Looking For More Engagement From Your Audience? Try a Newsletter
Every year, it seems that technology gives us a new method of connecting with people via our smartphones, or laptops. Whether it’s a social network, podcast or messaging service, it’s invariably hyped as the new best way to communicate and will change the way you do business.
Of course, some of these trends really are great and destined to stay. But when it comes to timeless, solid and respectable communications, nothing beats a well-crafted email newsletter.
Email for Photographers
There are many different ways that you can present your newsletter. Most people find specialist services like Mailchimp or Yesware to be incredibly useful, especially in the beginning. Those services guide you through the process of sending bulk email and offer user-friendly templates which you can use to design your newsletter.
It’s very important that the visual aspects of your newsletter look perfect and are in-line with your brand. Make sure that your header is attractive, that the quality of images is good, and they load fast, and that any images you showcase are not pixelated or cropped badly. Needless to say, only use images that you have taken or you have rights for.
Just like a writer will be judged if their email newsletter is full of spelling errors, a photographer will be judged by the quality of the imagery.
Getting The Basics Right
It’s important to show your subscribers that you really value them. That may mean offering them exclusive content, special deals, or a more intimate look behind the curtain at what you do. Also keep in mind that you want your newsletter to have information that is useful to the reader, and not just a sales pitch.
How can you be sure you are striking the right tone in your emails?
Newsletterguide.org is a handy service in this regard. They put together a list of very useful questions to ask yourself before you start up your service:
- Who’s your audience?
- How will you serve that audience?
- Why do we care about that audience?
- No, really, what’s the payoff?
- Who will write the newsletter?
- Who will do the design/development/production work required?
- How will you promote and market the newsletter?
- How will you track your progress?
If you can answer these questions honestly, and be consistent in your delivery, then you will find the audience that your business deserves.
James Brandon is a landscape photographer who has found a lot of success via his email newsletter. ‘My experience has been that simply being open, honest, and transparent is what people want. I don’t have anything to hide, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I think people appreciate that (at least the ones on my newsletter list do). If every newsletter you send out is selling something then you are going to start losing the trust of your subscribers, ’ he wrote about his approach in a useful blog post.
5 Hard and Fast Rules To Live By:
- Don’t Spam: There are no shortcuts to building a great email list. Make sure your subscribers want to be there and have opted-in to your newsletter. A large database that is unengaged is almost worthless.
- Never Sell your List: People are trusting you with their email address. Don’t break that trust by selling it on to 3rd party accounts. You will be found out and lose those customers forever.
- Keep it Regular: Commit to a schedule that works for you and stick to it. When people are looking forward to your next email and they can anticipate that it’s coming then you’re in a winning position.
- Provide a Compelling Reason for readers to subscribe: Make it count for your subscribers. Offer them something special for signing-up and incentivize them to tell their friends.
- Follow Through: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you make a special offer via your newsletter then you must see it through. Trust is easily broken and so hard to regain.
Social Media vs Email
None of this is to imply that social media isn’t important to your business. Of course it is. You definitely need to have a presence on a couple of social channels, particularly in the more visual arenas like Instagram. These will keep your brand top of mind for consumers, and showcase your work to a receptive audience.
Check out this handy article from our PPA website about Beating The Social Media Blues.
But while people really enjoy social media and it functions as a great showcase for your work, it doesn’t often translate into a meaningful relationship with a potential client. When it comes to deep engagement, building loyalty and making sales, there is no better tool than a good email newsletter.
Email is still a sacred space for most working people. They feel more comfortable doing business through an email exchange and are happy to follow links and suggestions that come from a trusted source. An email in one’s inbox implies that a relationship already exists between the two parties and that you are open to deepening that relationship. That’s why it’s so important not to violate that trust by spamming people.
When you enter into a relationship with a potential client via email, then you’re creating a powerful one-on-one relationship that can lead to great things. Make your readers feel like you are speaking to them personally, and from your heart. Keep it professional but work hard to make it an intimate exchange so that they feel moved to reply to you and deepen the relationship.
When that occurs, then you know you’re on the right track.