Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways for photographers to reach clients, nurture relationships, and grow their business.
However, with inboxes overflowing, it can be challenging to craft emails that truly engage your audience. In this article, we provide 11 email marketing tips to help photographers cut through the noise and better serve their community.
Whether you’re just getting started with email outreach or looking to improve open and click-through rates, these strategies can help strengthen client relationships and expand your reach.
The Importance of Email Marketing for Photographers
Email marketing software is critical for photographers looking to build meaningful relationships with clients and grow their business. Studies show that email achieves a 4,200% ROI on average, far surpassing other marketing channels.
Beyond sheer revenue potential, email enables photographers to nurture leads, upsell existing clients, drive repeat business through special offers, and stay top of mind between projects.
The visual nature of photography also lends itself well to the engaged, personalized experience email marketing facilitates. With the ability to share galleries, offer sneak peeks, and make clients feel valued, email keeps lines of communication open while establishing the photographer as a trusted partner for capturing life’s most precious memories.
For these reasons, dedicating time to hone your email strategy is hugely worthwhile for taking your photography venture to the next level.
1. Build Your Subscriber List
The foundation of any email marketing initiative is your list of subscribers. Yet many photographers fail to proactively build their lists and miss huge opportunities for client outreach and nurturing leads over the long haul.
Make it a priority to offer signup forms prominently on your website. Include easy options for visitors to join your list on every page, as well as throughout the client journey—from initial inquiries straight through to final delivery of images.
And don’t remove clients from your list following a completed project. Send occasional updates about your latest work, special offers, blog posts, and industry news to previous customers too.
Look for other avenues beyond your site to grow your subscriber base. Ask satisfied clients for referrals to colleagues and friends who may need photography services down the road.
Also, leverage word-of-mouth marketing by gifting free sessions in exchange for promotion to the recipient’s own network and email list. Finally, use social posts and paid strategies to drive traffic back to your website for subscriber signups.
2. Segment by Client Type
Once you have subscribers, resist the urge to blast out mass emails to your entire list. Instead, take the time to segment based on client type, service offering, and project specifics. This enables you to craft tailored messages that resonate more with each group.
There are many ways to segment your list, as evidenced by the image below:
As a photographer, you must choose relevant email segmentation options.
For starters, separate current, past, and potential clients into distinct lists. Send special offers and project updates exclusively to new and repeat customers who will appreciate timely, relevant content. For those you haven’t worked with yet, focus on introducing your services, establishing expertise, and nurturing the relationship over a longer time frame.
Beyond client type, you can also segment by offerings like weddings, family portraits, headshots for actors and models, and more. This allows you to tailor subject lines, imagery, and promotions based on the unique needs and interests of each audience. Taking this targeted approach is proven to boost open and click-through rates by 14% or more.
3. Optimize for Mobile
Considering that over half of email opens now occur on mobile, optimizing for smaller screens is no longer optional. Failing to create mobile-friendly messages means losing reader attention and engagement.
When crafting emails, examine content through the lens of vertical orientation on phones to identify any awkward text flows or formatting concerns.
- Use minimalist designs with enough white space for easy scanning on the go.
- Check that CTAs and key info remain visible without excessive scrolling.
- On the technical side, enable responsive templates that automatically adjust layouts across devices.
- Test final emails thoroughly to confirm images resize properly, text doesn’t cut off, and touch elements like buttons work as intended.
While supporting mobile users requires some upfront effort, you’ll reap major dividends from higher completion rates of desired actions within your emails.
4. Personalize Content Thoughtfully
Personalization remains one of the best ways to make recipients feel valued while getting them to truly engage with your message. Yet peppering emails with the recipient’s first name only scratches the surface of creating a tailored experience.
Look for opportunities to incorporate personal details based on interests, preferences, and previous interactions with your brand.
For example, share a fresh take on their favorite photography style or showcase updated offerings in the type of session they’ve booked before. This level of relevance helps forge real connections.
Also, adjust the tone and content format based on what you know of the client’s personality and past responsiveness. Some appreciate a more casual and conversational approach while others favor a polished, professional tone.
Testing different email layouts, from long-form articles to quick-hit photo highlights, can reveal further optimization based on an individual’s behavior as well.
5. A/B Test Subject Lines
Even the most thoughtful email content won’t make an impact if recipients don’t open your messages in the first place. That’s why A/B testing different subject line options is invaluable for determining what motivates your subscribers to click.
Try pitting urgent calls to action against inspirational quotes. Or alternate between curiosity-sparking questions and straight benefit-focused language. When testing subject lines, keep the rest of the email the same to isolate the impact of this critical element.
Tools like MailChimp allow you to easily set up A/B tests across subscriber segments. Pay close attention to open rates by demographic and client type to understand what resonates most with each group.
Over time these learnings allow you to take the guesswork out of the subject line writing process. Don’t be afraid to test the familiar against something unique to uncover surprising results.
6. Promote Work on Social Media
The synergy between email marketing and social media represents an untapped opportunity for many photographers. Use these channels together to expand reach and give your best visual content multiple exposure points.
Whenever you share great images from a recent shoot on Instagram or Facebook, prompt followers to sign up for your email list to receive exclusive behind-the-scenes content or special deals on future sessions.
Drive this high-interest traffic straight to targeted landing pages for converting signups. For current email subscribers, feature social posts they may have missed and encourage re-sharing user-generated images related to your brand.
View email and social efforts as mutually beneficial versus independent streams. Strategically bridge these platforms through smart cross-promotion and converting visitors into ongoing brand advocates across channels.
Just take care to continue providing value with each touchpoint versus overly self-promotional messaging.
7. Welcome New Clients
Make a stellar first impression by setting up an automated welcome series when users initially join your email list. This multi-message workflow establishes your expertise, excites new subscribers about upcoming shoots, and builds a foundation for an enduring relationship.
- Kick things off with an introduction outlining your photography specialty along with what inspires your creative vision.
- Follow up in a separate email with tips for preparing for the big day from recommended shot locations to optimal attire choices.
- Include links to galleries of your work so newcomers gain further confidence in your distinctive style.
- Finally, end by inviting recipients to book an introductory call to discuss concepts for their custom photo session.
When structured thoughtfully, welcome series accelerate familiarity with your brand while nudging contacts closer toward hiring you for their photography needs. Just keep initial emails focused on value over aggressive sales tactics.
8. Share Photo Tips and Inspiration
Position yourself as an industry expert and valuable resource by using email to educate recipients on photography best practices. Share lighting tricks, posing guidance, editing tutorials, gear recommendations and more based on topics you get asked about frequently.
Mix in inspirational content, like showcasing standout images you come across and profiling famous photographers along with their advice for capturing compelling shots, as shown in the photography email template below:
Quote statistics around popular styles and trends sweeping the photography arena to assert your finger on the pulse.
This type of helpful, inspiring email content establishes trust while keeping your services top of mind. Additionally, it fuels positive word of mouth as recipients pass along your tips to their networks. Over time, sending useful industry intel pays dividends by growing your credibility and visibility.
9. Automate Appointment Reminders
Juggling hectic client schedules while finalizing all the shoot details is hugely challenging for time-strapped photographers. Fortunately, appointment reminders represent one area ripe for automation via email.
Set up reminder messages to go out at set intervals before sessions, covering the when, where, and any special instructions. Include an easy way for recipients to quickly confirm or reschedule if needed. Follow up the day prior with a simple verification that you are set to capture their special moments soon.
Automating these reminders frees up precious hours otherwise spent on manual outreach. More importantly, it minimizes last-minute cancellations and no-shows by keeping your forthcoming photo shoot at the top of their minds.
Clients feel well cared for while you avoid losing revenue to lapsed memories. Just ensure your CRM or email provider allows customization of key details in each reminder.
10. Track Opens and Clicks
The best email marketers continually assess performance by monitoring open and click-through rates. Luckily most email services like MailChimp allow you to track these metrics automatically across messages, segments, and campaigns.
Designate time weekly or monthly to dig into the data and identify both wins and areas for improvement.
See which subject lines sparked the most interest as measured by open rates to craft better headlines moving forward. Study click behavior to pinpoint links or buttons that failed to entice further action so you can refine content accordingly.
Trended over time, all this data reveals optimal send times, top-performing segments to prioritize, and precise places within your emails needing optimization.
The insights uncovered from diligent tracking allow constant refinement en route to email marketing mastery. Just don’t obsess over daily fluctuations but rather assess patterns over the long term.
11. Focus on Building Relationships
Never lose sight that email marketing represents just one powerful channel for cultivating meaningful photographer-client relationships. While the strategies and tactics covered in this article are hugely impactful, they only support the broader objective of forging trust with recipients over the long haul.
- View each email sent not as an isolated campaign but rather as another touchpoint within an ongoing journey.
- Ensure consistency of your visual brand identity, personality, expertise, and value delivered across all messages and platforms.
- Most importantly, uphold principles of listening first and prioritizing client needs ahead of immediate sales goals.
When email strengthens bonds versus simply selling services, it transforms into a channel with enormous revenue potential but an even greater ability to change lives. Through skillful relationship-building and purposeful outreach over time, savor email’s role in capturing precious memories that recipients will treasure for decades to come.
Email marketing undeniably drives results for growing photography businesses, yet truly mastering this channel requires a commitment beyond basic tactics.
By focusing on subscriber relationships versus isolated campaigns, crafting targeted and mobile-friendly messages, continually optimizing content, and automating workflows, photographers can reap immense value.
More than increased sales, thoughtfully leveraging these email strategies nurtures client satisfaction that fuels referrals and sparks joy for years to come. Now dive into the tips above to strengthen your approach.