Facebook Pixel What Every Photographer Needs to Know about Email Marketing

What Every Photographer Needs to Know about Email Marketing

Photographers are increasingly turning to new social media technologies to get word out about their businesses (Facebook pages, Twitter, Google+ and more are topics we’ve featured in the last year).

There’s certainly some wonderful potential to engage people with social media – but my suspicion is that many photographers are ignoring a method of online communication that is much much more powerful and effective at reaching out to potential clients and building loyalty with previous ones – Email.

Email is Not Dead

email.jpegBack when Digital Photography School was just starting out (April 2006) there was a lot of talk going on around the web about how Email was Dying as a technology. At the time it was the Syndication technology of ‘RSS’ that was going to kill email but since that time there have been numerous other ‘Email Killers’ touted including Facebook and Twitter.

While there has certainly been an upswing in the number of people using social media – email is still alive and well. In fact it is central in my own business as a blogger. Since 2006 we’ve had over half a million people sign up to receive our weekly newsletter while in the same time around 140,000 have signed up to connect with us on social media. Thank goodness we didn’t put all our eggs in the social media basket!

We’re certainly not ignoring social media marketing – but email is where our #1 focus is.

Our use of email highlights that people do use it – usually on a daily basis, that they respond to emails (both to visit sites and make purchases) and that it is also a way to virally grow your business (emails get forwarded on from one person to another).

To ignore email as part of your marketing mix could be costing your photography business revenue.

Email Marketing for Photographers

Email marketing is not just something for bloggers – it is also something that those in all kinds of businesses should be considering. It is useful to build relationships with current and potential clients, to help you build your brand and profile and to drive sales.

It can be used in any number of ways but a number of photographers that I’ve been interacting with online lately tell me how effective that they’ve found it to be in a number of key areas:

  1. showcasing work – Many photographers have blogs which they use to showcase their work and build credibility with potential clients. Two photographers that I’ve chatted with this week tell me that they send out weekly emails with a couple of their best images and the stories behind them (and then links to the blog to show more). In doing so they’re reminding people on a weekly basis of the quality and style of their work.
  2. running promotions – Another photographer tells me that any time he’s got space in his schedule he simply emails his email list with a promotion offering XX% off his services for the first 5 people to respond. This isn’t the only kind of email he sends (he too sends out emails showcasing this work) but he reported that every time he sent his email he found his schedule would quickly fill.
  3. word of mouth promotions – another photographer this week told me that he follows up all clients that he’s worked with with an email giving them incentive to pass on word of his services to friends. He gives them a free print for every new client they bring in.

The key with email marketing is to get the balance right between ‘promotional’ emails and emails that people genuinely find useful and interesting in some way. I’d recommend that emails showcasing work, telling stories and even giving clients tips/advice should probably make up the bulk of the emails that you send – with promotional ones being less regular.

The way you use email will of course vary from photographer to photographer depending upon your business model. For some it will be more about keeping in touch with previous clients while for others it will be more about reaching out to potential ones.

Update: One other strategy that I know of one photographer using is to email new clients after a shoot with a quick and simple survey to see how they found his service. He not only gets valuable feedback from clients with this but makes an impression on them with his interest in improving what he does.

Invest in an Email Service Provider

Sending clients and potential clients emails is a great idea – but you should seriously consider HOW you send those emails. I would recommend using a service designed for this purpose rather than just sending these kinds of emails via our own email provider.

The reasons for this are numerous:

  • Email Service Providers will increase your deliverability rate – send too many emails like these from your own email service and you’ll find the deliverability of these emails will decrease over time. ESP’s specialise in email and their deliverability rates will be significantly higher – as will your emails open rates.
  • Statistics – ESPs provide you with stats on how successful your emails are. They’ll tell you how many people received your emails and how many bounced, how many people open them, how many people click on the links in them etc. All of this helps you work out how to improve future emails.
  • Split Testing – most ESPs allow you to test different versions of the same email to work out which is most effective. For example you might send emails to 2 halves of your email list with different subject lines to test what people response to best – again this improves your results.
  • Spam Testing – some ESPs give you tools to test whether your emails will get caught in spam filters before you send them. This increases deliverability.
  • Auto-Responders – one great feature that many ESPs have is the ability to automate your email marketing. You can set up a sequence of emails that all new subscribers to your list get at predetermined intervals. You might start off with a welcome email, follow up a few days later with a showcase email of your best work, send an email a week later with a discount etc. Over time you can test which sequence works best to both deepen client relationships and drive sales.
  • Double Opt in Subscriptions – it is important to note that what I’m NOT talking about in this article is spamming potential clients. In many parts of the world it is illegal to email unsolicited emails to people and you need to use what is known as a ‘double opt in’ system where someone needs to give you permission to email them by confirming their subscription after they’ve subscribed by clicking a link in an email you send them. ESPs have this tool in place to make it easier to get important opt ins.

dPS Uses and Recommends Aweber Communications

aweber-logo.jpegThere are many good email providers but the one that we use and recommend here at dPS is Aweber.

Aweber have all of the above features plus a lot more. They offer a wide range of templates to make your emails attractive, give you a range of widgets to get signups to your email list (including one to put on your Facebook Page), integrate with Facebook/Twitter, offer the ability to segment lists into different types of subscribers, let you send emails based upon the RSS feed on your blog and a heap more.

This is a paid service but you’re paying for a heap of features that will increase your effectiveness and you’ll only pay based upon how many subscribers you have.

Aweber also give you the ability to test drive their service for free – to do so just sign up below and you’ll be emailed the details:


Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 102,000+ businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber’s opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.




Take a Free Test Drive today!

Alternatively check out what Aweber has to offer here.

Do you Use Email to Build Your Photography Business?

I’d love to hear how photographers are using email as part of their marketing strategy – please share your own stories in comments below!

Note: Links in this article are affiliate links and dPS earns a small commission if you sign up and become a paying user of Aweber – however dPS is also an avid user of Aweber and recommends the service whether you sign up with our links or some other way.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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