How We Use Process Maps and Email Sequences to Book More Weddings

Owning a small business can be crazy. Back in October of 2017, we stopped booking gigs. After booking about a dozen jobs in September, our conversion rates plummeted. We didn’t book a single job for almost 3 weeks. We had been making changes to our workflow, trying to make our customer experience the best it could be. We freaked out. What happened? What changed? We needed to find out, and quick. So, we broke down our entire workflow, took apart our customer experience and created a process map.

What is a Process Map?

A process map breaks down everything in your workflow and defines who or what is responsible for each part of the process, and what happens at each step. The main purpose of a process map is to make our process more efficient.

Process mapping has 4 levels. Level 1 is really broad and is a basic overview of the entire process, from start to finish. A level 4 is one part of the process in extreme detail, including dates of tasks and email content.

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So what happens when a customer first touches our site? What happens when they inquire? What are they seeing on their end? Is it what we want them to see?

Are you able to answer those questions right now? We didn’t and that was a huge problem.

How our process map started out

I took out my huge whiteboard and started at the beginning. In the midst of writing all this down, I suddenly found the hole, the drop-off point where these prospective clients were falling into. After hours of work digging through everything, I couldn’t believe it was something so little. It explained why these people weren’t getting back to us.

So I started over. I wanted to create a new pre-booking workflow, my ideal process that included all the follow-ups and selling points I needed. I wanted deliver my prospective clients content before they even booked us, so they knew we were the experts in our industry.

Here’s where the excitement began for me. I designed this ideal client experience workflow to see how all these things fit together now. It was so excited to put everything into place.

How I use my CRM Automation in my Client Process Map

Our Business Management software of choice is HoneyBook. Not only has HoneyBook simplified our invoicing, but it also has this awesome feature called “Workflows”. They’re basically email sequences, a way to automate emails and documents within our CRM. You can manually start a workflow OR (the really cool part) set the workflow to start automatically based off of a certain trigger, such as a contact form submission or a specific amount of time before or after the project date.

Here is the inquiry stage of my level 3 Pre-Booking Process Map.

So let’s walk through this real quick. The inquiry comes in and the info goes out into HoneyBook automatically. Then, I send them email template “1-1” and my brochure for wedding photography.
If they respond, I’ll talk to them and set up an in-person consultation with them in my studio. But what happens if they don’t respond?

Here’s where the fun begins. The follow-up stage:

As soon as I send that initial email (email 1-1 and my brochure), I activate my Inquiry Follow-up email sequence. Each one of those email templates links to full wedding galleries, blog posts (such as “Developing Your Wedding Day Timeline for Amazing Wedding Photos”), and our wedding planning E-book, educating my clients why they should book with us.
Here’s what the first part of that Inquiry Follow-Up email sequence in my CRM looks like:

One day after sending my initial email 1-1, they will get a follow-up. Two days after that, they’ll get another follow up. Another three days, they’ll get another follow up. See how awesome that is?! This saved me SO MUCH time when it came to following up with clients. This is the cornerstone of my process because it’s all automated. This sequence is stopped as soon as the client responds.

Once a client responds and wants to proceed, we enter the consultation stage. I have a sequence to send my Thank You Email Template and my two follow-ups. This sequence is manually triggered immediately after the consult.

And the last stage, the Pre-Booking Stage:

Just to sum everything up for you, in this Pre-Booking Process Map, I have 15 email templates, 1 brochure, 2 agreement templates in place.

Once we activated this process, we saw our conversion rates jump up to almost triple what they were in September. My email response rates more than tripled! The whole point is to make sure our clients feel like we have thought about everything and we have it all covered.

Here is my full level 3 process map, start to finish for my Pre-Booking Process for Wedding Photography:

Want to build your own process map? I used LucidCharts to create this.

Andy Lydick is a Photographer and Studio Manager for Abigail Gingerale Photography. He is a retired Firefighter, turned Photographer, husband, father and passionate entrepreneur from Allentown, NJ.