If you're finally ready to streamline your photography business with systems - I've got you covered. I'm going to outline the four systems you need to get in place in order to hugely improve your client experience, profitability, productivity and mental health.
Prefer to read? Scroll down the blog post...
So tell me, are you a slightly chaotic photography business owner?
Do tasks take longer than they should because you're not organised?
Do you wish you could get some help but everything to do with the day to day running of your photography business is inside your head?
You need systems!
Four different systems to be exact. Sets of repeatable tasks that, if you keep on top of them, set you and your business on a track to success without you even having to think too much about it!
When you finally systemise your photography business, you'll enjoy these amazing benefits;
You'll know what's been done, what's still to do and what the priorities are so you can just jump into action.
Without systems, you waste enormous amounts of time and, when you're self-employed, time is money.
With systems comes consistency. Consistency in marketing, client experience and follow-up. And with consistency comes respect, trust and a great reputation.
When photographers hire, the number one reason it goes wrong is that they haven't systemised their business. They just upload everything from their head (or a gazillion spreadsheets and pieces of paper) into a new and very overwhelmed assistant.
Once you have your systems in place and working, you'll find that you can reduce the time you work 'in' your business and work 'on' it instead.
You know, more 'visionary' than 'dogsbody'.
Let's go through them...
(I'm sure you'll have some of them in place already so you can check them off the list and focus on the others.)
Yes, your marketing should be systemised! Anything that can be broken down into repeatable tasks - should be.
You can have one giant marketing system that encompasses everything or you can break it into three smaller marketing systems (which is what I do).
So, think about how often you're going to create key pieces of content for your ideal client and what that entails. Every bite-size task from thinking of a clickable title to distributing and repurposing it.
Do the same for your social media marketing. Break down every tiny thing that's involved in keeping your social media going each week from planning ideas to scheduling and engaging.
And it doesn't stop there. Don't forget your relationship marketing! What needs to happen every single week to ensure you're forming new relationships and nurturing existing ones.
Once you've done this, it'll become very clear which parts of the system have to be completed by you and which could be successfully outsourced or passed on to an employee.
This is your visibility! How will your ideal client know you're there if you don't make sure they can't miss you? This happens by consistently showing up and that happens by checking off those repeatable tasks religiously.
I have a very in-depth training course on marketing systems for photographers. It doesn't just tell you what to do, it tells you exactly HOW to do it. I have the systems all done for you along with content planners, prompts and so much more. You should definitely check it out.
All that marketing will go to waste if you don't have a solid way of capturing and nurturing the leads you get from it, right?
This should be broken down and systemised too. And the good news is a lot of this can be automated. Neither you nor anyone else should have to be too personally involved after the initial setup.
So break down how you're capturing the people who come into your world via your marketing and how you're nurturing them towards getting in touch with you.
If this is new to you, check out my video on the easiest and quickest way to start capturing leads or my 'list building for photographers' video.
I even have an Instagram live recording where I talk about what to write in a nurture sequence, so check that out too.
This is where I see so many great photographers fall down.
They're shooting beautiful work and they're marketing it well on their website and socials.
However, when someone enquires about hiring them, they ruin it all with their mediocre, generic enquiry and conversion process.
Harsh, but true.
When someone reaches out to you to ask about your services they should get a response from you that blows every other photographer right out of the water.
They should feel like a VIP immediately. They should feel connection, trust and likability.
And every potential client should get the same quality of response, regardless of how busy you are.
This is where your system comes in.
So, list everything you want to happen in an ideal world when someone gets in touch with an enquiry.
How soon do you aim to respond? Are you going to send them a quick, personalised video message? How easy are you going to make it for them to take the next step? How many times will you follow up and how? What will you do with that lead if it goes cold?
Break all of that down so that you have every task in order and then get it into your CRM software.
If you don't currently use a CRM system then get that rectified asap. I'd recommend Studio Ninja if you want something simple, quick to set up and intuitive. Or Sprout Studio if you're looking for a more all-in-one, 'full bells and whistles' system.
Again, once you have this system sorted, you'll easily be able to see where you're required and what you can potentially hand over to someone else.
When you don't systemise your client workflow, clients have different experiences with you depending on how busy you are or what's going on in your life at the time.
This is a terrible way to serve people. All of your clients deserve the same great experience and they should have the same great experience when they return to work with you again!
Once you've planned and outlined the tasks, this system should ideally live inside your CRM software also.
(You can put it all on a big whiteboard if you want but good luck outsourcing any of that when the time comes...)
This is a big system so set aside some time.
Braindump everything that should happen in an ideal world from the moment someone decides to book you to the moment you ask for a glowing testimonial and beyond.
Before the job, during the job and after the job.
Everything. Not just the obvious stuff like sending contracts, welcome packs and reminders.
Make sure you include the outlier stuff too - the things that make your client feel special and cared for.
The extra text messages to check in, the chocolate in the post, the handwritten thank you card after the job's complete, the annual Christmas or anniversary cards...
Get all of that into the system too so that it never gets missed out. Because that's the stuff that creates fiercely loyal clients!
You can break this client experience system up into smaller systems if that suits you better.
Now, check over the system. Which tasks need you? Highlight the ones you could pass on to an employee or freelancer, now or in the future.
So, that's the four systems you should spend time setting up if you want to free yourself from the grind and grow your business and your amazing reputation.
The key is to break your systems down into TINY tasks. Honestly - tiny!
The smaller each task is, the less overwhelm you (and your team, if you have one) will feel.
It's not easy or quick planning out and setting up your systems. That's why so many photographers start and don't finish.
But those who do, grow. So, make sure that's YOU!
And don't forget, I have lots of FREE help on this inside my ultimate photography business plan. Download it, set aside a day and let's make next year your year!