Do you follow up on enquiries? You could be missing out on work. We loved this tweet from Graham Carruthers.
It can be difficult to keep on top of enquiries, but with Light Blue you can set up a workflow that automatically follows up enquiries. Workflows can be used to add a series of tasks, emails, or text messages to a shoot.
A really simple enquiry workflow might include a task to respond to an enquiry, then an automated email for 5 days later to follow up.
When you’re setting up your workflow you can choose to create a task, appointment, email, or text message. Select the email template you wish to use and decide how long after your initial response you want to follow up. You can choose the time of day you would like the email to send.
Once you have created your enquiry workflow, go to your preferences and set this as your default workflow for enquiries.
When you receive an enquiry and create a new shoot click on the add workflow button beside the enquiry date.
This lets you add your enquiry workflow to the shoot. It will automatically select the default enquiry workflow you selected in preferences along with the enquiry date.
Any workflow items will be added to your activity panel.
If you also look in your Outbox you’ll see any scheduled emails and text messages ready to send.
We’d love to hear how following up on your enquiries has lead to more bookings. Get in touch and tell us if it’s helped!
We know that one of the most important parts of your business admin is being able to forecast accurately. Being able to know exactly what is happening in your business at any time helps you to plan for the future.
With Light Blue, you can run various reports to check your business finances, one very useful one is the ‘Income Forecast’ report. This uses the quotes function in Light Blue so will be really handy for wedding and commercial photographers (who often use quotes when confirming a booking with a client).
To run the report select Reports > ‘Custom Reports’ > ‘Income Forecast’ to create an income forecast. This will bring up all quotes with a status of “Accepted” or “Awaiting Invoicing”.
The information from these searches and reports is displayed in the list view, where you can see all of the records that meet your given criteria. The default view shows a list of all future income due grouped by the date the quote was created.
You may want to preview your projected income from a particular type of work over a given period. In that case, you can use Light Blue’s powerful querying tools to find the information that you need
Maybe there’s a month you’re not very busy with weddings and want to run a portrait promotion to fill the shortfall for that month? Without planning you don’t know where your income gaps are.
You can use the query function to search for your expected income over a particular period. In this example we have run a query for quotes where the shoot type is “Weddings” and the start date is “In Next Calendar Year” and the status is “Accepted”. This will show us all next year’s wedding where the client had accepted a quote.
You can adjust the columns within the list view to show whatever you find useful. By going to Window > “Customise List View” and you’ll see this dialog. To view the balance due each month, simply add the “Balance Due”, “Shoot Title” and “To Invoice” fields to the “Columns” section, then make sure they are grouped by “Balance Due Month”.
By using the “To Invoice” column it takes account of the booking fee already paid so this will give you a really clear idea of your monthly wedding income forecast for next year.
How do you use the reports in Light Blue? We’d love to hear how you find Light Blue helps you to keep track of your business!
As a wedding or portrait photographer, there are times you need to handle large numbers of leads. You might attend a number of wedding fairs throughout the year and need an easy way to handle all the contacts from that, or maybe you run a busy portrait studio and need to manage lists of leads sent to you. Light Blue can help!
Let’s look at each situation separately.
Wedding fair leads
A popular way for a wedding photographer to get leads is to take a stand at a wedding fair. Some of these can be big multi-day shows, so you need an easy way to get the details of all the couples you chat to and be able to follow up with them afterwards. You may also want to check leads against a date to make sure you are free.
A really simple way would be to set up a form in Light Blue, then get couples to fill in their details using an iPad or your laptop. These leads would then appear in your inbox. You can manage them in the same way that you would any other lead that you get in your inbox, by importing as a new shoot record.
A typical workflow you might add could include an email to remark on how nice it was to meet the contact and send them some information, then a follow-up phone call a few days later, and possibly a reminder text message to reach out to them as well.
Portrait studio leads
Whilst they may also attend fairs like school or summer fairs to get portrait leads, a lot of portrait studios need a way to handle large numbers of leads that they either purchase or gather through promotions.
With large quantities of portrait leads, we recommend importing these as contacts rather than shoots. These leads are often termed ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ and you won’t convert as many as you would a ‘hot’ lead that you have already spoken to. Rather than having lots of these leads as unconfirmed shoots, it’s easier to add them to Light Blue as contacts.
Quite often you’ll have these in a spreadsheet, and it’s really simple to import these into these straight into Light Blue. Make sure they’re saved as a .csv file then go to the Records menu and use the ‘Import Contacts From CSV’ command.
When importing contacts into Light Blue from a spreadsheet, it will automatically create a quick query that allows you to find the information. Quick queries are saved searches of your current data. You can create your own quick queries using the query dialog. To find out more about quick queries, have a look at this blog post:
Once you’ve imported your leads into Light Blue, you’ll want to call them to get them booked in for a shoot. You could use workflows to apply a series of tasks to a set of records.
First, make sure you have selected the saved query from your leads and then select ‘Add to Found Set’ from the Records menu. This gives you the option to add workflows, send text messages, or add tags to the set of leads. A typical workflow you might add could include a task to make an initial phone call to the lead, then a follow-up phone call a few days later, and possibly a text message to them as well.
When the contact gives some indication that they are interested in booking, then you could create a shoot record linked to the contact to help to convert that into a confirmed shoot and manage things as you normally would.
How are you using Light Blue to run your marketing promotions? We’d love to hear how you find Light Blue helps you to keep on top of successful promotions!
We’ve released Light Blue 8.1.2, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 8. This is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs that were reported after the launch of Light Blue 8.1.
Using “partner” as a contact role now supports all of the same features as using “bride” or “groom”. For shoots with a type of “wedding” or “weddings”, this applies to automatically setting the title, automatically selecting contract signatories when you add a new contract, mail-merge tags that use the couple’s details, and the “wedding couple” section in your forms and questionnaires. The default role for wedding couple controls on forms is now “partner” rather than “bride”. We’ve also added %ShootPartner1FirstName%, %ShootPartner1LastName%, %ShootPartner2FirstName%, and %ShootPartner2LastName% mail-merge tags, which use the first and second contacts with roles of “bride”, “groom”, or “partner” (or their localised equivalents) linked to a shoot.
Flagged more mail-merge tags as being available in workflow messages.
Added a “Mark As Unread” button to the Inbox and in the incoming email dialog.
When accepting a contract with a linked form, the form import dialog’s “Import” button is no longer disabled if there isn’t any updated information to import. This makes it simpler to get forms from repeat clients who haven’t changed their details off your Inbox’s pending list!
If you’re password protecting your copy of Light Blue, the staff login dialog is now displayed immediately after your initial data download or a client app reset sync.
On Windows, the “Check For Updates” command now downloads the installer much faster. n.b. this will apply to updates that you download from Light Blue 8.1.2 onwards, so downloading this update won’t be any faster.
When renaming the “Ungrouped requests” shoot requests group, default the name to that rather than “New group”.
Our QuickBooks export now includes separate rows for any percentage discount that has been applied to an invoice.
%EventX% tags in a workflow email preview could show the wrong value when linked to an event other than the shoot’s start date.
Fixed a rare crash that could occur when generating picture thumbnails.
Fixed a problem with the “Issue Refund” button on fully paid invoices, where the credit note would be created with the wrong sign.
Fixed some timezone irregularities with displaying incoming emails’ received dates.
Fixed a glitch where the calendar resource view includes column titles at top of timed section as well as the all-day section.
Fixed a problem where multi-date calendar notes linked to specific resources don’t show the note description on any day other than the first day.
Fixed an encoding problem that could occur when exporting a tax report to CSV.
Fixed unexpected quits that have been reported to us.