There’s no question about it…we live in a world of instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now. We have everything at our fingertips any time we want it. We can stream it…download it…and if it takes longer than a few seconds we are moving on to the next thing. The days of dial-up and snail mail are over and people are living in an instant culture.
As wedding photographers, we have to keep up with how fast paced the world has become. It is no longer acceptable to take 3-4 months to deliver wedding photos. Same day slideshows and one week turn around times are quickly becoming the norm. In this business, taking to long to do anything can quickly become your demise. But one of the trickiest things I think we face is email response time. There is a very specific window in which we have to respond before we become old news. But at the same time, it is all too common to feel like we are married to our emails because we don’t want to leave an inquiry sitting unanswered for too long. So where is the balance? That is a question that I still struggle with…but have tried my best to navigate a system that works for me.
Respond within 12 hours
It’s easy to think as soon as an inquiry comes it has to be responded to immediately. I mean, after all, this is our livelihood so we want to be as on top of it as possible. If I receive an inquiry during the work day…I always make it a rule to respond by the end of that day. For instance, if an email comes in at 11am…I make sure I respond by the time I wrap up for the day around 4 or 5pm. If I receive an inquiry in the evening, I use the 12 hour rule. I give myself 12 hours to respond which more than likely will get me to the morning of the next work day. I do my best to be present in the evenings and not constantly be checking my phone…so if I give myself this timeline is helps me stick to that. I know, if I send an email to anyone…whether it be a business or friend…I want an immediate response. And if not immediate, in a short amount of time. So why would I give my wedding couples anything less?
When I first started, I had the hardest time responding to emails. I knew what I wanted to say but I couldn’t turn that into an email. I would write emails ten times before sending them and that process repeated after every single inquiry that came in. It was awful. Enter the email template. I realized that I was writing the same basic information over and over again and it was adding extra stress and time to my day that I just didn’t need. So I created an inquiry email template. It is just a basic shell for me to use when responding to potential brides. I still personalize every email but the basic information is there and saves me SO much time. Here is an example of my inquiry template:
Hey (bride’s name)!
Thank you so much for contacting me! I’m so glad (insert name) referred you to me! I love love her!! 🙂
I checked and I do have your date open! Yay!!! Tell me more about your wedding. What are you looking for in your wedding photography?
I’ve attached my investment guide for you to take a look at. I do all my packages a la carte since every couple and wedding day are so unique. This way you can put together the package that is perfect for you. Look it over and let me know if you have any questions at all. I’d also love to get together for a drink and chat wedding stuff! I love hearing about all the little details. 🙂 Let me know when works for you!
I can’t wait to meet you!
Talk to you soon,
More often than not the bride has given me some sort of personal information in her initial inquiry so I can add in some things that are specific to her…talking about her venue, favorite Starbucks drink, etc. This has saved me hours and hours of time and I still kick myself for taking so long to implement this system.
I know how hard it can be to disconnect ourselves from our businesses. But sometimes, a simple system can make this part of life a lot more manageable.
And in the spirit of disconnecting…here’s a little view from my office this week. Where the 12 hour rule is in full effect. 🙂