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Studio Ninja | CRM Review for Videographers

Studio Ninja is my Customer Relationship Manager or (CRM) of choice as a videographer. While it is designed for photographers (like most of the CRMs out there for us videographers) it accomplishes 95% of what I need it to do.





This software puts all of my projects, leads, sales, and tasks in one place to easily keep track of video projects I have going on. This video is a lesson excerpt from my newest online program, 6 Figure Fitness Filmmaker, where I help videographers grow a profitable six figure business shooting content in the fitness niche.


💪 Become a 6 Figure Fitness Filmmaker: https://www.contentcreator.com/6-figure-fitness-filmmaker


Use this Promo Code for 20% OFF Studio Ninja https://www.studioninja.co/: AWMA06CEV37E55



What is a CRM?

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. Basically, it’s a software that automates and streamlines the interactions you have with your customers. Instead of trying to remember things, writing sticky notes, and manually writing each email, a CRM allows you to take much of this busy work off of your plate and give you more time to shoot, edit, and script videos - the things that most of us would prefer to be doing.



Why a CRM?

A CRM has many benefits to you as a business owner. The main benefits include automating your intake process to book discovery calls, send and accept contracts, accept payments, and document where a project is in your workflow.



It gives you more time, it’s less expensive than having a personal assistant or admin staff, it will make you more money since you won’t forget to follow up with interested paying clients, and it gives you insight on where your clients are coming from. So many benefits! It’s also a good way to keep all of your clients and prospects in one place. So instead of trying to remember if someone messaged you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, text, or phone call - it aggregates all of that information into one place.



CRM Options:

There are a ton of CRM options out there including Marketo, Salesforce, Hubspot, Active Campaign, Kajabi, Honeybook to name a few. Luckily for us, we have options and can shop around. Upon digging around, Many of these CRMs out there are actually custom tailored to photographers and videographers.


Personally, I use Studio Ninja, an Australian-based CRM initially designed for wedding photographers, but has all of the core functions that I need as a freelance videographer. We will dig into Studio Ninja in a second where I will outline all of the functions and give you an inside look at the software, but first let’s talk about my old process and how much of a headache it was.


My 1st process went a little something like this:


I had a Google spreadsheet with leads names on it, how much I was charging, column to check when I had reached out last, and I crossed the project out when it was done. I custom wrote each contract for every client that reached out and did all of this via email. So someone would reach out via DM, call, or email and I would input everything into this spreadsheet. It’s a free option...but extremely time consuming.


I did this all through email and as I got busier, would let projects fall through. I had at least 10 projects that I know of that when I migrated to a CRM, realized that I just forgot to respond or keep on top of a project that people were willing to pay me for. It is the worst feeling knowing that I left money on the table and that lost opportunity was at least $10,000 worth of projects because I forgot to follow up with them.


So after a year or two of that, I switched to my second process. I started using Quickbooks, which I still use and encourage you to use - It's a great software for your bookkeeping as a freelancer. However, Quickbooks doesn’t have a customer relationship manager with it. It’s just to track your finances, accounting and bookkeeping. So I was trying to use an accounting software to keep track of all of my clients which lead to more headaches. I was using the wrong tool for the job, like trying to hammer a nail into a board with a screwdriver - it just makes things harder than they have to be.


But for a CRM, I didn’t want to spend any money on it right away, so started using Hubspot Free. Now Hubspot is a really great program but you don’t get a ton of the best features until you start paying for a membership. And their platform is designed for larger companies with sales and marketing teams. So you don’t get those strong features until you start paying hundreds a month for their higher tier membership. Hubspot is a really robust software with multiple pricing tiers, starting with that free CRM.


And I didn’t fully commit to this Hubspot workflow so again, things fell through the cracks. I would sometimes enter names in, wouldn’t keep up on it, and it wasn’t as useful.



Now let’s talk about what I currently do.


In 2019, I started researching other options out there. After looking at a few different softwares, I started using Studio Ninja and it’s been great.

I am going to run through some of the benefits of why I like it, then give you guys a tour of the software to show you how it works.



The first Benefit is that I can Systematize and formulate my business process and plug it in automatically for every project.


As I mentioned, I have a 16 step process I follow and it was hard to keep up with for every client. I would forget to share on social media, or upload to my website, and things get left on the backburner. It answers that constant question of ‘where are we’ with each project. This allows me to input the checklist, set dates, and automate much of the back and forth with clients. This way I don’t forget a step with any of my clients, I remember to post all of my finished work on social media, YouTube, and Vimeo. This is also great for when you start to hire subcontractors or a team to work with you. You can get them plugged into this software and delegate tasks that need done and track progress. Being designed for bringing on a team in the future is perfect for me.



Next is the super Streamlined intake process for new clients.



Before, I was constantly asking the same few questions for every client that reached out via my website. ‘What is your goal, describe the project, and so on’. Now, someone reaches out on a form on my website, I collect their information, the system creates a new lead and project with all of their information, checks to see if my calendar is open on the date of their requested shoot, sends a questionnaire to them, and takes care of the questions I ask every person when they email me about a video. I used to manually respond to every inquiry that hit my email inbox. This doesn’t have to be the case since I almost always ask them the same general questions prior to setting up a discovery call. So I put those questions in their questionnaire template and automated an email to send to people when they reach out. I also have different workflows for different types of projects like weddings vs commercial work.




Next is the ability to send custom branded Quotes, Invoicing, Contracts and Payments.


All automated so I don’t have to do them manually. After I build a custom quote for someone in the software, I can send it off to them automatically. They can then view and accept the quote, sign the contract, and make the deposit payment all within a minute or so. It’s super slick and ticks those three things off on my end without me having to do anything. Collecting payments is always a burden for creatives so it makes sense that they can do all of the acceptance tasks at the same time rather than sign a contract, wait a few days for the invoice to come in the mail from you, wait 30 days to send the check, and drag the process out. This way, you pay a small processing fee through Stripe or Paypal and get the money right away. Now you do have to pay the 2.5% processing fee and a 30 cent payment to the merchant fees. These add up over time but you are paying for the convenience of accepting payments. You can also request that they sent checks via mail but this slows down the process. Your choice though!



Another benefit is not forgetting to follow up with leads - reminders on the dashboard keep you accountable.


You can quickly scan the leads and projects to see if any of these red explanation icons come up which means you have items that need tended to. This way, none of them get forgotten and you can stay organized. These remind me to follow up after sending a proposal, send an invoice, or get a rough cut sent to the client too.



You can also Track leads through the pipeline. From the dashboard, You can see at a glance how many leads you have vs how many jobs. It’s also good to see the amount of jobs and revenue you have quoted for forecasting income for the coming months.


It also ties in with my Quickbooks to send the quotes and pricing info into my accounting system. When I create a quote or a client makes a payment, it mirrors my accounting software so I don’t have to do anything. This is great since I am a one man show, I don’t want to spend time re-adding every invoice and contract to Quickbooks.


And finally, It’s very inexpensive. This is currently less than $15/month compared to other software that is over $50 and up in cost per month. Higher end software packages for Hubspot and Marketo can get over $800 per month if you have the mack daddy packages. Paying a virtual assistant or admin staff would be hundreds or thousands a month. So this is one hell of a deal and an easy way to solve these headache issues that keep coming up.


Downsides:


My biggest downside for this software is that it’s tailored to wedding photographers. I don’t shoot photo, so there are some things that don’t apply to me. The whole system is based on a single shoot day on the calendar which is usually the case for photographers. So if my shoot is going to take multiple days, it causes a few issues with my automated tasks and calendar holds.


It’s also able to do retainer invoicing, but I tend to manually send those out as separate projects to keep the invoicing cleaner. So that could be improved as well.


The other issue I have experienced is a few payment oversights. One project in particular, I set up a project as a ½ up front and the final ½ after delivery. The system randomly split things into 3 payments all due 3 days apart which caused some invoicing headaches. Luckily, I work with great clients that pointed this out that they had not received the second invoice on the right date and paid it on time. Just make sure you are looking at things regularly to ensure you are actually getting paid on time and not trusting the system completely.


And lastly, it takes quite a bit of time to set up. When I first started, I had to custom write all of my follow up email templates, contracts, package offerings, and integrate with other software like my quickbooks which took a few hours to do.


Other than those few issues, it’s been a great tool and has helped me offload most of the admin stuff I had to do with every client.


Overall


I encourage you to check them out and give their trial a try. If you shoot similar videos and do the same email questions, contracts, and other tasks over and over - this will save you hundreds of hours of admin tasks a year. It’s way cheaper than hiring an assistant and gives you the time you need to work on your business.


If you want to check out their free trial, I will put a link in the description box that you can check out.


And if you have any other questions about the software or using a CRM, leave me a comment on this video.



💪 Become a 6 Figure Fitness Filmmaker: https://www.contentcreator.com/6-figure-fitness-filmmaker



Want to try Studio Ninja out?

Use this Promo Code for 20% OFF Studio Ninja https://www.studioninja.co/: AWMA06CEV37E55

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