Hey, guys. Welcome back to another episode of the Business Journey podcast. I am so glad to have you. I'm Rebecca, and I am joined today with a sweet friend of mine. Her name is Dolly DeLong. Dolly. If you've been following along my podcast, I mentioned Dolly quite a bit like she; I say hashtag be like Dolly, because Dolly is just amazing and so sweet and really champions community. And she was the first person in Nashville to, like, reach out when I moved here and want to include me and be friends. And so I'm just so thankful for Dolly. But she is a family photographer and educator in Nashville, Tennessee. So she and I are Nashville buddies and she is just a wealth of knowledge. Dolly is an expert in all things automations and workflows and systems, and so I know you guys are in for a treat because today we're talking all about automations for your family photography business. So, Dolly, welcome to the show.
Dolly: Thank you so much for having me, Rebecca. I'm really excited to be here.
Rebecca: Yeah, we are so excited to have you especially diving into, you know, this just expertise of yours with all things automations. And I'm an automation freak, but I found him not as big into automations because you are just like stellar at them. Even when we were talking before this, I was learning new things, so I am just really excited to dive into this conversation today. I think it's to me great.
Dolly: Well, I'm excited. Let's do it!
Rebecca: So for those that don't know Dolly, like I said, she is the automation queen. And so today we're going to talk about how to automate your family photography business because I think there is it tends to be kind of a disconnect in family photography that we just don't have as many automation set up. Usually that's I did from the start, but as I'm talking to other photographers, I found that that's not normal. And so most family photographers don't have automation set up, usually because they just don't know what kind of things they can automate, which is exciting to like. Learn those things because automations just make your life so much easier and simplify a lot of things and just get your time back. You guys know that I'm just a huge proponent for Work-Life Balance and being smart with your time and outsourcing what you can, and this automation piece is a great piece if you're not ready to outsource yet, but you know that you can't do everything on your own, then automating things is such a great step to get some things off your plate. Let a machine do it. And you know there are ways Dolly's going to talk about how we can still make sure your personality is in there. And it's not like a robot, but we can let a machine do some things, and it just frees you up to be able to do things. Only you can do so. Dolly, tell us about some ways that photographers can automate their family photography business.
Dolly: Yeah,  of course, before I go, really take a deep dive into several points that we have planned out. I want to just set the stage and just kind of relieve everyone who's listening to this, because I'm sure when you hear the term workflow systems automation, you might freeze up and you might think, Well, I'm just I'm too dumb to figure that out because I'm, I'm creative minded and I just I just don't vibe with that. And so I'm going to I'm just here to say that you can understand this. You are smart enough that you you opened up your own creative business, whatever it is specifically, for this example, family photography business, you're navigating these waters. And so I know you can navigate the waters of workflow and systems like I have confidence in you. And so I also want to remind you that systems and workflows are like, I think of them as a blueprint for my own business. So your systems might be totally different than mine.
My blueprint of my business and so everything that I'm about to share today, you can take that and you can tweak it to fit your business and make it very personalized to fit your business and still have, like magical systems in place for your small business.
Rebecca: Dolly, I love that you the way that you described as a blueprint. It reminded me of like building a custom home that there's like a general blueprint of, you know, how to build walls and where to put doors and things like that. But then there's so many like design intricacies in a custom home that maybe somebody wants arched, you know, doorways or whatever. And I feel like that's how automations can be is that, you know, we have a basic structure of like Dolly can show you walk you through. These are things that you should be automating or that you can automate. But the way that you do it, you know, it can be just flexible to what works for you and your business. So I think that was just such a great, a great way to put that.
Dolly: Thank you so much. I  wanted to also share that I think it's so you were on Laylee's podcast. I was. Her podcast is called. So here's the thing. OK, I'm going to give you both a shout out because this is something that I was listening to and I was like, Yeah, I was like, actually, like nodding my head while I was driving my car and my son and I were in the car and he's like, What is wrong with my mom? But you had mentioned earlier and this kind of like goes into workflows and systems, but you said, like, it's so important to map out your SOP's, your system's operating procedures like everything that goes into your business. And so think of this. Think of systems as you mapping out certain processes of your business. I'm not trying to be like incredibly dark here or take a turn for the dark, but like, what if something happens in your business? Like, you have to go to the hospital, something happens and somebody else has to take over and run things like you need a hand things over easily to your assistant, to your spouse, to somebody who's helping you out in your business or somebody who you trust that can run your business. And so these are positive steps that you are taking to, like, set yourself up for. Maybe you're not going to be one hundred and ten percent automated, but at least you'll be automated on certain parts of aspects of your business. And so I really want to encourage you all to just truly take this seriously. And again, I'm not trying to be dark and morbid and saying like, something's going to happen to you, be scared. But I think about these things. I'm like, OK, what do I need to do? Like to set myself up for success, and I can just hand it off to like my husband. He's not part of my business, but I always say to him, like, Hey, Ty if something happens to me, this is how you deliver a client gallery and this is how you refund the bill. And he's like, Why are you telling me these things? So this is so morbid. I'm like, just in case. So I just want to encourage you all just to just like, think like, think ahead for yourself.
Rebecca: So I love that. That's an important piece. And lately, my conversations with Laylee we can link get for everybody to check out. But we are talking about, you know, outsourcing and growing your team. And I like to think of automations as like another person on your team that you can outsource to. And so, yeah, it's important to keep your processes somewhere that's not just in your head, because like Dolly said, like, you just never know what could happen. And you know, if you end up in the hospital for an extended time, like somebody needs to be able to come in and be able to take what you do and at least make it stay above water, you know, they don't have to be able to like point the ship in the direction they just need to, like, keep it above water. And so by putting some automations in place that she can go over today, we'll be able to position your business to stay above water in case of emergency and of course, to ease your burden just in normal life. You know, if nothing bad happens great, your life is easier. So that's it. That's the goal here.
Dolly: Yeah, exactly. So another thing I want to say before we dive in is that I know that workflows and systems come if you're brand new to workflows, if you're brand new to this idea of setting up systems within your business, and that's totally fine. And I want to let you know, like when you do decide to get into workflows and systems, there are different phases. And when a person is looking at like setting it workflows, it's overwhelming because they're looking at like the whole, I don't know, the whole ocean or whatever the whole, I don't know, steak. If you're vegan, let's say like vegan steak, I don't know what they want to like. Do think they have to swallow it one bite, but it's literally like one bite at a time. And in this conversation, I'm going to be sharing like the first phase I think you can be doing in the first phases of your workflow and not get too deep because that's really I don't want to overwhelm anybody. I want to encourage people to actually take actionable, proactive steps today. Once you're done listening so that you, you feel empowered to set up automations and systems for your for your business.
Rebeca: Yeah, that's so good. You guys need to get a piece of paper and a pen. Take notes because she's going to give you super practical things. Like she said, you can literally like, get done with this episode or pause it and do it right then because this stuff is so practical. So take some notes and we will dive in. Dolly: OK, so the first thing is, I feel like this is repeated all the time, and I'm just going to be another person that says this. But the first way you start with automating and setting up systems for your business is by creating email templates for your family photography business. I know everybody says this, but the seriously templates, save a lot of time for you in the long run. Yes, you may. In the beginning stages of your business, and I even encourage you, if you know of your most frequently asked questions that clients are asking you or your anticipating clients or asking you or you have created content that answers a certain amount of questions, then convert those into email templates and put them into a Google drive or put them in your CRM tool like Dubsado or HoneyBook or 17 hacks. So a lot of the examples I'll be sharing is from dubsado. I use that as my CRM tool of choice. That means customer relationship management tool, but I know that many other CRM tools and different free platforms you can easily create email templates and you can if instead of like, getting ahead of myself because I'm like, I have so much to say about email templates, but I really want to encourage you to take the time. I know the sentence is weird. Take the time to save time. So if you need to carve out two or three hours this week and just write down all of your most frequently asked questions, and like I mentioned before, those emails that you're constantly writing over and over again to your clients, constantly writing over and over again about your contracts, about your invoices, like sit down and write them all out and then store them someplace where you can easily access them and you can copy paste them in a message and then personalize them to tweak and fit that conversation. So it doesn't feel so like cold and automated and robotic. It sounds very warm, and it sounds like you talking to that person.
Rebecca: Yeah, I'm a huge believer in email templates, and it's one of those things. As I've brought people on my team to we, I've been encouraging them to create those email templates because it doesn't have to be scary. It's literally if you're going to send an email more than like three times to different people, you may as well make it a template because it'll just save time in the long run. I used to even do that with like Facebook messages that I would have them in, like a note on my phone of just a FAQ Facebook message, questions and whatnot. And so, yeah, email templates are a huge time saver. If you're like Rebecca, I don't know where to start or I don't have time to sit down. I actually do have email templates up in my shop that are available for purchase. You can find them at Rebeccaricephoto.com/email-templates and we'll link it in the show notes for you if you want to check those out. Those are emails that I use in my own business that you can literally copy and paste and fill in your own business information, or if you want to create them from scratch, you're welcome to do that too. But you know Dolly's right? Get the email templates in place because that's a huge time saver. Like, you don't realize how much time you spend rewriting the exact same email over and over?
Dolly: Exactly. And you might be thinking, OK, Dolly, like that doesn't sound like automation, but it is a system, you guys. It is a system. It's part of your workflow every either your daily workflow or a part of your client workflow. So think of it that way. And if, if again, starting from scratch seems so daunting and so overwhelming to you, then take advantage of going to Rebecca's shop and getting her email templates. You guys, she's incredible. She has some great products in her shop, so please, if you need to pause it right now and go buy it and then come back, and then we can resume talking about email templates.
But but seriously, if you have some like tips on how to maybe like personalize these emails, this is what I do. And I knew my clients really like it a lot, but I recommend inserting GIFs, whatever it is, gifts, GIFs, whatever people call them.
Rebecca: I think GIFs, do you say GIFs?
Dolly: I call them GIFs,
Rebecca: But I think you're right. I think I'm wrong, but I just can't change it. It's OK.
Well, whatever it's called, I insert those into several of my email templates and it just like makes it more friendly and fun and approachable. And of course, I'm inserting their name, and I'm like adding like extra talking points about their specific family sessions. But I would encourage you like if you're if you have a favorite TV show or if you have a favorite, I don't know meme that's appropriate, of course, for family photography. Like, insert that into the email. A lot of people probably know this about me, but I love the show and this will probably age me. But oh well, I love the show. Golden Girls like I am like an eighty five year old woman at heart. I grew up watching that, like five year old Dolly would., like, watch that sitcom with like I was the only child, so I would watch it and just be like, This is hysterical. And so sometimes, like in several of my carnivals, I've inserted some golden girl gifs and like, I know my people because they.
Text me back or email me back, and they're like, Thank you for being a friend, and then I'm like, OK, OK, you get this, you get this, but certainly insert your personality, insert like just like pieces of you into the copy so that I don't know, it brings a smile to your client's face and like, they are even more excited about working with you.
Rebecca: Yeah, I think one thing for me with personalizing emails like that for the longest time, I thought that email to my clients had to be super professional. Like if you think back to like English class in school, like it's not professional to put in, you know, emojis and you have to speak a certain way and you can't use contractions and whatever. Like, I just had that so ingrained in me that it took me a long time to break that mold and be like, No, it's OK for me to be very casual in emails because that's my brand voice and I want to be, you know, casual and friendly with clients and with students. And so like, you're totally right, if you want to put a GIF in there or a GIF or whatever you call it, throw it in there. You know, put some emojis like, have all the exclamation marks like, don't feel like you have to go back and like, add periods. You do that like erase exclamation marks because you're like too excited and like put periods in.
Dolly: So it doesn't feel like I'm like, if they get annoyed, they're not my people.
Rebecca: I love that because I'm like, totally that way or I get really excited and like every, every like sentence has an exclamation mark. And so, yeah, it's OK if that's you like, leave it just like Dolly side, but just make it you. And it doesn't have to be like, you're not writing an essay. You're not, you know, if you're going to repel people because you aren't professional enough, like they're not your people. And that's OK.
Dolly: Exactly. And if you're like again, like, where do I start off with these templates? Like, how can I add two templates? And then we mentioned your template shop. But also, I know that dubsado, if you use dubsado as your CRM platform, that they provide templates for you and then that you can just like tweak them to fit your brand in your voice and everything. So it's very easy to do I. OK, this sounds weird, but I'd like sometimes time myself when I like, create new canned emails and it takes me like around 45 minutes to an hour to, like, get a good workflow out. And that includes creating a new canned email, so just set aside some time and personalize those canned emails. Another thing is like as far as organizing them. So once you have them all written out, I mentioned earlier, you can organize them for free and like a Google Doc or a Trello board, asana, or if you do have honeybooks, 17 hacks or tips. dubsado for me and Dubsado, I like to organize all of my emails by themes. So if I have, like, you're the mini section queen, so I'm gonna use mini sessions, for example. So I have Christmas Minis coming up in November, for example. I have cards, emails for that workflow. And so I attached I like group them together. And of course, I named them Christmas mini sessions, and then I put like a little Christmas emoji next to them. And so that way, when I'm going into the site, I'm going through my canned emails. It's not like a sea of like words. I'm getting overwhelmed. I'm looking for like, again, I'm very visual, so I look for the emoji and I'm like, OK, Christmas tree equals all of my canned emails for Christmas Minis. OK, here they all are. And so that's another way just to keep things a little bit more fun and organized for yourself in your CRM platform.
Rebecca: So good. I love all the emojis I could like live up to. Awesome. So let's talk about way. Number two, that people can add automations their business. I feel like I could talk about email templates all day, but we have so much more to cover.
Dolly: I know me too. I'm like, OK, I guess we should talk about the second way. OK, so point to point three kind of go together. But I'm going to start off by saying you can automate your lead capture or your contact form right off the bat. And that's something that every, every business owner needs to do, in my opinion, because, OK, so I'm just going to share an example and then we'll, we'll get into the nitty gritty of what I mean by this. So when a person is hopefully reaching out, when a client to prospective, prospective client, I lost my dreams that what a client is reaching out to you and their call that lead and they fill out your lead capture, form your contact form on your website or wherever you want to remain top of mind to them. But they're most likely looking for the same type of photographer in your area, like five or six different photographers, because they might be either price shopping or they might be like looking at like the photographers in different portfolios and just like that. You guys, it's totally normal. Don't take it personally. That happens to all photographers. But if you don't automate it at the very beginning of that, you know, once they hit submit and then you make them wait two or three days, you're probably going to be forgotten. And again, it's not because you are a forgettable person. You're probably like an amazing photographer. You have so much to offer. But because you didn't automate like that first email to go out when they first hit submit, they're going to forget you because they probably got a response from the like another photographer that they reached out to you. And so I like to call this my lead capture form that wows or creating a contact experience that wows because I want you to wow your clients like your leads right off the bat. And so and it's not that hard to do. It's not that complicated to do that. And so I don't know if you have anything to say about that, Rebecca, before we go in.
Rebecca: Yeah. I'm so embarrassed because mine is not automated. I was telling Dolly before this. I'm like, You're going to hate it. But my lead capture form is not automated, and it's one of those things that I just never got around to. And I know that it would benefit me and my team if we automate it. But I just don't have it automated. And so like, I'm talking to myself, like, I'm literally going to go and it's going on my team's agenda. We have a lot going on right now, but it's going, I mean, teams agenda that they will be automating my lead capture form because it it's just not it's not me right now.
Rebecca: We're you to change that today. Hopefully, we will. Yeah. Well, here are the steps that I really like. I have free training. I'm going to be sharing it with Rebecca so that you guys can rewatch and rewatch it until like, you guys get it down pat. But I usually set up a lead capture form. So I'm sharing this all from the perspective of dubsado, and I know a lot of it's transferable to honeybook in 17 hacks, so a lot of the language might be different. But if you are a dubsado user going to dubsado and create that lead capture form, it's one of the five main forms that dubsado offers you. It's one of their foundational forms that you need to have to set of workflows and in order to actually bring to actually bring in a lead to create a project. So when a person submits the form to work with you, they automatically become a project, so they're filed under a project. So in order for them to become a project in dubsado. You have to ask them their first name. You have to ask them their last name. You have to ask them their email address, and that attaches. This is so cool I might nerd out. It attaches to smart fields within dubsado and their smart fields. Automate it to the project. And so they like Automate. OK, this client's name is this and this and their email is this and this. And like, you can ask them a full array of questions, but I am encouraging you as a family photographer to try to step into your ideal clients shoes. OK. A lot of us are serving. I'm the family photographer as well. So a lot of us are serving moms, so moms are reaching out to us, whether they're expectant moms or they are expecting their third or fourth baby or they have a bigger family or whatever. Whatever that family size, a lot of them are, moms and moms are managing 10,000 things at once. And so whenever I talk to people about creating a lead capture form, a lot of people want to create a questionnaire and I am like, do not do not ask 10,000 questions on the questionnaire. That is for another phase of the workflow. That is where when they actually look with you and then you want to get to know them, but keep your lead capture form short and sweet because again, you have a mom that's most likely on her smartphone or like really quickly opening up her desktop to, like, fill out a contact form. Because dinner's cooking in the back or something's happening. A kid is screaming or burning something. That's my house, OK, as my house, my son is going crazy. And so I'm like, Oh, I have to like, finish this really fast. And so you want to keep it short and sweet? Ask them what type of session they're interested in. And this session is so OK. So this section is really cool. It's called the Workflow Drop Box Menu. It's like a drop box that attaches to different workflows that you've set up on the back. And so, of course, you need to set up your workflows and then attach them to whatever service that you offer. So let's say you offer three main services a maternity. Family photography, life style, family photography, newborn, and you have different workflows for each and every service. So on the lead capture side, you can make sure to attach like, OK, so when they fill out the form that they're interested in maternity, then this is going to kick off the maternity session workflow. And when they fill out the newborn session workflow, then it's going to when they fill out that they want to have a newborn photography session, then it's going to kick off the newborn session workflow and so on and so forth. And again, I try to keep a very simple, short and sweet. That way they're being kicked off into is specific there being funneled into a specific workflow and then they hit submit. And then once they hit submit, that's where the automation begins. So they automatically receive that first email for me in that first email. Is that at the top of that workflow funnel? And of course, I set that up in the beginning stages in dubsado and I'm introducing myself. I inserted you can insert a like an unlisted YouTube video or Vimeo video of you talking. And now it doesn't have to be like to that, because that would. That's impossible to do unless I'm not knowing of some technology, but I have made a generalized video of me inking the the parent or the mom or whoever is filling out my contact form. And I've created three different videos for three different scenarios. And so I just say thank you so much for filling up my contact form. This is a generalized video. I'm so excited about working with you for your newborn photography session. And so if you just scroll down this email, you'll see my packages. You'll see just like all the locations that I normally shoot at and different options for you, and I give them all the FAQs in that first email. And now it's a lot. I know it's a lot for a person to read, but it puts the ball in their court and it's also keeping me top of mind because I'm giving them their package information. I'm letting them digest the information and they see me and they hear me and I'm looking at the screen and I'm smiling. And I, I mean, I even have a mom email me two weeks ago and she said, I chose you because I really, really enjoyed the videos that you sent to me and you guys, it was a key email, that first automated email, and I was just like, Great because I'm not wearing makeup right now. And if you saw me right now, I'd be a hot mess. But in that video, I'd like done my hair and makeup. Not professional and just like showered.  And I was like, I was excited to let them know how they can work with me, and I put again put the ball in their court, and I'm also staying on top of mind.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's such a great process, and I feel like it's worth mentioning to you that it doesn't have to be like a super fancy production video. It literally like take a video sideways on your iPhone and like, you know, have your spouse or whoever like, take the video of you and just talk because that's that's I can almost guarantee you that your client wasn't like, Thank you for saying such and such and your video like she didn't remember what was in the video. She remembered that she received a video right period and that she felt that connection to you. And I think it's also important to note that it was three different videos, right? You're customizing based on what package they select so that they go down that correct path. Maybe you have different newborn packages and you know, maternity, and maybe you want to offer a bundle for newborn or whatever. Maybe it's just a family session. You would speak to each of those clients differently. And so by having you, you can record all the videos the same day. They can have the same script with one little word swapped out, you know, family, maternity, newborn, whatever. And then that way it's customized to that person and it feels really, what's the word like? Unique? It feels like it's it's for the personalized excuse me. It feels personalized to them. And so that I think that step in itself is such a great way to build trust with your potential clients. And, like you said, is automated, you had to do it one time. Set it up one time and then it's it's done.
Dolly: Exactly. And let's say like I've had clients fill out forms at like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning now because they're like party animals. They're like nursing a baby at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. We're like, Oh yeah, and we'd like to get some newborn photos. And so and so they are instantly getting it. At that moment, they're getting their question answered at that moment, you have to like. Really think about unfortunately, the culture we live in is like instant gratification. I need to know my like, I need to get my question answered right now. And although like there is like beauty in the process, there's also like you want to serve your clients and you want to stay top of mind. And if you set this up early on, it's not like you're going to be tied to your computer constantly.
Because let's say you are, I mean, like a weekend trip, you turn like turn off notifications and you're like, I just want to spend time with my family or you're doing something else in two or three days, you can go back and then you're you're inserting a personalized email to them as the next step. But they've already gotten all that information and they don't know that you've like. You've been away from your computer for two or three days.
Dolly: Yeah, that's such a good point. I love it. And Dolly kind of mentioned that she has a free training for you guys. It's creating a contact form that wows, and so we will link it in the show notes for you guys to grab that. She dives into all this. How does that all this up? So, you know, if you're like, I don't even know what she's talking about, smart field with it, so she will show you what it looks like, in dubsado. And like she mentioned, it's very transferable from, you know, dubsado, honebook 17 hats. Whatever CRM you use, you guys know, I use dubsado as well. But if you use a different system, that's OK. You can still take these concepts and apply them to your CRM. So we'll link that free training for you guys. Let's hit point number three, Dolly. What's the third way that we can automate for the family?
Dolly: It kind of goes in with point number two with the lead capture form that we're going to take a step back. And I really want to encourage you to write down all the entry points of how a person is reaching out to you. So when I say entry points, I'm talking about your website, your Instagram link in bio, your Facebook profile, LinkedIn, Twitter. I don't know who uses Twitter, but Twitter, not me. Tik tok. Like, I don't use Tik Tok, but I know people use Tik Tok and Pinterest, and so I want you to sit down and just like, really think, OK, where are my clients? Where am I present? And also, how can I make this as streamlined as possible? Because let me tell you, when you're at the beginning stages of your photography business, people A is texting you, asking you about a session person B emailing you and asking you about a session. Person C is in your, your DMs and they're like, Hey, how can I set up a session? And this is so like, Yes, you're excited about starting your business. You're excited about getting clients. But at one point you're going to get burned out from being so scattered and how you are handling each of these client experiences. Because this the top of the funnel, if it starts your workflow, technically, you want to keep it as consistent as possible. So that's where that lead capture form comes in, because you can figure out all of your entry points where people are finding you even referrals, and then you can create that one lead capture form that funnels into those different scenarios depending upon what type of family photography session they want and send them that link to fill out. Or if you're on the phone with them, you can fill it out for them. And then that way it emails all that information out to them like instantly.
Rebecca: Yes, that's such a great point is put that lead capture form that link put it everywhere, literally everywhere and any conversation you're having, send people to the form or ask, What's your email? I'd love to send you stuff and you fill out the form, so they're all coming in the same way, getting as many people to email as possible. That's awesome.
Dolly: Yeah, keep it as streamlined as possible. Like when and if that is just over like that actually doesn't overwhelm me. And all that like makes me so excited because I think of it as a giant funnel and people are coming in from all over the place and then they're just like going into one workflow, like if you need to visualize it again, we're all visual, we're all creatives. And so just think of it as just like a giant funnel and you're funneling them into one workflow with different scenarios. And it's really cool and it's lit quite literally been. This first phase has been a game changer for me in my own family photography business, and so I always try to tell everybody, please do it. And I realize I sound really aggressive about it, so I'm not trying to be aggressive about it, guys. I'm just trying to encourage you. Like, keep it simple with one lead capture form with different set, like different types of services on that lead capture form that can kick off into different types of workflows, depending on what they decide on. But make sure it's at what is just one lead capture form and it will streamline. It will streamline that first phase for you tremendously.
Dolly: So good. I love it. All right. Let's hear point number three. OK, so that's technically point number three, but so we're going into point number four.
Rebecca: Yes, boy, I never thought I can't give up.
Dolly: There was so much. So point number four is a little bit more like I really want. If you're listening to this and you're like, I need to digest points three points, one through three first before I can step in to point four. That's totally fine. So wait for is a little bit more advanced. So it involves more building blocks with dubsado within honeybook within whatever CRM tool you use. And so it's called having a proposal. And so I love these tools because let's say that you are becoming incredibly booked out for your family photography business and people are like writing you left and right and you're like, How can I work with you? How can I work with you? And you are just like, I just I want to work with you. But like, I need some form of streamlined way. So proposal is a really good way to do that because you can create the the first page is kind of like your I call it, like a mini sales page about you and your services, and they're picking and choosing what specific package they want, how they want to work with you. And then the second page, it leads them to the second page of either and informally, for me, it's a contract. They sign their contract they want and they are letting me know, Hey, yes, I want to work with you. And then the third page it kicks into is either a deposit to just like, ensure that they will work with me or it's that full payment just to save that date. Now let's say that you're like, Well, I don't really know my dates because like this, family photography business is still like a side gig for me with my full time, like other jobs. That's totally fine. Like you can. I have a question on my proposal form that asks what would be a preferred date to work with me? And if it doesn't work out, we can, like hone in on a second date. So I'm letting them know early on like this. This may not work out this date, but you can still sign your contract. You can still pay deposit and it guarantees you a spot with me for fall twenty twenty one or spring twenty twenty two. And so this has been like a very seamless process for me, and I actually I work a lot with other family photographers for like dubsado setups, ups and like systems and operations stuff. So I create a lot of proposals for that. So it's seamless and we're not having to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and back and forth because nobody has time for that. Nobody has time to go back and forth and.
Rebecca: Yeah, I completely agree with that. And I think proposals can be I like them because they're very customizable and you can use them a lot of different ways. So like you were saying, setting up your contract on your invoice. Another way that we use proposals with dubsado is for our album order form. So that's been something that we like recently this year added albums into our collections and after they've, you know, made their purchase and whatnot, they get this proposal and they can customize their album and they, you know, they can pick their cover color and they can pick, you know, if they want to add extra spreads or want to purchase, you know, gift albums for family or whatever. And then depending on what things they select, it then takes them to an invoice to buy those extra like upsell pieces. And so that's been really great for us. And if anybody's listening and you're interested in like how I do album sales and things like that, I do do them with mini sessions, which is kind of crazy because I've literally sat out of my mouth that I would never offer albums for mini sessions. And then here we are offering albums with minis, but we found a really great, like, streamlined way to do it that does not require in-person sales. And so I actually partnered with Kiss Books, which is an incredible album company, and we have a mini course that we just launched last month. So if you want to check that out, you can head to my shop will link it here in the show notes. But we do dive like way deeper into albums, and I show you the proposal that I use to for, you know, for my clients to order. So just a little side note about proposals.
Dolly: I am going to do a shameless plug for you as well. I got I took this training and Rebecca opened it up to several family photographers to see like, Hey, it's this like fully functional. Is it working? And of course, I knew like anything that Rebecca puts out and like, of course it's going to work. And so I, you guys, this is so embarrassing. I've been a family photographer for over 10 years now. It's still like, don't really incorporate album sales like at the end of like when I.
Do you a gallery delivery because like for me, I don't know. I just feel like my personality, I don't want to be too pushy with album sales. I don't want to be too like. OK, now you need to buy this and in this. And so taking that training has like in the month. Last month alone, I was sharing this with Rebecca. I sold three albums and it's just like from one email template that I inserted into the workflow, like in the fourth phase of my workflow. And I like I think it's time I like texted Rebecca. I was like, I just made an album sale. I just made it all myself. I like I. Where has she been like for the past 10 years? Where was she? And I just feel so confident now like, yeah, you helped me out so much. So thank you. So this is a plug to go, run to buy that training guys do it.
Rebecca: Oh, you're so sweet. I love it, and I'm so glad that you know it worked for your business. Obviously, we wouldn't have put it out if it didn't work for people. We did have to touch it. I was like, It works for me. Does it work for anybody else? And it did. It was great. So that's why, you know, we went for it and made this mini course. So, yeah, go check it out. We'll link it. But we do walk through, you know, I show you, our dubsado, shootproof  and like how we set this up. So I think you'll find it really helpful. No, not so. Yes. So proposals, they can set up contracts, invoices, they're so customizable. And that's and it's a beautiful thing. And I will say, if you're here and like all of this dubsado really stresses you out. Dolly does dubsado set ups. You guys like you can literally hire her and she'll make all this happen for you and then teach you how to do it, like how to run it. And so if you're like needing the DIY Dolly's, your girl reach out to her and she will help you set all the things up.
Dolly: Oh, can I say a few fun things about proposals that maybe this will sell a person? I'm not being afraid of using proposal. Yeah, you can insert videos into your proposals and get with the video and know a lot of people now with marketing like video. And this is like king or queen, whatever you want to call it.
As far as content marketing goes and I am encouraging, I'm like looking at the video camera, I'm like, I'm talking to you or the audience, but really, I'm just looking into Rebecca eyes, but I'm just like encouraging everyone get on video and even if it's like pre-recorded video and you get nervous behind the camera and you don't want to go on video every day on Instagram or Instagram Stories, it's another story, but I just encourage you to like batch out some videos of yourself and where you're excited about talking and you're in a well-lit room and your hair and make-up is done or whatever and and include videos on your proposals as well, because I've discovered that it's helped my perspective clients like, OK, know exactly what to expect from the proposal. So you can. I wrote what? I'm really worried. OK, I'm a worthy person. I'm guilty. Sue me, but I just want to make sure that they know exactly what to expect when working with me. And so I put all my packages in. I put it like, who I am the experience. But at the very beginning of the proposal, I have like a little YouTube video and it just says, Hey, this is what you can expect from this video, and I'm so glad you're here. And these are your next steps. I carve it out for them because sometimes you guys, people that read everything like human, like, unfortunately, we don't like, even though I'm like, I'm trying to train my kid to pay attention and to, like, read everything. And just like I'm trying to raise them to be responsible. But I know, like at the end of the day, like, we're all human and we have an attention span of a goldfish. So like three seconds, that's it. And so I encourage you to incorporate video on top of your copy in your proposals. That's like one way to spice up the proposal and another way to spice up your proposal. This might be overwhelming, but I'm just going to go with it anyways. I want you to create a new URL redirect page. So every time somebody submits your proposal and they submit like that three part process or that two part process with you, they're being kicked back to your web site on a specific page and they're getting to know you more so that you are a redirect page can be a thank you page. It can be a thank you page filled with like blog posts about how they can prepare to work with you as a family photographer, or if you have, like, a style guide and you want them to download it from that thank you page. You can do that. Or if you have like like for Rebecca, for example, I would say, like every time you have a URL redirect page, like for something like family photography related for educators, it should include, like some of your most popular items from your shop. So that way, people are staying longer on your website and getting to know you longer and thinking, Oh, I really like this experience. I think I need this like, I want to buy this right now instead of saving it for later.
Rebecca: That's just like, I'm literally like writing that down right now. Y'all are going to start seeing my thank you pages have like freebies and products on them because Dolly's changing the game. I love it. Awesome. Well, Dolly, this was super, super helpful. I know that you guys, this is packed with information and I'm just excited to see, like how you guys are going to implement all this stuff. Dolly, can you tell everybody where they can find you if they have questions or if they want to work with you? Like where? Where can they find you?
Dolly: Yeah, definitely. So you can follow me on Instagram. Was my education at DollyDelongEducation all one word? And if you just want to follow along with my photography business, it's at Dolly DeLong photo. And then if you want to find me on my website is DollyDelongPhotography.com all one word. But I'm really active on Instagram, and again, I try to be like, I'm always creating content about systems and workflows. And I know it's overwhelming, but I'm here for it. I'm here to, like, try to break it down and make it easy for you, so.
Rebecca: that's so good. Yeah, you guys definitely go give to follow and we'll link all of her socials and stuff in the show notes that you guys can follow along really easily. And like I said, if y'all have any questions, reach out to her dolly. Are you in my student group? I think you are my Facebook group?
Dolly:  I don't know, but I am a part of your student group for the albums. OK, I am in the Facebook group. I think you're in our Facebook group, so I will. If you're not, I'll make sure you're in the Facebook group right now .
Dolly: I can just overwhelm people with this stuff.
Rebecca: Yeah, I know I'll make sure you're in my student group that way. If people have questions, you can tag Dolly and, you know, reach out there. But I think this is an awesome episode and hopefully you got some stuff from it. You'll be able to apply to your business, so we can't wait to see what you do with that. Dolly, thank you so much for joining us. This is awesome.
Dolly: Thank you, guys.
Rebecca: Yes. All right, you guys. We're going to close out for today. We will see you again this time next week. Hope you all have an awesome week bye.

37.  Automations For Your Family Photography Business with Dolly DeLong