What is a CRM and why do you need it.

If you have been in our facebook group you would have seen us talking about Studio Ninja and how we use this to keep our businesses running. Of Course there are other CRM’s out there such as Tave, Dubasdo, Pixieset, 17 hats and Light Blue, but from here we will be talking about our experience of using studio ninja and how this has helped to free up time and bring automation into our businesses.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Client Relationship Management and is a software programme to help deal with system and processes in dealing with everything around your clients and their bookings. CRM’s help to collect the data you need from a prospective client and track the whole journey from lead to booking. 

Here are some key components of a CRM system:

  1. Data Collection: CRM software helps you gather and store customer data from various touchpoints, including emails, phone calls, website interactions, events and social media.
  2. Organization: Collecting data in an organised and structured way for easy access and analysis. This organisation allows you to create a view of each customer.
  3. Automation: CRM systems often include automation features, which help streamline repetitive tasks, such as sending automated emails, assigning tasks for jobs, invoicing and managing follow-ups.
  4. Analysis and Reporting: CRM’s systems can generate insightful reports and analytics that help you make informed decisions about your marketing, sales, and customer service efforts.
  5. Integrations: CRM’s can be linked to other software to help streamline your business such as accountancy, emails and galleries.
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How Can CRM Help Your Business?

Now that we understand what CRM is, let’s delve into how it can be a game-changer for your photography business.

  1. Improved Customer Relationships: CRM allows you to build and maintain strong relationships with your customers using automation with templated emails written by you for each of those moments in the lead and booking process where you would normally have a touch point. This fosters customer trust and enhances their overall experience with your brand.
  2. Efficient Sales and Marketing: CRM systems can help you identify leads and prospects more effectively, reducing the time and resources spent on unqualified leads. By having specific customer job types, you are increasing your chances of success by using a workflow and communications tailored to the job type to enhance the customer journey there for increasing the chance of a booking.
  3. Streamlined Communication: A CRM system centralises customer information and communication history. This means that anyone in your organisation can access relevant information and provide consistent and well-informed responses to customer inquiries.
  4. Data-Driven Decision Making: CRM software provides valuable insights into customer behavior, which you can use to refine your business strategies. This data can guide you in future marketing campaigns, and sales efforts in such things as paid online marketing or events such as wedding fayres.
  5. Enhanced Productivity: Automation features in CRM systems help reduce manual tasks, allowing you and your team to focus on other activities within your business. This can help boosts overall productivity by cutting down on admin tasks.
  6. Scalability: As your business grows, your CRM system can scale with you. 
  7. Error reduction: Having integration such as google calendar you can greatly reduce errors in such things as double bookings and missing appointments. 
  8. Competitive Advantage: By utilizing CRM effectively, you can differentiate yourself from competitors by providing exceptional customer service and personalised experiences.

Choosing the Right CRM System

The point of a CRM is to keep you organised, and save you time. If set up well, it could almost reduce your admin tasks. But to do so, you need to choose the right platform for you and your needs. Here are some things to consider when making a decision.

  • Interface & Set Up
    Is it user friendly? Does it work well on mobile? Is it fast to load? Do you need a 3 month course to learn to use it or can you work it out as you go?
  • Included Features
    Not all systems are equal! Some are all-inclusive and offer absolutely everything (online galleries, scheduling, bookkeeping and more!). Others are just the necessities which might be exactly what you need!
  • Syncing & Integrations
    For features that aren’t included, do they sync and integrate with a platform that does offer this? Eg. Google Calendar (to avoid double bookings), Shootproof/PicTime (for automatically adding orders as invoices) , Xero or quickbooks (to avoid double-handling invoices) etc
  • Simply to find and filter data
    The ability to see how many referrals, bookings, sales etc you currently have to help you plan your marketing
  • Workflows & Automation
    Track the progress of each client workflow to make sure that you never miss a step. Automate regular check-in emails or set up reminders to let you know when important deadlines are coming up.
  • Client Notes
    Replace the sticky notes! Add anything about the client to an area that they can’t see.
  • Support of multiple photography brands
    If you have another brand for say, weddings or family portraits, the ability to use one system for each of your photography brands will be important.
  • Support & communication
    Moving to a new platform can be overwhelming. You want to have great support in doing so, with quick response times. The best way to learn about this is often by joining their user group on Facebook prior to getting started.
  • Price
    And of course, the cost is important too! Prices start at about £20 a month for basic systems.

For most of us here at Shuter Circle we use Studio Ninja as it covers nearly all that we need without being over complicated. It is easy to use and set up and integrates with lots of other tools needed in running your business. They are very honest and open about what they can and can’t do. They also have some of the most responsive and helpful team we have ever come across in the industry. They have an amazing facebook group where all active users are and listen to their community about ideas. If something sounds good it is put into the ideas pot and eventually into the road map. Having personally been with them nearly 5 years I couldn’t imagine not using a CRM now to run my 2 photography businesses. 

We are lucky to have formed a great relationship with Studio ninja over the years and because of this we are able to offer you readers an amazing discount of 50% off first year annual plan.

USE CODE Shuttercircle50

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