In this guide I would like to share with you five email marketing mistakes to avoid in your photography business.
Email marketing is one of my favorite types of marketing because it's really cost effective and it works, too. I’m going to talk about how I was able to book an entire year of weddings without social media. I'm going to reveal some mistakes that I see photographers making with email marketing and how you can get more clients using email marketing.
So let me know if either of these sound like you. So either A, you know you probably should be collecting email addresses on your website, but you haven't started yet. Or B, You have the sign-up form on your website, and you are collecting email addresses, but you really don't know what to do with them once you've gotten them
Okay. So if this does sound like you then you're not alone. There's a lot of photographers out there like you. And in this guide I'm going to share with you the five things you need to do to start using email marketing to get more clients in your photography business.
Just a brief introduction, I'm the founder and owner of Magazine Mama. I create resources to help photographers save time and to market their photography business through welcome guide templates and curriculum to make money teaching basic photography classes.
I started my photography business in 2004. I went full-time in the business pretty much overnight. I was working at a newspaper editing photos, and our department got laid off. I had started getting into wedding photography before I got laid off and so as soon as we got laid off I had to sink or swim. So I decided to dive right into my photography business full-time the next day.
I was able to book an entire year of weddings my very first year without Facebook, without any social media, because when I started back then in 2004, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest were not in existence. I launched and sustained my business primarily with email marketing. That’s how I know it works and why I am passionate about helping photographers like you grow your business with e-mail marketing.
I'm not saying other social media platforms aren't important, but email should be huge part of your marketing strategy. So let's look at the top five mistakes in email marketing that I see photographers making so that you can avoid them.
You need to have an email opt-in form on your website. When I started my photography business, not a lot of the website developers that were making website templates for photographers had opt-in forms. Not it seems like they're finally starting to get the hint that email marketing is important for photographers and starting to implement email sign-up forms on photographer website templates.
If you don't have one on your theme, you can use an app, such as Optin Monster. You can also link to an opt-in form if you're using an email service provider such as MailChimp. They have opt-in forms and opt-in subscribe pages and you can actually put a link in your navigation bar and link to the form. You don't have to actually have it embedded. You do still have the option to embed it in your pages as well.
Another strategy that I want you to consider if you haven't yet, is to start placing your opt-in form on your social media page such as your Facebook page and in your Instagram bio. Instead of directing visitors to your website, link your opt-in form, collect their e-mail and then link back to your website within the e-mails you send out. You can also include that in your bio… for example… “Click here to sign up for for my free guide”. You can create a .pdf from your welcome guide and use that as the free downloadable content. Or you can take just one page out of the welcome guide and create a .pdf from it. Or you can choose from one of these pre-written articles.
Here’s the bottom line… if you're not collecting email leads, you could be missing out on a lot of clients, because each email lead is an opportunity for a potential client which can lead to a referral and even more clients.
Did you know that according to research by Constant Contact people are two times more likely to sign up for your email list as they are to interact with you on Facebook. If you consider that they're two times more likely to sign up for your email list, that's really, really good.
The second mistake I see photographers making is only sending promotional emails. Now you want to provide value to your subscribers because it helps keep them engaged, and it helps them to trust you. It helps establish your business as the authority in your area, and it helps keep your business top-of- mind.
Let’s talk about some ways that you can provide value to your subscribers. The easiest thing you can do is send them a link back to your blog posts where you feature your sessions. Or you can send them an e-mail with tips for their session, such as how to get ready for their session. If you have a blog post featuring tips on how to prepare for a session, inside the e-mail you could give a brief summary of the blog post and then link to the blog post within the e-mail. If you’re struggling with what to write in your blog posts check out these pre-written blog posts for photographers or pre-written blog posts for wedding photographers.
You can also send them a list of resources that they can use for their session. If you’re a headshot photographer or personal brand photographer, you could send them a list of resources such as makeup artists or hair salons that they can go to. Or if you're a wedding photographer, you could send them a list of wedding vendors that you work with and that you recommend.
Make sure you have permission to email your contacts. You need to be using an email service provider. Two that I recommend are MailChimp or Mad Mimi. If you don't use an e-mail service provider and are sending out e-mails directly from a Hotmail or Yahoo account, that's considered spam. It’s also not very professional. You need to be sending e-mails with an e-mail address from your business domain name.
A bonus reason you need to use an e-mail service provider is because you get analytics with it. You get to see who's opening you’re e-mails and what they’re clicking on. This information can be very helpful in your success with e-mail marketing.
The fourth mistake I see photographers making is not using email in the way it's intended to be used. Now don’t misunderstand me, e-mail is great for sending out promotions, but I think one thing that gets lost is that it's especially great for client retention. It's a great way to nurture the relationships with your current clients.
You don't want to have a one and done mentality where, basically, you delete somebody off your lists or stop emailing them just because they've booked you. That's not the end. You need to keep growing the relationship through email up to the time of booking and even after booking because who doesn’t love repeat clients, right? And maybe even some referrals.
Remember, once someone becomes a client and makes a purchase with you, chances are greater that they'll make a second purchase. It's a lot easier and more cost effective to market to your current clients than to go out and try to find new ones.
I hear a lot of photographers say they are collecting e-mail addresses, but they don’t know what to do with the leads once they get them. You need to have a plan or a strategy with email marketing so that you can be consistent with this part of your marketing. Start with deciding how frequently you will send e-mails to your clients, what e-mail service provider you will use, what kind of content you will include in your e-mail and what your goal is with your e-mail marketing strategy. According to a statistic, 61% of consumers enjoy receiving weekly emails. I think sending e-mails at least once a week is a great place to start.
If people unsubscribe then that means don't want to hear from you. And don't get offended at that because if they're unsubscribing they're not really your target market. You don't really want them on your list because it hurts your open rates and it hurts your deliverability rates as well. So I thought it was interesting. 38% of people would like emails to come even more frequently. So that's just some food for thought there.
Email marketing is still the number one tool that most businesses use to make sales. But the problem is that most business owners don't have a plan or a road map to make this happen. If you want to get started using e-mail marketing in your photography business check out this course.
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