This post was last updated on July 23, 2020.
“The best time to create an email marketing plan was the day you started your business. The second best time is today.” This ancient proverb, slightly adapted to our current times, perfectly sums up the essence of this article. Email marketing is one of the most underrated promotion tools by photographers, even by those who already spend countless hours trying to promote their work online. This might come as a surprise, but a strong email marketing plan paired with a professional photography website can do more for your business than growing your social media audience to thousands of followers.
People who choose to sign up for a newsletter are prone to be much more involved in your work than someone who sees your photos while scrolling over hundreds of other people’s feeds. Furthermore, subscribers are likely to be located relatively near your business, rather than all over the globe. Lastly, email marketing for photographers is also a great tool for building loyalty with previous clients and avoiding being forgotten a few months after the gig.
Ready to expand your business opportunities? Here are 7 effective tips you can use to build a strong photography newsletter strategy:
Create engaging content
Build a subscriber list
Write captivating emails
Avoid the spam box
Show that you care
Mind your timing
Optimize your results
01. Create engaging content
Let’s start by making something clear: you don’t need to be an amazingly talented photography blog writer to create an informative newsletter. This seems to be one of the main concerns of photographers who have decided not to engage in email marketing. While writing long chunks of text makes total sense if you want to create a blog, there are many other approaches you can take when it comes to planning your photography newsletter.
Stick to what you know and love. People who subscribe to your emails will do so because they are interested in your photography career and expertise, so focus on sharing your knowledge in a clear way, so that even people with less technical training will understand. If you’re a food photographer you can send out recipes of the meals you shoot. If you’re passionate about post-processing, create easy-to-follow tutorials. Travel photographer? Your subscribers sure will love some behind-the-scenes footage and stories.
Additionally, there’s a lot of content you can add to your emails regularly, such as your availability, showcases of recent photoshoots, promotions, giveaways, and a long etcetera.
02. Build a subscriber list
In order to distribute your photography newsletter, you will need to build up an email database. Keep in mind that people who receive these emails should actively sign-up for them. Automatically adding every customer you ever had into your newsletter list will only result in upset people who will probably call a different photographer for their next photoshoot.
But how are you supposed to put together a lengthy mailing list, if you can’t just send it out to all the people you’ve already worked with? You can start by reaching out to your existing contacts, offering them to subscribe to your photography newsletter. Depending on how many clients you can contact and how long ago you last interacted with them, this might result in a nice number of subscribers with which to begin your campaigns.
Your main goal, however, is to get every single one of your website visitors to sign up to your newsletter. The first step is to include a visible subscribe button on your site. You can use this tool to easily add a signup form, send emails and manage your subscribers from a single platform.
Since nobody wants yet another newsletter clogging up their inbox, you might want to offer an incentive for visitors to give yours a try, such as a free eBook of tips on your photography genre or a small selection of processing presets.
03. Write captivating emails
It all starts with an enticing subject line. This element will have a huge impact on the success of your email marketing efforts, as it will determine whether people open, ignore or mark your messages as spam. A third of recipients open emails based on the email subject alone, even if it’s a service they signed up for.
Here are some tips on writing the perfect subject line:
Make it attractive and interesting as it needs to stand out even in the most crowded inbox.
Keep it simple, sticking to what the reader can expect from the email itself.
Give a sneak peak of the content to get them excited.
Write a maximum of 50 characters so that the whole text will be readable from the inbox.
You got your subscribers to open your email! Now what? The ultimate goal of these marketing campaigns is to guide people to your website, whether it’s to read your latest blog post or to book a holiday photoshoot. These are some of the things you should take into account to achieve this conversion:
People have short attention spans, so your emails should not take more than a few seconds to read.
Include an engaging call-to-action that is short, clear and stands out.
Pick an email safe font that fits your brand and the tone of your site.
Don’t include images that are too heavy, as they may not load.
The easiest way to build a powerful email marketing campaign is to use Wix Email Marketing, which allows you to pick out of a selection of beautiful templates, share the content on social media, get new subscribers from each email and track each campaign’s stats.
04. Avoid the spam box
The spam box is the place dreams go to die. After investing so much time and effort in putting together a strong email marketing plan, the last thing you want is for your photography newsletter to get lost before reaching your subscribers.
Take these steps to avoid hitting the spam box:
Let people know what kind of content to expect and how often they will be receiving your emails. Ideally, they should know this either before signing up or as soon as they do so.
Ask your subscribers to add you to their contact list when they first sign up.
Stay away from misleading subject lines.
Abstain from WRITING AN EMAIL IN ALL CAPS or include spam trigger words such as “100%,” “Free” and “Click here.”
Balance the amount of images and text you include – it is recommended to go for an 80:20 text to image ratio.
If you love someone, set them free by adding a visible unsubscribe link in your emails.
05. Show that you care
We’re not saying you need to pick favorites among your clients, but signing up for your newsletters should definitely come with a feeling of exclusivity and some extra perks. Start building a connection with subscribers the moment they sign up by sending a welcome email that includes a reminder of what they can expect from your newsletters.
Additionally, your subscribers should be the first ones to hear about any new service or promotion you’re offering, and maybe even get some free materials like tutorials and presets every now and then. Another great way to strengthen these relationships is creating a calendar with your subscribers’ birthdays and sending them exclusive discounts to celebrate the special occasion with a photoshoot.
06. Mind your timing
Time is money and also one of the main factors in your email campaigns’ success. On a large scale, you should send out themed newsletters on special occasions (such as Christmas, graduations and wedding season), when the demand for photoshoots is higher. Make sure to adapt your offer based on each occasion, like offering a discount for a couples photoshoot a few weeks before Valentine’s Day.
When it comes to your regular schedule, send at least one email each month to ensure subscribers don’t forget about you. You should also send your newsletters on different days of the week and times to see which render the highest engagement.
07. Optimize your results
You have built a strong mailing database, curated captivating content and written engaging emails. All that’s left is to grow the reach of your photography newsletter. In addition to tracking your messages’ stats with Wix Email Marketing, you should be using a tool like Google Analytics to learn more about your subscribers. Knowing details such as their location, age and gender can help you create better-targeted content, as well as figure out what time of day and which days of the week are the best to send your emails.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things. Experiment with using different CTAs, subject lines and templates to see which ones perform better.