Visitor Source #6: Email Marketing
For some reason, a lot of people seem to run screaming for the hills whenever we bring up email marketing! Out come the pitchforks and flaming torches because they seem to be under the mistaken impression that email marketing is some kind of evil monster.
But it’s not like that at all, and if you’re not using email in your marketing right now, you’re definitely missing out on one of the best ways there is to attract return website visitors!
Email Marketing Is Highly Effective
Despite what many photographers think about email marketing, it does remain one of the most effective sales and marketing channels we have available.
One of the common roadblocks to adopting email appears to be the fear of being seen as a spammer by your potential clients, but the only way that’s likely to happen is if you’re sending them emails that actually are spammy or too sales-oriented in nature.
The reality is people will look forward to getting your emails if you send them information they find useful, interesting, or entertaining.
One way to help with this is to send text-only emails, without all the fancy graphics we’re used to seeing in those newsletters that have a distinctly “corporate” flavor. You can still use the HTML format for your emails (to allow analytics and tracking to work), but focus on using words instead of too many images or graphics.
Above all else, please be sure to use a reputable email service provider like Active Campaign because your emails will have a much higher chance of reaching their destination, plus you’ll be far less likely to breach any of the CAN-SPAM regulations that govern email marketing.
Email Help Build And Strengthen Relationships
Successful marketing relies upon building and nurturing good relationships, and email helps you do just that through a process of ongoing communication.
As long as you don’t send spam, and you focus your emails on helping and serving the needs of your audience, you’ll find that people will get to know, like, and trust you far more readily than they might just from reading your blog posts, or from 1 or 2 visits to your website.
Because prospects are most often not ready to buy from you on their first interaction with you, email also helps to keep them involved with you until they do reach the point where they’re ready to hire someone.
One question that crops up often is, “how often should I send emails to my list?”
There’s no hard and fast rule on this, but the best advice to follow is not to leave it too long between emails. Many photographers default to the monthly newsletter format, but this can be a mistake, especially since people are busy and likely to forget you if they only hear from you once per month.
Although it might sound like a lot at this stage, especially if email marketing is fairly new to you, I would suggest emailing your list about once per week. This gives you around four chances every month to give something valuable to your subscribers, and when you do make the occasional offer, it doesn’t seem like too much because they’ve already received so much value from you.
Make It Simple And Easy To Sign Up
So how do you get people onto your email list?
The most common way is to use a form on your website, usually called an opt-in form, and you can make it easy for them to sign up to your email list by placing the form near the top of your web pages or at the top of the sidebar, if you have one.
One mistake I see many people make is to ask for too much information on the opt-in form, when all you need to start a relationship with them is their email address.
Simply put, the more fields you ask them to fill out on a form, the fewer sign-ups you’re going to get because the additional fields create friction in the conversion process.
You can always ask for the rest of the information, such as their name, at a later stage.
Give Them A Reason To Subscribe
Another mistake is to make the assumption that offering a newsletter on its own is enough to get people to subscribe, but this isn’t enough.
Instead, offer them something irresistible (for example a PDF download of an informative guide), something we refer to as a lead-magnet, which they’ll get in exchange for signing up.
Whatever you do, never add people to your email list without their express permission! For example, being connected on LinkedIn or some other social network does not mean you can add them to your email list. Doing so could land you in hot water!
Usually, You’ll get permission through an opt-in via a sign-up form on your website, and your email service provider will keep track of when and how they subscribed in the unlikely event of any possible dispute.
Use Email To Keep Prospects In The Loop
The value of email marketing in our quest for more website visitors (the main point of this course) is in being able to get people to come back to your website and blog many times beyond their first visit.
One way to do this is to create a follow-up autoresponder email sequence of your most important articles or blog posts, and then drip those emails out over a period of time to your subscribers. Autoresponders work by sending out a predetermined set of emails on days based on when each person subscribed, so your subscribers will be at different stages of the sequence at any given point in time, depending on when they first signed up.
You can also use your email system to send out ad-hoc emails to let people know you have a new blog post for them to see each week, which can also drive more visitors.
And remember, this is a relationship you’re building with your subscribers, so you can use emails to engage with them, ask questions, or get them more involved with you on social media.
If you don’t already have an account with a major email service provider, now is the time to get one organized – doing so will save you so much trouble down the road and there will come a time when you wish you had done it sooner!
There are lots of companies who offer email marketing services, and I’ve tried most of them, but the one I recommend for photographers is always Active Campaign. I personally use them, and have done for 8+ years without any problems.
It’s very difficult to run a successful lead-generation system without this, so don’t leave this step out!