Email autoresponders might be one of the more powerful – and simple – tools for keeping your brand top of mind with your prospects.

How often do you respond to an inquiry, only to hear… crickets. Nothing. You wait days, and you wonder how much longer you should wait. Do you send a follow-up email? What do you say? What do you ask? How do you keep in touch, without being annoying?

Autoresponder

Our favourite email marketing tool, Mailchimp, has an Autoresponder feature known as Mailchimp Automation.

(Other email marketing tools all have similar features.)

An automation suite doesn’t need to be any longer than 2 or 3 emails, but will keep the conversation going, and keep your brand top of mind.

The following assumes you are sending your inquiries into an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, either via an API, email integration, using a tool like Zapier or ITFTT, or just via direct email.

Setup

Within Mailchimp, you create a new Email and click the “Automated” tab, selecting one of the automation email options.

Keep it simple – you can change and tweak almost everything later – I like the ‘Subscriber Activity > Welcome new Subscribers’ option:

I suggest setting up just a few emails – you don’t want to overwhelm your inquiries, but you want to be top of their mind. In marketing, top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) refers to a brand or specific product being first in customers’ minds when thinking of a particular industry.

Top of mind awareness helps make you their first choice.

Timing

Immediately

When an inquiry is received, it probably takes you some time to respond – right?

You’re probably not at your desk at that exact moment. You probably need to read through the inquiry details. You probably need to check your calendar. You probably need time to load your canned response, attach your price list, personalize some details, etc.

An immediate autoresponder will send through an email within minutes. It will hit the prospect’s inbox and give them something to remind them of you.

And, hopefully, it’ll be something a little useful too!

1 week later

It’s very possible that you’ve made a meeting, or even booked the client, within one week. But statistics show that most meetings & bookings actually take longer than one week. Sending another automated email within 4-5 days will keep you top of mind, and hopefully also be something useful.

I love the idea of a small guide: “How to pick the best wedding photographer”, or “Things to look for in your wedding photographer”, or “What makes great wedding photos”, or “The best time of day for beautiful bridal portraits” – something relevant to their photographer search, something that shows you know this wedding photography thing, something that helps position you as an authority.

Or be like the mofos at Bayly & Moore and send them “20 new album recommendations and a recipe for slow-cooked pork tacos.”

Funny, interesting, useful – and a little bit left-field.

3 weeks later

Some prospects and clients are very organised and want things to happen very quickly, but some take weeks, even months to make a decision.

People are busy.

How often have you chased up an old inquiry, only to find they’re still working through things, and your email was exactly the nudge they needed to book a meeting with you?

It’s happened to me more often than you’d believe. A follow-up email can do wonders for your booking rate.

Automate it. Send out a 3-week reminder that you’re still here.

Continue on the guide idea: “Some recommendations for other wedding vendors”, “The best way to schedule your wedding day”, or anything else you think is helpful and useful and keeps you – your brand – top of mind.

Or keep up the personal recommendations – “What we’re listening to – bop of the week”, “Creative things that excited us this week”, or “This new pinot noir I just discovered”.

Good marketing is simply helpful marketing.

You’re not trying to sell. You’re just being helpful.

There’s a lot of really neat tools out there for effective online marketing.

Are you currently using:

  • ClickTalk
  • The Facebook Tracking Pixel
  • CrazyEgg
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Remarketing Tracker
  • Google Analytics
  • ???

You probably should be, but the installation of all of these Google and third-party tools is just… well… a little bit geeky, and a little bit painful.

Every time you’re setting up a new tool, you’re faced with directions like this for code snippets:

Google Tag Manager helps manage all of these – and more – without constantly editing code. You can manage all of these scripts from a single dashboard.

It’s built for small businesses – like us – to deploy website tags:

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags -- including conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and more—with just a few clicks, and without needing to edit your website code.

Google never make the most user-friendly tools, so here’s a few tips to help you through the process:

Installation

Signup for a Google Tag Manager account: Google Tag Manager.

The “Add a New Account” is essentially telling it about your website:


And here comes the only really geeky part: you’ll still need to get a code snippet into your website:

If you’re a WordPress user, DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager for WordPress plugin is very highly rated and super simple: Google Tag Manager for WordPress Plugin

If you’re a SquareSpace user, this guide from Yo! Web is super helpful for your install: Google Tag Manager: How to add to Squarespace template

Usage

Once installed, your initial state should look like this:

Whenever you want to install a new tag – or tool – you choose “New Tag”:

And find your chosen Tag here:

The parameters for each tag installation vary, and while words like “Conversion ID” or “Track Type” can seem confusing, the steps to guide you through each tag installation are helpful.

As an example below, if you were installing the Google Analytics tag, the “Tracking ID” value from your Google Analytics account here:

Is exactly what you would insert into Google Tag Manager here:

It’s almost that easy!

(Our 12 Weeks to Wedding Photography Marketing Mastery Course takes full use of the Google Tag Manager when it walks you through setting up your Google Ads Remarketing tag.)

Do It!

Go on, install Google Tag Manager – you’ll save so much pain and time when you need those amazing new marketing tags in the future!

We all know hardly anyone makes a phonecall these days. You’ll also understand the hesitation prospects have in completing your contact form, or sending you an email. These create friction, and lead to people not contacting you.

You might have noticed an increase in messaging via Facebook, or other social media platforms – essentially less formal communication methods.

“Messaging is the modern communications channel of choice – and you need to be where your customers are.”

Let’s remove these hurdles.

Live Chat

Let’s incorporate a Live Chat into our website. You can achieve faster responses, and customers prefer live chat over the formality of emails.

There are a number of solutions – most of these are enterprise-level solutions for larger businesses, most have far more functionality than we need, and many have pricing plans that require financial commitments:

That list is intense. If you want a slightly more sensible list, G2Crowd has a crowdsourced list that positions Intercom, Hubspot, and Drift near the top, and I have a personal fondness for Drift, so have used this for the example below:

Drift

My preferred Live Chat solution is Drift – a conversational marketing platform that does so much more, but the beautiful thing is:

  • their FREE plan includes the Chat functionality;
  • they have iOS/Android apps so you’re available away from your workstation;
  • and it’s so unbelievably easy to setup.

Just perfect for what we’re after!

(Sure, there’s a lot of functionality you’re missing on the FREE plan – Drift offers much more – but we’re just wanting a simple solution for now.)

Sign up for a Drift account: https://www.drift.com/

Setup your site’s welcome message

Keep it simple, but on-brand to start with.

I like the idea of letting people know you’re available to answer questions informally, removing the hurdle of contact forms.

“Avoid a phonecall or email – we’ll answer any questions quickly here.”

“Any questions about availability or pricing – we’ll quickly answer them here.”

“I’m sitting here editing and would love to chat to a real human.”

(At least you’re being honest!)

Install Drift for WordPress

Drift is super easy to install for WordPress users:

  • Search and install the Drift plugin
  • Copy & paste your Javascript code into the Drift settings
  • Ta Da!

Install Drift for Squarespace

Squarespace users need to use Code Injection, a Premium feature available in the current Website Business plan and higher.

From here, it’s also simple: copy & paste the same piece of Javascript code into the Header portion.

5 minutes worth of effort, and you’ve got a Live Chat solution installed on your website. How easy!

Test it works

Visit your website in an Incognito window to see the Live Chat speech bubble and popup. Send yourself a message, understand how your notifications are setup, reply to yourself – see how easy it is to answer your prospect’s questions.

Install the iOS / Android app

My favourite is the iOS/Android app: allowing you to converse with your prospect when you’re not sitting at your workstation.

It’s free, and even easier to setup: install; login; you’re done.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

References
  1. https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-messenger-bots-guide/
  2. https://messenger.fb.com/
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/most-used-smartphone-apps-2017-8#6-instagram-5

Why 12 weeks? Isn’t that really long? Why can’t you deliver the marketing goodness quicker, or give me everything at once?

It’s about forming the HABIT.

I *could* deliver all the information – all 12 modules, all 80+ lessons – in one big dump. You’d glance at it, you’d read a couple of things, you might do something, but you know you’d probably rarely come back, you’d probably rarely revisit it.

We’ve all got Creative Live videos we haven’t watched. We’ve all got toolkits we haven’t used. We’ve all got books we haven’t read.

We know a habit isn’t formed quickly: it takes routine. 21 days. 2 months. 66 days. The science is all over the place (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit) but we know it isn’t formed overnight.

The 12 weeks is *my* attempt to help you create the marketing routine – work on your marketing over 12 weeks, and hopefully continue once the 12 weeks are over.

Here’s a quick video:

Why 12 modules? Do I really need that many prongs to my marketing strategy?

I filmed a quick video this afternoon explaining why, actually, no you don’t need 12, you could probably just pick 3 or 4 or 5 – but the course gives you enough tactics to give you 12 strings to your marketing bow… and imagine if you did!

UNFOLD - Your Photography Business Coach

How’s your marketing?

Are you marketing your wedding photography? Is it regular? Is it a habit?

Maybe this can help.

12 weeks of marketing. Over 80 lessons. More than 200 ideas, tips, questions, and action points.

More marketing knowledge than you could ever find in a single resource, spread out over a 12 week period, helping you form a marketing habit.

An online course that should energize your wedding photography marketing, and hopefully make your marketing into a regular routine.

More leads, more inquiries, more weddings. That’s our goal for your photography business.

12 Weeks to Wedding Photography Marketing Mastery @ https://unfoldyour.biz/.