It seems like every time I turn around, another social media outlet is changing the way they are showing our information to the people who “like/follow” us. Since you don’t want to rely on these outlets to get the word out about your business, it is important to have your own way of reaching clients. The answer is a newsletter.
3 Reasons to have a newsletter:
Stay fresh on your customer’s mind.
You want them to think about you when it is time for their family photos. You may share your latest sessions and images on Facebook and your blog but you don’t know if they’re checking them. However, if you send them an email to their inbox your odds are much higher that they will see and read what you have to say.
Share your latest sessions.
Not only do you want to stay fresh on your reader’s mind but you want to remind them how amazing you are. Show them a few of your fantastic images to remind them of your talent.
Be able to reach your customer/reader when you want to.
Since Facebook is changing the way it shows your posts, you want to get your information to everyone who wants to see it. Have you opened up slots for some mini-sessions? Are you booking up for the holidays? Let your customers/readers know this through your newsletter.
How often to send it:
This is completely up to you. I would say no more than once a week and no less than once a month. I used to send out a weekly email for my site but found that it was taking up too much of my time. I switched to once a month and feel that it’s more manageable and have heard from my readers that they like it better. Do you have time to open every newsletter you get? If you only send it once a month then it is special, but I would say send it no less than once a month so you stay on your readers mind. You don’t want them to get a newsletter from you after 4 months of not hearing anything and have to try and remember who you are and if they even signed up for this newsletter.
Who to use:
There are a lot of companies out there that you can use for your newsletter. I use Mailchimp. It’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers.
Welcome your new readers:
This goes into making your newsletter unique. Mailchimp has a feature that it will automatically send an email to someone after they sign up. I elected to use this feature and created a “Welcome” email. I include an image of myself and a little note to let them know what they can expect from my monthly newsletters as well as a free download as a thank you for signing up. Remember, your newsletter is another marketing tool so the more you can do to make you stand out above the rest, the better.
Make it unique:
You want your newsletter to be something your readers cannot wait to receive each time you send it. Include things that your reader wants to read and open.
- Images from your last session – Don’t overload them, just a few of your best.
- Quick Tip – Remember how I said you need to give them a reason to open the newsletter? Don’t make the newsletter all about you. It’s like when you have a conversation with a friend and all they do is talk about themselves. No one wants friends like that. It can be a quick photography tip to help them capture their child’s birthday party. You don’t have to give away the farm but a little something. If you can’t think of a tip to share, then share a link to a great post. The Clickin Moms blog is a great resource for that.
- Offer something to them – Offer them a print credit with their next session or a discount if they mention your newsletter. Maybe they were planning on booking “sometime” but now they have a reason since they can get a little something extra.
- Let them get to know you – Add something a little more personal in the newsletter. Have you noticed at the beginning of a magazine there is often a personal note from the editor. Create the same type of feel.
Let your readers/customers know you have a newsletter:
Now that you have created this invaluable resource for both you and your readers you want to make sure they know you have it and can sign up.
I use the plug-in What Would Seth Grodin Do which puts a box at the top of my blog post for the first 5 times someone comes to my site. This box can say anything you want but I have mine include a welcome and a “call to action” to sign up for my newsletter.
Include an easy sign up box on your site as well. You do not want it to be so complicated to sign up that people don’t.
Give them a reason to sign up:
Surprisingly, people may not sign up for your newsletter if you don’t give them a reason to. Offer them something if they sign up. Include this item in your welcome letter.
- Free download – I offer a free download I created with some photography tips. Like I said earlier, you don’t have to give away all the secrets you have worked so hard to master. Maybe you could create a PDF with 10 Tips to for Better Birthday Party Pictures. This is perfect if you aren’t trying to book jobs photographing kids’ birthday parties. Think of your clientele. What would they like? If you are a newborn photographer you could create a list of images you want to capture in your baby’s first month. If you are a wedding photographer you could create a PDF of tips for better honeymoon photos. Make sure these tips are basic and easy for anyone with a point and shot.
- Print credit – Maybe entice them with a $25 print credit after you sign up for the newsletter. You could include this coupon in your welcome letter which they can print and present to you when booking their next session.