Remember that daunting feeling you had right before building your first website with Flothemes (or any website for that matter)? Unless you’ve had previous experience with WordPress, you were probably a bit anxious and had tons of questions about the process, the platform, the design recommendations, and so on and so forth. Right? Our team, our documentation and tutorials have helped you a good deal (we hope), and made you feel more comfortable and confident about the process.
Well, guess what, your clients are probably in the same boat. Unless you’re a fashion or celebrity photographer, most of your clients are regular people, who are not used to being in front of a camera a lot, who may not have been married before, and are totally overwhelmed about the whole process.
As an expert in your field, and a business owner who cares dearly about his/her clients and their level of happiness, it’s your job to educate your clients so that they are prepared for any type of shoot that you offer.
One amazing way to answer your clients burning questions is to offer a Client Guide (Bridal Guide, Elopement Guide, Outdoors Session Guide, Portraits Guide you got the point ). This resource will help answer all their questions, while freeing you from the tens of hours you spend answering the same questions over again and over again via email, phone, skype or in person.
And if this doesn’t get you excited, think of how much easier your whole process can become from a client’s perspective. They feel less nervous and more confident in your services. They know exactly why it’s better to dress in certain colors, choose a certain location and time, how to pose and what to expect. You’ve just taken out all the uncertainty and empowered them with valuable information and experience that you’ve gathered through out the years. They trust you completely and won’t questions your judgement or creative propositions on the big day.
Sounds good don’t you think? Where and how do you start? Well, at the end of this article we’ll share a link with you to a beautiful magazine template that we’ve created for you, which you can download for free and customize according to your own branding and type of work. This client guide has been created with 2 purposes in mind:
- To educate your existing clients. Give your client one less thing to worry about, preparing a thorough guide shows your clients you care, offers them a great chance to prepare in advance and allows you to create better images, as well as saving you loads of time!
- To educate your potential clients. If someone feels comfortable with the process, and see’s you’ve taken the extra effort to answer their questions before they are even asked, it’s likely they are going to want to book you.
We’ll take the wedding photography industry as an example and will refer to the guide as a Bridal Guide or Bridal Magazine.
Bridal Guide for Existing Clients
As mentioned earlier, in most cases, people get married just once in their lifetime. Hence, this is their first time organizing a wedding, hiring a wedding photographer and figuring out all the nuts and bolts. It can put a lot of stress and tension on a bride and groom to be. Thus, you offering them a guide, with step by step recommendations and examples on how to plan, what to wear, whom to contact for a venue, an event organizer, a florist, etc, can go a long way.
Using a guide you can explain through photo examples why it’s better to organize the portraits session at 5-6pm rather than 12 at noon, why you insist on the “no phones” rule during the ceremony, how long will it take to deliver the photos, and how much editing they can expect on the final product.
Some photographers actually use this opportunity to lower the expectation of a client, in terms of timing or amount of photos delivered. This allows them to pleasantly surprise their clients later, with a faster delivery or more images edited. Just make sure not to abuse or exaggerate with this trick.
So, if you’ve been reading between the lines, here are the main benefits to offering a Bridal Magazine (or other guide depending on how you’d like to use it) to brides who have booked you for a wedding:
- You get to save time on answering similar questions over and over again via emails and calls. Though an FAQ can help with this, a Bridal guide will have better styling and can include more details and recommendations, with photo examples of Dos and Don’ts.
- Cross-promotion. If you decide to include some vendor recommendations in your bridal guide, let these vendors know. There’s a big chance they’ll be happy to return the favor and include you on their list too. The wedding industry is very much based on referrals, so make sure you build some good connections within it.
- Build trust with your clients. Through this guide, you position yourself as an expert in the industry, who knows exactly how things work. Your clients are better prepared for the day, hence feel more relaxed and confident while working with you. Win win.
- Up sell. This is optional, but consider mentioning some Add Ons in your Bridal guide, such as prints, albums, greeting cards, and more. Just to remind the couple about these additional options that you can offer. Even better you can show some great examples of how your products look. Take some time to actually take photos of some real printed albums, you’d be surprised how it can increase your print sales.
Bridal Guide for Potential Clients & Leads
A bridal Magazine can help you collect leads and connect with your potential clients. Here’s how:
Most likely, all new visitors who land on your website are potential clients, interested in your services. And it rarely happens that they book you right on that first visit. Future brides tend to do some research, compare rates, style of work, etc. Therefore, what you can do to get your foot in the door is offer them a free Bridal Guide to download (via a pop up or special section on your homepage).
The guide can include suggest timelines for photography, recommendations of venues, florists, event planners, decorators, tips on make up, on posing, on color combinations, all paired up of course with beautiful images from your archive. Make sure you collect their email in exchange for the free guide, to be able to connect with them via a newsletter or personal message. When emailing, offer some more tips, a blog post recommendation, a special discount or an invite for a call to discuss.
It’s all up to you, just make sure you do have some next steps in place, after you collect their emails. Otherwise, all your efforts are in vain. Remember the more you educate potential clients before the process the less work you’ll have to do in the long run, and it creates a more professional experience with them.
Don’t limit yourself to the online word. We’ve made the guide so you can actually print it in high gloss like a real magazine, hand it out at wedding fairs, keep it in the studio, or bring it with you to give to potential clients when meeting them in person. Include a link to your website, so the bride can always check out more when she finishes going through the guide. Once she visits your site, proceed to charming her with your work, your personality and your services.
Hopefully there’s no need to remind you that your website should look fantastic and work well. It should speak to your future clients, guide them through the pages with call to actions, and encourage the future bride to contact you. If your website needs some love, do check out the website themes we offer here at Flothemes.
Apart from your website you can also stand out and intrigue your potential clients with a good looking, interactive price-list page. Since many first inquiries are based solely on pricing comparisons, it does make sense putting some thought into the design of the page that displays your packages or start rates. Flothemes do include layouts for pricing pages, however, if you’re looking for something more unique and impactful, and want to build a number of pricing options checkout FloHub.
Remember that we used the wedding industry and Bridal Guide as an example, but you can apply these recommendations for any other photography or videography business. And if you’d like to get a free template, to get started with your own Client Guide, see next section.
A Free Client Guide Template for You
Hopefully we’ve highlighted the benefits of creating a client photography guide for your clients. If you have no idea how to get started with one, we’ve done the hard work for you, our design team has created a beautiful template that you can use to create your own client photography guide. It includes 67 gorgeous magazine style layouts, that you can customize in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator and make it unique to your own brand and clientele.
All you have to do is download it, replace the filler text and image place holders with your own content, remove things you don’t need, add any new pages from the pre-made templates and you’re done! It’s ready to rock’n’roll!
Other Ways You Can Use Our Client Guide
Apart from using this magazine template as a Bridal Guide, here are a few more ideas to inspire you. But please don’t limit yourself to only these:
- Outdoors Couple Photoshoot Guide
- Kids Portraits Guide
- Boudoir Photoshoot Guide
Food Photography Client Guide
If you offer mentoring and educational materials for your peers, you can also use this template to create guides and resources for photographers. Options are limitless.
We hope this article left you inspired and eager to start designing your own Client Guide. Go ahead and download the template, make a list of all the topics you would like to share in your guide, list out all the FAQs and answers, roll up your sleeves and let the creativity flow!