Photographers are turning to social media these days to try and get their names out there and reach their target audiences. Being active on social media is critically important for small businesses these days, but more traditional online marketing tactics, like email marketing, are still very useful.
Ignoring email as a part of your marketing campaign could cost your photography business revenue. So, here is a quick guide for every photographer who is going to start using email marketing more actively. Here you’ll find out why you need email marketing, how to build your email list, how to define your marketing strategy and what kind of tools you need to use to send your emails.
Why You Need Email Marketing?
1. You can reach your target audience
Through social media sites, like Facebook, it’s difficult to reach all your followers when you post an update. With email marketing each person who subscribed to your email list will get an update from you. In this way you are sure that you are reaching all of your subscribers.
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2. Email feels personal
When a promotional post or advertisement appears on social media, it is addressed to everyone who is interested in it. When you receive an email directly to your email inbox, it feels personal, which makes it more likely that you will respond.
3. It’s cheap and effective
Email marketing is super-cheap, especially if you consider what an effective form of marketing it is. You may pay per month or per year for your email service provider, but it is still much cheaper than the other forms of advertising on the web.
4. It increases your chances of booking more clients
How quickly can you book a photo session if you have 500 people in your email list? Just send a single email and it’s quite likely one of your subscribers will book you.
Build an Email List
1. Make your sign-up process noticeable
Growing an email list is your priority and it deserves top placement on your website. You may use the following locations to promote your email list:
– a pop-up window on your homepage;
– a box in the footer or right sidebar of your blog;
– an email signature;
– Facebook tab;
– in the end of each post you publish on your blog.
You’re not legally allowed to send a mass promotional email to your clients without their consent, which is called an opt-in. So, you need to give your visitors a way to sign up for your updates, if they want to. Make it clear how users can sign up for your updates, whether it is through a pop-up form or email sign-up page.
2. Offer something in exchange
This is the best way to build a huge email list. Most people don’t really want to subscribe to more email lists. They avoid signing up for too many things as they don’t want to get too much spam.
Thus, you need a little trick to get a hold of more people’s emails: offer something such as an email course, or e-book, a posing guide, a discount for your photo session, or another freebie which needs to be claimed via email. And voila! You increase your mailing list in a short period of time.
3. Don’t rent or sell your email list
As I previously mentioned, some people are afraid that they will get spam or a lot of unwanted emails once they submit their email address to a site. Tell your visitors that you’re not going to share their personal information, with a simple message right next to your sign-up form. And never sell or rent your email list even for 1 million dollars!
Email Marketing Strategy
1. Send regular newsletters
After building your email list, send regular emails, at least 1-2 per month to keep your readers engaged. Try to keep your emails entertaining or educational. You can add some posing tips, or what to expect from a portrait session, or ways to plan a wedding. If you only talk about your latest photo sessions in your newsletter, people will get bored quickly and stop opening your emails.
2. Create a proper subject line
Just like a book title, your email subject line can make or break your success. Remember that spam subjects would get filtered, boring subjects would be deleted. Here I found an infographic with a few tips on how to create a subject line that gets your subscribers’ attention. Follow these simple steps to achieve success:
– limit your subject line to 50 characters;
– make it stand out;
– explain what they will get in this email;
– you may use a question, for example, “What’s your dream photo session?”.
In the same vein, strong subject lines require strong email content.
3. Choose your content with care
Your emails should always provide value for your subscribers. Each email you send should have one (and only one) call to action: whether it is booking a photo session with a discount or encouraging people to check out a new post on your blog. Make your call to action clear and friendly.
3. Build an auto-response series
Auto-response emails are pre-written emails that are sent to your readers in an order which you decide. As a rule, there should be a trigger, such as when a person signs up to your email list, the auto-response emails start sending. A portrait photographer may write 5 welcome emails explaining how to dress for a photo session and how to pose on pictures. A wedding photographer may share some practical tips on organizing the wedding and so on.
4. Add a nice signature
Create an awesome email signature to tell people who you are and get your name out there. Promote your work or encourage them to book a photo session with your email signature. You can use Wisestamp to do it.
Email Marketing Software
If you still use your regular Gmail account to send your mass emails, you’re most likely not reaching your clients. There are professional email systems which can improve your chances of reaching users’ inboxes and avoid getting sent to the spam folder
For instance, MailChimp is one of the best options for your first steps in email marketing. Until you have up to 2000 contacts on your list and your monthly sending volume is under 12 000 emails, you can use it for free. It offers a diverse collection of mobile-ready email templates, the interface is user-friendly, and MailChimp’s knowledge base and support team ensure you’re never left alone with a problem.
Freebie: Photographer’s Checklist for Starting with Email Marketing
To help you even more, I’d love to share some essential email marketing tips a photographer must know in a single PDF which you can download for free.
By the way, what email marketing tactics proved to be most effective for your photography business? Share with us in the comments!