. We have tried a lot of them and done our research and this is by far the best we have found. Most of our emails run through this and we have template emails for literally almost every situation. Inquiries, file delivery, prep emails even some of those not so nice emails that you have to write. It is always good to already have these written down and thought through. We are constantly changing these templates, even now.
      • Mac Mail – Our main emailing service outside of Tave is with the mail app on our Mac computers. The best way we found to create template emails was by creating them with our signatures. We would write them out in some kind of word processor and then copy and paste them into the signature bar then name those signatures according to the type of email. This worked really well for us for a while until we switched to a more automated office management system.
      • TextExpander – This is super effective in taking care of lot of those emails you write a lot by creating custom keyboard shortcuts for words, phrases or even whole emails. It is definitely something to check out!
  3. Holler Back!
    • One of the BIGGEST mistakes we hear when talking to photographers is that they say that they never follow up. WHATTTTTT! Let me tell you, you are missing out on potentially tens of thousands of dollars strictly because you don’t follow up. Here are a couple of reasons why we are so adamant about following up!
      1. People aren’t doing it!
        • Imagine being the only person that follows up with someone, you immediately stick out in their mind!
      2. You aren’t being annoying!
        • This is one of the most common misconceptions we hear about people not wanting to follow up. People think that they are being annoying by following up. People are busy! You have to remember that your client is probably going through some major changes in her life. Planning a wedding, getting married, sometimes buying a house, moving, all kinds of things. People get crazy busy and sometimes forget to reply to your email!
      3. Set a Schedule
        • We send a follow-up email 7 days after someone inquires. I would say that we hear form 80% of clients on the follow up email. Some clients will say we are too expensive and they went with another photographer and some just say they forgot/got busy and want to set something up. Either way, we now have an answer and you are back on their radar!
        • After that initial 7 day follow up, we send another email 7 days later, 14 days after the initial inquiry. The chances of getting a response are lower but we still have scheduled meetings and booked clients from this stage of follow ups! You want to be the person that follows up and schedules that meeting, not the person that didn’t.

laying together in the grass

Conclusion

Emails can be a lot to handle and you can lose or make thousands based on your response. There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to making an incredible first impression and if email is the only way to do it, you need to think about it and make the right choices. A lot rides on it so a lot more effort needs to be put into it! If you guys have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to comment down below or ask away!

 

Please, like always, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions by emailing us! Also set sign up for our mailing list to stay updated and get weekly reports of whats going on!

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  1. Staci

    March 29th, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for writing this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment.

    I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook.
    Thanks again for a great post!

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