(Video Tutorial Included Below)
Are you like me and find yourself:
1. Spending too much time emailing
2. Responding too slowly to important leads
3. Always backed up with a full inbox
4. Needing more free time to do what you enjoy
According to a Huffington survey – U.S. workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking emails
Imagine if you could save that much time per day having the right email templates!
But what about those important emails that come from new leads?
Those are definitely the only emails I enjoy! I usually drop everything to read them.
What about this:
Have you ever been talking to a new lead and everything sounds great but the moment you send them your prices their GONE!!!
It’s like they literally fall off the face of the earth!
If your like me, you might be asking yourself…
Was it something I said?
Are my prices too high?
Is my work not good enough?
Trust me. I’ve wracked my brain over this for years!
But I have some good news:
After years of A/B split testing our emails, I finally have an answer to this madness!
It’s going to save you a ridiculous amount of time, stress and uncertainty.
It’s called, having a solid lead management process in place that takes them from “just interested” to “let’s do this”.
We’ve tested and proven that our email templates actually work and elicite the best responses from our clients.
And best of all, we’re going to give you the most valuable one for FREE and show you how to use it.
This exact email template literally cost me $50,000 in 3 months during our busy season by not using it.
Talk about a hard lesson to learn!
In this article we’ll cover the following:
• The exact email templates we use and show you how to set it all up.
• Top psychology tips you can apply to your emails for better responses
• Beat out your competitors by sending faster emails to your clients
• How to get a client on the phone with you and take those next steps toward booking you for their wedding
• The tools we use to help us track emails and know exactly what our clients are thinking
• My favorite email signature made just for photographers
• 25% off coupon code toward our entire collection of Email Templates
Watch this Step by Step Video
Guidelines before getting started on making your own email templates
Personalize it to make it your own
Please do not email us pretending to be a client. We provided this article for that purpose alone. We’re always testing out new ways of communicating. And what we’re about to give you has proven to work for us. We hope it might do the same for you.
Feel free to customize the template below in your own way to fit your needs. Make it unique and don’t just copy it word for word. You’ll want your messaging to fit your brand. Don’t make it too long or give them too many steps to take. The more you can simplify it the more effective it will be for you.
What’s the purpose?
The purpose of your first email response is to bring your lead to the next step in your lead management process. For us, that is a phone call but for you that may be something different. Identify what that one next step is and make it clear and simple.
Why this email is effective?
This email template incorporates several principles of psychology gathered from the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Rovert Cialdini. As well as some personal testing with our clients over the years.
Who is this for?
It’s specifically designed for wedding and portrait photographers but can be altered to serve other event professionals. Including but not limited to photo booth owners, wedding planners, venues, bands, DJ’s, florists, hair and makeup artists, event rentals, wedding dress boutiques, etc.
Should I show my photography pricing on my website?
We don’t share our rates on our site. So you may want to take that into consideration for how you approach these emails. Our reason has always been to collect as many leads as possible and to give the price shoppers some time to look at our work and not make a decision on price alone.
Even though this is a bit of an inconvenience for the client it gives us more insight on our personal goals and conversions with google. Plus it gives us a little more time to communicate value to our potential customers.
There is no right or wrong way of doing this. I’ve seen it work great both ways. You just have to figure out what works best for your ideal client and how much time you can give toward communicating with them on a daily basis.
Choose the right Contact Form
Regardless what you decide, it may be a good idea to gather as much necessary information as you can from the client in the contact form. Keep in mind the more questions you ask, the less likely someone will be to fill out the form.
However, having this information will help set the tone of your first email back to the client. If they contact you for a wedding, try to include a required field for location/venue, event date, referral, comments, etc.
The more information you can gather from the person up front, the easier it will be to communicate your value back to them.
Don’t get all hung up on price shoppers. They are not necessarily your ideal client. The majority of leads will not instantly book you on the spot. It’s your job to convince them that you’re the best option in the market.
If they contact you, it means they already like your work. From there, it’s your job to eliminate any fears they have and clearly communicate your Unique Selling Point.
To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever done a really good job of communicating our USP. So don’t feel so bad if your sales approach isn’t perfect. More importantly they like your work and you just want them to like you in return.
7 Proven Psychology Tips you can easily add into all your emails
Here are some psychology principles that are woven within our emails tastefully. You can use these to create your own email communication:
1. LIKE THEM & LOVE THEM – A friendly opening statement that shows you’re happy for them and grateful they reached out to you. It communicates humility and shows that you like them, which will help them like you in return. We keep our message short and simple and build this overtime in a more natural way.
You could also try something like this:
I’d like to know a bit more about you guys, your likes and dislikes, so we can capture your wedding story in the best way possible.
2. FEEL SCARCITY – Communicate scarcity in a professional yet kind way. They should feel some sense of urgency to book you. Most people buy emotionally so you want them to fear the possibility of losing you or some deal for their wedding date. Try to be professional about how you communicate this so you don’t come across arrogant. Sometimes communicating this in later communication comes across much better than in your first response. You could also tryout something like this:
Most of our weddings in April are filled up by this time, I’m so glad we still have this one open for you!
3. CONFIDENCE & AUTHORITY – You can show confidence and be humble at the same time. We all have our own way of going about this. Be creative and unique about how you personalize your response. Show your brand authority by connecting familiar talking points. You could also show them a specific event you did that relates to their venue. You want to prove without sounding conceited that you’re the expert for the job. This will separate you from other professionals. It’s amazing how comforting it is to a client when they hear you’ve worked at their venue or in the city.
4. EASY CTA – The “Call To Action” is the next step you want them to take. By making them commit to something small you’re slowly getting them to commit to something big. Make this section bold, short, specific and clear. When a bride contacts you they want answers quickly so provide a way for them to setup a phone call, video chat, in-person meeting, etc. Don’t over complicate the process by going back and forth trying to setup times. Make sure this part stands out from your email and is an easy next step for them to take. People are busy, so make it simple. We use Calendly to book our meetings and it syncs with our Google Calendar. We have an article that goes over how to book more weddings on F-Stoppers if you want to see how it works.
5. BE A GIVER – Here is where you can give something to them. It doesn’t have to cost you anything either. As long as it’s something that will help them. The better you make the gift the more effective this email will be. This can be treating them to coffee, a monthly promo, wedding day cheat sheet, preferred vendor list, etc. People naturally feel inclined to give back to you after you do something nice for them. Don’t make this socially awkward and uncomfortable though. It should be natural and from the heart regardless if they book or not.
6. SOCIAL PROOF – This is where you can allow others to endorse you. When other people validate you as the expert in your field it builds proof in them that you can be trusted. You can do this by showing off press, awards, testimonials, features, social media likes, reviews, brand logos etc. Sometimes hearing it from other people besides yourself can go a really long way.
7. BRAND IT – Finish with a friendly picture of yourself. People are loyal mostly to people and having a picture can make them think your nice and likeable. If you don’t want your picture you can always use your logo instead. People are more likely to use brands they see more frequently than others. It’s subtle but it can make a difference if their inbox is filling up with your branding. The more you can get your face or logo in their face the more top of mind you will be in their minds when they are ready to book.
Please Remember – These psychology tips should never be done in a way to manipulate people. Use them for good to help people make the right decisions for themselves.
Why the Auto Response Email is so helpful
The auto responder is the single most important thing you can quickly do and immediately see results. Responding instantly and with helpful information will set you apart from your competition.
You can have this sent out automatically as soon as they fill out your contact form. You can even assign a custom email based on which event category they choose.
For instance if they choose “wedding” they could get a different email than if they chose “engagement”.
We generally keep this first email very basic. You just want them to feel like their message has been received.
I can’t tell you how much this first email has helped set the tone of our conversation. Even though it’s an automated message clients usually follow up right away with more questions since we’re getting to them when they are wanting feedback the most.
You have to remember when they fill out the form they are at the highest point of interest with you. This interest will fade over time as they go back into their busy and distracted lives.
So keep in mind you will always have a much higher chance of booking your client if you can get back to them within the first few minutes of when they first reach out to you.
Even if your response is vague it’s still reassuring that what they sent was received.
At this point you can even give them a better idea on price that is more specific then what you show on your site. This will immediately make them feel like you’re more attainable which will lead to further questions and conversations.
We like to give a price range for popular packages. That way it doesn’t insinuate we’re cheap or expensive it just shows what most people are spending with us. This may or may not work for your setup.
1. The First Auto Responder Email Template for Wedding Photographers
Hi from ___________!
CONGRATS on your engagement! It is truly an honor being considered for your wedding. We are currently reviewing your submission and checking on our availability. As far as basics, our “Most Popular” wedding collections range from $___________-$___________.
We’ll be in touch soon very soon with more information. If at any point you want to speak over the phone please click this link to schedule an appointment with us – ___________
P.S. You can also hear what our recent couples are saying about us on Google – ___________ & The Wedding Wire – ___________
As you can see this first email is very simple. It’s only intended for wedding inquiries. It’s also setup to go out automatically. You can easily set this up through your email provider or lead management software. For us we use ShootQ for this. When they fill out our form and choose “wedding” for their event type the above email is setup to go out automatically.
This buys us time to get back to them within 24hrs without feeling the pressure. It’s amazing how much this one simple email sets the tone for all the other communication going forward. Here is a screenshot of what that email looks like when we send it out:
We don’t send out our full pricing guide here. It’s simply designed to give them an idea of price without going into detail. Sometimes they ask for it and other times they don’t. So we don’t want to assume they are wanting to review packages at this point. If after we read their email and they request it then we will include it in the follow up. Here we just want them to know their message was received, that they can possibly afford us, where to book a call and places to read our reviews.
2. The Second Manual Email Template for Wedding Photographers
Hi from ___________!
Great News!!! I’m so happy we are still available for your wedding on _________!
We’re actually running a promotion this month for any weddings that book in the next 14 days. I’d love to jump on the phone and tell you about it. :)
Are you available for a quick call now or today at _____:_____ pm?
If not, please choose from any other time slot here – ___________
*Attached is my personal pricing guide.
P.S. Here are some popular articles + resources from the blog:
The Best Wedding Day Timeline – ___________
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day – ___________
Here is what that email looks like:
This is the first personalized email that we send out after the auto-responder and after reviewing their form. The form comes directly to our GMail inbox as well as ShootQ. If they filled out the entire form we’re able to know their names, phone number, email, wedding date, venue/location, referral and any remaining questions/comments.
This gives us the ability to quickly see if we have the date open and how to personalize our response. After filling out their name we usually repeat the date back to confirm again that we are available for the date provided. There have been several times where they provided the wrong date. Doing this helps confirm this is their actual wedding date.
The big blank line below their date is for a personal message. We typically comment back to them directly based on what they communicated to us. This doesn’t always go into the email. In the screenshot above we did not provide it. If they are vague in what they provide to us we’ll be brief and mirror them.
If they provide lots of detail then we’ll provide lots back. We just want it to match what they’re looking for. More than anything we use this field to make a connection point to something that is familiar to us or them. We want them to put their guard down and start trusting us before we get on the phone. It also establishes a few talking points for when we talk or meet up.
After this, our next step is to get the phone. Here is where we give them a CTA (Call To Action). Sometimes we have to switch this up based on our availability but if you’re receiving a lead and responding quickly to the client this is a great way to get on the phone fast. We don’t want to waste time going back and forth on finding a time to chat so we usually give them the option to chat right now or at a specific time later in the day.
Pushing it off to another day can just delay the process and cause the urgency to fade. You want to catch them when they are interested and really anxious for more information. If you don’t they will quickly find the information they need from other vendors.
To do this we tell them about a promotion that is ending in 14 days. We don’t give them the information until they get on the phone with us. This helps create urgency and it allows us to better communicate our Unique Selling Point. We also like to conclude the email with a passive way for them to book a phone meeting. Some clients are super busy people and can only talk by scheduling an appointment.
If they ask for pricing we will attach our pricing guide. If they don’t ask for prices we won’t jump the gun and give it to them. We find that this causes more questions than answers. We want to save all pricing questions for the very end.
Finally, you don’t need to give them links to articles like we do here. These two for us just give us something to talk about on our call. We’re still testing this part to see if including it in our first email would be better. Again having one CTA is always more powerful then getting them distracted with other things.
3. The Third Manual Text Message Template Wedding Photographers
Hi _________! This is Jonathan Connolly. I just sent you an email. I’m so happy we still have your wedding date open! Let me know if you’re available for a quick call. I am free to speak now or later today at 1:15pm. You can also choose from any other meeting time here – ______________
Here is a little bonus that we’ve been trying out as well. If they provide us with a phone number after filling out our form we’ll send this text out just after we send our second email. Sometimes people are at work and can’t take a call or check their inbox. So we find this one really helps us to get some instant feedback. They really appreciate it to and usually tell us they will check it out when they get a chance. It also makes them more accountable to get back to us since they gave us their word through a text. Rather then just leaving us hanging with no email response back. Give this a shot and let us know in the comments if its helping you. We’re still testing it ourselves.
Email Signature for Photographers
Here is how we designed our email signature. It was done all through GMail for free. I think having a picture of yourself is really important. It shows them who you are and gives life to your email. People want to feel liked and if you have a friendly profile picture use it in your email. Also, use that same picture in all your online profiles and sites.
Here are some other photography email signatures we found for further inspiration. We used some of these for design ideas to create our own in G-Mail. Keep the images very small so it doesn’t slow down emails. If you’re afraid of it getting caught up in SPAM don’t include any links or images.
In our signature we also provide links to book appointments with us at any time. These are extremely helpful because in Calendly we set all the times when we are available by syncing our google calendar. That way we are only taking calls and meeting with clients during the times we assign. And should something get added to our calendar they will only be able to see the times that work for us. Yet they are given plenty of available options to choose from. The best part is once they book it everything is automatic. They get all the confirmations and details about the meeting right from Calendly. Go check out how we set that up on F-Stoppers.
Lastly at the bottom we include all the links to our personal sites as well as places we’ve been featured. Its small and subtle but could build further social proof for us.
Using Gmail has saved us more time than any other email software
You may have been using a particular email software like Apple mail or Outlook for years and the thought of switching over to a web browser email is frightening. Well that was the case for me. I used to think running my inbox through a software was definitely the way to go but boy was I wrong. We never run into issues and it saves us so much extra time each month. If you have any excuse to not switch I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
If you start using Google Mail then you should also consider using the entire family of Google apps especially Chrome, Drive and Calendar. Using all of their apps will make your entire workflow integrated and easy.
Stop wondering what your clients are thinking about your prices and photos by using HubSpot Sales
HubSpot Sales (formerly Sidekick) was a complete game changer for us. It’s free up to a certain limit and it takes all the guess work out of wondering what people are thinking.
The main feature we use is for is tracking email opens and clicks. This is helpful to know if a client actually received our message and how they are responding with it.
It’s all about engaging with your leads when they are most interested. If we see lots of activity we’ll shoot a quick email to follow up and see if there is anything we can help them with. Catching them in these critical moments can be extremely helpful.
This can also help you to gain insight into what the customer is thinking. For instance… If they only click your pricing link and never engage with your email again. It probably means they weren’t happy with the price and are looking for something better. No sweat just move on to more important things.
How about when you send a client their gallery of images and you never hear back from them. Doesn’t this make you wonder if they like their photos? Once we started using sidekick on these email we noticed people love them they just don’t express it well through email. Phew! Ok so that will help all you concerned artists.
Finally, this tool has saved us several times from providing a bad customer experience. If ever we’ve been behind on editing or album revisions we start getting pinged as soon as our client start reopening those old emails. This tells us we better finish up this task or their going to start emailing us about it. It’s better to be the one to bring it up first then have them ask you about it.
In these moments we’ll shoot over a quick email to the client and say something like hey we’re just about done with your job sorry for the delay, it should be ready in the next few days. When you avoid bringing up things that you know the client is thinking it just makes for a bad customer experience. It’s way better to admit your faults quickly and infadically.
Never miss another deadline again with Boomerang
Another great tool that integrates with Gmail is the boomerang plugin. It’s a simple feature that helps return emails to the top of our inbox after set amount of time. So why is that helpful? If you are needing a response from someone or have a deadline to make on project this feature will help you to manage urgent tasks in a timely manner.
If you don’t use any lead management software you can set reminders to follow up with leads after a few days. That way your consistently hitting them with more info to engage them in the booking process.
If it’s an album design that you need approved you can follow up with them after a few days to keep things running on time.
If you need a final wedding day timeline approved you can keep up with the planner or bride.
The ideas are endless. Once you start using it you’ll just get in the habit of using it for all your time sensitive tasks.
Build a better and faster relationship with your clients with Rapportive
Rapportive is another gmail tool that can pull a lot of details about the client into your inbox. Sometimes just knowing a little bit more about your lead can go a long way in a conversation. It can also provide you with some things to bring up or talk about. If your already using sidekick it may do similar things for you.
Save all your email templates and text snippets with Text Expander
You can use other programs for similar purposes but we really love Text Expander. It’s just nice to have one program that has all our templates in one place. We store everything in here that has to be copy/pasted. We like it because it’s not just limited to emails and we never have to rewrite anything. We’re all about automation!
Anytime you compose a message and think it may be used again simply save it to Text Expander for future use. You can drop in text through any application or web page. They even offer short codes to make that process quicker. We organize all our email templates based on the customers life cycle.
We have collections of email templates created for every stage the client goes through:
1. Lead Management Workflow
2. Wedding Photography Workflow
3. Wedding Album Workflow
4. Common Questions
These all include easy step-by-step tutorials on how to use them and set them up.
If you’re interested in a purchasing our entire collection of Email Templates make sure to use this 25% off coupon code – bestemailever
*This coupon code will expire soon and may not always be available.
All email templates were designed for wedding and portrait photographers. They can easily be reworked to fit your own personal workflow.
If you’re struggling with any part of your business or craft we would love to help you overcome it.
Drop us a line below or book your very own mentoring session.
Hope you found this article helpful. If so please share it with a friend. We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Here are some simple next steps for you to quickly apply what you just learned:
- Copy all 3 messages to a place where you can grab it
- Update the messages with your own personal content
- Setup the auto responder email for when someone contacts you
- Test out the 2nd & 3rd templates to see if it makes a difference
- If your happy with the results start setting up all the other tools we mentioned above
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