The Photographer’s Guide to Email Marketing
No matter how large or small your photography business may be, email marketing can be a powerful tool in building and nurturing your relationships with potential or existing clients. Email marketing continues to be one of the most cost-effective and scalable marketing tactics to build brand awareness and become a trustworthy thought leader with your audience.
We know that, as an artist, exploring new marketing strategies can often feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to give you a comprehensive guide to email marketing for photographers. Let’s first dive into what exactly email marketing is.
Email Marketing Defined
Email marketing is a type of content marketing, which informs and educates the readers on your email list with how-tos, guides, reviews, and news updates. You can also use it to soft-sell your audience on your brand value and keep them engaged for your services. This form of marketing has one of the lowest entry costs, allowing you to use it along with your other strategies to continue your expansion of brand awareness, lead generation, and customer engagement.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing for artists and photographers is a great way to build a relationship with your audience while getting them to take some type of action. Emails are the one type of low-cost marketing that requires the consumer to make a move, whether that’s to open the email, delete it, or archive it. Either way, the consumer has already seen your brand’s name come up in their inbox which is the first step of building their awareness and recognition with your brand’s name.
Within the emails that you send to your audience, you can use different content sections to drive them to your website or blog or ask them to follow you on social media. Email marketing is the easiest way to connect each of the specific interactions a consumer can have with your brand.
As well, you can segment your emails by types of targeted demographics, so that your audience feels as though you are speaking directly to them every time they open their inbox.
Lastly, email marketing for photographers is a great way to get better insight into what your potential clients would want to see from you. You can run A/B tests on subject lines, calls to action, or even types of content to determine what your audience is most interested in. Then, you can adjust your business offerings as needed. However, to run these tests, you have to have a strong and well-established email list. Let’s jump into how you can build a great email list to start on your email marketing journey.
Tips for Building Your Email List
While we all wish we had immediate access and time to organically build a long list of engaged and potential clients, we know you have a business to run as well. As a photographer, your quickest and easiest option may be to buy an email list, but it’s not that simple. If you are buying an email list, be sure to thoroughly research and ask questions from the email list provider to ensure that it’s the best audience for you. We have a great blog post that explains why you should still buy an email list and goes into more detail about how to research those providers.
If you do feel that you have the time to build one from scratch, this is a great way to ensure that each of those email contacts will be engaged with your brand. This is because each of those contacts will have directly interacted with you or your brand at some point along the way before subscribing, unlike a purchased email list. Building an email list from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated though.
You can do it yourself by:
Figure out your ideal audience. Understand the persona and interests of your potential client and figure out where they spend their time and how they interact online.
Get them to sign up, either through your social media, blog posts, landing pages, or even pop-ups on your website.
Ask for email addresses from your site visitors via an opt-in form or gated content like a PDF or free guide.
As these email addresses start to come in, be sure to segment your audience depending on interests, behaviors, and demographics.
To easily segment and organize your email list, you’ll want to choose a reliable email service provider or ESP. An ESP can be incredibly helpful in designing your email templates, scheduling out email campaigns, and organizing your contact database.
What ESP to Use
It’s important, when deciding what ESP to use, to compare some of the top options and what the costs are for their services. When looking at pricing, most ESPs base their cost on your send volume, so the larger your audience is, the more costly the platform will be. While most ESPs often offer the same functions, you’ll want to understand what is and what isn’t included in your pricing. And remember to keep the future in mind. You’ll want to select an ESP that can grow with you, but won’t be too costly later on.
For example, you’ll want to look into their license, usage, and overage costs. Be sure to understand what the setup fees are and if there are any costs associated with migrating from one ESP to another (in case you do want to switch later on). Additionally, it can be helpful to have thorough training with either their support team or resources for help when you need it. Finally, you’ll want to look into their data storage fees and API integrations once you do begin to grow your business and email marketing strategies.
A great way to see which platform may fit your business best is to do a free trial if one is offered. Most ESPs offer a beginning period to test their platform, so use this time to explore and learn as much as you can about their capabilities as they can benefit your brand’s potential growth.
Actionable Email Marketing Tips to Run Your Successful Campaign
Here at Agency Access, we have some great resources and tips for you to create a robust email marketing strategy, but let’s review some of our favorites for running a successful email campaign.
Decide on relevant, quality topics to write about in your email newsletter for photographers. Think about topics that you would find yourself clicking on and taking time to read. Remember, if you wouldn’t stop to read it, neither will they. As well, don’t forget to include some of your most recent projects and imagery. Your audience wants to see what you have to offer!
Use a content calendar to keep track of topics. This will help you have a clear track of what content you’ve shared and what topics you need to expand on. As well, this will help develop a better storytelling strategy, as opposed to having your topics be random and inconsistent.
Keep your email subject line and body to certain lengths. AWeber found in their study that, on average, an email subject line is 44 characters long. Also, there are average lengths you’ll want to follow when it comes to preheaders, copy length, and even your calls to action or CTAs. Campaign Monitor evaluated all parts of a well-written email and found data to support ways to stay competitive in the world of email marketing.
With that being said, use those 44 characters to make the subject line as catchy as possible. You want to avoid being deleted—or, worse, unsubscribed—from an inbox at all times.
If you’re not optimizing for mobile, you’re doing it wrong. More and more people every day are relying on their phones to check their email and not even using a desktop or laptop. Make sure your email is easily scannable and reader-friendly on mobile.
Understand email marketing laws. Know the rules of asking permission to email someone, what unsubscribe options you must include in each email, and how many times you can reach out to your audience’s inbox in different areas of the world.
Figure out when the best times to send are and what your frequency should be. While this can vary by industry and audience type. CoSchedule collected some powerful data that can get you started in your testing process.
Automate your email sending. You don’t need to manually send your emails. In fact, you shouldn’t be. Schedule your emails to send when you determine the send time that’ll get you the most opens on that email.
And don’t forget: Always be testing! A/B-test your subject lines, email copy, CTAs, and more to see what resonates best with your audience. Once you’ve tested, monitor the performance of those emails. Pay attention to the open rates (which have to do with your subject line success) and click-throughs (which reflect on your CTA success).
By following this comprehensive guide to email marketing for photographers, your emails will speak volumes for your brand and the art you can create. With Agency Access’ database of over 95,000 contacts, you can get started with the ideal targeted audience to choose from when sending your email marketing campaigns.
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