How to use Email Marketing to streamline and grow your professional photography business

Do you use email within your business? No, we aren’t talking about sending emails back and forth to your leads and clients. Email technology expands much further than your inbox and in this blog, we’re going to explore how you can use email marketing to create a better experience for your leads and clients, save you tonnes of time, and increase your turnover.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending emails to a group of people or potential customers to promote products, services, or build relationships. The goal is to nurture leads, retain customers, and build brand loyalty by delivering relevant and personalised content directly to the recipient’s inbox.

 

How can a studio or portrait photographer use email marketing?

We don’t want to repeat ourselves, but let’s add some context to the above definition of email marketing. What does email marketing look like for a professional photographer?

You can use newsletters and automated emails to…

  • Stay in your customer’s minds.
  • Educate booked clients about what to expect during their experience.
  • Streamline admin processes.
  • Upsell.
  • Secure bookings.
  • Ask for testimonials and reviews.
  • and more!

 

Key components of email marketing

There are some key components to think about when it comes to email marketing. We won’t go into detail about each one in this post but you should be aware of the following to optimise your campaigns.

Key components include…

  • Building and managing subscriber lists.
  • Creating visual and compelling content.
  • Optimising emails for various devices.
  • Reading data to optimise future email campaigns.

This makes email marketing sound complicated but please don’t let this put you off. The best place to start is with a newsletter sent to your most dedicated customers. So keep reading and we’ll tell you what to do.

 

Types of email marketing that a professional photographer can use

To make things simple we break email marketing into two types. Newsletters, which are single emails designed to bring updates to your subscribers, and automated email sequences that can save you loads of time by streamlining your processes.

 

Newsletters: Build a loyal following

You may think newsletters are a bit old school and that nobody reads them, but that isn’t true. The key is to make sure your content is meaningful. 

The purpose of a newsletter isn’t to get sales or bookings every time you send one out. Instead, you should think of them as a way of staying in your subscriber’s subconscious mind so that when someone mentions they’re looking for a photographer, you are the person they refer them to. The larger your list, the bigger your army of referrers.

What content should you include in your newsletter?

The important thing to remember is not to annoy anyone. Avoid pushing too hard for bookings and think about how you could provide value to someone every month. If you’re a family photographer you could include information about family fun days out. Dog photographers could share local dog groomers, dog-friendly cafes, and dog meet-ups. Newborn photographers can provide all kinds of content from baby clothing trends to nighttime routine tips.

Remember: Add value! 

This isn’t to say you should never talk about yourself. Newsletters are a great way to continue showing off your portraits and share some of your favourite images from the month gone.

 

Automated Email Sequences: Save time and convert more

If you find that you send out the same emails to every lead, then email automation could save you some time as well as improve conversion rates. Using an automated email platform (examples below) you can create automatic emails that can be sent without you doing anything.

Here’s an example…

A lead enters your CRM system, let’s call her Sally. Sally has registered to win a newborn photoshoot. After 5 minutes of entering the form on Facebook Sally receives an automated email with an introduction to your studio – she’s quite impressed that you’ve reached out so quickly.

In the first automated email, Sally is linked to a form on your website that asks for some additional information such as the baby’s name, due date, or when the baby was born. This information helps you, the photographer, qualify Sally as a good or bad lead.

The great thing about automated emails is that you don’t have to worry about chasing for a reply. You can set up conditional automated emails that are released a few days later. If Sally didn’t open the email it could be a duplicate of the previous email. If she opened but didn’t reply then you can send a different email asking if she’d still like to be considered for first prize. 

Let’s assume Sally completed the extra information, she is now in the draw for winning. She will now be sent a sequence of emails that show off the quality of your work, testimonials and reviews, and your price list.

End of example.

In the above example, we have sent off multiple emails to Sally without having to do any manual work, all we’ve had to do is set up the sequences once. 

This is only one lead. Imagine if you had 10, 20, 50 or over 100! How much time does that save you?

 

The benefits of using email marketing for your photography business

Create a better experience for your customers

Before we start with how you benefit, let’s talk about your leads and customers. 

By sending a monthly newsletter with valuable content, you’ll be building a community. Feeling welcome into a community is a great thing and this means that your customer’s experience goes well beyond just the photoshoot they have with you.

Setting up email automation across many of your processes can make your customer’s experience smoother. If they’re happy before their shoot, then they are much more likely to spend more money with you.

 

Get some of your precious time back

Let’s be honest, you just want to be taking amazing photographs for a living, not sending emails back and forth. If you’re finding that leads ask the same questions, then create an automated email chain that addresses the FAQs before they even ask them. 

You will save a tonne of time if you answer questions, send quotes, and send invoices automatically!

 

Increase your yearly turnover

Who wants more money? Of course you do! Email marketing DOES increase your turnover when done correctly.

By sending a consistent newsletter you will remain in your customer’s minds – not just hoping that they will return, but also hoping they will recommend you to someone new.

Email marketing, particularly email automation, can also be a great method of upselling. Before photoshoots you could send reminders of bigger packages, and after you could send discounted artwork prices. We have some clients that email a few months later saying “Images will be removed from the system soon, would you like digitals for £XX?”

These small gains across all of your leads and bookings will have a direct impact on yearly turnover.

 

How to start email marketing

To begin your email marketing you’re going to need a platform such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, or ConvertKit. There are loads more out there!

 

Sign up to a platform

There are tonnes of platforms available and each one has its pros and cons. Here’s a list of some of the most popular platforms. We recommend doing some research to find out which one suits you best.

 

  • Mailchimp
  • Mailerlite
  • ConvertKit

 

Upload and organise your mailing list

If you’ve been collecting client details then you should have a mailing list building up in your chosen platform.

In the future, it could be worth segmenting your mailing list. This means putting your subscribers into groups and in the context of portrait photographers that could be newborn clients, pet portrait clients and cake smashes.

 

Create a form to capture more subscribers

Some platforms will allow you to generate a form that you can embed on your website. Anyone who enters this form will automatically enter your mailing list.

 

Build a template or start creating your newsletter

It’s up to you how you want to do this. Some platforms allow you to create templates for your newsletters. This saves you time later on when putting together future newsletters.

Or, you could jump straight in and design your first newsletter! Make sure you…

  • Keep it visually tidy.
  • Include images.
  • Include links to your website and social media channels.
  • ADD VALUE!

 

Send it!

Finally, send it to your mailing list!

If you’ve never sent one before you might find you’re a little nervous but don’t worry, you have to start at some point! 

Don’t worry if people unsubscribe. It’s better to have fewer subscribers that are better quality than a big list of bad-quality contacts.

 

What about email automation?

If we talked about setting up email automation, you’d be reading for even longer than you already are. Building the emails themselves will be very similar to the newsletter. The best place to start is by thinking about your processes and where you could save yourself the most time, or improve your customer experience.

Lots of photographers leave it too late before contacting their fresh leads so we’d recommend setting up a simple email that goes out as soon as someone completes their entry form.

As you get the hang of using your chosen platform, you’ll be able to introduce more emails to your sequence, create multiple sequences that trigger at different points of your process, and set conditions depending on how leads interact with your emails.

 

Do you need help setting up your email marketing?

If you’ve read all this, then you are amazing! You now understand how valuable email marketing is to your photography business! 

But, if you feel a little overwhelmed by the concept of building your own newsletter or email sequences, then perhaps The Photography Business Circle could be a great help to you.

If you want to learn how to market your portrait studio then we can teach you. You can read more about this service by clicking below!