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Classic Photographers

Keap helped Keith Phillips increase his revenue from $250k to $5 million. Now, Classic Photographers is a national chain, all thanks to automation.

Keith Phillips


Keith Phillips

  • Dramatically improved follow-up with contract applicants
  • Used CRM to segment audiences and create personalized, automated campaigns
  • Got automation tips and tactics from the Keap community

Classic Photographers at a glance


Event & Wedding Photography





Their Story

Reframing what was a traditional photography business

Keith Phillips’ original business took the direction that many retail operations go. It was a bricks-and-mortar operation, fielding customer requests and orders over the phone, mainly.

With his new business concept, however, Keith wanted everything to be online—including the office. He saw Keap as the perfect partner to help him.

“Keap really allowed us to grow our business quickly. And what was exciting to me was to be able to create a totally virtual online business. So I could have more freedom to travel, work from home, and not have to show up to an office every day, working 9 to 5. The concept of having some freedom in my life was very attractive when we were looking for sales and marketing automation.”

From the very beginning, Keith knew that sales and marketing automation was the key to unlocking the scope of his business, minimizing the daily busy work, and creating positive customer experiences.

“We've been able to automate many tasks that we did manually, whether it was with spreadsheets or having actual people have to do those things. And we're able to free up a lot of our staff's time. So now they can be more creative, provide better customer service, and focus on those things that still need to be manual and cutting out anything that we don't have to have a person do and automate that. So we can really focus on customer success and delivering a great product.”

Looking for automation and finding everything with Keap

For most entrepreneurs, the journey starts with trial and error. That means experimenting with a lot of CRM and sales automation platforms before finding the one that feels right.

“With Constant Contact, we had to log in every day and send an email to tens of thousands of people with the same exact message. With Keep, we're able to set up an automated drip campaign, nurture campaign, shopping cart, abandonment campaigns—all the things we wanted to do. Then segment them out and have really good reporting on that too.”

Once Keith made the switch, the results were clear. Keap and Classic Photographers were a good fit, resulting in rapid growth.

“I always say, ‘You could use these other platforms, but you're never going to get everything that you get with Keap.’ I see it as the best and easiest to implement. It has the most features.”

The challenge of capturing a sale for a person’s most important day ever

The customer lifecycle is different in every industry. Each has its challenges. For Classic Photographers, one of theirs became abundantly clear in the company’s early days.

Many customers who were still shopping around for the right photographer would add products to the cart on the website, but would abandon it. Some came back to purchase later, but many did not.

“We're selling weddings. It's a big decision. People shop a lot. So we're not generally getting a purchase right away. They're not coming on our website and buying right away. They have to research. So there's usually about a 7-day window between placing a package in the cart and purchasing.”

How Keap helped Keith catch runaway brides and grooms

Today, Keith and his team are staying top of mind with those shopping for wedding photography using the very thing that attracted them to Keap: Sales and marketing automation.

They created a nurture campaign focused on the 7-day decision window most couples take to decide, staying in conversation with text and email.

“Our shopping cart abandonment automation is really fine-tuned now. And we're really able to put a personal touch on our marketing, sending text messages that look like I really sat down and wrote them, like, ‘Hey Susie, we see you're interested in our photo and video package. What are some of the questions that I can answer for you before you purchase?’”

“I always feel supported, no matter what is going on.”

No matter how tech-savvy, an entrepreneur can’t stroll into a new platform and immediately master every minute feature and detail. It takes practice, some education, and a little help from friends.

Keith was able to find that level of support from a couple sources. First on the list was his Keap Success Manager, who Keith leaned on whenever his company was faced with an issue.

“My first success manager really turned our business around a few years ago. Our success manager approached us about maybe going on a dedicated IP, because we were sending so many emails. And when we really dug in, he said, ‘Keith, you have a problem with your email health. Like your open rates are kind of going down.’”

Once they were able to explore the issue together, Keith and his Keap Success Manager diagnosed the sources of the problem and quickly workshopped solutions.

“So he worked with me to find the right people to kind of get our email health turned back around real quick. Right now, we're getting open rates on cold lists as high as like 48% or 50% all the time. We have a very high open rate, thanks to Keap.”

At other times, Keith has turned to another source for tips, tactics, and advice. He found a wealth of information with the Keap User Community, becoming a regular fixture in discussions.

“The Keap community is awesome. I think half of everything I've ever learned about sales and automation—maybe even more—has come from somebody in the Keap community. Someone always has the answer for you and is quick to help, which is great.”

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