In any business to consumer industry your relationships with your clients are hugely important to ensuring your business thrives, grows and becomes recommended to other customers. This couldn’t be more relevant in the photography industry especially in the wedding genre, couples who book wedding photographers not only want to fall in love with the photographs you capture but also feel comfortable in their decision of booking you. If you follow my photography and Creative Resources and Advice Blog closely, you will probably already be aware how much emphasis I place on client relationships and building a friendship with a couple before I capture their big day. After the initial chat/meeting in the lead up to a couple booking, which has already began to build that relationship, I then send out a welcome package. These packages have changed over the years with different formats, but they all serve a purpose not only to house all those official documents but reinforce their reasons for booking you and educating them on the way you approach your photography. Guess what, it doesn't stop there, if you design and produce a killer welcome package to send out to clients, they are more than likely going to show their friends and family and post a snap of the package on Instagram and Facebook. So, for all the photographers out there here’s some of the important information and branding styles I feature in my welcome packages and for all the brides and grooms to be who are just about to book, here’s a sneak preview of what will be dropping through your letter box.
For all the photographers, if you're at the stage of creating your welcome package, you've probably already nailed your branding and your website looks the shizz. Branding is a fairly obvious one but it is a huge tool to create a fantastic first impression, whether that's through your website, social media accounts or in this case your welcome package. Keeping your branding consistent in both your online and printed marketing tools is essential to keep that trust and professionalism in your business. The welcome package is more often than not the first physical thing your clients will receive from you, so it's a huge importance not only to keep your branding consistent from the route they booked you through (Website & Social Media) but also that the package they receive screams quality and professionalism. First impressions count!
Like your branding, the welcome package should reflect your style, approach and also you as a person. I often talk about how wedding photography is a very personal business, you and the clients both need to be at an understanding and create a friendship, so make sure you add your own personality to your package.
As soon as a couple opens up the welcome package they’re greeted with a welcome note that firstly thanks them for booking, reassures them that they’ve made the right choice in booking and finally let’s them know you're looking forward to capturing their big day. As any wedding photographer I LOVE social media, so I always include a list of the accounts I am active on, 9 times out of 10 they have probably found my work through one social media channel but maybe not checked out my others, so I always like to promote where I upload my work and videos.
Although I’m more about creating awesome photographs and growing relationships with clients, terms and conditions are an important part of my business and of course add more reassurance to the clients. I’m a straight forward kind of guy, in fact, that’s how my contract starts.. I don’t aim to confuse couples with hundreds of terms and conditions. Like my photography approach I try and keep it as relaxed as possible, I recommend you take some time to develop your contract so it is personal to you as the photographer but also the type of clients who will be booking you. If you need some more tips on what you should include, check out this blog post: 12 Terms to include in your Photography Conditions
Advertise Other Wedding Vendors
The great thing about the wedding industry is you get to meet other awesome and like minded wedding vendors and it’s more than likely they’re a similar style or feel to your portfolio.. after all, the weddings you generally meet these vendors were all booked by the same couples. If you’re like me you will build up relationships with these vendors and continue ‘networking’ with them after the wedding, so why not share these relationships with your potential and new clients? There’s many ways to include this in a welcome package, you can create a printed ‘preferred vendors’ list or just include their business cards in your package. I usually stay away from lists only because some of the wedding vendors I recommended can’t always travel as far as I can. So instead I include a small envelope that features the business cards and leaflets with all the recommended vendors, I can then tailor it to each specific client and their location. Be sure to communicate this gesture with the wedding vendors themselves, more than likely they will do the same for you in the future.
Timeline of Events
Every wedding photographer loves an organised bride and groom, but if we’re being honest it's usually the bride who’s super organised and has everything planned for the wedding day. The more pre planning goes into a wedding the smoother the day will run, ensuring the time you need for the all important shots of the bride and groom doesn't get eaten into. I always include a timeline of events the couples should be thinking of from 12 months up until the day big day, each wedding is of course slightly different so the checklist is very broad but it certainly has has great feedback from the brides and grooms that have used it so far. Photographers; you can also use this checklist to market some of your products further, for example if you charge extra for pre wedding shoots and singing boards you can add this to thier checklist rather than emailing the clients to see if they want to book one.
I’m a firm believer that a ‘stupid question’ doesn't exist and as a wedding photographer it’s important to understand that yes, we spend our lives at weddings but the couples who book you probably are tying the knot for the first and last time, so they’re bound to have lots of questions. I include a generic F.A.Q sheet that answers some of the most popular questions couples ask me, but as I will continue to mention in this blog, each client and wedding is unique and there will be small details that the bride and groom to be will need to go over with you. Remember to promote the asking of questions, you can not only use your experienced knowledge and perspective to reassure them but you can also grow that confidence that they’ve booked the right photographer for them. We all love a stress free wedding!
Pre-stamped Return Envelope
A very simple thing to include but I can reassure you that it's a necessity, always include a pre stamped envelope in your welcome package that also features your logo. In my packages I require the couple to return a completed and signed terms and conditions form. If you make the process of returning this simple for your clients, you can move forward quicker and as we all want to do.. get the boring paperwork out of the way. Finally, ensure you include the correct stamp or postage costs on the envelope, I would suggest visiting your nearest post office or delivery depot to ensure you are stamping the return envelope correctly to avoid any further fees on the return.
Good luck creating your own welcome package and I would love to see your final results. If you need any further advice or tips don't hesitate to drop me a comment or email. If you want more business advice, I highly recommend checking out some of the resources below!