©2013 John Berthot Used by permission.
Question: How can I be successful with email marketing?
Email marketing has repeatedly come under fire from a number of creative directors who complain that they are inundated with unrequested promotions and unsolicited e-blasts. I cringe when I read examples of how photographers misuse this basic marketing tool. In essence, misuse tarnishes what is a valid and effective means for communicating with over-worked art directors, who simply do not have the time to field phone calls or schedule daily meetings with photographers and illustrators.
The key to successful e-marketing is to use it as one tool in your arsenal of promotional materials. Below I have listed ten tips to help you create effective email campaigns that get you noticed and create good will at the same time:
1. Create a targeted email list. If you don’t know what accounts your recipients work on, then do not send them an email. By the same token, ensure that your email is sent to individuals in a position to hire you and that your email contains images or links that are relevant to the creatives you are sending it to.
2. Remove and update your contacts quarterly. If you do not subscribe to a list service, it is important to verify that your contacts are still viable and are working on accounts that are relevant to your specialty and style.
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3. Enable users to unsubscribe from receiving your emails. This is not just smart business, it is a law designed to protect consumers from unwanted email solicitation. It is known as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and is regulated by the FTC.
4. Do not send an email using your Gmail or yahoo home email account. Only use your professional email address: John@johnsmithphotography.com. This seems fairly obvious, but I still get emails from photographers that I do not know, who communicate with their home email address. If you do not have a website, you should not be sending out promotional emails. Your email address should contain your website domain name. So, if you are John Doe and your website is johndoephotography.com, your email address should be john at johndoephotography.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a side note, do not send people to your Tumblr, Flicker or other free image hosting accounts. If you’re marketing yourself as a professional, you need to promote and present your work on a professional website.
5. Consider creating a quarterly newsletter. This is an excellent way to engage your viewers and encourage interaction. Keep your format and brand consistent so that viewers will quickly recognize who you are. Maintain and commit to a style and font for at least a one-year period. Create active links within your newsletter.
6. Monitor traffic to your site from your email. Most website providers now have built-in analytics, but if yours doesn’t, use Google Analytics to monitor your daily traffic and identify where it is originating from.
7. Use an email marketing service. There are now many companies that will send emails for you for a very reasonable fee.
8. Build your fan base through Facebook. Facebook definitely has its flaws, but it is now used by more than 750 million individuals worldwide. By creating a fan page on Facebook, you will establish a list of contacts interested in following your career while allowing you the opportunity to add additional fans through association.
9. Do not inundate your contacts. If you do not know the individuals you are emailing, do not assume they know you or remember you. Be respectful of their time and work demands. My advice is to limit your emails to individuals you do not know to a quarterly basis. Keep you emails professional - do not use overly familiar subject lines such as “Hello” and “How are you?” Keep the subject line relevant to the email or newsletter. Do not use all caps or bold colors in your emails - keep it simple.
10. Test your email. If you are sending out an email to a large group of unknown recipients, be sure to send it to a few trusted friends first. This will ensure that all the links are operable and that it reads as you intend it on all computer platforms, web browsers and email clients.
John Berthot has over 15 years of photography experience, and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Among other positions, he has been a Photographer's Agent at Stockland Martel and an Advertising Director at Magnum Photos. He has been a creative consultant for the last two years, founding Focus in 2009. He brings his extensive experience in assisting photographers on all aspects of commercial, editorial and fine art photography. FOCUS
©2013 John Berthot