With instant access to email and messages, it’s easy to feel like you need to be readily available for your clients. When you run a photography business, you often feel like you have to respond to every ping the moment it comes through so it looks like you’re on top of your game and have excellent customer service. Today I am sharing with you my favorite tips on improving client communication.
It’s also true that your clients want you to be readily available to them. In some recent research, it was found that something like 82% of consumers wanted immediate responses from companies and brands on sales or marketing questions.
We live in an incredibly busy age where instant gratification and instant access is the name of the game. But, friend—let me tell you that just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean you have to operate like that as a photographer to be successful.
Trust me—you can still create a meaningful conversation with your clients and communicate effectively without being instantly available all the time.
Besides just feeling like you need to communicate instantly, it is harder than ever to communicate clearly so you attract your dream clients. The world is full of noise – everywhere – all the time.
Once you land those dream clients, how do you improve client communication so they have a smooth, meaningful, and successful client experience?
We’re going to break down your client communication into different points during the client experience and look at how you can work on improving client communication at each one.
When a potential client inquires, send them a welcome guide with all of the information he or she will need at that point in time. Make sure what you’re sending through is worth reading, though.
What I mean is— don’t just list your prices in an email and assume your potential client has read through your website for all of the details. Also, don’t send them a 50-page download with everything and the kitchen sink included.
To improve communication when clients inquire, there is a fine line between communicating too much, too little, and the perfect amount so potential clients know everything they need to know to book you.
In your welcome guide, lay out how the entire experience will go so your client doesn’t have questions. Make sure you’re communicating in your brand voice and that they underlying messaging aligns with your brand’s message and core values.
When you put extra effort into that initial response to ensure that you’re anticipating your potential client’s questions and concerns, the perceived value of the service you provide will instantly increase, giving the lead the confidence he or she needs to book you and never look back.
A welcome guide is your way of anticipating your potential client’s needs and communicating with them clearly from the very beginning.
There are some great tools out there to help you do just that too. Try one of the customizable templates that we offer in The Brand Shop by Ally B. Our pre-designed welcome guides are already scripted with expert copy from a copywriter and designed in a beautiful format that adjusts to your brand. These provide your potential clients the information they need to make an informed decision.
(Pro BONUS Tip: If you want to create a streamlined conversation with your clients and potential clients be sure to use a Client Management System like Honeybook where you can keep all information on your project in one space and make the client experience SO easy! Click the link and receive a 14-day free trial AND save 50% off your first year!
After landing your dream clients, you want to continue to wow them right? You want to save your clients time by only giving them what they need at this stage on their journey with you. In our busy lives, we can easily go down the rabbit hole of information and forgot what we’ve read.
After clients are so excited to work with you that they book you, you want to send them the next steps. You can do this through a secret page on your website or a downloadable after-booking guide. It is vital to only provide them the information they need on the service they have booked you for. You cannot have one blanket packet that you send to every client that includes everything on all of your services.
The after-booking guide should include your:
Stay consistent with your brand voice and message throughout the after-booking guides or pages, so that there isn’t a disconnect.
By managing expectations, giving the client the necessary information, and answering frequently asked questions preemptively for this stage, you’re automatically improving communication and making them feel like they’re in excellent hands.
Life can get hectic, we need to take our clients by the hand and create directed conversations that provide reminders of what’s to come and all of the information they need broken down to answer common questions about the session.
Maintain frequent communication between your clients’ first inquiry and shoot date, and let them know you value their business and want everything to run smoothly.
Maintaining communication doesn’t mean you’re always on or always available, but it does mean that you’re intentional and always care about their experience.
This is the phase where you romance your clients a little. You get to know them even better and they get to know you, so you create a genuine connection. You want them to feel so comfortable with you that when they show up for their session, they’re at ease.
Before the session, you can send them session guides, what to wear guides or simple checklists as reminders of what they need to do to prepare for the shoot.
Continue to send intentional reminders and emails at strategic points so they never feel overlooked or forgotten. This is especially important the day before the session. Make sure to communicate and include things like the meeting location (maybe with a pin drop from Google Maps), time, rain location, and other important information. For example, if you offer river sessions and they need to bring towels or bug spray, remind them at this time. Don’t assume they know what you’re thinking or what you expect. It is always better to over-communicate than to leave them guessing.
Right after the session, send your client an email to thank them. Make sure to include a personal note touching on something that you loved from the session and conclude with the next steps along with a reminder as to when they can expect their images.
With your timeline, try to under-promise and over-deliver! Clients feel so much better when they receive their images after two weeks when you’ve promised them in three than they feel when you’ve promised photos in two weeks, but don’t deliver them for three!
You can provide all of this in an after-the-session guide. An after-the-session guide can include:
After the session is sometimes when the breakdown of communication happens. You have to be committed to following through with what you have promised on delivery.
I have heard way too many horror stories about clients having to wait WAY too long for photos or prints. Their client experience was drug on and on and got worse and worse as they had to wait way longer than they expected or hoped for. I’ve also had my share of bad experiences having to wait on photos. When this happens, by the time clients get their photos, the magic is missing.
When the experience ends on a high, it is much easier to upsell, get print orders added on, or have repeat business with these clients!
Take a look at your client experience from beginning to end and look at where you often get emails, concerns, or notice a gap when the client might be wondering what’s happening.
You can never communicate too much! Well, within reason. I believe in being intentional with all communication. Sharing as much information as possible—in the right order— is the best way to keep everyone on the same page.
Aside from looking at when you communicate, look at how. When a client has an idea or concern, are you open to what he or she is saying? Do you pause to reflect and then respond? So much of the challenge in communication is a misinterpretation or blocking what the person is communicating altogether.
Be open. So much of the challenge in communication is misinterpretation or miscommunication.
And, finally—throughout your communication, recap, recap, recap! Always recap and review the process in your client communication. For example: “We’ve completed X, Y, and Z, and we are looking forward to completing A, B, and C in the coming days.” Doing this will help clients know where the process is at and what they can expect from you in these next steps. While we eat, sleep, and breathe our process, our clients do not, so it’s important for us to review the process regularly.
When you communicate with your clients through thought-out guides, always stay one step ahead and provide value to the already stellar services you offer. By doing this, you’re sure to see repeat business.
Use these tips for improving client communication and take your client experience to the next level. This way you build a client list full of lovely people who love you, trust you and refer all of their friends to book you.
So how can you do what the most successful photographers do and take action on these tips right away? Check out The Brand Shop by Ally B for already-designed and scripted welcome guides, after-booking guides, and after-sessions guides you can easily add your photographs and branding too.
Hearts and Hoorays friends!
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