Dripping with Success

One of the most successful marketing tools I use is the repetitive, or “drip” email campaign. I mentioned it here, and since today I picked up a new client as a direct result of it, I thought I’d spell it out for you in detail.

This is not an in-your-face kind of marketing campaign. I don’t put flashing lights, flames, and “BUY NOW!!” banners in it. Beyond asking people to look at my portfolio, there isn’t even an “action item”. The only purpose of the email(s) is to create name recognition, to plant a seed that (hopefully) will germinate when conditions are right.

Many of my clients are not professional photo buyers. They would have a hard time sourcing a photographer if they didn’t have a referral from someone. In some cases, they’re placing ads on Craigslist for lack of a better idea! By sending them my “drip” emails, I’m planting that seed, so that when the day comes that they’re ready, they’ll know exactly who they’re gonna call.

“You know,” they’ll say. “That guy, the one that sends the emails.”


^^That’s the subject line.

Quarterly, I prepare a portfolio of the best 12-15 images I’ve made in that period. I upload it to my website, and then send a link out to my mailing list, inviting them to look at it. The email looks like this:

Test Message - HTML Format_New Work from Scott Hargis Photograph

All the fine print is supplied by VerticalResponse, which I use to manage my mailing lists and to build and send the emails. All I do is supply the main text and the image, which obviously should be one of your A-list shots, which has good “glance appeal” (meaning it’s not too dark and moody: bright, saturated colors work well to grab someone’s eye).


Sample of the snazzy report you can get on your email campaigns; tells you everything you want to know and you can generate it as often as you want.

You need to use a service. I like VerticalResponse, but Constant Contact does pretty much the same thing. They’re incredibly cheap (VR charges me $15 for 1000 emails) and they provide so much return info that there’s really no excuse for not using them. I can stalk my clients find out who opens my emails, who clicks through to my gallery, which addresses bounce, and who un-subscribes.

That “un-subscribe” feature is key, too, if you don’t want to piss off your (potential) clients.

The point, again, is not necessarily to book a bunch of shoots the day after you launch your campaign, although in fact that often happens. The payoff for this kind of marketing is next year, or even beyond.

Got a good marketing tip? Hit me up in the comments section!

11 responses to “Dripping with Success

  1. Brilliant man! May I suggest another site for you that can help you get into the social media thing: http://www.ronnestam.com/2009/01/28/if-you-wanna-get-some-brand-love-tomorrow-you-better-get-into-the-conversation-today/

    Nice blog. I like your work


  2. I will be embarking on this adventure shortly. I currently use constant contact though. Thanks for sharing this innocent tactic for ensuring brand recognition… I believe that its not necessary to have a huge Call to Action in your email or advertisement, if you are just trying to get loyalty points.

  3. Cool link, Johan – thanks! Social media is the next frontier for me, right now it’s all kind of murky so I need to figure it out.

    @ AGDM – put me on your list, OK?

  4. @scotthargis Done and done. 🙂

  5. I just started using Vertical Response and find it convenient and cheap too.

    I like your layout approach – click on this photo to see the gallery – I’m a bit of a dummy on this stuff, how do you do that? I’ve just been inserting a shot into the layout and then putting my web address into the text. Yours is a much better way of doing it. Thanks.

  6. Here is a template I created for a mag/network thing that i’m doing.


    Feel free to drop opinions on it. And I’m happy to share the knowledge. (since this is part of my day job too as a web developer 🙂 )

  7. @ Andy — In the graphic layout screen (where you can type the text of your email) you should have the standard html tools at the top of the window. After you’ve placed your photo, click on it (to select it) and then click the “link” tool, and fill in the blanks.

  8. Thanks Scott. By the way, I’m a huge fan. Don’t do quite the same thing myself, but I love your stuff. Wish you all the best, you deserve it.

  9. @Johan
    Thanks for recommending my site.

    Thanks for a great post. My brand monitoring led me here via @Johan’s comment.

  10. Thanks for the great idea Scott. Just wondering what your thoughts are on Facebook pages for business…P.S. I just bought your e-book and I truly appreciate it. I will be spending all the rainy days studying.

  11. Unfortunately, this practice is forbiden in Canada.

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