Email Marketing Tips for Photographers
A well-prepared email marketing strategy together with a professional photography website can give your enterprise a much more significant boost than increasing your social network follower base by thousands of subscribers.
Email marketing statistics state that 59% of clients admit that promotional emails affect their purchasing behavior. Moreover, 80% of business experts expressed their belief that email promotion boosts client retention. The article below goes over 10 steps you can take to launch a successful email marketing campaign that will help increase your overall profitability.
STEP 1. Build a Subscriber List
The first stage of any photographer marketing strategy is to establish a database. Remember that the users who receive your emails have to be willingly signed up for them. If you just add all clients you ever had to the distribution list, you'll only annoy a bunch of users, who as a result will be more likely to approach a different photographer for their future photoshoots.
Begin by contacting your existing clients and asking them if they'd like to sign up for your photography newsletter. Depending on the number of people you can reach out to and how much time has passed since your last interaction, this step might get you a solid number of subscribers that will allow you to launch the campaign.
That said, your primary goal is to ensure a large portion of your website audience signs up for the newsletter as well. You can start reaching that goal by adding an eye-catching subscribe button to the website. It’s advised to add opt-in forms all over the website:
- About page
- Home page
- Pop up
- All social media platforms
This tool is also useful for adding a convenient sign-up form, sending emails, and managing your subscriber base all from a single platform. You’ll also have to get professional email marketing software that is capable of storing your list and handling mass emailing in your stead.
Free subscription form + Integration with external services!
eSputnik offers every new user a free subscription form created in the site’s corporate style. To apply for it, you need to submit a form request and specify your preferences and field types.
Also, eSputnik has just released Forms – a new functionality that allows you to integrate with forms built on Tilda, Wix and other site builders or create your own forms in the built-in editor. Using Forms, you can:
- Integrate with external forms or create your own;
- Collect new contacts;
- Collect extra data on the existing contacts;
- Send automated email confirmations;
- Send automated welcome and onboarding emails, and more.
STEP 2. Offer Freebies
Visitors require a reason to subscribe to your newsletter. By offering freebies, you’re providing them something as a reward for their email address.
All enterprises can come up with something that their customers would want to receive for subscribing to their mailing list. Consider the interests of your clients and think about what they could want.
There are several things you can offer them as a photographer:
Resource guide – You can write a tutorial that covers 10 facts everyone has to know before hiring a photographer or what kinds of clothes to wear for different photoshoots.
Checklist – You can devise a checklist of ten images they need to take at their wedding.
Discount code – You can provide a discount for their next photoshoot.
Free product – You can provide a free mini-album for the next photoshoot they order.
STEP 3. Write an Enticing Subject Line
Akin to a book title, the subject line of the email can single-handedly ensure the success or ruin of your campaign. Keep in mind that spam subjects will be blocked while boring ones will be ignored.
Would you click on an email titled “Summer newsletter?” Doubtful. Instead, come up with a brief and engaging subject line. Here are some suggestions you can adhere to:
- Don’t make the subject line longer than 50 characters (6 to 10 words).
- Make sure it’s attention-grabbing.
- Disclose what the email is going to be about.
- Consider adding a question like "What is your ideal photoshoot location?"
STEP 4. Create Engaging Content
If you don’t have any idea what to include in your newsletter, then you’re a part of a much larger club than you think. Let’s start at the beginning and think about what kind of content your current and potential clients want that can entice them to make a purchase choice.
Examples of your work. Emails have to include the best work you ever created (not just the latest photos) while covering multiple themes that can help engage a wider audience.
Personality. Most clients prefer to order services from a photographer that comes across as having a similar outlook on life. In a field where the competition is so fierce, it’s a good idea to rely on your personality to appeal to the type of clientele that matches your style the most. Reach out to people, be personal, and include your headshot as frequently as it is appropriate.
Expertise. Your photography expertise is what helps you stand out from the rest. Mention your awards and accolades while sharing information with your clients that they won’t find anywhere else.
Educational information. Your audience isn’t interested in the “Mark’s and Jessica’s wedding pictures” that you shot last weekend. They’re interested in learning suggestions and ideas for posing, attire, and seeing photos displayed in houses like theirs.
Call to action. Your email always has to include something of value to the recipient. Each email has to include a single (and not more) call to action: regardless if it's an invitation to order a photo shoot at a discount or a prompt for the recipient to read the latest post on your blog. Ensure the call to action is written in a concise and friendly manner.
STEP 5. Avoid the Spam Box
After spending hours devising a professional email marketing for photographers strategy, the biggest thing you want to avoid is losing the newsletter before it even gets to the subscribers.
There are certain steps you can take to avoid ending up in the spam section:
- Inform subscribers about the type of content you’ll be sending out and how often you’ll be doing it. Preferably, they should find out this information before subscribing to the newsletter or immediately after.
- Ask your followers to add you to the contact list after subscribing.
- Avoid sending emails written in CAPS and spam words like “100%”, “Free”, or “Press here”.
- Find a balance between the number of pictures and text included in each email. The ideal text-to-photo ratio is about 80:20.
- Include a visible unsubscribe button in each email.
STEP 6. Design Your Email Carefully
When choosing images for your email, don’t go over 600px in width. Any bigger and the email will be cut off on preview panes and smartphones.
Don’t overly rely on images in your newsletter since the majority of email service provides like Gmail disable pictures by default. If your email is just a single large image, chances are it will remain unseen by most of your subscriber base.
Teach yourself to have a healthy balance between written and visual content while ensuring the message you’re conveying is engaging and interesting enough even if the images won’t be displayed. Pick a mobile-friendly layout since users tend to unsubscribe from newsletters that aren’t optimized for their smartphones.
Avoid completely copying the email style and structure of another brand. Many enterprises, including some popular and profitable ones, tend to ignore common best practices where email design is involved.
STEP 7. Create Auto-Responses
Most photographers don’t ever give email promotion a try because of how time-consuming it might become. However, that’s the case only because they don’t know how convenient automation can be. With an automated newsletter, you merely have to put together a message once and determine the rules regarding when and to whom it has to be sent while the software handles everything else.
Look at this shortlist of email ideas that you can write once and have the system distribute them automatically:
Greeting emails: It’s possible to create multiple welcome emails that will introduce the reader to you, your work, and what they can look forward to in the next emails. Such emails will be sent to the followers at predetermined intervals, ensuring they are continuously engaged.
Thank you for your inquiry. The moment a potential customer reaches out to you, you have to respond with a thank you email.
You can automate the process of getting feedback from users that purchased your photography services or workshop sessions.
You can automatically categorize subscribers into lists - highly engaged, purchased a service or product, location-based, and so on.
All tools to create and send automated emails
STEP 8. Categorize Your Audience
Segmentation allows putting together various subscriber categories and only sending them emails that were handcrafted to fit a specific group. The characteristics used for categorizing should be determined by your overall strategy. Possible ideas include purchase history, level of engagement, demographic, and location.
If you have a portion of subscribers that didn’t read any emails over the course of the last month, you can put together a re-engagement newsletter tailored for this group. Likewise, you can reward your most engaged subscribers with pre-launch content to receive their feedback. Such an approach to email marketing for photographers allows increasing the open and click-through rates since the sent content has a higher chance of satisfying the subscriber’s interests.
STEP 9. Send Emails Regularly
There’s no single correct approach when it comes to how frequently you should send out emails. The only thing that really matters is that you remain consistent in your schedule. If you’re a photographer who is still new to email marketing for photographers, I suggest sending an email once a month or once every two months depending on your niche.
I advise against taking a break for more than 3 months between newsletters. One of the primary benefits of having a newsletter is to remind existing and potential clients of your brand and that’s hard to do if you’re not going to send out emails regularly.
STEP 10. Schedule the Emails
Another aspect you have to keep in mind is the time of day that your emails will be distributed. Research suggests that subscribers are more inclined to read newsletters at 10am (after arriving at their jobs) or at 12am (when browsing through their emails before going to bed).
General client newsletters are typically read early in the morning and during weekends. If you’re involved in retail photography (weddings, family portraiture, children photos, etc.) then it’s advised to send out emails right before these times. Business emails are commonly read early in the day and almost never on the weekend.
If you’re in the commercial industry, that’s when you want to reach the client’s inbox. Feel free to try out different strategies with your own list to determine what times bring the best results.