Why you need a Client Management system to become a successful photographer
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Okay, I know talking about client management systems and automation and organization in general is not very sexy for a lot of people (it is for me, but I am a bit of a geek…). But how does having more time and being able to drinks Maï Thaï on the beach sound? A lot more sexy, right? Well, this might just be what you get if you start using a Client Management System. Maybe the beach and the drink is pushing it, but I promise you that it will save A LOT of time.
First off, what the heck is a Client Management System?
It is an online software that keeps all your contracts, invoices, clients information and projects in one place. Did I get your attention yet? No more scouring your inbox searching for details of this project you agreed to do a couple of months ago. No more creating your contracts or invoices from scratch again. And so much more.
If you search on the web, you will find a lot of different online softwares that offer these types of services. I tried a few myself, and finally chose Dubsado. It has a lot of the features that I need and then some. Check out their offer and get a free trial here.
Now let’s get to how exactly Dubsado can help growing your business, cause that’s the whole point, right?
Automate repetitive administrative tasks
This is one of my favorite feature. You can create templates for the emails you use regularly, for your invoices, your contracts, your proposals and pretty much anything else you can think of that goes out to your clients. This is going to save you so much time! But that is not even it. With Dubsado, you can setup workflows that replicates all the step of your process when working with a client. I won’t lie, it takes a little time to set it up, but once they are in place, they will save you hours of time. Not kidding.
I use Dubsado to generate contracts and invoices for my clients based on the information I entered in the client portal. It also reminds me to send the mood boards and the shot lists, it notifies my clients when I have received their product, etc. All these actions are part of workflows I created in Dubsado. You can set it up so they are done automatically by the software, or you can have Dubsado ask for review and approval before sending anything (my favorite method).
Manage your leads
This feature is insanely cool. You can actually generate a contact form in Dubsado then embed it into your website, so that anybody who contacts you through the lead capture will be added to Dubsado’s back end with all their contact information and the details about their inquiry. Then Dubsado keeps it in a neat projects page where you can see all the projects by status. (leads, current, archived – you can customize them).
What’s even better is that you can create a workflow to follow up with those leads after a while to see if they are now ready to work with you! I mean, I dropped so many leads because I just never reached back out!
Keep everything in one place
Dubsado is a great way to keep all your clients information, contract and invoices in one place. It also processes payment so you can keep track of what invoices have been paid and which ones have not. You can even create repeating invoices for your clients on a monthly retainer for example.
Because it keeps track of your invoices and your payment, the dashboard gives you a great overview of the money coming in and of your monthly revenue. You can also enter your expenses manually to get a better view of your financials and generate P&L reports for example.
Each client can also access all the documents and email conversations in Dubsado through the client portal, if you decide to use that feature. It’s pretty neat and avoid clients sending you 5 emails asking you to resend the contract 😉
Look more professional
I touched about it before, but for me, the most time saving feature of Dubsado is the ability to create canned emails and workflows: you can set up emails templates for all those emails that you send to every.single.client. If you wonder “but this is so impersonal, wouldn’t answering every email personally be a better client experience?”, I will have to say no. How many times were you so busy that you didn’t get back to your client for a day or two, and then were so short on time that you answered with a couple of lines where a whole paragraph would have been necessary? By preparing templates of your emails, you can make sure that your clients get ALL the information they need and then some, answering all the questions they didn’t know they had, in under 2 minutes.
To be even more efficient, you can setup workflows in Dubsado so that an action from your client will trigger an action in Dubsado. For example: you send a proposal in Dubsado to a possible client. They select the package which triggers Dubsado to create a contract and an invoice without you having to lift a finger. I mean, really.
Send beautiful proposals
One thing that absolutely changed my business is the use of beautifully designed, professional looking proposals. Since I started using those, I have closed a lot more deals, and at a much higher price point. You can create your proposals directly in Dubsado and allow your customers to choose their packages directly in the app which, as we just saw, can trigger the creation of the client contract and invoice.I actually create my proposals in Canva and then upload it to Dubsado just because I like to keep all my graphic design in Canva so that it’s easy to share with my team.
Want to learn more about how to start a successful photography business? Check out this article where I share my favorite tips to get started.