Whether you’re a freelance photographer or run your photography studio, it’s important to have a well-rounded marketing strategy that encompasses a range of different tactics.
While social media marketing has its perks, there are downsides to consider too. Relying solely on social media to give you visibility and engage with new customers leaves the fate of your photography business in the hands of Facebook (or other platforms) algorithms. The risk is that with one change, you could completely disappear from the feeds of your followers unless you invest in paid ads, which don’t have a super engagement and high click-through rate.
You need to hit your customers with something else. Email marketing is a hugely successful marketing ploy; it’s got a ridiculously high ROI, higher click-through rate than social, and is the customers’ favorite when it comes to the marketing channel.
Below we’ve detailed how photographers can use email marketing to engage existing and new customers. Read on to find out how you can use these methods to boost your engagement.
By showing them your new work: Showcase emails
If you’re trying to make any kind of money from your photography, the chances are that you’ve already got a blog or website on which you can showcase your work.
But why stop there? A website is all very well and good, but it’s something that customers have to actively search out if they want to have a closer look at your work. And (no offense to customers), customers in this digital age of instant gratification are a little bit lazy (it’s okay to say this, we’re customers too). Sometimes you need to make the first move and approach them, rather than waiting for them to call.
You need to be able to reach out to customers to highlight the excellent photography you’ve been doing. A short email containing a few of your favorite images and even the story behind them will show off your work, spark your customers’ interest and also generate some click-throughs to your website for further exploration of your photography.
This is the aim of the game with the showcase email — to give customers a taste and leave them wanting more.
By treating them: Promotional emails
Everyone loves to be treated, don’t they?
Including promotional emails in your email marketing shows that you’re thinking about your customers and what you can offer them.
Advertising your promotions on Facebook or other social channels is perfectly fine, but there is a risk that your content will get missed among all the other deals and discounts that are being offered by your competitors. Particularly around seasonal holidays, people’s feeds will be awash with photography promotions.
If you want to cut through the social media chatter, then emailing your subscriber list with promotions is the best way forward. You can offer deals to get XX% off your photography services or include free extras like a photo album or additional copies.
If you can tie in your promotional email to a seasonal holiday, then all the better. For example, mention that a lovely family photo would be the perfect gift for a loved one at Christmas, or a couple of photo sessions is a romantic way to celebrate your relationship on Valentine’s Day.
By keeping them in the loop: Email newsletters
Newsletters are the most popular type of email — stat on how many businesses send them
Sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter to your followers gives you a chance to connect and update. You can include features like:
- Highlight new projects/changes
- What you’ve been up to during the past month
- New website/updates to websites
- Links to new blog posts
- Your commentary on industry news
Email marketing software platforms tend to include newsletter templates so that you don’t have to send out a poorly formatted newsletter email. Instead, you can easily design your own high-quality, mobile-friendly newsletter highlighting your essential updates. Don’t forget to include short and sweet CTAs in your email body to entice customers over to your website.
We recently wrote about why using too many images is bad (and how you can fix it) for your website. The same holds for your email newsletters. Large images of your photography will affect the loading time of your emails and could put off customers. Depending on your customer’s mailing preferences, they may even have blocked images in emails and might not even see the great photos you’re sending out.
Make sure you balance text and images and use descriptive alt text to counter issues like this.
By including them in your journey: Milestone emails
One of the great things about sending out regular emails to your follower base is that you’re building up a relationship with them. Through the use of newsletter emails, you’re keeping them updated with all of your news and new work.
With milestone emails, you can share special moments with your customers. Marking celebrations — like your business’s birthday, achievements like opening up a store, or winning a photography competition — highlights your brand’s success and value to customers, but also works on another, more emotional level.
When you share your happiness and victories with your customers, you’re inviting them into your world in a more personal, intimate way. This reinforces the bonds you’ve already formed with existing customers and contributes in a big way to them becoming brand advocates.
And it gives new customers a chance to get you to know you and form these bonds for themselves.
Building a brand as a photographer is more about having a decent logo and taking good photographers; it’s about creating lasting emotional connections. Through sharing your journey and any milestones along the way, you’re reaching out more humanly to engage with your customers.
These are just four ways that photographers can use email marketing to engage new customers. Using a combination of these email types in your marketing campaign will help you to celebrate your work with your community, update them regularly and make sure that your customers still feel connected and interested in your brand.
Refine your marketing strategy based on your clicks and incoming traffic, and find a style of communication that suits you best. If you use an email marketing platform, make the most of its split-testing capabilities to work out what the most effective version of an email is.
Which email marketing techniques do you use to engage new customers? Let us know in the comments below.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.