On this page I will discuss the value of creating newsletters and bulk e-mail correspondence with your database, clients and potential clients.
Why send a newsletter
In marketing your photography business you need to both 'pull' clients in and 'push' your services and images out. Search Engine Optimisation and good use of social media will help to pull clients in, but a newsletter system or some bulk e-mail solution help to push your images out to your clients.
Figure 1: E-mail newsletter from South African photographer Emielke van Wyk
Creating a newsletter
A newsletter can be custom-produced by a designer. A less costly route is to use to use one of the newsletter systems available online.
There are various online systems that one can use to create and send bulk newsletters with images in them. If you have a CRM then you can probably create a newsletter in that. As your product is the photograph, it is important that newsletters display your images well.
Content of your newsletter
Addressing the newsletter
If your system allows you should start the newsletter with Hi [firstname] ,or an equivalent where the system auto-fills each newsletter with the first name of the person you are sending to, this personalises the newsletter.
Body of the newsletter
Pictures are vital in a photographic newsletter. Images used should be fairly large but still look good when it arrives in the recipients inbox; a number of thumbnails can also be effective. One small thumbnail, however, is not going to be very eye-catching for someone interested in photography.
Text is necessary to convey your message. Keep it personal and to the point. Be clear on what you want to communicate and what reponse you would like the reader to make, eg 'click through to see images from my series on Techno Africa'.
Putting in links
The aim of your newsletter is both to remind clients of your existance and to allow them to see how great your work is. Provide links in your newsletter to your website or blog. Putting in a link from the image/s in your newsletter to a collection of images, including the one highlighted, or to a larger version of that image online is also effective.
Make sure that every e-mail you send has your contact details in it. Clients like to deal with real people who have a phone line and a physical address as well as online contact details.
All newsletters must allow the recipients to unsubscribe. Make sure that you do unsubscribe anyone who requests it so that your newsletters do not become considered as spam. If you are using a newsletter system and not just your mail programme this would be handled by the system.
Sending your newsletter
Checking before sending
There is nothing worse than pressing 'send' and suddenly realising there is an error on your newsletter. Make sure that you get one or more people to proof read and comment on your newsletter before sending it out. Try and include a range of computer systems in your tests sends to make sure that the major mail prgrams are displaying the email correctly. If you are using an established system this is less likely to be a problem. Send tests to yourself and check all the links and the text thoroughly.
Decide who you are going to send the newsletter to. Is it relevant for your entire database? If not make a subgroup to receive newsletters on certain topics. The more specifically targetted your newsletters are the better the chances of someone reading them and the smaller the chance of them unsubscribing.
Most newsletter systems and CRMs used for sending newsletters give you good statistics on the newsletters you send. A good system will give you information on, among other things, how many people:
- received your newsletter
- opened it
- clicked on a link in it (and which link they clicked on)
This information can be really helpful in showing you which clients are really interested in your photography, which links and types of images people are interested in and numerous other trends. Analyse your results and allow them to help you to fine tune future newsletters. Use Google Analytics to watch the effect of your newsletter on your blog or website visitors.
Figure 2: E-mail newsletter by Nigerian photographer Emeke Okereke