Using a CRM (customer relationship management) application may entail a bit of a learning curve, but it will be worth it in the long run. As shown in the article Why Photographers Need a CRM, the time you’ll save with a CRM will add hours to your workweek and increase productivity. Now, you just need to decide which one is best for you. Should it be geared to all small businesses or created explicitly for photographers? We’ve broken down a list of our favorites, including advantages, disadvantages, and price points. So let’s dive in and find the best CRM for photographers.
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There are many types of CRMs but this article will focus on tools designed for small businesses and specifically for the photography & creative industry. While a business CRM may not have features specific to photography, it can certainly be adapted to include the other functions of your company. It depends on your business needs and how a CRM can enhance your business efficiency and growth.
At Wonderful Machine, we use a Mac-specific CRM called Daylite. One of our favorite features is the ability to attach keywords to individual contacts and then use these keywords in creating “Smart Lists.” Each time we add a client to our database, we add keywords to their data record, making them easy to sort and find later.
For example, while working on an article about humanitarian photography I searched the keyword “humanitarian” to create a Smart List of all our photographers working in this specialty that I could interview. I was also able to identify nonprofit organizations that use humanitarian photography to contact.
Daylite offers a powerful project management feature to help you manage tasks, project timelines, and client communication. This feature could be handy for running a studio where multiple staff members need to share contacts and see the progress of numerous projects. Daylite syncs with iCal and Address Book to maximize productivity among other programs that you already use.
They use Daylite at Teri Studios, Cincinnati-based photographer Teri Campbell’s production company. Producer Sherry Wilson especially likes its macOS integration:
Our favorite part of Daylite is its integration into our Mac-centric environment. And specifically Apple Mail. A mail-sidebar allows us to link emails directly with the client, company, task, or opportunity.
Salesforce offers a small business version of their sales and marketing customer relationship management system called Salesforce Essentials. This pared-down version is known for user-friendly customizable features and internal communication tools. Because it remains cloud-based, the information is easily accessible to team members through a web browser, and it can automatically capture and organize emails. Salesforce Essentials is priced at $25 a month per user but the sales-driven features may be overkill for a photography business.
HubSpot is the choice of many small businesses and startups. HubSpot’s Free Forever plan includes a simple interface that functions impressively. This customer relationship management system also allows you to schedule social media content across platforms. HubSpot is known for excellent customer service, but its free plan doesn’t include customer support, and it may not integrate other apps without an upgrade. Many plans and prices with the HubSpot Starter Growth Suite bundle at $50 per month. While you can easily import contacts and automate emailers made from HubSpot templates, this CRM’s strength is as a marketing management tool.
Dallas, TX-based photographer Stewart Cohen likes it because it can also manage his website:
We chose HubSpot because it’s a large CRM with many features and integrations. We have now implemented its CMS for our website so that the two are connected.
Monday has an intuitive interface that looks like a spreadsheet and is great for small businesses. Its Free Forever plan includes essential features like file storage, project management, document embedding, and mobile app integration. Monday is easy to customize and has over 200 templates and 24-hour customer support. It’s known for being easy to use. Monday’s Basic Plan includes a minimum number of seats (3) priced at $24 a month.
HoneyBook’s customer relationship management software appeals to different types of creatives, including graphic designers, photographers, web designers, and more. Its financial management feature generates reports, issues invoices, and accepts payments. HoneyBook’s project management tools help you navigate any size project by creating timelines while managing and tracking minute details. You’ll also be able to integrate your photographer logo and visual identity into contracts, questionnaires, and invoices. HoneyBook integrates with apps like Google Calendar, Gmail, and QuickBooks. The Starter Plan is priced at $9 a month, and the Unlimited Plan is at $39. In this reviewer’s opinion, HoneyBook is versatilen budget-friendly CRM for photographers and creatives.
ShootQ claims its photography studio management system will save you 15 hours weekly. While ShootQ has the basic CRM components, it can also create and send contracts and proposals, book clients online, and is entirely compatible with iOS and Android devices. You will be able to delegate tasks, automate emails, plan projects, and manage your sales and invoicing on its web dashboard. ShootQ has integration capabilities with WordPress, PayPal, QuickBooks, and Twitter. The basic plan begins at $29 monthly. All and all, ShootQ does an adequate job, but there is nothing exceptional about it in comparison to other CRMs.
Sprout Studio boasts that it is a CRM created for photographers by photographers. Its friendly interface combines project management, lead generation, online galleries, custom automated email, scheduling, and calendar management. Sprout Studio can track expenses, generate contracts and manage licenses. You can customize a client’s web pages for proofing and integrate Stripe, Square, and PayPal. The Lite plan includes CRM and galleries, email marketing, and scheduling for 3 users for $17 a month. You won’t see a big jump in what you get with the Basic plan. To use Sprout Studio to the best of its ability, you’ll need the $49 a month plan that includes design proofs, unlimited invoicing, a template library, and more.
Sprout Studio is easy to use but it seems heavily designed for retail photographers specializing in weddings and family portraits. If you’re strictly a commercial photographer, all the galleries, and digital downloads for clients may not be worth the price.