Getting booked. That’s what we all want, right? But sometimes going from inquiry to booked in your photography business is not as easy as it sounds; especially when you’re just starting out. There’s SO much to do, and so much effort put into just GETTING the client to your contact form; that most of the time we give up or let up the slack after we get the lead.
But, the thing is — we can’t afford to.
We’ve got to actually close the sale if we want the money, and that’s exactly what we’re chatting about today.
I’m going to be sharing exactly how to go from inquiry to booked in your photography business. So, if you’ve been struggling, lean in. I gotchu. Let’s get to it.
Step 1: Set up a high-converting Contact Form
You’ve got to set up a high-converting (and lead-qualifying) contact form. There’s a difference between a contact form that has a few simple questions and one that gathers the information necessary for you to connect and start building a relationship.
In my contact form, I’m asking several different things that help me learn more about the potential client, but also allow me to respond back with personality, and build some connection points right off the bat.
Let’s look at my education contact form first. Of course, I’m asking for their name, number, and email address; but I’m also asking for their social media handles and what they’re struggling with most. This information is necessary for me to maximize our time together, and also to start building them out a custom plan to skyrocket their business! Plus, it gives me much more to work with in my initial inquiry response.
Then we’ve got my couples contact form.
We see fields for:
- Their partner’s name
- The best email
- Their phone number
- Where they want their shoot to take place
- When they want their shoot to take place
- More details about them
- The best adventure they’ve had together
- How they heard about me
- Anything else they want me to know
I’m asking these questions because I want to start building a relationship, (and chatting about more than just price,) from the get-go. That’s super important to me and my process in going from inquiry to booked in my photography business, because my clients aren’t just “clients.”
Pro tip: Use a CRM (client relationship manager) to host your contact form inside of. This way, you can activate a workflow automatically! If you’ve never heard of a CRM, or don’t have one, HoneyBook is hands down my FAVORITE.
This is what my contact form looks like in HoneyBook:
We see the same fields here as we do on my site. So, let’s say someone fills out my contact form on my website. Yay!
When someone fills out that form, it will immediately pop up in HoneyBook letting me know that I got a new inquiry. (The bell at the top right will have a red “1” notification. Their project will show up in the “Project” pipeline below, at the very top.
Then, I can click into it and send whatever files, or email templates, etc. that I need to send to them from there! It’s AMAZING, and yes you need it.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, but what if I don’t have a website? Not a problem. HoneyBook allows you to even host your contact form on their servers as a landing page, and you can even plug it into your link in bio on IG if you want! 🙂
You can try HoneyBook for free here, and if you decide to sign up; that same link will give you 50% off your first year of HoneyBook! 🎉
Step 2: Make your initial inquiry response stand out.
Chances are, that potential client has likely reached out to multiple photographers, and if you all respond back the same way, they’ll merely begin to shop based off of price and not value. (Which is what we DON’T want!)
You’ve got to stand out. Asking “different” questions on your contact form will automatically help and start this process, but the way in which you respond will really set you apart. Feel free to infuse your personality, and drop the “uber professional” vibes. Be a person, and have a heart. It will help either attract or repel — and that’s always a good thing. 🙂
Pro tip: To go from inquiry to booked in your photography business, try to respond ASAP. You want to be the first that got back to them, AND with emotion. The way in which you’ll do this quickly, (without feeling like you have to be glued to your phone 24/7,) is yet again — through a CRM! You’ll utilize the email templates section, and build one out for each step of your process.
The email templates that (in my personal opinion,) are absolutely necessary for your photography business are:
- Auto-responder email (sends right after someone inquires)
- Response to Inquiry/brochure, etc.
- Proposal email
- Official Welcome + What to wear email (can be split up if need be)
- Timeline for session
- Prep for the session (sending any other relevant details/info over)
- Day of reminder
- Thank you + day after details
- The blog is live email
- The gallery is live email
- Testimonial request
- Follow up email #1
- Follow up email #2
- Out of office email template (for when you’re on vacay, etc.)
Now, you can add all kinds of email templates to this list, totally feel free to! I just feel that this is a really good place to start. 🙂
Step 3: Deliver your pricing differently.
I saw a huge increase in bookings once I poured more time and energy into the way I was presenting my pricing.
In short, don’t just list your numbers in a simple, one-page .pdf. Everyone is doing that. Instead, find a way to showcase your pricing that both communicates the value you bring, and explains why you’re the best choice. (Bonus points if you can make it an interactive experience!)
Pro tip: If you’re not a designer and this stresses you out; I gotchu. There’s a feature inside of HoneyBook called “Brochures,” and they make the process a bit more simple for clients to progress from an inquiry to booked. You can present your potential clients with your brochure (which has the different collections you offer in it,) and then they can choose the collection they want from the brochure. Then, HoneyBook will automatically create a “proposal” file from their selection on the brochure, and then before you know it, you’re getting paid!
Step 4: Make it easy for them to sign the contract and pay you.
If the process to actually book you is too complicated, chances are they’re not going to. We want this to be as simple as possible, with the smallest amount of “barriers to entry” as possible.
After they’ve responded to your initial inquiry response, (which would’ve had your pricing in it,) and they’ve told you which collection they wanted, you’ll want to send them what’s called a “proposal.”
Proposals are one of my MOST favorite features in HoneyBook. This is where our virtual cash register dings. (Like, for real. The sound the mobile app makes is a CHA-CHINGGG, and money rains down. It’s FUN.) 🤣💸
Proposals are basically the scope of the project, the payment plan, and the contract all wrapped up in one pretty little document! Your client will see the scope (what’s all included in what they’re getting,) the contract, and then the payment plan. It walks them through it step by step, and is SO easy.
It also updates you when they’ve viewed each part, so you know where they’re at in the process!
If you don’t have HoneyBook, you could search on Creative Market for a proposal template, and use a payment processor and DocuSign, (or some other digital contract signing service,) but a CRM will be SO much more organized and seamless. Truuust me. 😅
(Plus, HoneyBook released a new payment option this year, that with my code only makes it like $4.50 a month. FA REAL.)
Step 5: Get used to sending follow-up emails.
If you don’t hear back from the client within 72 hours of sending over a proposal (or even the initial inquiry response,) send them a follow-up email. Chances are, they haven’t seen your email yet. Maybe it got buried in their inbox-city, or maybe they saw it and meant to respond but it slipped their mind!
Either way, normalize following up in order to go from inquiry to booked in your photography business. Most experts suggest following up, up to 3 times. I know, you may be thinking, “But won’t I be bugging them!?” No. You’re being a business, and you care about working with them!
It doesn’t have to be a novel of an email. It can be short and sweet! Here’s an example of a follow-up email I’d send:
I’m just following up to see if you have any questions about the information I sent your way a few days ago. (I totally understand if it got buried in your inbox, just let me know if you need me to re-send it!)
I’d LOVE the chance to get to know you better and serve you with photography. I also totally understand if you have questions! So if after reading over everything you have questions, or decide you’d like to chat over the phone, I’m down for that! Just let me know! 🙂
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone from inquiry to booked sessions simply by following up to people! It’s always worth it. Try it!
Wish you could just have HoneyBook built out for you, with all the templates and things you need loaded into it for you to start using?
I know how complicated it is to run a photography business; (6 years strong over here!) There’s so much to do. So many things to implement, and so many things to learn.
My goal is to simplify the process for you, and help you focus on what you actually *need* to be focusing on; (not the shiny stuff that doesn’t move the needle forward in your biz.)
And chances are, if you don’t have a CRM — that’s going to be number one on your “need-to-do” list in order to go from inquiry to booked in your photography business.
So, you’ve got a few options. You can either:
- a) Ignore developing processes in your business and continue to struggle with booking clients bc you have no repeatable system, (oof) 🙈
- b) Get HoneyBook stat and start getting organized, building out a system to make you money on repeat
- c) Outsource the setup of HoneyBook to me and my team, and let us do it for you; so you can spend time doing what you love, shooting. 📸🥂
Curious what the HoneyBook setup service entails? Click the button below to find out!
(Spoiler alert: you get a completely custom HoneyBook setup with your business in mind, as well as my email templates, workflows, questionnaires, brochures, and proposal templates.) 😉
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