Last week, I photographed a two-day conference for the State Bar of Michigan. It was filled with education seminars, an awards banquet, networking events and more. But what stood out to me was the opening keynote.
Here’s the thing. When it comes to communication and responding to inquiries, many of the same rules for attorneys also apply to photographers.
Responding is the most important thing you can do
All times of the day, it’s important to be able to respond to inquiries. These days, potential clients contact you not only by phone and e-mail — they might fill out a form on your website or choose to send you a Facebook message (on your business OR personal profile). There are several other platforms that potential clients may contact you through as well.
So how do you stay on top of all of these different ways to communicate?
Automate, automate, automate
Before I go on any trip, or if I photograph a long event (like last week), I put an auto-responder on my e-mail. This allows me to tell potential clients who contact me that 1) yes I received your e-mail and 2) when I will be able to respond.
The same applies for phone calls. Change your voicemail to reflect your availability (or lack thereof) so anyone who calls you will know when they can expect a call back. Some phone services (like Sideline, which allows you to have a second number) even allow you to setup an auto responder for text messages that are received.
For Facebook Messenger, you can setup an auto reply through your business page. To do this, go to your business page Settings, then click the Messaging tab on the side. Through this interface, you can also setup a greeting that someone sees as soon as they start to message you.
When it comes to your website, things get a little trickier, depending on the platform you use. Personally, I use Studio Ninja to power the contact form on my website. Studio Ninja, as well as other CRM and studio management tools, offer several different automation options. Check out my rundown of studio management tools — part one, two and three.
If nothing else, respond as quickly as you can
Even if you aren’t able to setup some of these tools, or if you use something without automation features, just do what you can to respond. In this day and age, with people expecting a near-instant response, it’s important to answer your potential clients and be timely in terms of doing so.
For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.