Hey, hey Photographers!
Today I’m dishing about CRMs and why they are invaluable to your business as a photographer!
What is a CRM, you ask?
CRM stands for Client Relations Manager. It’s a software that assists you in nurturing your relationships with your clientele, from inquiry to final images!
What exactly can a CRM do for a photographer?
- Keep track of your clients. Say goodbye to lost inquiries in your email! A CRM is perfect for keeping track of all of your clients (and where they’re at in your client experience!)
- Schedule sessions. Yes, not only can you keep track of clients, you can schedule sessions through your CRM software.
- Process payments. Tired of messy and complicated payment systems? With a CRM you can process payments directly through the software.
- Establish a thorough and customized client experience that is guaranteed for each client no matter how busy you are.
- Automate certain steps of your client experience. You don’t have to micromanage your email and personally reply to every client … a CRM can do it for you!
Think about how much time you currently spend nurturing leads, getting contact information, scheduling sessions, sending out contracts and invoices … you already know the answer is way too freaking long. Now imagine how much time you would free up and all the stress that would melt away, keeping this mass of information on a singular software.
You know I’m constantly preaching about systems and how they give you your life back – there are no downsides to systemizing your business. A CRM is the best place to start. Seriously!
What CRM’s are out there and best for photographers?
As a systems specialist who works strictly with photographers, it’s my job to find all the options available to you. So let’s discuss! (Here’s the top 3! There are a million more, stay tuned for a full breakdown blog some day!)
- HoneyBook. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before and seen countless ads scrolling through social media. HoneyBook is probably the most well known CRM for photographers.
- Has a “Starter Plan” – $9/month until you reach $10k in transactions after that you upgrade to the “Unlimited Monthly” – $39/month
- Has a phenomenal client pipeline, easy to use brochures & questionnaires, and is probably one of the simplest to understand and use.
- My biggest downside to HoneyBook is it’s lack of a good mini-session option. If you offer a lot of mini-sessions, know that HoneyBook has yet to create a good flow for these.
- Full disclosure, I am a HoneyBook educator! You can use my link for 50% off your first year of HoneyBook! http://share.honeybook.com/systemsforme
- Session. This one isn’t quite as popular, but it’s certainly growing in like-ability.
- There’s a free 14day trial and then it is $19/month with a decent pay yearly discount.
- Session is awesome for a mini-session heavy photography business. They have the perfect workflow for choose time, pay, sign contract, fill out questionnaire set up.
- I haven’t fully gotten my hands on this CRM, but from what I can tell the two downsides is 1. You still process payment through a different medium (such as connecting your venmo or paypal) and 2. Session prioritizes getting all the information at once, so its workflow of a wedding may not be as lucrative as that of HoneyBook’s.
- Unscripted. I see a lot of photographers start with Unscripted as their first CRM.
- 7day free trial and then it is $19.99/month with a decent pay yearly discount.
- Unscripted offers far more than just the client management system. It offers posing suggestions, day light notifications, questionnaires, contracts, invoices and more. Unscripted continues to grow and offer more all the time.
- However, I have been through an unscripted client experience AS the client and found it to be more difficult on my end to pay since Unscripted does not connect with any payment processing. I also do not believe that there is a web version of this CRM, it is mostly only app based, making it a little more tedious on your end.
On a Budget?
I know CRM’s can be expensive and sometimes it doesn’t make sense for your business and budget to get one set up right away. So what can you do instead? You can still create a structure out of free tools available to you right now to help manage your clients, until you’re able to budget for a CRM. Here’s a few tried and true options for you.
- Google Forms. Use this to create an Inquiry Form and any Questionnaires needed for your business. Don’t under-esitmate the value of an inquiry form for streamlining your client experience!
- Trello. This software is great for creating a ‘Client Pipeline’ that can keep your clients in a big picture view. Where are your clients at in your experience? Keep track in Trello!
- OR! Skip the Google Form & Trello all together and pay $5/month for Clickup. Through Clickup you can create the inquiry form and a client pipeline.
- Square is a three in one win. Perfect for contract signing, invoicing and payment processing! Nailing down a good system for this stage of your client experience can make all the difference in your stress level with signing a new client and their trust in your process and professionalism!
- Google Email. Please use Google to its fullest potential while you’re saving up for a proper CRM! Google can store email templates that you can then reference later.
As you can see, it’s still possible to create a system that works for you without paying for a CRM. You just have to find the right software that can handle your specific business needs. The fewer tabs you have to keep open daily, the better! But really, not everything works for everyone. As I’ve mentioned before, the best software you can have as a business owner is software that works for you and that you use!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with where to start in finding a CRM and setting up the software, reach out to me! My Photographer’s VIP Day offer is all about assisting you in finding the right CRM for you and your business and setting up your perfect client experience in addition to setting up a marketing system, task management and more! Yes, it really can all be done in one day! Click here to learn more!
Here for you always,