Premium Members, click here to access this interview in the premium area.

Iain Sim of put together his messenger marketing for photographers course out of necessity. After running multiple Facebook Ad campaigns for both his wedding and portrait photography businesses in Melbourne, screening applicants was killing his business. Iain and Jo, his wife are business partners and were looking for ways to minimise the time spent on making calls to find the best possible prospects to photograph after a successful advertising campaign. That's where the Facebook messenger bot (robot) came to the rescue.

If you're familiar with the Bernie style Facebook ads so popular with PhotoBizX listeners and members, learn more here if you're unsure what these ads are: you'll understand the real work begins once the ad is run and done and you need to start calling the people who responded to your ad. The objective is to screen the potential photography clients to find those who are most likely to purchase extra wall art, digital files, albums or prints following the free sessions, as advertised.

These phone calls are time-consuming and somewhat tricky – you need to get the person on the phone first, no mean feat. Once on the call, you need to ask the right series of questions to determine if this person, family, or couple are indeed a good fit for you and your business. Your aim is to determine if these potential clients will make a quality purchase following the free shoot.

Enter Facebook messenger and in particular, the use of messenger bots to do the screening for you. All automated and set up to ask the tricky questions.

Iain successfully implemented his messenger bot sequences to do all the heavy lifting for both his family portrait and engaged couple ad screening. In a nutshell, someone responds to an ad and they automatically enter the robot sequence inside their Facebook messenger account.  The fully automated sequence “spits out” the best possible candidates for Iain and Jo to follow up with on a call scheduled by the client with calendar booking software.

The clients deemed not a good fit by the automated sequence are let down gently and don't take Iain and Jo unnecessarily away from their business and the best possible clients who they can now focus on.

To get a full understanding of the sequence and how it works, you'll find an example on the page here: – scroll to the bottom of the page and try it yourself.

We'll go deeper into the chatbot, automation, Facebook Ad strategies and a whole lot more in this interview.

Here’s some more of what we cover in the interview:

  • A quick run through of how well Iain's businesses are doing
  • What's more effective, FB ads posted on your timeline for organic reach or utilising dark posts?
  • The 48 hour Facebook Advertising window for new ads or changes to existing ads to take effect
  • Why you need to throw money on Facebook Ads at the start of your campaigns
  • Iain's Facebook Ads daily budget recommendations
  • Facebook reach gets better when you engage with your posts
  • How messenger bots fit in while you continue to engage with prospective clients
  • The advantages of messenger bots in conjunction with your FB ad campaigns
  • How to use messenger bots
  • What you can use messenger bots for and are they easy to set up and use
  • The difference between bots and questionnaires
  • How to set up chatbots
  • What questions to ask in your chatbot sequence to find the best potential photography clients
  • How to use messenger bots for your photography business
  • What happens when clients get shortlisted and get to the end of the bot sequence?
  • Using an online calendar to book phone calls – have your clients do the work
  • Using message bots for family portraits and engagement sessions
  • The number of wedding bookings Iain attracts via his engagement shoots
  • Is it ok to use incentives to attract bookings?
  • Can you use the same messaging bots for engagement and family shoots
  • How to personalize questionnaires to match the language you use in your business
  • The need to make it clear to customers about the automated responses
  • The consequences of spamming Facebook Messenger inboxes
  • How to retain customers who don't qualify for free shoots
  • What are model calls and how to utilise a chatbot sequence with a model call campaign
  • What it costs to use ManyChat
  • Pricing and what is included on Iain's course – Messenger marketing for Photographers
  • Other ways to use chatbots
  • How Iain manages his messages
  • Will accidentally opening a message interrupt the message bots
  • Can you still use chatbots even if you are not running a promo?
  • Can chat bots be incorporated in third-party marketing strategies?
  • Using chatbots for excitement building before a portrait session and before a meeting

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

What’s on Offer for Premium Members

If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this interview – the full length and more revealing version where you hear the absolute best tips and advice from every guest.

If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interviews each week, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.

Plus special member-only interviews.

You'll also receive access to the members-only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. There are also FB live video tutorials, role-play interviews and special live interviews happening in the group.

You will not find more friendly, more motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.

Joining a Mastermind Group (encouraged by Andrew) has been incredibly valuable and fun, I look forward to connecting with my group members every week. Jina Zheng, Premium Member and Melbourne Children photographer.

And that's not all… you get a set of steak knives… I'm kidding!

Seriously though, that's not all. In addition to everything above, you'll get access to and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Iain shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in today's episode.

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Iain or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs

Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!

Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners mean more interviews and ultimately a better show.

If you have left a review in the past, thank you!

If you haven't and you'd like to, head to and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.

Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your keywords or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.

Would you like one on one help with your photography business?

One on one coaching, mentorship and help are now available – with me – and the knowledge I've gained from 300 interviews and over 20 years in business.

Details are here:

You can schedule a FREE 30-minute call to chat about your situation to see if we're a good fit. Following the call, we'll know if I can help you get you where you want to go with your photography business.

These sessions can be from one hour to twice monthly calls and unlimited email access.

The idea of these sessions is to help you implement what you hear on the podcast – from FB Ads to Third Party Marketing, branding, website copy, autoresponders, optin lead magnets, sales, conversions, generating more bookings, blogging, video replies, etc.

My plan is to do more to help you succeed with your photography business. This will be hands on help. You and me working together on your business.

If you want my help, schedule a free call and let's chat.


In a recent email, I mentioned I'm opening up a paid mastermind group for 4 photographers only.

The cost will be USD$200 per month and only suitable if you have the time and energy to make a proper commitment to your photography business.

There are no contracts but I'll be looking for four suitable photographers with the aim of making a big difference to their business.

This group is currently full.

If you love the idea of a mastermind group but aren't interested in a paid group, you need to hear this episode: Photography Business Mastermind Groups… and follow the instructions to get on the spreadsheet to form your own mastermind group or join one with other PhotoBizX members.

In today's episode, Melanie Murphy shared the details of her up and coming photography retreat for emerging female photographers. The focus will be on the business of photography, shooting real examples, networking and a little wine to go along with the whole glamping experience.

The retreat sounds fantastic for any female photographers who are relatively new to the business or looking to go into business but don't know where or how to get started.

Between Melanie, her friend and fellow photographer, Astrid Simone – it sounds like they have a fantastic weekend of shooting, learning and fun lined up for participants.

More details can be found here: The Luminary Retreat

In addition to talking about the retreat, Melanie shared some cool ideas about generating bookings at Bridal Expo's – something she did personally with great results just recently.

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

Nice Chat Let's Book

Nice Chat Lets Book Website

Nice Chat Lets Book Facebook Page

Iain and Jo Website

Iain and Jo on Facebook

Iain and Jo on Instagram

Hugster Family Photography

Hugster Family Photography on Instagram

Hugster Family Photography on Facebook

Episode 262: Iain Sim – Too Many Portrait Photography Enquiries to Handle

Pretty Links

Pretty Links on WordPress

The Luminary Retreat

Melanie Murphy Photography

Astrid Simone Photography

Iain Sim Photography Podcast

Thank you!

Thanks again for listening and big thanks to Iain for sharing his thoughts on business, attracting more clients, making better bookings and utilising the Facebook messenger bot so effectively. Also, big thanks for Melanie for sharing details on her upcoming retreat in Tasmania.

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!

That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

Thanks and speak soon