If you are anything like me, you want to move on to the next shoot once a previous once is finished. The pressure to keep a steady flow of work is undeniably strong; especially when you have bills that need to be paid.
However, the follow up process after is a shoot is absolutely crucial. In fact, it can turn a one-time client into a lifetime client.
Let’s go over some benefits of mastering the art of the follow up.
The Benefits of Following Up
Turn Past Clients Into Lifetime Customers
Long term follow up after a shoot allows you to consistently keep in touch with past-clients on key milestone events, such as birthdays and anniversaries. When used correctly, following up with your client can turn one gig into multiple gigs over the years. It also helps you build a strong, lifetime relationship with them. While chasing new clients is an important part of the business, you also need to cultivate your existing relationships. They’ve already spent money on you, and they’re more likely to do it again.
It helps the post-shoot process move along much more smoothly.
Immediately after a shoot, following up via email or phone allows you to educate your client on the next steps, such as what to expect next, along with the proofing and ordering process. If you have a client that is taking seemingly forever to view their online gallery or give you the necessary feedback for their album, you can send out occasional reminders to them. This gets things done in a timely fashion so that things don’t drag on and on.
Build Credibility Testimonials and Referrals
If you want to build up your credibility as a photographer, you should be asking for testimonials as soon as your clients have their deliverables. And while the iron is hot, ask for referrals too. It’s best to do this while their experience with you is still fresh in their minds.
Practical Ways to Follow Up
1. Nail Down the Elements of Your Post-Shoot Workflow
Instead of re-inventing the wheel every time you finish a shoot, have the process thoroughly documented (via Word, Evernote, or wherever suits you). Include how many days after the shoot a client will receive instructions, and what those instructions will say. Write a set of email templates for you to pull from so that you don’t find yourself scrambling for words when the time comes. Here are some elements, or ways you can follow up:
- Ask for a testimonial: In the beginning, it may make you nervous to ask for a testimonial, but if you put it into an email script that goes out at a predetermined date after the shoot, you will effectively ensure that email gets sent. As I mentioned, testimonials build credibility, and are especially valuable when you are trying to build up your business.
- Ask for a referral: Strike while the iron is hot, and while your clients have that post-shoot glow.
- Send out a survey: Also, it’s a great idea to have a standard survey that you send out X days after a shoot. You want to stay on top of what your clients think about your service, and you want to learn about the areas where you need to improve. If you want to get really handy, create a Google form for clients to fill out that automatically sends the data to a Google spreadsheet. This will keep your customer feedback organized and in one place for you.
2. Automate Your Newsletter Where You Can
While not all followup can be automated, a good chunk of it can. This includes occasional newsletters, case studies, updates, and specials. These periodic touch points will keep you at the top of their minds.
An email marketing service like Aweber or Mailchimp are great solutions that allow you to bundle up your blog posts and send it out to your subscribers automatically. I can’t speak for Mailchimp because I don’t personally use them, but I have been using Aweber for years. They allow you to specify how often you want your newsletter to go out, which can be a great way to automate keeping your clients up to date.
The more lifetime relationships you build, the less you have to go out and find completely new clients. Let’s face it: you are losing money if you’re not following up and keeping in touch with your past clients. It’s worth the time and effort to plan your post-shoot communication with your client.