Tackling your inbox can be a huge headache.
The more emails that pile in, the more you want to procrastinate replying to them. Sometimes, one will slip between the cracks, and all of a sudden it’s been three days… and now you’re profusely apologizing to your client in the first sentence. #meltdown
Prompt communication is key for being professional and booking clients, especially wedding clients. Here are some top tips to keeping your inbox manageable and never miss anther email.
1) Use templates
For years, I found myself writing the exact same email over and over when a bride introduced herself and asked for pricing info, as well as for my gallery delivery emails. So, I saved those responses as “Welcome wedding,” “Delivery families,” “Wedding meeting locations,” and so on. You can do this in Notes or Word, or save them as Gmail templates (how do to that here!) It’s a serious time saver. Of course, add in personal details that fit with each client (talking about their venue, specific questions, etc), but your base reply is already there. Wedding inquiry emails take thirty seconds to personalize and send!
2) Create a FAQ section on your website
What does this have to do with your email? It's another time saver! In addition to your pricing guide, make sure to have some kind of basic Q&A on your website. Take the most asked questions from brides + clients in their emails, and answer them online. That way, most of their standard questions are already answered before they contact you, and you save time typing out responses over and over.
3) Stick to the 24-hour rule
No matter what, make it your #1 goal to reply within 24 hours. Timeliness is important - I love when I email someone and get a super quick response back. It puts me in such a good mood! Brides and new clients are eager for your reply, so when you reply to them within a few hours, it puts you in a great position (and above all the other photographers/vendors they’re emailing).
I flag my client messages to easily identify them from other emails. When they reply, the conversation remains flagged. Keep different folders for brides, portraits, and all your different categories. It helps bring your eye to the important stuff, instead of a sea of subject lines!
5) Set boundaries
Reply to emails during acceptable business hours. If you don’t want a client to expect you to reply to their messages at 11:30pm, then don’t answer your emails at that time. I answer my emails anytime between 7am and 9pm, but never later than that. If you happen to be awake and on a roll at 2am, use an app that automatically sends your emails at certain times, such as Boomerang.
It is okay to use smiley faces and exclamation marks in your emails. Be professional, but if you're a bubbly super excited wedding photographer like me... you would sound angry and weird if you didn't throw in a smiley face here and there. Let your personality shine!