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Email Marketing Guide for Photographers: Automate Campaigns with Gmail

email marketing for photographers

As a photographer, you certainly understand the importance of retaining your existing clients and building new ones. What is a more effective method of connecting with existing and prospective customers than an email? A well-structured email campaign is key to improving your photography business’ sales.

An effective email focuses on engaging prospects and converting them into customers successfully, rather than simply blasting the same message to as many people as possible. So, to run a successful campaign, you should send personalized mass emails using sophisticated mail merge tools. These tools can help you keep track of the campaign’s performance and provide options to personalize it in great detail.

Many photographers have misconceptions about email marketing and the way it works. Here are some common mistakes most photographers make:

  • Some photographers use CC/BCC fields in Gmail or Outlook to send mass emails to customers. Because these emails are not personalized for recipients and leave SPAM footprints, recipients’ mailboxes may block or place most of these mass emails into spam. Due to this, these emails fail to generate a positive return on investment.
  • On the other hand, some photographers opt for newsletter-style software that offers flashy templates but has limited personalization options and poor deliverability. Utilizing these tools to send unsolicited newsletters does not provide a lot of return on investment. Most of these messages wind up in subscribers’ spam or promotional tabs and are never opened. The emails that still manage to get into recipients’ inboxes don’t receive many replies or opens since they aren’t tailored to their recipients.

Photographers need a more practical solution to help them achieve their objectives. A traditional newsletter-style tool works in some cases; however, you’ll need cold email and sales engagement features to attract and engage clients successfully. GMass is the only tool that combines all of these features into a single solution. In addition, GMass uses sophisticated distribution techniques and personalization to improve your deliverability and engagement. The best part — GMass allows you to send personalized email campaigns straight from Gmail — the service you already use to communicate with clients every day.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use email marketing to promote your photography business and demonstrate how GMass’ key features can help you manage it better. We’ll also go through the most effective email strategies and common mistakes to avoid.

This Article Contains:

(Click on links to jump to specific sections.)

An Example: The Wedding Photographer

 

How Email Marketing Can Help Your Photography Business

Wedding and portrait photographers, as well as real-estate, hotel, outdoor, and event photographers. can all benefit from email marketing. No matter what type of photography you specialize in, email marketing can help you promote your offers and maintain a healthy interaction with your clients.

  • Consider the people who aren’t yet ready to book a photoshoot but are doing preliminary research on several photographer websites. If they join your newsletter, you can establish a relationship with them (and convert them) by sending personalized newsletter and email sequences.
  • You can save money on advertising/new client acquisition by nurturing your existing leads through email marketing. For instance, you could contact couples who previously booked a wedding shoot with you before their upcoming wedding anniversary to schedule another photo session. See the example here.
  • If you have a regular client who hires you for picture-perfect family photos every fall, don’t let them forget the time of year is once again upon them. Remind clients to invite you back for another session by sending out email reminders. GMass enables you to schedule auto-reminders on specific days.
  • If you are a hotel photographer, you can use email marketing to stay in touch with clients, remind them of special events, and encourage them to bring more business your way.
  • To rank in Google Local and establish your business as an authority, you’ll need a large number of online citations and client testimonials. You can improve your online presence and reputation by creating a campaign to request online reviews and testimonials from your happy clients.

 

Email Marketing for Photographers: Strategies, Best Practices, and Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Choose a Good Email Marketing Tool

    • You’ll need something more than an email newsletter tool. Personalized automated email sequences provide better results than mere newsletters. As you’ll be interacting with potential and existing clients, your software choice should have sophisticated personalization, engagement, and automation features to interact better with each of these client segments.
    • Be wary of email marketing solutions that operate with shared IP addresses used by hundreds of others. These systems generally have poor deliverability rates. If you send emails from Gmail (which is what GMass does), your messages will have a greater chance of being delivered since Gmail’s sending IP address is the most reliable and widely used in the world.

2. Focus on the Quality of Your Email List

    • It helps to target the audience most likely to become your client. Your email campaigns will lose effectiveness if you email individuals who don’t fall into your target segment. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, your list should include those who have shown an interest in getting married soon, engaged couples, or their family members. If you take commercial or corporate pictures for a living, you’ll want to connect with executives or company owners rather than employees at those firms who don’t have decision-making powers. You will get more business by emailing a list of 100 relevant individuals than 1,000 email addresses that aren’t directly relevant to your business.
    • Don’t use questionable or spammy tactics (such as purchasing email lists) to get email addresses, or you risk your email campaigns being flagged as spam, which will hurt the deliverability of future emails from you.
    • GMass has a Build Email List feature that makes list building very simple. For example, when you perform a Gmail search with a specific term (such as “wedding,” “portrait,” or “hotel opening”), the program creates a mailing list of all of your past emails in which people have mentioned that term.

 

3. Plan a Proper Content Strategy

Many photographers spend far more time and money designing beautiful HTML emails than they do on the actual email content. They believe that it will lead to better responses and engagement. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You don’t need to design pixel-perfect HTML emails to attract clients. For most lead-gen efforts, text-based, personalized emails are sufficient. These emails give recipients the impression that you are communicating with them personally. On the other hand, HTML emails make it evident to your recipient that they are part of a mass email campaign, so they will tend to ignore it. Also, by default, many mailboxes will not render HTML emails. While we aren’t opposed to HTML emails, we want to emphasize that the email copy is far more important than the aesthetics of the email — even when the topic is photography. That’s because nobody likes spam or irrelevant emails. Therefore, your email campaigns should contain helpful information that is relevant and helpful for your audience. (And you can always include a link to your photography portfolio.)

When it comes to email newsletters, the content you provide must be more valuable than simple advertising for your services. So here are some suggestions for various photography genres:

      • For real estate photographers: A handbook for homeowners: How to focus on what’s important to buyers when photographing a residential real estate property for internet listings.
      • For wedding photographers: A short article on the latest wedding trends or best tips for brides to prepare for their wedding day.
      • For the family portrait photographer: A quick guide for parents on how to dress their kids before a family photoshoot or how to get the best shots of kids at home or playing in the yard.

You can use GMass for newsletter-style marketing and personalized lead gen/cold email campaigns. It’s a modern and flexible email marketing platform that allows you to send hyper-personalized emails for your photography business. With automated email sequences and follow-ups, you can schedule and time these emails in a way that optimizes their reach while also increasing opens, clicks, and replies.

 

4. Segment Your Lists

It helps to segment your email lists into different categories or lead types. With segmentation, you can tailor your email messages effectively and send more personalized campaigns to your email list.

Some examples are:

      • Past clients
      • Current clients
      • Prospects
      • Website subscribers
      • Locations
      • Age/gender
      • Profession/role
      • Other segmentations, such as pre-wedding clients, post-wedding clients, etc.

GMass takes segmentation to a new level with sophisticated personalization and conditional content. For example, you can use your list data to personalize each email.

 

5. Personalize Messages

When it comes to email marketing, personalization is the key. Personalization shows email recipients that your email is specifically for them and gives them a reason to read it. This is why you should not email everyone on your list with the same email. The email subject lines that are not personalized, such as “Re: wedding photography services,” will likely get overlooked and end up in the spam folder.

GMass enables you to personalize each email based on customer data. With GMass, you can automatically add dynamic content to emails so that you don’t have to rewrite email copy manually for each client. For example, you can use various parameters, such as their name, images (which you can customize for each recipient), links, attachments, or the date of an event as dynamic content to insert into the email subject line and email message.

 

6. Track Your Email Campaigns

It’s crucial to track email campaign statistics to know if your efforts are converting leads and driving sales. There is no way to tell if your emails reached your recipients or ended up in spam unless you monitor email opens. Set goals and track key metrics for each email campaign, such as email opens, clicks, and replies, so that you know which campaigns are working and which need improvement.

If you use GMass, it will generate a campaign report for you. The report contains data about the performance of your email campaigns. For example, the report will show how many people received your emails and opened them and how many links were clicked. This information can assist you in determining the effectiveness of your emails and making necessary improvements.

 

9 Reasons Why GMass Is the Ideal Email Marketing Solution for Photographers

 

  1. GMass provides unmatched deliverability — since you are sending emails straight from Gmail, they have a higher chance of reaching your customers’ inboxes. Plus, the GMass spam solver can alert you when a draft email appears to have spam triggers.
  2. GMass offers advanced email personalization features. From simple mail-merge style customization to fallback values, automatic-first-name detection, and even personalized images, links, and attachments, GMass makes it easy to personalize your emails for each of your recipients.
  3. No other email marketing software embeds pictures in email like GMass. The GMass software allows you to embed images in email campaigns sent with Gmail. When we say “embed,” we mean the entire image content is embedded inside the email already — the same way Gmail natively inserts an image when you use the “Insert Image” function in the compose box. The benefit? The image loads within the email and not as an attachment.
  4. You won’t be able to send to hundreds of people at once if you try this manually from Gmail or similar email services because these email service providers impose daily sending restrictions. However, GMass has a sophisticated distribution system in place, and you can send emails to thousands of recipients at once and even schedule campaigns for later.
  5. Another advantage of GMass is list management. The CAN-SPAM Act states that bulk emails must enable consumers to unsubscribe. GMass can help you set this up, and the system will automatically remove those who unsubscribe from your mailing list. If you send email campaigns manually, you can’t do this.
  6. Within Gmail, GMass offers a reply management feature. It automatically organizes replies to your Gmail email marketing campaigns.
  7. GMass offers sophisticated automation capabilities, so you won’t have to send all your campaigns manually. You can create auto email sequences, follow-ups, and behavior-based marketing campaigns. You can also automate emails for client reminders, feedback collection, and follow-ups based on a variety of conditions.
  8. GMass is a powerful email marketing product that allows you to track the performance of your campaigns. It gives accurate numbers for email opens, clicks, and other essential metrics.
  9. GMass offers a range of advanced tools and features to improve your campaign performance, such as an email warmup tool, A/B testing, sentiment analysis, email verifier, and email deliverability tester. These help you boost your open rates and reduce bounces with a personalized message, segmentation, dynamic content insertion, and more.

 

How Easy Is It to Use GMass to Promote your Photography Business?

To send email marketing campaigns with GMass, you don’t have to learn complex email marketing software — all you need is a Google spreadsheet that contains your client data and a Gmail account integrated with GMass. In addition, GMass handles advanced email personalization, including conditional content. Watch this video to learn more:

With GMass, you can send out email campaigns from a spreadsheet in just a few clicks.

An Example: The Wedding Photographer

Let’s say Shelly Nguyen, a wedding photographer, wants to reach out to her customers to offer them a new selection of follow-up photography for each couple’s wedding anniversary celebration. She has a list of former customers, so she needs to use GMass for her email campaign, but she also prides herself on making a personal connection with each bride and groom. She’d love to include her lace wedding banner logo in an HTML email to the bride and/or groom.

Let’s look at that in detail with Shelly’s example:

  1. First, Shelly prepares her Google Docs spreadsheet. She adds a column called “PersonalMessage,” and then writes a personalized message for each customer in her spreadsheet. For simplicity’s sake, I’m showing just four customers, but there could be as many as you’d like. These personal messages can be similar, with a few small touches to make them personalized to the specific recipients. Note: Shelly includes HTML tags, like <p> and </p> to set off each paragraph, or <i> and </i> for italics to help control exactly how her personal message displays in the HTML email.
    A Google Docs spreadsheet showing some wedding photography clients.
    A Google Docs spreadsheet showing some wedding photography clients.
  2. Next, Shelly creates her HTML email by writing it in HTML and rendering it in a browser. For help with this, please see my previous blog post on How to use custom HTML in a Gmail compose window. Here is her HTML email shown in a browser window – but without the personal message included yet.
    The HTML email, as rendered in browser. Note no personal message yet.
    The HTML email, as rendered in a browser. Note, there’s no personal message yet.
  3. Shelly then starts to create a GMass campaign by clicking the spreadsheet button, which looks like this:
    GMass spreadsheet button, found at the top of Gmail page
    The GMass spreadsheet button, found at the top of the Gmail compose page.
  4. She chooses the correct spreadsheet – in this case, the one associated with her photography business.
    Choosing the correct Google Sheets spreadsheet.
    Choosing the correct Google Sheets spreadsheet.
  5. Then she connects to that spreadsheet.
    About to connect to the appropriate spreadsheet.
    Shelly is about to connect to the appropriate spreadsheet.

    Gmail Compose window will be created. 

  6. Now Shelly needs to copy the HTML email from the browser page. She goes to that browser window, clicks on it anywhere, hits Ctrl-A to select all (everything will be shaded blue), then Ctrl-C to copy into the clipboard.
  7. She immediately goes back to the already-open Gmail Compose window and pastes in the HTML. Now the Gmail window looks like this (although it’s still not quite done yet):
    HTML email shown in Gmail compose window. Not quite done yet, though.
    Here’s an HTML email as shown in the Gmail Compose window. It’s not quite done yet.
  8. Now Shelly must modify this HTML email directly. To do so, she clicks into the email to the left of the start of the first paragraph, and inserts the “{PersonalMessage}” variable. She then also adds a blank line by hitting “Enter” twice. GMass users can type either “{PersonalMessage}” directly or use the personalization buttons in the GMass Settings box. Note: In your own personalized emails, you can put the text wherever you want. The resulting HTML email will look like this in the Gmail Compose window:
    Gmail Compose Window now that Shelly has added {PersonalMessage} text.
    The Gmail Compose Window now that Shelly has added her {PersonalMessage} text.
  9. The HTML email is now ready to go – Shelly just hits the red GMass button, as shown above.
  10. Now let’s see the result. Here is the email received by Shelly’s customer, Tammy Bey, as shown in Gmail.
    The received multi-lined text personalized HTML email shown in the browser.
    The received multi-lined text personalized HTML email shown in the browser.

That’s all there is to it!

So why not download the GMass Chrome extension today and try it yourself?

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