Emails are a huge part of the wedding photography business. That is how you mostly correspond with your brides and grooms except for some phone calls every now and then, and a couple meetings. Other than that, all the information is relayed over a fury of emails. What does that mean for the photographer? Stress. Lots of stress over responding to everything in a timely way and keeping it organized so as not to implode. Part of my organizing goal this year was to clean up my inbox. I looked at it in a strategic way and evaluated what I needed.
I don’t know about you, but I seem to think that if there is a PLACE for something, it is much more likely that it will end up there instead of on the floor. Or, in our email case, just sitting in your inbox. With that in mind, I created folders and subfolders. Every SINGLE client has their very own folder in my email. They are all subfolders under the heading 2012 Wedding Clients. Their folders include their name and the wedding date. That way, when I need to quickly find an email between us-I only have to look in one place and the only thing in that place…is emails from them and them alone.
This single folder, subfolder system is how I deal with every email. There are categories, and then separate folders for Vendors (albums, marketing, branding, equipment, etc…) and even folders for Lead Fallout clients. If a bride and groom decide to not book, I make a folder for them under LEAD FALLOUT and the folder includes their names, and why they chose to not book. I keep every email. Just in case. Same thing for Client Inquiries. I have a Folder titled: 2012 Wedding Client Inq. And in that folder are a bunch of subfolders titled with the Clients name and their date. Once they book, all of those emails are transferred to their own folder under 2012 Wedding Clients, and the Inq folder is trashed.
So, yes, I have hundreds of folders in my email acct. But- I am able to knock my email out daily because every email has a place. If it doesn’t, I make a folder for it. If it doesn’t have a category yet, I make one and put a subfolder in there. Here is what it looks like for the most part:
—XXXXX-Out of Budget
—XXXXX-Chose different Photog
LGP Second Shooters
2012 New Wedding Inquiry
—XXXXX-June 16, 2012
—XXXXX-July 7, 2012
——–American Digital, Custom DVD
——–Le Melange, Cheesecloth Bags
2012 Wedding Clients
—XXXXX-March 31, 2012
—XXXXX-April 14, 2012
Thats not everything, but you get the picture. Everything has a place. If I haven’t responded to something, it sits in the inbox until I do. This has worked well, because I feel like the email is mocking me. Just sitting there. Waiting to be answered. Annoyingly. It makes me want to answer asap because its the only thing sitting in there!!
This definitely won’t work for everyone. Each person has their own needs when it comes to organization. It has worked SUPER well for me. Also, I do emails periodically throughout the day, when I have a spare moment. I probably go through my inbox 3-4 a day, and clean it out. After the last time, I don’t check it again until the next day. Another tip- If you have a smart phone and the ability to check your email on your phone…delete things as they come in. I know Im not the only person out there getting daily emails that you delete immediately. So, when the little alert pops up on your phone…delete it right then. No biggie. Donezo.
I hope this can help someone!! I know how stressful emails can be. You can conquer them though!! Good luck!
And, here is an embarrassing picture of me to help our mood after our intense email chat…