There’s nothing more frustrating than finally setting aside some time to get something done, only to find out that you have to wait several hours (or even a few days) in order to be able to finish it.
This is what we are doing to our prospective clients when they start shopping for a photographer to hire.
They check out our websites, then they use our contact forms, and finally they have to wait for an email from us to get the information they really want in order to make an informed decision.
So if you can find a way to get that information to them more quickly (while still capturing their contact information so you can follow up with them), you’re going to be more likely to book them than if they have to wait to hear from you again.
So let’s talk about how to turn more inquiries into clients without having to have email open all the time.
Be the first person to respond
Most photographers take at least a few hours to respond to inquiries, if not a day or more. This is especially true as their client base grows and they are short on time.
This is an excellent opportunity for you to show that you value prospective clients and are quick to respond, making them more likely to book you instead of someone else.
It also shows that you are on top of your customer service, which people value and talk about when it’s exceptionally good. It’s one of the best ways to get people talking about your business.
But you shouldn’t be on email 24 hours a day
While you need to respond quickly, it’s extremely inefficient to have your email open all the time. It’s a distraction that will cause you to spend far more hours working at a computer than you would have if you only checked and responded to mail once or twice per day.
Plus, if you are sending them a personalized response at 2am, they start expecting you to respond to all of their questions at any hour of the day.
So let’s talk about how you can respond right away without killing your workflow or teaching them to expect responses at all hours of the day.
How to respond to inquiries immediately without being on email all the time
Your goal is to respond as quickly as possible without email taking over your life. Here’s how you do it.
Send out an email automatically
When a person fills out your contact form and indicates that they are a prospective client, send them an email automatically that gives them the information that almost everyone is looking for.
It needs to be relevant.
You can’t just send this automated email to everyone or it won’t be relevant and could confuse current clients. You need to make sure that it only goes to the right people.
For example, you only want to send wedding photography information and prices to people who are looking to hire a wedding photographer. I’ll tell you how to do this in a moment.
You need to let them know that it’s an automatic response.
You want prospective clients to understand that you are running a business and that you aren’t going to jump up to respond to them at any hour of the day. So you send them an automatic response first with the info they need so that they don’t have to wait. Then you tell them that it’s an automatic responses and that you will respond to any additional question they may have asked and get back to them with your availability during normal business hours.
This gives them immediate gratification and information while also showing them that you treat this as a business and that they should expect it to operate like a business as well. You aren’t their best friend that they can text and expect a response from at any time of day, but it shows them that you care about good customer service and know that they don’t want to wait for more information.
How to implement this (step-by-step)
This is extremely easy to set up, so let me walk you through the steps.
Step 1: Purchase and Install Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to make custom forms on your website and do all sorts of fancy useful things. If you aren’t already using WordPress, read why I recommend switching to it here.
This is an affiliate link, so I get a few dollars if you click that link and then buy it, so thanks. If this bothers you, you can easily find the link using Google so feel free to do that too. Whatever you decide to do, definitely pick a copy of Gravity Forms.
Gravity Forms costs $39 for a single license, but as of right now you can get 25% off with coupon code HEADWAY25. It’s a small price to pay in order to respond to inquiries more quickly without always having your email open. I talk more about why Gravity Forms is awesome in this post as well if you care to read other ways you could be using it.
Here’s how I installed Gravity Forms in about 4 minutes, so it’s super quick and easy.
Step 2: Import this free contact form
I created a free contact form that you can import with a few super quick clicks that allows you to send custom responses to different people. And it’s all completely customizable. Let me show you.
First, right-click (or control+click on a Mac) here and save it somewhere on your computer where you’ll be able to find it.
PLEASE NOTE: clicking directly on the link may open a window with a lot of random code, as it’s an xml file, so you’ll need to make sure you’re saving it somewhere on your computer instead.
Next, import the form you just downloaded above. You can get step-by-step instructions on how to do it by clicking here. It should take at most one minute to do.
Step 3: Customize the form and notifications to fit your business
Notifications are emails that will be automatically sent to people based on what they say they are looking for when filling out the contact form.
We simply ask them why they are contacting us and give them a few different choices to choose from. Then we set up custom notifications to send to them based on what they select.
In the free sample contact form you downloaded above, I’ve provided a few starter templates in the notifications that you can modify and use for free for responding to wedding inquiries and portrait inquiries. You’ll need to make sure you either delete them or customize them to send information about your business. Here’s what you have in the form:
Click here to learn how to customize your notifications.
You then need to customize the form to make sure that you’re collecting the information you need from prospective clients. Click here to learn how to customize your forms.
Step 4: Put your form on your website
Now you need to put your form wherever you want it to be on your website. This is as easy as going to the post or page you want to put it on, click the form button at the top, and select your form. Click here to see images for each step.
Step 5: Test your form
Take some time to test your form a few times by filling it out and selecting different responses to make sure that the appropriate emails are being sent based upon what they are looking for.
This entire process should take 15-30 minutes, depending on how long you take to customize the notifications.
Get more booked clients
Watch your bookings increase as you are consistently the first person to get back to prospective clients when they inquire with you.
Want a steady stream of clients for your business? Check out these 6 Effective Marketing Areas to focus on to get more clients or enroll in Marketog, my 6-Week Online Photography Marketing Course that will teach you everything you need to know to have a successful and profitable business that you love.