Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Newsletter Marketing for Photographers

An  electronic newsletter is an extremely valuable tool for cheaply gathering real time, uncensored feedback from your clients and prospects.

While a lot's been written regarding the obvious benefits of electronic vs. print communications - they're cheaper, more scalable, easily forwarded and easily archived - we often forget to talk about one of the biggest advantages of all: electronic communications are inherently interactive with your clients.

And when it comes to your E-Newsletter, if you're not working at generating input from your readers, you're missing out on half the equation.

Your Business Isn't Perfect.
No matter how finely-tuned the machine, there are pieces of your business that your clients don't like and that you're not aware of. Hopefully most of these things are minor (if they weren't, you'd already know about them), but they are still negatives.

Your packaging is hard to open; your voicemail is a pain to use; your web site is slow as a dog; whatever. There are aspects to doing business with you that people would like to see changed, and which they would tell you about if they had a cheap, easy, non-confrontational channel for doing it. The "reply" button on your E-Newsletter is that channel.

The Interaction Itself Is Valuable.
For photography businesses in particular, it takes a leap of faith for a prospective client to hire us. They can't test-drive our service before they buy it the way they can a physical product ("Can you just give me half a root canal, so that I can see what kind of dentist you are before I commit?"). Consequently, referrals from others, trust and comfort become critical in the client's decision making process.

The interaction that potential clients have with you through your newsletter allows them to get a feel for doing business with you. How responsive you are; how friendly you are; how knowledgeable you are. It reduces their perceived risk, making it easier for them to buy from you.

So it's a good thing; but how do you get it?

Ask for it.
I see many newsletters (and web sites for that matter) that never ask for feedback. Many people need permission and encouragement before they'll offer an opinion, and your job as newsletter publisher is to draw these people out.

Applaud it.
When you do get feedback, thank the sender and cycle it back into future newsletters. Not only does this make the "feedbacker" feel special, but it further demonstrates to your readers that this kind of behaviour is encouraged by the business owner.

Act on it.
If you have the opportunity to actually improve something about your business based on feedback, make that person a hero to your E-Newsletter community. This too will spark more of the same.

Bottom Line: If you're simply "broadcasting a newsletter" rather than "interacting with a group of interested readers," you're leaving a lot of value on the table. Go out of your way to pull in reader insights and you'll be amazed at the benefits to your business.

Creating newsletters
There are two services that stand above the rest, in my opinion. Mailchimp and Constant Contact. I use constant contact.

From scheduling newsletters, great quantitative and qualitative feedback, easy to use templates and easy methods to socialize through social media, the service has everything you would want.
You can sign up for our email newsletter in the form below. We send out quarterly newsletters filled with tips, tricks, travel ideas and, yes, we encourage you to send us your feedback and share your photos with us so we can share them with the 1000 photographers from around the world that currently receive our newsletter

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