Making Your Email Templates Work For You: A Case Study

Airplane fashion shoot, Arielle Lewis Studios

Background:

Arielle, a dear friend of mine, is a professional photographer, and an outstanding one at that (check out her work featured throughout this post)! She’s has her own successful business for several years and has perfected her client workflow and organizational systems.

A few months ago, Arielle had several frustrating exchanges with clients as a result of the clients not fully understanding the policies and process they had agreed to when they initially booked their sessions. While Arielle’s promotional materials, website, contract agreement, and booking materials all included detailed description of her services and work process, the information wasn’t as clear in her email templates for prospective clients.  

She was losing time and money.

The Challenge:

Arielle recognized that the language in her emails templates was not communicating important information clear enough, and this was affecting her customer experience. She asked me to help her rewrite her the language and rethink the workflow of her email templates.

There were a few different factors that complicated Arielle’s email workflows:

  • She does portrait, fashion, and editorial photography, each of which requires a different set of logistics and policies, so a one-size-fits-all approach to email templates and workflows wouldn’t work. 
  • Because of the ubiquity of built-in cameras and photo editing, many people don’t appreciate the expertise and artistry of professional photographers; they underestimate the amount of planning and logistics that are needed for a real photography session and have highly unrealistic expectations of the planning and costs associated with professional shoots.
  • To maintain the artistic integrity of her work, Arielle only present the best images to her clients. Her packages don’t include the raw files of all images: instead her final products are final, retouched, flawless images (the number of which are predetermines in the contract agreement).  

Arielle needed her email templates to clearly communicate the relevant details and nuance of the particular services of interest to any given potential client.

The Solution:

I worked with Arielle to clearly convey her policies and processes for each type of client. Here’s what we did:

Step 1: Define the problem! I had Arielle talk me through her most frustrating interactions to pinpoint the areas of misunderstanding and confusion.

Step 2: Articulate the vision! Arielle envisioned what the ideal, streamlined flow of interactions would look like for each type of client.

Step 3: Detailed review of current language! I reviewed Arielle’s existing emails and workflows, and identified sections that were unclear, where additional details were needed, and where emphasis was lacking.

Step 4: I rewrote the language in her email templates to make sure that all the relevant details were thoroughly explained and reiterated throughout the email workflow.

Step 5: Implement and refine: Once Arielle started using the new templates, I advised her to make note of any new issues that arise, so I could make any necessary tweaks to the wording.

Results:

Having clear and informative email templates that preempted many of her client’s most commonly-asked questions led to immediate positive outcomes for both Arielle and her clients. With the new templates in place, Arielle was able to cut down on the amount of time spent discussing her packages and logistics via email, and her clients experienced top-level customer service from their very first interaction.

Testimonial

Here’s what Arielle had to say!

 “Working with Alex is incredibly easy and enjoyable. She is highly skilled at identifying those tasks in your workflow that give you the most stress, but more importantly she helps you identify why (all while preventing it from stressing you out further).

 This year, I realized that I was losing time and money due to unstructured email communications, and writing new emails for every lead was taking hours instead of the minutes it should take. Alex sat down with me and we went over my workflow, looking for the best points of contact and figuring out how to answer client questions before they're asked. We developed a communications flow that I can use as a baseline and tweak for individual clients, allowing both consistency and room for individualization. Then, she even wrote them out for me in my CRM so the final product was ready to use immediately. I highly recommend Alex to anyone that has a sticking point in their workflow!!”