Email marketing campaigns can be very effective for photographers if done correctly. The problem is, most photogs don’t harness its full potential because they don’t understand the basics. Chances are your clients are already overwhelmed with email, so why would they want to sign up to receive more?
For some photographers, a carefully maintained email list can yield new and repeat assignments, and enthusiasm for their images. This can be a helpful tool to prime the pump in slow times.
Freelance photographer Leah Fasten based her business out of Boston for many years, and established a long list of clients in the New England area. When she moved to San Francisco in early 2011, she faced a problem – letting people know she was still open for business, but in a different location on the other side of the country.
Because of her move, the year began slowly for Leah, and when February rolled around without a single assignment on her calendar, she decided to spend that time promoting herself via an email campaign. But not just a one-time mailing, she had other plans.
Using personal images taken each day that showcase her unique visual style, Leah came up with a campaign called “My California,” which was designed to do two things simultaneously: 1) communicate that she was in California, and 2) generate a new email list of potential clients. Directly after her campaign, she received two assignments from previous clients, which she attributes to her email-based outreach efforts.
This a photo-a-day email list spanned the month of February. Each email contained new images created from her new life in California. Since this was a daily email, she asked people to sign up to receive it. During the first few days of the month, she used her master email list, and Facebook, to solicit signups.
Leah created a signup form so people could easily opt into receiving her daily images.
As a result of this particular effort, she was able to add 43 new email addresses to her master list. Open rates ranged between 70%-90% each day.
Leah’s master list (which she calls her “e-blast” list) contains the addresses of every person she has worked with in the photo industry (current clients, past clients, people she has shown work to, people she has sent estimates to, subjects she has photographed that she really liked, or anyone who sent her an email.) That list is now 2,000 people and growing.
She uses a service called MyEmma.com to send the her emails, and has been using them for 4+ years, paying for a monthly subscription.
Leah finds success through email marketing because she has been putting effort into growing her email list for years. When she sends emails, there is always something “very Leah” about them, and people look forward to receiving them. Her emails don’t feel like spam — instead, they feel like a friendly note that’s keeping in touch, and sharing some of her latest visual treats.
I am a fan of Leah’s work, and I’m happy to be on her “e-blast list.” Although I get more than my share of emails each day, when one of Leah’s shows up in my inbox, I open it with enthusiasm. I am always wondering: “What goodies will she share with me this time?”
I am never disappointed.
Email Marketing for Photographers is a FREE guide that will teach you how to turn your client emails into an effective marketing tool. Produced by the PhotoShelter research team, this 15-page guide shares valuable information that will help you grow your business using proven email marketing tactics.
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