When it comes to newsletters, Washington, D.C.-based photographer Stephen Voss does what many consider risky: writing, and writing a lot. “Most people will say that you need to keep these short and sweet, but for me, it works,” says Stephen.
Stephen sends out a newsletter every one or two months for a total of about four per year, though this year he’s probably going to hit six. He uses Campaign Monitor because the cost is cheap ($5 for each email, and one penny per subscriber, which for him means about $8 a newsletter), and because it tracks click-through and open rates.
“I email a pretty tight list of people (around 300) who have hired me or who I’ve met with in the past – people I want to be kept abreast of what I’m doing,” says Stephen.
Stephen recently changed the look and feel of his newsletter to look more like a case study of his work. Here’s a clip of his August send:
He uses a photo shoot he’s done to showcase his strengths as a photographer, and keeps the tone light, not overly self-promotional, and wraps it up with a little humor. But the idea is that it “makes a case for why someone might want to hire me.”
“Even though I don’t explicitly write it, my emails are saying: ‘When you hire me, I make the shoots my own.’ It becomes my personal responsibility to do something great, and I care deeply about the shoot being a success,” says Stephen.
“I know that the photo editor has to answer to the editor, and I want to make their job easier. I want them to look at these photos and go, ‘Holy crap, you’ve got something there, despite whatever limitations or obstacles you had.’”
Once each newsletter goes out, Stephen pays careful attention to click-through and open rates. He also takes note of who actually opens his email and who clicks the links. He then might add someone to a postcard mailing if they’ve taken the time to click through.
A big tip Stephen would offer to a new photographer is to be wary of list generators. “That scatter-shot approach is really a mistake and can serve to annoy more photo editors than you could bring in,” he says. Stephen looks up everyone on his list using AdBase, where editors can note whether or not they appreciate e-promos. “And I absolutely abide by that. This is a small world and everyone talks. You want to be on the right foot,” he says.
Here’s a quick list of Stephen’s other top email marketing tips:
Use these tips to ensure your next campaign is a success, and download our free guide, Email Marketing for Photographers, for more information on how to optimize your efforts and avoid common pitfalls.
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