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.”
NEW WORK FROM SCOTT HARGIS PHOTO
^^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:
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).
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!