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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.
Back 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 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:
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.
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:
There 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:
Alternatively check out what Aweber has to offer here.
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.