I’m constantly going on about keeping a database of all clients, as well as prospects, emphasizing that it’s one of the most important things you can do for your business.
I always recommend keeping more data than what most would suggest. There’s the obvious stuff that everyone talks about… name, contact number, address, email, type of photography…
But then there’s the more detailed data like, allergies, hobbies, children’s names, occupation, pets. You shouldn’t ask for this in a questionnaire, but acquire it over time when you get to know the client. It creates a more ‘friend-like’ relationship, and allows you to give a much higher quality experience than other photographers.
So… Photography Client Management Systems?
Everyone is different, so I’m not going to say that my system is the best, or any other system is wrong, but here’s what I recommend.
Depending on the type of photography you specialize in will determine your needs, but most photographers don’t have many client each day. Wedding photographers usually have just one each weekend, or sometimes 2. Real estate photographers might do 3-4 jobs per day. And portrait photographers might do 6-8… but it really all depends.
So I like to keep things simple and secure.
You’ve probably had a system in the past where your computer crashes and you lost a few appointments, or you simply didn’t save what you were working on…
That’s why I recommend having a system that is constantly backed up to ‘the cloud’. Which means that it’s stored online and can be accessed from any computer, smartphone or tablet around the world… with the right login details of course!
Which Should You Choose?
In the spirit of ‘keeping it simple’, I recommend using Google Docs at docs.google.com
You can easily create a spreadsheet that has
- a column for all your clients
- followed by columns for…
- Postal Address
- Phone Number
- Type of photography
- Date of event
- Date of first contact
Plus more columns that would be relevant only for specific types of photography, like…
- Partners name
- Children’s names
- Clothing Size (if clothing props needed)
- Pet’s name
- Shooting address
Then I recommend having a few columns that are simply for extra notes that you can call “notes 1″, “notes 2″ etc.
- Honeymoon destination
Anything that the client mentions that would be useful for you to remember.
The great thing about Google Docs is that you can access it from anywhere there’s internet. So, any computer, your smartphone, or tablet, even some TV’s!
Now for Your Photography Calendar
I recommend Google Calendar at google.com/calendar/
It can be accessed from anywhere, and is backed up instantly to ‘the cloud’ just like Google Docs. It allows you to keep track of your schedule very easily, as well as have multiple calendars, such as one for your personal life, and one for your photography business, which are displayed in different colors.
It has fields for all the important stuff… time, place, description, guests, and reminder time.
It’s compatible with Android phones, and iPhone’s, so will alert you on your phone when an appointment is coming up…
Heck, if you’ve got a late model Android phone it’ll even tell you what time you should leave to arrive on time!
PLUS, it’s all free!
You really shouldn’t need to worry about any of those paid software’s that often have a monthly fee to access. Unless something actually adds profits to your business, then it’s a wasteful expense!
These software’s usually do have some pretty nice features, but they’re certainly not necessary and will often cause you more grief because of the number of useless options.
All you really need is to be able to store the information securely and be able to access it with ease. Google’s services give you this capability, plus more!
So, if you’re not already keeping all these details of your clients and prospects, then start doing it immediately! Being able to keep in touch with them over time is one of the best things you can do for the growth of your business, plus it is extremely cheap!
Sign up for these Google services and make your photography business management, more organised and easy today!