The other day, I was playing with a new photography technique and I was anxious to put together a email marketing campaign to send out to my mass email target list, but I just couldn’t constrain myself… I was just too excited, and patience has never been a strength of mine as a photographer or an marketer. So what I did was just send out a bunch of emails to my existing clients and try to get some feedback. It was then that it struck me that I had unknowingly created the perfect email marketing piece. Okay, maybe it’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty damn close. I think my replay rate was 100%. Of course all these people know me and I know the same rates will not be anywhere near that when sent to strangers, but I’m going to give it a try… I figure that since I’ve contacted pretty much all my list on previous occasions with other photography emailers, there may be a little bit of familiarity there that will work in my favor.
So let me tell you about my new email marketing campaign.
When it comes to designing email marketing pieces, professional photographers usually well advised to get the assistance of a professional graphic designer, at least that’s what conventional wisdom held true to this point. I would argue that maybe the exact opposite is true and that it may be a good idea for your next emailer, not to be “designed” at all.
Most photography email-marketing pieces today look much like the postcard marketing piece of yesteryear, with the only difference being that one is sent through the mail and the other is sent via email. Most emailers contain a “catchy” headline, a beautiful image, and maybe a little “advertising” copy saying how wonderful the photographer is that’s sending then the piece. And what happens when the Art Director or designer receives the piece in his email? From what most experts say on the subject, only about 10% of these pieces are even opened, fewer are read, and yet fewer are “clicked-through” to visit the photographer’s web site.
The trouble is that our target market, Art Directors and Graphic Designers, are constantly bombarded with email marketing devices, some receiving hundreds a day. With the cost of email marketing being so low and thus cost effective, many photographers overuse the medium, hoping to find the right client for their type of photography, and who can blame them? Isn’t that what you’re doing too and isn’t that the reason that you’re reading this article?
So what’s a photographer to do about his email marketing campaign?
Here’s what I suggest for you photographers to come up with the perfect email marketing device… Don’t send an email marketing piece to your target market, send then an email. I know I’m just splitting hairs here, but if you think about it, your goal from reading this is to improve upon what you’re probably already doing. If you’re able to raise your click-through percentages just a little bit, it could translate into thousands of dollars a year in income.
The idea is this… Send an email not an advertisement. What’s the difference? An advertisement is impersonal and an email is very personal. It’s a not from a friend or a correspondence from an individual. Everyone dislikes advertisements (spam), but most people are much more receptive to reading an email, even from a stranger.
In his book “Ogilvy on advertising”, ad guru David Ogilvy suggested that one way to increase the readership of a print ad was to make it look as much like “content” as possible. If you’re talking about an ad in a magazine, that means you make the ad look like an article, if your placing your ad in someone’s in-box that means making it look more like an email.
So what’s an email really look like? Well, it usually has a “subject” line for the subject field, the recipient’s name, a greeting, a couple of lines of type, sometimes an attachment, and usually the sender’s signature copy. And that’s what your email should look like too. I know, I know… You’re going to say that most people won’t accept or open attachments from strangers, and that’s true. Heck,.. if you send an attachment, as a stranger, you’ll probably never get past the recipient’s spam filter. And that’s why you need the send your “attachment” as html, so that the image downloads from a server and is never actually attached to the email, but more on that later…
So here’s the “design” of your next email marketing piece (if you think it’s a good idea)
That’s it, the perfect photographer’s emailer. It’s nothing fancy and it needs no design, the software designers of your email program have taken care of that, for better or worse.
Let me show you an example:
My perfect photography email marketing campaign is what appears between the lines....
Scroll down to see why I think this is the perfesct emailer...
How's it going?
I've been playing with a new technique and thought you might be interested...
Michael Ray Photography
Scroll down to see why I think this is the perfesct emailer...
(subject line) - "new stuff" (when I send this out to people that may not know me, I'll change this line to something like "Michael Ray - new photos)
Bill (mail merge name - I've sent to this guy before, so he may or may not remember me... Either way, I feel this works for most people)
How's it going? (friendly and informal like an email should be)
I've been playing with a new technique and thought you might be interested... (a real message to a person, not "ad copy")
Take care (informal - typical of a real email)
(Large, but not too large photo - embeded html to better get past spam filter - also, it might be a good idea to name the image file something that contains your name)
Michael Ray Photography (contact information needed to reach me if they care to hire me)
unsubscribe (keeps you legal - keep it as smaill as you can, but still there...)
Here’s why I think that this approach is legitimate
I am someone that offers a service that this person uses on a regular basis. I’ve determined that by the mail list house that I use… (Agency Access)
I send out these emails once every other month. I don’t over-do it and become a pain.
I give the recipient an unsubscribe outlet.
I don’t attach an image so as not to invade the recipient’s computer with excess date or possibly a virus.
Some say that it is deception to make your promotion look like it’s a personal email, and it may end up backfiring on you. It’s true that it may actually happen in a few incidents, but if you’re going to be sending out thousands of emailers, there are bound to be some people that respond to one thing while others respond to a different method or approach. No matter what you do, it won’t work on everyone. I guess you’ll just have to make the decision of whether you think this method will better your chances of a successful email campaign, or worsen them. If what you’re doing now is working out for you, them maybe you should stick with it, but if you’re not really happy with your stats, then maybe it’s time to try something new…
|Some say that it is deception to make your promotion look like it’s a personal email, and it may end up backfiring on you. It’s true that it may actually happen in a few incidents, but if you’re going to be sending out thousands of emailers, there are bound to be some people that respond to one thing while others respond to a different method or approach. No matter what you do, it won’t work on everyone. I guess you’ll just have to make the decision of whether you think this method will better your chances of a successful email campaign, or worsen them. If what you’re doing now is working out for you, them maybe you should stick with it, but if you’re not really happy with your stats, then maybe it’s time to try something new…|