Branded Client Communication in Your Photography Business

by | Mar 21, 2024 | Brand Photography, Business, Photography Mentoring

Branded Client Communication MOVES THE NEEDLE.

Welcome to another edition of “things you should be doing in your photography business”! This one is part-explanation-part-top-tips, because realistically… branded client communication is one of those things we all know we should be doing. It’s the actually “doing it” part that feels like rocket science.

Like most things in our businesses, it’s one of those things that involves wearing a hat that isn’t always our favorite. I get it, I prefer being behind the camera to being behind the keyboard. But setting up branded communication channels in my business has helped me grow MASSIVELY, and it can do the same thing for you!!

welcome guide cover in a Photoshop editing screen

Why does branded communication matter?

Before we get into the what and the how, we have to talk about the “why”. I’m someone who doesn’t like arbitrary rules or suggestions, and honestly I’m one of those people who is the first to break a rule that doesn’t feel like it makes sense. And branded communication kind of sounds like a great way to be boring. But I promise, that’s not what it is!!

Branded client communication is a VITAL part of creating a set of expectations for your clients. It’s the best way to set the stage for what they’re going to experience in your sessions. And it’s also one of the tools you can use to build rapport with your people before they walk through the threshold of your studio. So why does it matter? All of those reasons, and more.

Branded client communication also goes a long way to making sure it’s clear you know what you’re doing, and that you’re not just someone with an expensive hobby. You know how to do what you do… but you also know how to run a business. And this is important! Because we’ve all felt a little bit of imposter syndrome every once and a while, am I right?

Jessica Strobel posed for a self portrait to help with creative burnout

What does branded communication look like?

So if branded client communication is so important… what actually IS it? Like, practically speaking? At the end of the day, your client communication is anywhere that you talk to your people. So that could be your email list, or your website, or even your Instagram DMs. But it’s also your brochures, and welcome guides, and anything you send to your clients ahead of sessions! That includes your questionnaires, too. If it’s something that tells your clients what to do, what to expect, or how to prepare for their session… it’s client communication. Even the emails you send to respond to inquiries are client communication – and those can be branded!

Sometimes it’s easy… and sometimes it’s not.

As for branding all of those things… sometimes it’s super simple, and sometimes it’s a lot more complex. Considering an email response as “branded client communication” can be as simple as including a branded signature in your email (for visual connection to your overall brand) and speaking in a tone that stays consistent with the tone you use elsewhere! So for me, that means staying casual. But for you that might mean something else! Remember, keeping things branded does NOT HAVE TO BE BORING

For other types of materials… it gets a little bit… messier. Or I guess it’s more accurate to say that it gets more difficult, because really keeping things branded should make them LESS messy overall. You get what I’m saying, right? Anyway, other materials, like your email newsletter, for example, take a little more work to brand fully. It’s going to mean using a platform (like the one I use, Flodesk) and branding some templates for yourself. You can always work with a professional to have those created, if you’re into outsourcing, like me. But sometimes the best option is just setting aside some time, remembering that done is better than perfect, and just… doing it!

What about your welcome guides?

And then there’s things like your welcome guides, brochures, and questionnaires. These are a whole entity in and of themselves, and everyone does them a little bit differently. But as long as you have a defined brand for your business, you should be able to put together materials that align with that brand from a tone, color, logo material, and communication perspective! If you’re looking for a short cut to welcome guides, I definitely suggest Canva. Even if you (as a photographer) are an Adobe suite addict, Canva solves different problems than Adobe does. Building your welcome guides in Canva helps to keep things quick and streamlined, and I even offer templates you can start with that will help keep things simple!

Jessica Strobel posed for a self portrait to help with creative burnout

Isn’t all of this really complicated?

“Jess, you’re asking a lot of me. Do I really need to do all this?? Can’t I just send emails??” Okay, okay. Yes, I get it, this is a lot. And like I said, you can DEFINITELY outsource the things that really give you trouble! But at the end of the day, it’s worth putting some communication standards in place to make sure that you’re setting the tone for sessions.

Branded client communication helps you build trust with your people, and that trust? It keeps them coming back. Even if it takes some time to set up on your side, it ends up being worth it because it shortens the amount of time it takes to build rapport. And rapport building is how you create a consistent clientele that will come back again and again. Just ask my clients – an overwhelming percentage of them come back for a second (and a third!) session! And part of that is because I make things easy for them, through things like branded client communication.

Do what works for YOUR clients!

Now, I’m not saying that you have to set up all of these things immediately, or that all means of communicating with your clients have to be branded in exactly the same way. You’re not doing it “wrong” if you don’t have an email signature set up, or if you prefer to use webpages for your welcome guides instead of PDFs. Or if you use a client relationship management system that doesn’t let you brand your questionnaires, for example. None of those things are wrong, and it might work super well for you and your clients! So if what you’re doing is working… don’t try to fix it. But there’s always space to grow, and sometimes, that next step is branding more of your tools.

Jessica Strobel eating doughnuts for her brand photoshoot

(P.S. If you’re also looking to change the game for your client guides, check out my Etsy shop!) 

Should you be automating?

One of the biggest questions I get when it comes to branded client communication, is whether you should be automating. I mean, we’re living in the artificial intelligence age, and whether that means automating responses as in “you’ve written it and it sends at a specific time after an inquiry comes in” or it means “AI is helping me write my responses to emails” – there’s no denying that automations and AI solutions can help save you time.

But… there is no one size fits all answer to this question. In all honesty, I tried automation! I actually had someone set up a whole set of automations within my CRM for my clients, that was supposed to respond to inquiries, and save me time. And the tools themselves worked, but… what I found out after starting to use them, was actually that I liked being able to talk to my clients earlier in their process with my business. So even after buying the tools, and putting them in place… ultimately I ended up clicking the big red “stop automations” button. And now I respond to inquiries by hand again. I like it better, and so do my clients.

So, should you be automating? If it WORKS for you, then yes. If it doesn’t… there’s nothing wrong with responding by hand.

 

Looking to send branded brochures?

If you’re looking for a cheat code for enhancing the visual branded elements of your client communication… I’ve got you!! My Canva Template suites are for photographers who want to uplevel their brochure, welcome guide, pricing guide, and even social media processes. They’re designed for photographers who have bright, vibrant brands, and they can be super easily edited to match YOUR business, in just a few clicks. So if you need a little bit of a helping hand but you’re not quite ready to hire help… check them out!!

 

P.S. Wanna learn more about my mentorship options?

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