Increasing your average sale for every session that you shoot means reaching your business goals more quickly or by relying on a smaller number of clients. Newborn photographer Mhari-Clare of Flutterby Photography shared how she’s seen a 2.4x increase in average sales from her sessions with a few simple steps.Continue reading “Increase your average sales by nurturing your clients”
Category: Success Stories
Filling your diary with quality repeat clients
We all work hard to find different ways of attracting new clients and bringing in new business, but how much untapped potential is there in the list of clients you’ve worked with before?
We spoke to Brentwood newborn photographer, Kristina Mack about how she was able to use her existing customer list to fill the diary.Continue reading “Filling your diary with quality repeat clients”
Customer stories – Lynne Kennedy
Lynne Kennedy is based in the far north-west of Scotland, next to the Isle of Skye, where she specialises in photographing elopements and small weddings. The majority of her shoots are on Skye but she occasionally travels a little further afield to another island or remote part of the mainland. She’s been photographing weddings since 2007.
“I wish I’d started using Light Blue years ago. It really would have made such a difference but I’m just glad I am (almost) utilising it fully now and feel so much more organised in my business. “
“I was using Excel spreadsheets and a paper diary! Until my friend Suzanne Black visited and said she wasn’t leaving until she taught me the basics. Since then, I have never looked back!”
So what is it that Lynne loves about Light Blue?
“I am pretty bad at time management and even though Light Blue has helped me so much since I started using it, I still don’t know what I’ve done with the time! But I love how organised I am now – I feel much more on top of my business and a lot more disciplined about sending out correspondence to clients and making sure I get paid.”
“It’s really handy to be able to send a text to enquiring customers to say I’ve emailed them my information because my emails tend to go in the junk all the time.”
Lynne can be out of the office a lot with her shoots, so finds Light Blue’s iOS app very handy because she can use it even when she doesn’t have phone signal.
“It’s worth having as sometimes you might be out of the office for a few days and not otherwise have access to that information.”
She will happily tell people that she is not the most “techy” person and says she has found the support from Light Blue a great help.
“I’ve spoken to Ian a couple of times and he is really incredible and helpful. I realised I’d been doing something wrong with my invoicing and he was very kind and patient and explained it so thoroughly for me. I feel now that no matter what it is I can’t figure out, even if I think it’s not worth bothering him, I really should, rather than trying to work it out myself, because he can point me in the right direction much more quickly.”
We asked Lynne what other tools have helped her business.
“I love Todoist and that is definitely an app that is worth the money and I’ve been using it every day to keep on top of projects and things I don’t use Light Blue for. Also, QuickBooks is fantastic and my next project is to learn how to integrate that with Light Blue.”
“Once you start using Light Blue, you’ll not be able to understand how you managed without it.”
Using Light Blue to follow up enquiries
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!
Exporting invoices to Quickbooks
Keeping on top of your finances is really important when you are running a business and, while we have some great tools in Light Blue to help with this, some business need even more accounting tools. Many of our customers use QuickBooks to do their accounts and had asked for an easier way to get their information out of Light Blue and into QuickBooks, so they don’t have to enter information twice.
With our QuickBooks export feature, you can export all your invoices from Light Blue to import straight into QuickBooks. This means you have all the benefits of using Light Blue’s online services such as online booking forms and contract signing plus invoicing and you don’t have to create a duplicate invoice manually in QuickBooks. Here is a handy video to see how it works:
We love hearing how this has made your lives easier!
Rose and Garry Stacey from Timeless Images run their portrait studio from Bridgwater, Somerset.
“Light Blue has really helped with the day to day running of the business but with Making Tax Digital coming in, we knew we had to sort out our accounting package. QuickBooks was our choice as there is an import invoices function. So we can within 20 minutes have the month’s invoices imported into QuickBooks ready for the accounts to be reconciled. Thanks to the boys at Light Blue this is quick, easy, straight forward monthly process keeping us in line with government requirements.”
Based in Kent, Manjit Sohal runs Sohal Light Photography offering business headshots and Lifestyle Portraits.
“I had set up QuickBooks before I signed up for Light Blue, I then was faced with how to manage the two. Initially, I was exporting the data to a CSV file and then re-formatting it for QuickBooks and then importing the data to QuickBooks. This took about an hour. Now with the new feature, I’m able to export the data in the correct format for QuickBooks and then import it directly into QuickBooks. This process now takes me about 15 minutes to complete, I’m sure that it will get quicker as I become more practised at it. Now I can easily keep both programs up to date.”
How Light Blue and Acuity helped Amy Knowles book out her Mini Sessions
Based in The Wirral, Amy Knowles runs Slinky Photography, a newborn family and maternity photography studio.
Amy got in touch with us after reading our blog post about how to use scheduling tools to allow your customers to book shoots online with Light Blue.
She took the advice and ideas that we’d presented there to effectively sell portrait sessions via a marketing campaign.
This is really useful for any portrait photographers who are looking to market their services and are running their marketing with a clear call to action to book a session. It means that the photographer doesn’t need to do anything extra, as the clients will book the sessions themselves whenever’s convenient for them.
I can’t thank you enough for the webinar the other week regarding Acuity/Zapier.
I’d wondered how I could get an online booking system to work with Light Blue, and this came at just the right time. Last night I launched 75 Christmas Mini Sessions…they were sold out by this morning and all the client and shoot info is now safely in Light Blue without me having to do any extra admin. WIN!
Have a read through the blog post and watch the embedded video webinar at the top of the post to find out how you can set up a similar system in your business. We would love to hear more success stories like Amy’s!
Using scheduling tools to allow your customers to book shoots online
Light Blue Success Stories – GWS Photography
Reading Time: 2 minutesGrahame Smith LMPA is an award winning weddings, portrait, and dog photographer, based in Dunbar, Scotland.
After a lifelong interest in photography, and a short lived career as a trainee aircraft technician in the RAF, Grahame (assisted by his wife Allison) embarked upon the journey into professional photography in the early 1990s. And now (with the ongoing support of Allison and daughter Annie), runs the busy, and incredibly well organised GWS Photography… with a little help from Light Blue!
“Having used Light Blue for several years now, it’s become an important part of our ‘always on’ workflow… and the new additions to version 7 have been brilliant for us.
We run quite a tight process for following up enquiries… and the implementation of integrated emails & texts has cut out no shows almost completely.
Using templates for emails & texts, we can keep in touch with clients right up to the last minute, without having to leave Light Blue, and having a ‘paper-trail’ of all parts of a conversation in once place, helps with keeping track of enquiries and bookings too.
So by the time we make our courtesy phone call to a client on the day before the shoot, we know they’ve been sent all the necessary information, and are fully versed in how we operate, and what will happen on the day.
Knowing that a lot of email ends up in people’s spam folders, being able to send a follow up text as part of the workflow to say that we’ve sent the requested information has become an invaluable part of the process with Light Blue 7.
Combined with the existing features – such as integration with Shootproof – Light Blue provides a really effective business marketing, sales and planning platform.”
Building a professional image to your customers with Light Blue Software.
Reading Time: 5 minutes
This is the second in a series of articles written by photographer & Light Blue customer, Nick Church, about how Light Blue has helped him to grow his photography business.
In my previous article, I discussed how Nick Church Photography relies on Light Blue to handle all aspects of my bookings, customers and shoots to free up creative time. However, during the pre-sales stage it is important to give your clients the best possible impression. This article explores how I do this, and how Light Blue helps me put a professional face on my business.
You can be the most talented photographer in the world but if you are unable to offer professional, informed interactions, potential clients may never see your brilliance! It is disappointing to lose a booking because the client doesn’t like your photographic style or your prices. But it is downright criminal to lose one through being disorganised, missing an appointment or generally looking like you are not up to speed on them or their wedding.
After learning the hard way, the first thing I do with an enquiry is enter all the information I have, even if it is just first names and a potential date, into Light Blue. After all an enquiry is just a shoot that has not yet been confirmed.
I respond to requests for package details using email templates. This means I can send branded Package Details to my clients with the email automatically referencing their wedding date and venue. With Light Blue this takes about five seconds, and I can do it while out and about using the mobile app! A speedy and professional reply always impresses, and perhaps the response gets to them before they consider contacting other photographers!
As SMS, Facebook messages and emails start to flow, the details increase. Having all this information in one place allows valuable interactions with your customer to continue throughout the booking process. Before I arrive for a consultation, from my phone, Light Blue will give me all the information from my phone about the clients and the booking. Being knowledgeable about their interests and kids’ names may not seem relevant, but builds a trusting rapport with your client.
Workflows are used in Light Blue to drive your processes to ensure things happen in the correct order and at the correct time. I have set up my ‘enquiry’ workflow to give me a set of tasks with an appropriate gap between them, to keep the client consistently informed at every key stage:
- The first response to the enquiry happens immediately. No-brainer.
- The second response is an informal follow up two days later. Maybe you would want to leave it a little longer, say a week. Too soon and you seem pushy, too long and they make have forgotten about you and drifted into the open arms of a pesky competitor.
- Third, fourth and final chase ups are around one week, one month and 6 months. If they are still ignoring you at this stage, they are probably not interested, but I have had two bookings come back from the dead like this, and given it all takes so little time, it’s worth the investment.
Another workflow can be attached to appointments. When you have an upcoming meeting, you can use Light Blue to add a reminder to confirm with your clients so that all parties remember the appointment. It looks polite and organised, but this feature has saved me a wasted journey on more than one occasion. If a client goes cold, better to know the day before you sit at a venue on your own for an hour.
I have recently started entering the wedding day schedule and any requested shots into Light Blue. I can then email all this information to the client for confirmation, again all on headed stationary with your consistent branding, using mail-merge document templates.
Continuing your customer service after a shoot is important too in fostering future business opportunities. Remembering their anniversary and sending a card might be the difference in getting a valuable recommendation.
Light Blue’s online services provide digital contract signing, online payments, and allow you to create shoot records directly from enquiry forms on your website. This deserves its own discussion and will be discussed in a later article. Watch an introduction to the Light Blue online services
Nick Church Photography might be a small business, but letting Light Blue do some of the admin for me, I can present a confident and consistent front to customers that will match the quality and creativity they will get through my photography.
Using Light Blue for non-photography related work
Reading Time: 2 minutesWe’ve made Light Blue a powerful and versatile tool for running your photography business. We understand that photography businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and with different needs depending on your particular genre(s) of work.
What you may not know is that Light Blue can also be used to help organise other types of work, too. On his blog, Light Blue customer and London graphic designer, Jason Miller, talks about how Light Blue is one of his invaluable “tools of the trade”.
Light Blue is principally designed for photographers, and because your photography business is based around shoots, Light Blue’s based around shoot records, too. But if you swap the word “Shoot” for “Project”/”Job”/”Event” it can easily apply to any other client-driven business.
Light Blue Success Stories – Matt Ross Photography
Matt Ross is a family and headshot photographer, offering a mix of on location, and studio based shoots from just outside of London, in the UK.
After a successful career in the world of finance, working in both the Formula One industry, and for a Big Four professional services firm, Matt brings his professionalism and belief in “good old fashioned customer service” to his photography business, with the help of Light Blue.
“Light Blue has helped me to be a professional business, and equally importantly to appear to be a professional business too!
Being able to send branded invoices and contracts with a few simple clicks, and track and accept card payments online in one simple and elegant workflow has been a massive change, and helped me to deliver an impressive and convenient experience to my clients.
Behind the scenes, it’s great that I no longer have to wait for bank transfers, or spend time manually checking which ones have been paid, with the ever present risk of one getting missed.
Light Blue is my to-do list, personal assistant, and accountant rolled into one.
Without it, I would be constantly wondering what on earth I should be doing next, and which clients have failed to pay me. My life would be spent doing long-winded admin tasks, such as sending contracts, raising manual invoices, tracking receipts, and apologising to clients for missing things!
I’d much rather be taking photographs!”
If you’d like to add a little extra professionalism to your photography business, spend less time doing admin, and be even more organised, try Light Blue today – free for the first 30 days.