Email Marketing for Photographers – How to Actually Master it Today
Email marketing is a highly effective way to promote your photography business. By sending regular email newsletters to your subscribers, you can keep them informed about your latest work, services, as well as upcoming events or promotions. And if you include special offers or discounts, you can encourage them to buy from you!
A strong email marketing plan paired with a professional photography website will help a photography business to thrive. Having a large social media following is great, but you should also think about creating an excellent experience for your website visitors and building a powerful email marketing strategy.
People who choose to sign up for your newsletters are more likely to be interested in your work than those who just see your work by scrolling through hundreds of other photos on their social feeds. That’s why newsletters are the best way to reach out to your most engaged fans.
Email marketing is also a fantastic way to stay connected with your customers, whether they are located near your business or not. Through well-crafted newsletters, you can keep your customers informed and engaged with your brand while helping to keep you top-of-mind for previous clients.
Here is what we will cover in this article.
- List Building
- Avoiding Spam
You don’t need to be an amazingly talented writer to create an engaging email. This seems to be one of the main concerns of photographers who have decided not to put effort into email marketing.
While writing long chunks of text makes sense if you want to create a blog, you can keep your writing simple and to-the-point. Focus on providing valuable content that your subscribers will appreciate. Adding informative and engaging content to your email communications is key to keeping subscribers interested.
You can regularly include:
- Your availability
- Recent photo sessions
- Live stream events
- In-person events
- Behind-the-scenes footage
The first step in building a list is ensuring you have a good email marketing platform in place.
If you already use a CRM, you may already have this capability. Some website platforms also offer email marketing services. So before checking out the companies below, check what you already subscribe to and see if you have the feature available to you now.
The trickiest part of the process is actually getting people onto your email list.
Here are some suggested ways to get people to sign-up:
- QR codes while on the job, for quick scanning and signing up
- Embedded opt-in forms on individual pages of your website
- Connecting your regular contact form to your newsletter
- Connecting blog comments to your newsletter
- Pop-up forms strategically placed throughout your website
But what would attract people to this? To actually get people to fill in their name and email and click the submit.
It all starts with an offer – which can also be called a lead magnet or incentive.
For wedding photographers, this could be through offering customers a local wedding planning guide once signed up. A PDF that includes recommendations for:
- Bridal shops
- Tuxedo shops
- DJs and bands
Offering this sort of content to your subscribers will be highly valuable to leads and can highlight vendor partners who, in turn, may want to promote your services.
A good email starts with a short and punchy subject line. Something that stands out but isn’t too pushy or fluffy.
Most people like getting right to the point. Think about the volume of emails you receive daily. The people on your email list get the same amount of emails.
Here are some tips for your subject line:
- Write for a 7th grader (12-year-old)
- Tease what is inside the email
- Use an emoji or two
- Do not use an exclamation point
- Keep it under 50 characters
When it comes to the body of your email, the same principles apply. You should write as if your audience is younger. A tool called Hemingway App can analyze your text content and tell you what grade it is written for. The tool can help you simplify your writing for a wider audience.
Keep in mind that people also have short attention spans. So you want to try to keep your email short.
Breaking paragraphs up into smaller pieces using bolds, italics, and bullets can also make emails easier to read or scan.
Another valuable tool for writing is an AI-based spelling and grammar checker. There are two that come to mind because here at Imagen, our team uses both of these:
Those services can analyze your content and recommend changes for better readability and discourage the overuse of certain words.
The spam folder is the place where bad and, unfortunately, good emails often go to reside.
After investing so much time and effort in putting together a strong email, the last thing you want is for it to get lost before reaching your subscribers.
- Here is some advice to avoid hitting spam or junk filters: When new people sign-up for your newsletter, let them know what kind of content to expect from you.
- Also, let them know how often they will be emailed.
- Ask subscribers to add you to their contacts.
- Never mislead people with your subject lines.
- Do not use all caps.
- Avoid trigger words and phrases like ‘100%’, ‘free,’ and ‘click here.’
- Keep to a good balance of text and images.
- Always include an ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of your emails.
If someone signup for your emails, they are likely to already appreciate the work you create. If they are not already customers, hopefully, they want to be.
So consider giving back to those who go through the effort to give you their contact information. This might be as simple as a discount offer or a promo incentive.
For example, your promo might be ‘book a family portrait and get next year’s family portrait at half the price.’ Or maybe, ‘book a family portrait session and get a free 16×20 print ready for the wall.’
Consider Your Timing
There is not one gold standard for when you should send emails. However, the email marketing platform you choose to use may provide you with statistics that can help you decide this. Some even use algorithms to determine your best time to send an email based on open and click rates. Mailchimp, for example, can automate this based on its AI which learns the best times for your email list.
The first time you send out emails, experiment by trying different days and times. See what is working and what is not. For example, instead of emailing your list at 1 pm, try 1:10 pm. Or instead of 10 am, try 9:45 am.
The other thing to keep in mind is holidays. Think ahead by noting down which holidays will be coming up and planning your emails ahead of time. For example, sending a Christmas-themed email is likely to get fewer opens on Christmas Day than a week before.
In addition to experimenting with timing, consider testing various aspects of your emails.
- Try a different email design
- Plain text versus a design
- One design versus another
- Try emailing segments of your list
- People who open emails the most
- People who specifically want wedding content
- People who specifically want family content
- Try different subject line styles
- With emojis versus without emojis
- Clickbait versus natural
- Longer length versus shorter
- Try different calls to action
- Different button sizes
- Different button colors
- Button text capitals versus title case
Some email marketing platforms have built-in A/B testing features that can help you determine what might work best. But if they don’t, you will have to monitor the analytics to determine what works best.
Here we are, at the end of this in-depth piece on email marketing for photographers. As a company making AI photo editing software, we are pretty fond of AI tools that can help simplify our lives in practical ways. Tools like Grammarly use AI to help with the emails we are writing. Tools like Mailchimp use AI to find the best times to send out emails.
We hope that all the advice we shared will kick start your email marketing efforts or help to enhance what you already have in place.