Your constant goal as a photographer that’s growing your business? Gain new clients and build relationships with them.
But how do you do that without losing momentum? You need to continually nurture your leads.
Lead nurturing, when done with a personal touch, is guaranteed to increase your client base and help you effectively build lasting relationships.
Text messaging is one of the most valuable tools you can use to do that. Texting allows you to instantly start conversations and gives leads a direct point of contact. It makes follow-ups easier and people are more likely to engage with text messages versus emails.
Stay connected with your leads and encourage those conversations using these six tips as you optimize your lead nurturing.
Get permission to text your leads
The first thing you should know is that you should NEVER text people you don’t have permission to text! You must be compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA requires that you honor opt-ins and opt-outs, or else you could be fined.
To stay compliant with the TCPA, simply make it clear wherever you collect contact information (for most photographers that’s through a web form) that people are consenting to receive text messages from you. Then when someone opts out, like by replying STOP to any of your messages, stop texting them. Don’t text them again unless they opt in again in the future.
If you use your phone and personal number to text leads, keep a list of any contacts who have opted out of receiving text messages from you and remove them from your address book. Refer back to that list as needed.
If you use a text messaging platform like Skipio, any contact who opts out should automatically get marked as “do not contact” and moved into a separate group so that you don’t accidentally keep texting them. This is one of the main advantages of using Skipio or another service like it.
Always introduce yourself
Whether you’re texting a new lead or a current client, it’s always important to introduce yourself the very first time you text them. Tell them who you are and what business you’re from. People don’t like random numbers texting them, so telling them who you are helps ensure that the text won’t be ignored, or worse, deleted and blocked.
Hopefully you’re texting leads right after they fill out a form on your site, so they should remember who you are, but don’t assume that they will.
Ask questions to start conversations
Grab attention with engaging questions. Your first message to anyone should always include a question.
Questions help drive the recipients of your messages to act. They give leads and clients something to care about and help them become more invested in the conversation, which leads to more replies.
You wouldn’t be texting people if you didn’t want to build an actual relationship with them — even if that relationship is mainly transactional. Your questions and follow-up should be based on your desire and eagerness to help people so you can build relationships with them and continually drive bookings.
Write short and focused messages
Text messages are meant to be short so they can be read quickly. Make it immediately clear why you’re texting and always focus your messages on the lead’s needs.
A text message thread isn’t the place to write out long messages that list all the services you offer. Instead, a text thread is a great place to focus on the value your business adds and to ask people to read a testimonial or follow a link to schedule with you.
Use the information from your web form to figure out what your messages should say to different leads.
Automate your follow-up so you don’t forget about any lead
Manual text message outreach is never sustainable. You can’t manually follow up with every single new lead as they come in. Automate your outreach to scale your communication and follow up with leads as quickly as possible!
Use even simple automations to start a conversation and keep it going. Automation is best for starting real-time conversations at times when you’re busy and might not be able to respond in the moment.
In particular, set up automatic drip messaging for scheduling shoots, sending out reminders, and staying in contact before and after photoshoots. Automating text messages makes quick, consistent follow-ups possible.
Follow up multiple times
Don’t let your leads ghost you. Lead nurturing requires multiple touchpoints. This is also why you need to set up automations with your texting. Just like sending a single email or making a single call rarely results in building a relationship and filling your calendar, neither does sending a single text.
When you ask someone a question and they reply, continue the conversation. After you’ve sent your calendar link and a lead hasn’t booked, check in a couple of days later to see if they need more help.
If someone follows your link and books a photoshoot with you, send them a confirmation and subsequent reminders. After the photoshoot, send them a follow-up text with information on the next steps, such as your editing timeline and the final link to their photos.
How can you nurture leads and build a relationship with your clients if you aren’t following up with them? You can’t. Follow up multiple times to ensure your leads don’t slip through the cracks and help them know that you actually care.
Save time and gain more clients
In the long run, nurturing leads allows you to save time while growing your client base. And automating your text messaging outreach lets you cut out busy work and focus on building lasting relationships that will help grow your business.
Skipio’s text messaging tools specifically help you nurture and communicate with your leads and clients. Explore different ways Skipio can help you start nurturing your leads.