Congratulations! Your client has signed your contract and paid their retainer! Now it’s time to make them realize what an amazing decision they made booking you!
The client onboarding process is part of the process that’s extremely important, yet often overlooked. During this time, you want to provide your new client with information about what to expect from you, education about planning their wedding day, and even your industry recommendations. And above all, this is your time to get to know your client and build a meaningful relationship with them!
And in order to do all of these things, you need to have a streamlining, repeatable process for onboarding new clients every time. That is why I want to give you a sneak peek at a few of the essential elements of my client onboarding process. Yes, I am taking you directly into my own workflow and showing you exactly what I send to my clients in the first few days, weeks and months of our time together.
First, Tell Them What’s Coming Next (Immediately After Booking)
Immediately after they’ve signed their contract and paid the retainer, my CRM automatically sends an email titled “Thank you for booking- here’s what’s next!”
I send this email for a couple of very important reasons.
- To confirm that I’ve received their contract + retainer
- To tell them about my team – our office hours, how to get in touch, etc.
- To remind them about important contract items – turn around times, albums, etc.
- Give details about booking their engagement session
- Mention albums (if they didn’t purchase) and that whole process
- To tell them what’s coming next – encouraging emails, education, and just general excitement for them and their upcoming big day!
I know. That’s a lot. But you have to think, they just committed to spend a good amount of money on your services. You want to make them feel at ease and confident that you have everything under control and on your radar. It’s your first chance in their process to showcase your organization, professionalism and personality!
Next, Vendor Recommendations
This is the first email I send to my clients after the confirmation + what’s next email is sent. I know that wedding planning can be SERIOUSLY overwhelming. There are SO MANY options. If my couple were to go on the Knot, they’d find 100s of every type of vendor they’re looking for. The wedding market is saturated, to say the least!
I want to take the overwhelm out of my clients planning process and help them by recommending my favorite, trusted vendors. Since my client has already booked me, I know that they trust me, (otherwise they hopefully wouldn’t have booked!) so I love getting to send this email and give them options for every type of vendor they might need.
Listen. You’ve been in the industry for years. You’ve met a lot of amazing vendors that you’ve loved working with along the way! Do your clients a huge favor (and save them hours of time) and share that information…plus, you get to support other small business owners – it’s a win-win!
P.S. This email simply has a list of vendors, categorized by type with their website links! Nothing complicated. Just make your list and send (and of course, save it as a template to use on other projects 😉
Now It’s Time to Get to Know Them
After I’ve sent my “what’s next” email and passed along all my vendor recommendations, it’s time to get to know my clients. There are several different ways I do this in my client onboarding process. Before I send anything, I start by following my clients on social media and adding them to my Laura Lee Photography Bride Facebook page. A simple way to get connected online, give them a new community to engage with and learn more about each other 🙂
Then comes the really important part – client questionnaires. I send a variety of questionnaires to my clients during the onboarding process. But, the one I want to highlight here is the relationship questionnaire (because it’s my favorite!)
This is the first questionnaire I send so I can start getting to know my couple!! I love reading these so much! In this questionnaire, I ask questions about their dating life, their engagement story, favorite things, questions for the Bride, questions for the groom, and more. In my email to them with the questionnaire, I encourage them to sit down with a glass of wine and just have fun with it. And the responses I get are just amazing!
Don’t underestimate the power of getting to know your client in your onboarding process. When you are able to make a true connection with someone, you’d be amazed at how it changes the relationship and your time together (and ultimately the number of referrals you get!)
Prioritize Client Education Throughout
I am a HUGE believer in client education! Just think: you do dozens of sessions and weddings a year. You know all the ins and outs of a wedding day. You know how long things should take. You know how to survive family portraits without stress, how to prepare for an engagement session, amongst a million other things.
It is part of your job to educate your clients on everything you know so that you can build up their confidence in you AND create less stress for them.
By providing useful and timely education throughout the client onboarding process you benefit yourself and your client in so many ways.
- You build the know like and trust factor with you, so that on the wedding day or during their portrait session, they know things will be under control.
- You showcase your professionalism
- You go above and beyond expectations and give them a remarkable experience worth remarking about to their friends!
- And more!
One of the most important parts of my client onboarding process is education about the wedding day timeline.
As the photographer, I believe we need to have the most control of the timeline of any vendor. We need to make sure that EVERYONE is coordinated, with enough time to get the couple all the pictures they dream of!
When I started my business, I used to run into a lot of issues on the wedding day regarding the couple’s timeline! I wasn’t being proactive with education about this, so after one too many issues, I finally decided it was time to educate my couples on how much time I actually need for certain sections of the wedding day!
So the “Wedding Day Timeline” email contains a link to an evergreen blog post about creating the wedding day timeline which explains how much time I need for portraits, for family formals, for wedding party, etc.Since sending this over, I’ve had very minimal problems with wedding day timelines being too crammed!
Alright, so here’s a recap of those different pieces of my client onboarding process.
Each one with its own important purpose for getting to know my clients and wow-ing them with a great client experience from start to finish.
- Tell Them What’s Coming Next
- Vendor Recommendations
- Get to Know Them
- Prioritize Client Education
Now it’s your turn, what do you do to give your clients an unforgettable experience? Do you send little client gifts, do you meet them for coffee in person? Tell me below in the comments!