The Essential Email Marketing Guide for Portrait Photographers, Part 1
Imagine being able to hit “send” on an email and watch your calendar fill up completely. That’s the power of email marketing for photographers.
When Joy Vertz started her photography business, she had no idea where the next client would be coming from. Even after opening a second studio location, she still struggled to fill her schedule to its capacity.
Overhead kept increasing, and her usual marketing tactics kept falling short. All the time and energy she invested in making the business as efficient as it could possibly be was wasted because she wasn’t recruiting enough clients.
Fast forward to today: all Joy has to do is hit “send” on her email, and her calendar fills to capacity.
How did she do it?
By focusing her marketing efforts on email.
One of the biggest mistakes photographers make is focusing too much on selling their business through social media channels and not enough on email marketing.
The problem with placing all your eggs in the social media basket is that the popularity of social media channels is fleeting.
What’s free and popular today could be costly or stale tomorrow. So all that energy you put into building an audience on any specific platform is perpetually at risk of being wasted.
Email, on the other hand, is constant.
Whether Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook is the golden channel of the moment is no longer your concern, as long as your email efforts are on point.
If you’ve done everything you can to optimize email for your business, then you can do nearly everything — marketing, educating, onboarding, generating referrals, etc. — with a few (free!) clicks of a button.
So how exactly do you do all of those things? Let’s break it down. Here is the essential guide to email marketing for photographers.
Optimize Your Homepage
If your homepage is trying to land a booking on the first visit, you’re doing it wrong.
Someone might love what you do, but if they’re not getting married for six months or the baby’s not coming until March, you most definitely can’t count on them to remember you months later when they need your services.
Instead, offer them value they can use now — like free email courses for taking better photos with an iPhone, for example — so that they’ll remember your name when they need professional photos in the future.
While there are a lot of email marketing platforms out there you can use, our favorite is Drip. Drip is a super simple email marketing platform photographers can use to grow and nurture your email list. Plus, it has automation features that many other platforms don’t have. In fact, it’ll automate all of your photography email marketing efforts so that, once you set it up, you don’t have to think about it again.
So you’ve optimized your homepage to collect email addresses, and you have a platform to market to them. Now you need to work on growing and nurturing your list.
How Photographers Can Grow Their Email List
Give them an offer they can’t refuse.
An irresistible offer can come in many forms, but a free email course is one of the most enticing things for visitors to your site.
Whether you’re a boudoir photographer or you take senior portraits, the course you offer can be catered to the type of clients you’re after. It can simply be an expansion of something you’ve already done, like a blog post, so it doesn’t require much time or effort on your part to set up.
We’ve include a few examples below, or you can download the PDF with all of our favorite Email Crash Course Templates here to easily copy and paste.
Why an Email Course Works Better Than an Ebook
A lot of business owners make the mistake of throwing a whole bunch of time and energy into writing an ebook in hopes of growing their clientele.
This approach has its limitations, however, because an ebook eliminates the incentive for clients to give you their email address. If all the information they’re curious about is in the book, then they have no reason to stay connected to you (and you don’t have their permission to email them). So asking people to give you their email address in exchange for the e-book can have lower conversions.
But with an email course, you’re delivering value in small, digestible nuggets that leave clients wondering what else you’ll be offering and when. And since it is an email course, by definition, you need their email address. So when you ask for it they are more likely to give it to you.
So not only does an email course earn your clients’ permission to send more emails, but it conditions them to open your emails and take action.
How to get People to Sign-Up for an Email Course
You’ll want to use the sign up form that is included with your email marketing platform. For instance, Drip includes a sign up widget you can put on your homepage.
Where on your homepage should put that widget? In a nutshell: everywhere.
If you’re currently relying on just a contact form to get leads, you’re in trouble. A lot of people visiting your site for the first time just aren’t ready to make the commitment of filling out an entire form that asks for lots of information.
You want it to be as easy as possible for clients to sign up, so put your email sign up widget on every page.
Even the pages you think are obscure or rarely visited can be critical for capturing leads. The About page, for example, is the second-most-visited page on many websites — therefore, it would be a big missed opportunity if you didn’t have an opt-in option on it.
Now that you’ve got your email growth system in place, in Part 2 we’ll talk about optimizing the value of emails to your clients through content. Check it out next week!