May 17, 2021
Hello and welcome to this episode of From Better Half to Boss. I am your host, Tavia Redburn. This is episode 46, you guys! I cannot believe we’re so close to episode 50. This is flying by for me. I hope that you’re loving the podcast. I love making the episodes each and every week. And this week we’re talking about E-mail Workflows That You Need In Your Business. And I know it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the different workflows and things that you need to set up. But one thing that I remind myself of is how important it is to slow down in order to speed up. And this is really true for e-mail workflows. We have to slow down to create them for the first time, but having these workflows set up will allow us to eventually speed up. So this episode actually was recorded on Facebook Live.
I have been going live on Facebook every single week to record these episodes. And it’s really fun for me because I get to see a lot of you regularly live on the episodes and you get to ask questions. So if you’re listening to this, make sure that you are hanging out on Facebook–The Beauty in Birth by Tavia Redburn on Facebook. Click to be notified when I’m going live so that you can join live and ask any and all questions there live. I would love to connect with you.
I’m also going live on Instagram every week @_thebeautyinbirth_ to do just general Q & A. So I love getting to connect with you guys in that way. So this episode you’re listening to today was recorded on Facebook Live. Let’s get in to the episode.
If you’re watching this chances are, you know you should, I kind of hate using that word, but you should have e-mail workflows, right? But you’re not sure what to write or when you should send them or what you should even have. So if you struggle with e-mail workflows and are just sitting in overwhelm, not sure what to even do, you’re in the right place, because that’s what we’re going to talk about here today. We’re going to talk in detail about 4 E-mail Workflows That You Need In Your Business. My name is Tavia Redburn. I am a birth and newborn photographer in Oklahoma City. I also own The Beauty in Birth, where I train birth photographers to specialize and certify in birth photography so that they can get fully-booked and go full-time.
So what is an e-mail workflow? Basically, e-mail workflow is as simple as a templated e-mail or series of e-mails that you customize and reuse for each client. So really it’s a time-saver. It saves you a lot of time because you’re not having to write the same thing over and over.
In fact, I was just chatting with my assistant Chloe on Monday, and I’m like, where are we writing e-mails? Like, where are we saying the same thing over and over so that we can create a template for that? There’s no reason for us to be writing the same thing over and over. So what we’re going to talk about here today is creating templates as well as what e-mails should you even be sending out and when? So it’s more than just like the inquiry response. It’s so, so much more than that.
What’s so great about e-mail workflows is it keeps your brand consistent with every single client so that every client who inquires and goes throughout your entire customer journey process has the same phenomenal experience. And that’s what we want for our clients, right?
So the first e-mail workflow that we’re going to talk about here today is one that you probably know you should have. You may or may not already have it set up. In fact, I would love to know after I tell you what it is, tell me in the chat, if you have this set up already. The first e-mail workflow is your Inquiry Response and Follow-Up. So when somebody inquires, you have a systematic template that you kind of maybe customize a little bit for that client and then send. Also your follow-up e-mails. So after you very first response to that inquiry, do you have a series of follow-up e-mails that you send to that client so that they have the same experience?
Let me tell you what I used to do when I was very first starting out. I had an idea of what I wanted to send to an inquiry, but I didn’t have it saved and I didn’t have a way to customize it each and every time. So what would happen is I would get an inquiry I’m so excited. I would read their contact form literally immediately, and then I would think, “Okay, when I sit down at my computer, I’m gonna respond to them and make it really like thoughtful and amazing, right? And then it would be like a day or two days. And I realized, “Oh my gosh, I hadn’t responded to them yet.” I’m so embarrassed that I haven’t responded yet.
No shame. I think that we have all been there. So what you can do, and what I do now, is I actually have an autoresponder set up in my e-mail software, Convertkit, that whenever somebody inquires, I send them an automatic e-mail and here’s what it says:
“Hey, this is automated Tavia talking. I got your inquiry. Wanted to let you know that you can expect to hear from us within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.”
I want them to know that I got their inquiry and they’re going to hear from us soon. But I also want them to know that e-mail that I’m sending immediately is not me personally in that moment. Does that make sense? So I always say “this is the automated Tavia talking” so that they know they’re hearing from me, but I’m going to respond in a more detailed way.
I am not a huge fan of sending your pricing or whatever you want to say automatically for two reasons:
So I’m not a huge fan of an autoresponder giving them pricing and setting up a consultation and all of that. But I do like the autoresponder to let them know that you got their inquiry.
I have booked clients and not booked clients/lost clients because of my response time. There have been people who have responded and said, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for responding. You’re the first person to respond. I can’t wait to talk to you.” And before Stephanie worked for me, she and I had a conversation about a client that inquired with both of us. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I still haven’t responded to them.” And she’s like, “I’ve already booked that because I responded immediately.” And I was like, “Argh!!” And so I have totally booked clients and not booked clients, literally a hundred percent because of that response time. So what’s going to help you cut down on the response time is having something ready to go. Number one, an automated e-mail that goes out to them. And number two, a template that you can just quickly customize and send over to them ready to go.
Inquiry Response is the first e-mail workflow. And a part of that is also the follow-up e-mails that you’re sending. So after your very first response to their inquiry, then what happens? What if they got your response and be like, “Oh yeah, I want to schedule a consult with her,” and then they just forget? You guys, I cannot even tell you. We actually send three follow-up e-mails after somebody inquires on that third and final e-mail, we get a lot of people that are like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for e-mailing. I’m sorry. I haven’t gotten back to you.” Because on that final e-mail, we say to them, this is the last time we’re going to bug you. Like this is the last time we’re e-mailing you. If you still are interested in holding your spots, please reply, touch base with us.
And we get a lot of people on that third and final e-mail that are like threatened. We’re not threatening them, but it’s just like going in and saying like, this is the last time we’re going to e-mail you–that makes them respond. And so the question I have for you is do you have not only inquiry response template, but a follow-up sequence?
Q & A
Q: Kylie said, “I’m so confused between Convertkit and Honeybook. Can you tell me how you use the two together?”
A: Yes. So a simple way to answer this, Kylie, is Convertkit is basically how I send e-mails to my entire list. HoneyBook is how I correspond with clients one-on-one. Does that clear it up for you? If you were going to inquire for birth photography services, you would be in HoneyBook and that’s how I would respond to you one-on-one. But if you’d join my newsletter list, you would be in Convertkit. Convertkit is how I e-mail a bunch of people all at one time. Does that make sense? Hopefully that helps a little bit.
I do use Convertkit for that automatic responder, but I am 99% sure that you can do that in HoneyBook as well. Okay. So I’ve got some twos in the chat. Thank you for your honesty.
Q: Adrienne said, “Is Convertkit similar to Mailchimp?”
A: Yes it is. They’re both–the name of it totally left my brain–but they’re like e-mail management softwares.
First e-mail workflow that I want you to have, and guys, if you do not have this one, this is your starting A point because we’re going to talk about some other ones, but I don’t want you to start to get overwhelmed with like all of these things that you’ve got to create, and then you’re just feeling overwhelmed so you don’t do anything. I would much rather you just start here. And when you’re starting with the first e-mail workflow, starting to inquiry response, and just create a super simple template, it does not have to be this super complicated thing.
If I was like, “Hey Kylie,” verbally to you. If I said, “Hey, I’m really interested in birth photography. Can you tell me some more information? What does that look like? And what’s your pricing? When are you available?” How would you respond to me? I was just like a person. What would you say that sounds like you and is partly like part of your brain? I think we put a lot of pressure on this Inquiry E-mail Response, and it is important. But I don’t want you to put so much pressure on yourself that you never created a template, which then leads to you never responding to people quickly because you’re taking so much time to come up with this. If that makes sense. So hopefully that was helpful for you guys, but it is important, but I don’t want you to be paralyzed by it.
The second e-mail workflow, if you’re like, “I got the Inquiry Template, I got the Follow-up e-mails, I’m good to go there. What’s next? The second e-mail workflow is the New Client On-boarding. What this is basically once somebody books with you, it’s working them through a series of e-mails to help them feel like they made the right decision, as well as educate them on whatever they need to know about the process.
So think about somebody who is booking you for birth photography and they’re 12 weeks pregnant. They pay their deposit. What do they need to know from that moment until they have their baby?
What do they need to know about…
…that’s what you’re going to include in these New Clients On-boarding E-mails. Of course, at the beginning, it’s going to be, you know, sign your contracts and pay your deposit. You’ve got your first birth consult and all of that. But I want you to think about these e-mails more like, “How can I serve them?” They’ve booked with you, now you want to reassure them that they’ve made the right decision.
I don’t know if you guys have ever had this happen to you where you pay a lot of money for something you already invest heavily in and then you just don’t hear from that person, at least not for a week or two or three or months. And you’re kind of like, “Uhh, did I make the right decision? Did I do the right thing?” I want your clients and I want my clients to feel like immediately when they book with me that I’m going above and beyond and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I’ve got you, Kylie. I’m so glad I’ve booked with Adrienne. I’m so glad I’ve got you, Jessica because she’s taking care of me from the very beginning.
On the flip side, have you ever had someone really go above and beyond for you? Right after you purchased something from them, like really big or small, have you ever had someone go above and beyond for you where you’re like, “I’m so glad I made this decision?” That’s how I want your clients to feel. The e-mails need to say you made the right choice.
So hopefully that gives you some ideas for this second e-mail workflow. It really does matter. It does not have to be this super complicated list of e-mails. It can be really basic. It can be two or three e-mails. But the one e-mail for this section that I do want you to have is an immediately-upon-booking “Congratulations! So excited to have you! Cannot wait to work together!” All of that immediately. Right away. And give them immediate next steps like, “Hey, I got your deposit. I’m so excited. I just want to let you know that now we’ll schedule your next consultation for x weeks” or “now I want to give you this blog post to read about some of my favorite birth moments or just something that’s helpful and valuable immediately after they book.
Q & A
Q: Adrienne said, “I think I have to go back through the course because I don’t have any of that!”
A: Then if you are a student inside of Marketing School, I gave you all of my e-mail templates for this that you can customize and make sound like you and use them. So they’re in the Client Referral Module, Adrienne.
If you do not already have a CRM, it makes it so much easier. CRM stands for Client Relationship Management. And we use HoneyBook to track all of this and it helps keep things so, so simple. As soon as an inquiry comes in, they go to the follow-up sequences, then they go to schedule their meeting, consultation, planning–all the way through the whole process. That’s what I love about HoneyBook, it keeps all our stuff all in one place. If you want to check out HoneyBook, you can go to thebeautyinbirth.com/honeybook and get 50% off. I love HoneyBook. Highly recommended for a Client Relationship Management.
Q: Jessica said, “I’m a horrible writer. Any recommendations on where to start or better yet templates to purchase?”
A: Jessica, I would push back on you a little bit and say I don’t think you’re a horrible writer. I think that maybe you just haven’t learned how to write, which is kind of what you’re saying at the end there. I don’t think any of us are born knowing exactly how to write. My tip for you, Jessica, would be what I told Kylie earlier–would be, if I was like, “Hey Jessica, I’m interested in birth photography. What does that look like with you? What are your packages like? And what can I expect?” How would you respond to me? And if I booked with you, what would you want for me to know after I booked you? How would you want me to feel? What do I need to know between that 12 week-mark and the 40-week mark? And again, don’t let yourself slip into overwhelm here of like, “Oh my gosh, there’s so much!” Again, go back to the inquiries, the first one we talked about, and get that going. If you don’t already have that. This is step two, okay?
I know you said templates to purchase. I don’t know any, but I’m trying to give you free ways to create this yourself and understand that nobody is just born like an amazing writer. It’s a learned skill that you can totally learn.
So we talked about the first is the Inquiry and Follow-up. The second is the New Client On-boarding, so they know they made the right decision hiring you. The third is Client Off-boarding. What does that mean? It means after they’ve received their photos, what do you want to happen? A lot of people drop the ball here. This is probably for like slightly more advanced students, but a lot of photographers drop the ball here. It’s like, “Okay, they got their photos. They’d like their photos. Yay! I’m done editing. Moving on.” But there’s still an off-boarding process that can be really beneficial for you and your clients. I would like you to use this to get feedback.
First of all, from your client…
And you guys, I know it’s really hard to hear sometimes of like what they wish was different that I have learned so much from hearing my client say, “You know, I was kind of confused about this part of the process or I wasn’t sure how this would go or I wish that this was different.” And when I hear that from more than one client, I’m like, “You know what? Something is broken. Something needs to be fixed here because I don’t ever want my clients guessing or wondering what’s happening at any point through the process.”
And the only way that I’m going to know if there’s a problem is if somebody tells me. And chances are, they don’t want to hurt my feelings, so they’re not just going to tell me. Once it was just like really, really terrible, they’re not going to just tell me. And so I have to ask them, how was your experience? What can be improved? What was great? So I know it can be hard to hear that, but that’s how you grow and that’s how you improve as a business person and as a photographer. So that’s one part of the client off-boarding is getting feedback on their experience.
Blog Post Questionnaire
Another part of our client off-boarding is we send a blog post questionnaire to our newborn and birth clients. And basically what that is is it’s kind of them writing the blog post for their session for us. We ask them a series of questions specific to their birth story and then also specific to their newborn session, so that we can create a blog post and don’t have to just come up with something from scratch. And that’s also part of our off-boarding process.
After they filled out the feedback form, we say, “Hey, we would love to feature you on our blog. Can you answer these questions about your birth story?”
All those kinds of questions. And then we can put those pieces together to create a blog post, which is great because then it just like removes some of the work from us and it makes it more personalized to them. And a lot of times we learn stuff that we didn’t even know about them in that blog post. So the third e-mail workflow is the Client Off-boarding–making sure they got their stuff, making sure they love their stuff, getting the feedback and the blog posts survey.
Q & A
Q: Amber said, “If someone inquires on Facebook, how do you move them to HoneyBook?”
A: Great question. So I literally say, “Hey, thank you so much for reaching out. I can’t wait to learn more about your family. Do you mind filling this out for me so that I can make sure I have all the information that you need?” And I send them a link to my Contact Form. That’s literally it because I want everyone in one central place. And so if somebody like text messages me, DMs, or Facebook messages me or whatever, I always send them to my Contact Form to get them into the pipeline so that they can all have that streamlined experience.
Tamika, I use HoneyBook. thebeautyinbirth.com/honeybook will get you 50% off if you want to check it out. I think they also have a free trial if you want to click in there and mess around. But I really like HoneyBook. We’ve been using it for years.
Q: Adrienne said, “Do you do the blog posts for non-birth?”
A: Great question. And I would, if I was short on sessions, but at this point we don’t. We do a lot of family sessions and baby milestone sessions that literally never make it to our website or blog. And it’s not because we don’t value them. It’s because we want to be seen as specialists. Like I want people to know me as a birth and a newborn photographer. And so I don’t want a bunch of other sessions clogging up the blog. However, when I didn’t have enough, um, birth and newborn to share, I did blog other sessions, but I still use birth and newborn keywords on the blog posts. And I always link back to, you know, the birth that I did for them or the newborn that I did for them if they were birth and newborn clients.
Don’t overthink this. Done is better than perfect. Start with one of the things that we’re talking about here today, please do not try to do all of this at one time. You’re going to get overwhelmed and you’re going to shut down and you’re going to not do any of it. Okay? Start with one e-mail, just a little reminder there for you.
The fourth e-mail workflow that I would love to see you have in your business is a New Subscriber On-boarding. What does that mean? How is that different? This is when somebody subscribes to your e-mail list. They’re not necessarily booking you. They’re not necessarily inquiring with you, but they joined your e-mail list. So this is kind of next level for those of you who have a lead magnet or a way that you’re growing your e-mail list, I would love to see you have a series of e-mails for sure. One if not two or three, that just welcomes them into your world.
Similar to the new Client On-boarding, you’re just saying like,
“Hey, thank you for joining my e-mail list. Here’s what you can expect from me. Here’s what you can expect to see from me. As a new subscriber on my e-mail list, here’s a little bit about me. Would you click reply and tell me about you and your family?”
This matters because it’s like almost like a mini Client On-boarding. This person hasn’t paid you money, but they have given you their e-mail address, which is also quite valuable. And so you want to start that nurturing process within, right at the very beginning, welcoming them to your e-mail list, letting them know what to expect from you and learning more about them.
So just to recap…
Again, my big takeaway for you guys here is to not overthink this. Choose one. If you do not have the inquiry response templates and the follow-up templates, that is where I would start. Don’t overcomplicate it by thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’ll have to go buy HoneyBook. I have to go do all this stuff and I’ve got to get all that set up before I can do an e-mail template,” okay? I love HoneyBook. I would love for you guys to use HoneyBook. But I don’t want you to think that it has to be perfect and you have to have a CRM perfectly set up before you can do any of this.
Literally, however people are inquiring with you right now. Whether if it’s like your e-mail–if it’s email@example.com, I don’t know if anybody uses Hotmail anymore–however, they’re contacting you, write out an inquiry response and save it as a template right now. You do not have to have fancy stuff to do this, okay? I would much rather you do that and respond quickly than try to go get all this stuff set up and stress yourself out with trying to make it perfect, okay? Ask me how I know it’s because that’s what I did for a long time before I finally just decided done is better than perfect. I’m going to get something out there and not try to make it perfect.
Q & A
Q: Jessica…”What are some topics you cover in the e-mails that are between signing up and their birth?”
A: Awesome question. And this is where I want you to think about what’s going on in their life, in their pregnancy.
So think about it from a mom perspective, like you as a mom, think about it from a local perspective. Like what are some resources that you can share with them based on their gestation right then, and then think about it from a photography perspective of like, what do they need to know about working with you as a photographer and what do they need to know about birth photography? And again, it doesn’t have to be a bunch of e-mails. It can literally be three e-mails, but just touching base with them.
The reason that I started doing this, you guys, is because I would have people literally book me when they were like eight weeks pregnant. And then I wouldn’t talk to them again until their last consultation at like 36 weeks. By the time it got to that, I was like, “Oh my gosh…who is this? What are they…like, what’s going on?” You know? And I’m sure they felt the same way about me cause he didn’t have any communication at that time. And so in the e-mails that we send, I’ll say like, “Will you click reply and let me know how your pregnancy is going? Click reply and let me know if you found out the sex of your baby,” just so that we can like continue this relationship. And it’s not like, “Oh, I paid her $2,000 like six months ago. And I haven’t heard from her.” You know what I mean? It’s just a continue to build that relationship. Done is better than perfect. Write one e-mail. Put it out there and you can always add to it.
Thanks for being here, you guys. I love talking about this. I love talking about workflows and systematizing things to help you give your clients a really, really good experience. I will be back next week here on Facebook Live chatting about another topic. Let’s see what we’re going to talk about next week. We’re going to talk about what to look for in a mentor, questions to ask your mentor, like how do you find somebody like that to work with and what kind of questions did you ask? So that’s what we’re going to talk about next week here on Facebook Live. Have a great week and we’ll talk soon. Bye guys. Thanks for being here.
Okay, friend, don’t let this overwhelm you please write down one thing you want to take away and take action on that one thing. Promise? Pinky promise? Okay. I hope so.
Hey, just a quick reminder, like I said on this episode, if you’re in need of a CRM, a Client Relationship Management tool, we use and love HoneyBook. It’s super intuitive, easy to set up. You can keep all of your e-mail workflows and your templates and contact form. You can send invoices, keep all of your client activity in one spot. I love HoneyBook for all of those things.
And one of my favorite things about HoneyBook is for birth clients, I can set my invoice and they can make monthly payments. So I can set it up so that they pay their deposit and then pay monthly payments to pay their balance by the time I go on call for them. So it’s really convenient for the client and it’s really convenient for me because I can look in and see how many client payments I have coming in each month. So it just helps that income be a little bit more consistent and reliable. If you need a CRM or you just want to check it out, head over to thebeautyinbirth.com/honeybook and you can get 50% off your first year.
And remember my friend, if you have a passion, it’s not an accident. Everyone does not love the thing that you love. So whatever your passion is, I hope you get out there and make it happen. Have a great week.