Using Incentives & Deadlines to Close the Sale

Tips & Tricks

Hey guys! Melissa Jill -- Phoenix-based wedding photographer and owner of Align -- here again to continue my series on efficient and profitable album design and sales. I've talked a lot in this series about up-selling -- offering your clients the option to add spreads to their album after the wedding by showing them an ideal design they won't be able to live without. As I've mentioned in past posts, there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to do this. This post isn't going to make a lot of sense if you aren't caught up on the other posts where I discussed this concept of up-selling and how to do it well. So make sure you get caught up here before reading on: 
Once you present an opportunity to your client to upgrade their album, it is wise to entice them with some incentives for choosing to do so in a timely manner. They are sure to love the ideal album design you send them and want the whole thing. But if they put off the decision to upgrade and the initial excitement wears off, it is unlikely they will decide to do so. They will instead, more than likely, find another place to spend their money.  
When I send an email to my clients with instructions for how to revise their initial album design, I include information on my incentives and deadlines:

I spell out the costs and the deadlines explicitly in an email so they know exactly what their options are. For example:  
"I wanted to give you some info on how to proceed with finalizing your album design. The album you ordered includes 17 spreads. The one I designed you has 30. I did this because you guys had so many great photos and I wanted to show you what your album COULD be. So you can either choose to narrow down the layouts to 17 or upgrade your album by purchasing more layout spreads at $120/spread. If you wanted to purchase the album as it is now, it would cost an additional $1,689.48 (this includes tax). 
I would really love for you guys to have the full album I designed for you, so if you place your order for the full 30 spreads within one month (by May 7th) I'll give you 20% off the cost of upgrading (total due would be $1,351.58). If you place your order for the full 30 spreads within 2 months (by June 7th) I'll give you 10% off the cost of upgrading (total due would be $1,520.53)." 
These incentives and deadlines encourage clients to make a decision quickly, while their excitement for their wedding is still running high. AND they help speed up the decision making process to keep your album turn-around times short. It's a win-win: savings for your clients, and for you: no more albums hanging indefinitely over your head.
And exciting news! If you're a photographer who wants to start offering albums without investing hours of guesswork and trial and error -- we have a solution for you! Check out the Album Start-Up Kit and start maximizing your profit today! 

Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Joyful Pennsylvania Wedding Album Design for Elina Hope

Album Designs
Today on the blog we're featuring a wedding album full of bright flowers, green scenery, and rustic details. We love it! This laughter-filled wedding was photographed by Elina Hope Photography, and it is sure to put a smile on your face! 
Elina is a talented photographer based in Pennsylvania, and we love working with her! And it sounds like the feeling is mutual! When we asked her if we could feature this album, she said, "Align Album Design is a DREAM to work with and they make the album process so quick and easy! The finished products are stunning and my clients are always in love with the albums they receive!" 
Thank you so much, Elina! 
Here are some of our favorite spreads from this album design:

To see another album we designed for Elina, check out this charming Pennsylvania wedding album design. 
And to see the full design for this album, click through the slideshow below: 
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Alaine
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Align's 2019 Holiday Deadlines


'Tis the season for all things cozy, yuletide cheer ... and the mad dash to get everything done before HOLIDAY DEADLINES! Aren't you happy you're a photographer right about now? :) 
Your clients know that albums make amazing Christmas gifts, but do they know how long the album creation process takes? We want to help YOU help THEM have their albums in hand by the holidays, so here's a refresher on our design turnaround times and an announcement of our holiday print deadlines: 

Turnaround times for DESIGNS:  
Due to the back-and-forth nature of the design and revision process, there is no one-size-fits-all estimate for how long the design process will take from start to finish. Please allow yourself and your client ample design time (multiple weeks) by placing your design order AS SOON as possible. 
Initial designs - Within 4 business days of receiving your order form, deposit, and images  
Revision requests - 2 business days after we've received the comments and any additional images or clarifications needed 
Final file delivery - 1 business day after the album has been approved AND the final balance has been paid (**see note at bottom of this page) 
Our business days for designing are Monday through Friday except for the following holidays: 
Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, 2019 
Christmas - Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25, 2019 
New Years - Wednesday, January 1, 2020 

Deadlines for PRINTING: 
If you'll also be printing through Align Legacy Books and wish to receive your album in the mail by December 21, 2019, you must send your album to print (i.e. fill out the custom Print Confirmation order form we email you after the design service is paid for) by the following dates: 
Monday, November 25** for standard production turnaround times 
Sunday, December 8** for rush production turnaround times (extra $100 per album) 
Orders placed before 11:59pm November 25 will ship within 15 business days of the order date 
Orders placed between November 26 - December 7 with a RUSH FEE will ship by December 19 
Orders placed between December 8 - January 1 with a RUSH FEE will ship by January 10 
Orders placed between November 26 - January 1 without a rush fee will ship by January 23 (at the latest) 
Orders placed after January 1 will ship within 15 business days of the order date 
Please note that our production facility will focused on rush orders throughout December and then be closed for the holidays. So non-rush orders placed in December (even if you don't need them by Christmas) may not be started until January 2nd, making the estimated ship date January 23rd (at the very latest). 

**Important Advice Due to the back-and-forth nature of invoicing, please plan for about 48 hours in between when your design is approved and when you will receive your final files (if you are printing elsewhere) or the link to your custom Print Confirmation order form (if you're printing with us). To skip the invoicing steps and speed up the process, you can:
-Authorize us to automatically charge your saved credit card (find this setting at the bottom your Edit Profile page). 
-Or pre-purchase Align Credit (in any amount) on your Account Balance page which will be automatically applied to your balance.
PHEW! That is A LOT of detail! We're SO excited to help you serve your clients well this holiday season!
Blog post written by: Alaine
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Heartfelt New Jersey Wedding Album Design for Tori Kelner

Album Designs
Today's featured album is so lovely -- we're excited to share it! The wedding that fills its pages was held on a sunny day on the eastern shore of New Jersey, and the photographer, Tori Kelner Photography did an amazing job of capturing both the sunshine and the warm, loving relationships! We're so touched by the special moments and personal connections in her images!  
Tori is a portrait and wedding photographer based in central New Jersey, and we're always delighted when she places a new album design order! As you look through this design, you might notice that it includes more images per spread than our usual Classic Style. When Tori places an order, she often lets us know that she would like us to include as many images as possible, without making the design repetitive or cluttered. We're always happy to meet requests like this, so our designer worked hard to create a balanced, elegant design that included more images than usual. If YOU have specific design preferences, let us know either in the "Additional Notes" section of your order form, or by emailing us.  
Here are a few of our favorite spreads of this beautiful album:

Use the slideshow below to view the entire album design: 
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Alaine
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4 Steps to Simplified Album Proofing and Revisions

Tips & Tricks

I think we can all agree that the revision process is hands-down the most painful and arduous part of the entire album production process. At least it can be. Occasionally we get a client who loves the initial design and approves it as-is, but more often than not, there is a good deal of back and forth before the design is approved and ready for ordering.  
Not only am I the owner of Align, but I'm also a Phoenix-based wedding photographer. And I've been through some very ROUGH album revisions. It can be a total headache and drag on for months or even years. 
There are some things we can do as photographers to speed up the revision process and give our clients the best experience possible. I talk about one of them in this post: Speedy Workflow = Happy Clients + Higher Sales. But here are four more: 
1 -- Online Proofing 
I'm a big believer that online proofing is the way to go. You can bring clients into your office, but that takes up valuable time, and it is much easier for them to deliberate over their changes from the comfort of their own home. It's important to find a clean and simple online proofing solution. We at Align use AlbumExposure -- our partner for album proofing -- and we highly recommend them to you regardless of whether or not you outsource your designs to Align. If you DO outsource to Align, here is an example of what your proofing on AlbumExposure will look like:

When you first get your design from us, it will have our logo at the top. But once you push the "accept" button and accept the design into your own AlbumExposure account to send on to your client, our logo will be replaced with your own:

That way, if you'd like, your client doesn't even need to know that you are outsourcing your designs!  
2 -- Clear & Systematized Email Communication About the Process 
It's important that you are crystal clear in your email communication with your client to make sure they understand how the album process will work. We recommend creating email templates that you can use for every client so that the same information is communicated every time and nothing falls through the cracks. (If you're interested in saving some time creating these, we offer 8 pages of email templates that cover every step of the album design and revision process here!) Since I send my clients an initial album design before sending them a link to their entire gallery of images (see this post for more on why), after I get an initial design from Align and use the first round of revisions to tweak it myself, I send an email to my client with a link to the proof and communicate two very important things at this juncture: 
A -- I remind them that we designed their album larger than what they ordered, so they will have some choices to make. (Part of my workflow is that I up-sell my albums. I make sure to educate my clients on this process up front before they even hire me, but it's important to remind them of this at this juncture. Click here to read more about my up-selling strategy!
B -- I let them know that we are still working on getting their full image gallery online so they don't need to worry about making any changes yet. They can just enjoy the design for now and I will be in touch soon with a link to their online gallery and further instructions on revising their design to make it perfect before we place the order. 
3 -- Simple Revision Instructions 
Once the gallery of images is online and the client has had a chance to look at ALL of their images, I send another template email with revision instructions and upgrade costs. In order to make sure the revision process doesn't drag on forever, I set a limit for my clients -- 2 rounds of revisions are included in the cost of their album. So they can type comments in the comment boxes on every spread of the album if they'd like, but once they push, "send comments," one round of revisions is complete. If they need more than two rounds to make their changes, I charge $50 per additional round. I never need to do this, however, because the boundary helps clients use their revisions wisely and thoughtfully.  
The other thing I ask them to do is to help us maintain the integrity of the design by swapping out vertical for vertical images and horizontal for horizontal. That way we don't need to redesign every page -- just make quick and easy image swaps. Clients don't always follow this instruction, and sometimes pages do need to be reconfigured to accommodate the images they want included, but it doesn't hurt to ask, and oftentimes does help simplify the process. 
4 -- Using Align's Hands-Off Workflow 
I can't help but bring up our Hands-Off Service while we're on the subject of making revision rounds easier! We hear from a lot of photographers that they can easily create initial designs using DIY software, but what really bogs them down is the back-and-forth of revision rounds. Hopefully the 3 tips above make that process a bit smoother for you, but if you'd prefer to simply outsource the revision process completely, our Hands-Off Service is THE way to go. For only $10 extra, your Align designer acts like your in-house designer (your client never sees Align's logo!) who communicates with your client directly and walks them through the whole revision process. Say goodbye to your involvement in lengthy revision rounds and picky client requests! Learn more about our Hands-Off Service here. 
And remember -- if you're looking to simplify and streamline your client communication, making the whole album process -- including proofing -- easier on you, you might consider looking into our album workflow email templates. Included are 8 pages worth of email templates for different points throughout your album workflow covering all of the communication mentioned above plus more! They're a huge time-saver and will help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks! 

3 Steps to Simplified Wedding Album Proofing and Revisions
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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