Yay!!! This is the first of many posts in a series created for photographers + I am beyond excited for all of the goodness that is going to fill the blog on Tuesdays!! The purpose of this blog is so share some of the knowledge that I have learned since stepping into this industry + we are going to go over everything from basic to tips + tricks to game changing business hacks!!
The first few posts of this series are going to bring us back to basics!! And I do mean basics- don’t loose me yet though!! Sometimes the basics seem so trivial that we overlook them in our business + we jump right to the good stuff! Who can blame us though right?!! There is so much light at the end of the road + sometimes we would rather be there basking in that light than take our time navigating through the path to get there.
I know, I feel you!! Seriously, I do!! But, lets take a step back + start our evaluation from the beginning! Having “the basics” in order will lay a firm foundation for the success of the rest of your business, so we certainly want to give them the attention that they deserve!!!
So, first topic of the series- drum roll please- Email!!! Sounds simple, but boy do I have a TON that I want to discuss on this topic!!! Instead of going on for days with one post, I will break it down into 4 simple tips for you!!
1. Have a Professional Email Address
The last thing you want is for clients to be emailing you at an email address that is anything other than professional + representative of your business!!! Yup, that means no more business emails coming through to bluebird15 @hotmail.com!! Trust me on this!! Having a professional email address automatically gives you more professional credibility! I am not going to be able to talk you through setting up an email address for email@example.com because, lets be honest, I am not that tech savvy!! However, even having something as simple as YourBusinessName@gmail.com is such an improvement in appearing professional during the initial contact with your potential clients!! (My email is firstname.lastname@example.org!!!)
2. Set Office Hours
Trust me on this one as well!!! For the first year of my business, I had no boundaries on emails!! None. That meant that I would email clients as soon as they emailed me or as soon as I had a free moment that day which meant that I was emailing at all times of the day form the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. I felt overwhelmed + never able to keep up with the content that was following into my inbox. I would find myself getting irritated when I received emails during the day while I was at my day job or late at night when I was trying to spend quality time with my husband. However, this is not my clients fault! I realized that the reason I was getting those late night emails was because by always responding back immediately, I was training my clients to think that I was going to email them back at the drop of a hat!! Feeling overwhelmed by my inbox also made me anxious that I would get behind if I didnt respond immediately- again, not my clients fault, but my own!! By emailing at all hours of the day, I was also giving off the impression that I had no work life balance- I mean, how could I when I when I was emailing at 11 pm?!
My solution was to set business hours for myself!! Monday – Friday from 3:30 pm until 6:00 pm I return emails to my clients!! This will be fully explained in point #3, but the beauty is that by setting these business hours, my clients now know that their emails will be responded to within that time frame during the week!! This resulted in less weekend + late night email exchanges!!
Now, let me conclude this by saying that I will occasionally break the rules!! The only time that this happens is if I have a session with a client that day + a response is needed sooner than business hours!! The trick to the rule breaking + the absolute exception to remember is that I only do it if their session is THAT DAY.
Maybe you are sitting there thinking “Well Abby, I need to respond back to my client right away!!!” I hear you, friend!! For real!! What it took me forever to realize though, is that by emailing ALL THE TIME, I was constantly being distracted from LIFE. My face was constantly buried in my phone + my anxiety level was through the roof because I just HAD to respond back asap or the world was going to end… Now let me tell you about the game changing realization that I learned from Laura Casey. Rarely are there emergencies when it comes to emails!!!!
3. Set Up an Auto Response
This… This, my friends, has had such a huge impact on my business + client interaction!! I set up an auto response on my email account to educate my clients of those business hours that we previously discussed!!! My auto response is kind + friendly, but also informative for my clients!! In short, it states that their email will be responded to within two days + during business hours. It also breaks down into mini messages for current clients, inquiring clients, inquiring brides, + industry friends!! This is such a simple way to feel less like you have to email them immediately because you know that they have received your auto response + are aware of the time frame in which you have promised to get back to them!! The auto response also gives clients peace of mind in knowing that their email was receivedl + they have a time frame in which they can expect my response! It has been such a huge factor in allow me freedom from my constantly being glued to my phone which has allowed me to be more present in life!! If you’re interested in reading mine, feel free to shoot me an email!!
4. Keep Business + Professional Separate
I have two email accounts!! When I created my business email, I still continued to use my personal email address as well!! This has been so beneficial!! It helps keep me so organized by having work emails + personal emails separated!
By having one account for personal emails, I know that inbox is something that doesn’t need to be cleaned out as regularly + I can also still sign up for those emails that will save me a few dollars at my next shopping trip!! By then having a separate account for business related emails, I know that all messages filtering through this account need to regularly be kept up + responded to! I always make sure to keep my business email account strict to client interaction + industry related topics only!! That way, it is easier to maintain on a regular basis + I know that all of the emails in that account are super important! This illuminates the chaos of having personal emails, junk mails, + business messages all mixed into a tangled mess of an inbox!! (Which obviously means less stress on us!) I always make sure to keep my business email account strict to client interaction + industry related topics only!!
Ok friends!! Those are my top four tips for you in regards to setting up your business email account!! These are all easy tasks that will make a world of a difference in the way you utilize email in your business!! Block out a few minutes of your schedule this week to try out these tips + let me know in month or so how it has worked out for you!! I promise that if you’re anything like me, you’re going to feel so much better knowing that you are always on top of your business emails!! Now, I am not saying that you wont some days feel overwhelmed by the amount of emails coming in- I feel like that a lot lately!! However, try to focus on the bright side of knowing that more emails mean more client inquiries, more emails mean more fun things happening for your business, + by utilizing these tips you are probably going to be way on top of all of the messages filtering in regarding your business + you’re going to feel so organized + at ease!!!