Firstly I’m hoping that you use database management software to organise all of your lovely clients. If not put it at the very top of your shopping list as it will make you more money than any lens, Photoshop action or whatever else has caught your eye at a trade show.
You might only have one client and think its not the right time to invest in software that you’ll not really be using that much for a while. In fact it’s the perfect time as you don’t have to waste hours inputting old data from a spreadsheet and you’ll have time to develop your system and processes.
If you can’t afford much then you can’t go far wrong than the free version of Studio Cloud to start you off. Although the email triggers are a paid upgrade ($30 per month) to the free service but it’s done as a monthly subscription which will certainly make things more affordable.
Marketing your business can be a tiresome affair so it’s a delightful relief when
- Things are automated
- You don’t have to look for new clients because you already have a database full of them.
One of the best things about photography is that it’s not a one off event. Weddings are arguably one offs but they’ll probably have kids and want pictures of them at some stage. The point is that just because you sold a £1000 wall art to someone last year doesn’t mean they’re not going to want another one this year.
Event triggers verses newsletters
I have previously written about newsletters but email triggers are slightly different inasmuch as they can be more personal.
I would recommend sending a general email out for seasonal offers but a less formal email triggered by a life event (like a birthday) will tend to get a better response rate.
Types of email triggers
There are a few obvious life events that warrant an email from you like Wedding anniversaries and birthdays
but there are a few other events you could use as a trigger:
- XXX days/months since last shoot
- Final chance to order – trigger set up xxx days/weeks/months after viewing
- Customer care email – sent a couple of days after products are delivered
- Special offer – designed specific to the type of shoot
- Photoshoot preparation email – sent out a day or two telling the client what to expect/what to wear etc
- Photoshoot reminder – I would always call a client to confirm a shoot the day before but this type of email can be sent out a few days beforehand as a reminder. This works particular well if you are booking sessions weeks in advance as the last thing you want is a cancellation the day before a session because the client forgot about their appointment.
Setting up email triggers
It goes depend on what type of studio management software you use but apart from the ability to email your clients automatically from your database software you also need a couple of other functions:
The ability to label what type of appointment you have ie wedding, family shoot etc
The ability to customise when an email is sent ie 2 weeks before or after a particular type of calendar event
Writing an effective marketing email is an art form in itself but their are a few key things you should keep an eye on.
- Keep it personal
- You should be able to add in the clients name to the email.
- A reason why
- Make it clear why you are emailing them and that you’re not just sending them junk email
- “As it’s your anniversary next month …..”
- “it’s been a year since our last photoshoot”
- Call to action
- The most important part of the email – include at least two ways they can respond
It’s not just about automation
Copy yourself into each email and follow up. These emails aren’t just a great reminder for your clients, they’re equally helpful for you!
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Michael has been working as a photographer for the last ten years. In that time he has shot over 100,000 peoples’ portraits and worked in four different continents. In 2001 Michael graduated with a degree in photography from Manchester Metropolitan University.