Using workflows to send automated messages to your clients
In this intermediate article we’re going to show you how you can automatically send messages to your clients as part of a workflow. If you would like a beginners’ introduction to workflows, we have another article that you can read.
A quick recap of the basics
Using a workflow is a really quick way of scheduling tasks, emails, text messages, and appointments for a shoot. They’re easy to set up, and help you to deliver excellent service to your clients by making sure that you’re reminded about all of the key steps that you want a job to go through.
For example, here’s a workflow that’s set up for portrait bookings. It contains some tasks that help you to organise the shoot and make sure that it goes smoothly, and some more that take place after the shoot to make sure that the post-production goes smoothly and that you deliver the images to my client on time.
When you add this workflow to a shoot, the tasks will be scheduled based on the date of the shoot. They will appear in the Activity tab of that Shoot record, and also in the Task Manager on the Home screen:
Subscribers to our online services can also include emails and text messages in a workflow, and these will be automatically sent to save you time and make sure that they don’t get forgotten. For example, you can send an automatic follow-up message a few days after you have responded to an enquiry, or a reminder message to your portrait client the day before the shoot to make sure that they turn up on time.
These automated messages use Light Blue’s email and text message templates features. There’s a separate article on setting up these templates if you need any help with them.
To include messages as part of a workflow, open the workflow in the Preferences window and click the plus button to add a new item.
Next, choose the type of item that you’re adding. You can include tasks, appointments, emails, and text messages in your workflows.
The next step is to choose which email or text message template you want to use.
The offset is the number of days before or after the date around which the workflow is based that the message will be sent. For a standard shoot workflow, that key date is the date of the shoot. For example if you want to send a text message the day before a shoot then you can choose the relevant template, and set an offset of -1 days.
You can choose what time of day your automated messages will be sent out at. If you leave the scheduled time blank, then Light Blue will send the message at 9am. The scheduled time is always in your local timezone, and you can select your timezone in the “General Preferences” section.
The portraits workflow will now send a reminder text message the day before a portrait shoot.
Automatically following up an enquiry
Here’s how to add an automated message to your enquiry workflow. Firstly, add a new step to my enquiry workflow:
Choose your enquiry follow-up email template:
… and set the offset to one week after the enquiry date:
Adding workflows to shoots
The tasks from the workflow have been added to this portrait booking, and the reminder message has been automatically scheduled.
Workflow messages are sent automatically by our servers at the scheduled date and time, so your copy of Light Blue does not have to be running for them to be sent. If you’ve included any mail-merge tags in your email or text message template, Light Blue uses the most up to date information from the shoot when sending a workflow message. So, if you update your client’s phone number or email address, or change the time of their booking, Light Blue will use the latest information when it sends your message.