A few days ago I talked about Winterizing for the slow season, but let’s take one of the ideas a step further. As touched upon, the Cyber Sales are upon us. So if you’re thinking about offering something to your clients, there’s a few things to know and some suggestions for creating a compelling email marketing campaign for your clients.
If you’re going to rely only on Facebook for your promotion, you are going to miss out on a lot of clients. Facebook is great when used in conjunction with other promotions, but you should not rely ONLY on Facebook promotions. Using email only is limited because you cannot email a lot of clients without violating the limits of your email provider and you can risk being shut down.
There’s lots of email marketing services, most commonly known are Constant Contact, AWebber, and Vertical Response. These services are paid services and are kind of the “gold standard” for sending out mass emails, newsletters and the like. They have very powerful interfaces and really easy drag and drop templates available to their clients…at a price. I’ve used several of them and I think for the money they are well worth the bells and whistles they offer once you understand how to use them. For example, we use AWebber for this blog because for our needs it has a really easy and robust way to send out emails to our awesomesauce subscribers like you. We can go in on the back end, see who has opened the emails and have the ability to do further “drip campaigns” to those we know open our emails and click through our links. Yes, it’s kind of Big Brother creepy, but are you really surprised? The net is a creepy and wonderful thing.
But let’s just say you’re not there yet. You don’t have the time to delve into learning those programs, you don’t have the cash and you don’t have the kind of subscriber list that would make sense for you to have a paid subscription email marketing service. Where do you start with not much technical know-how but a desire to make some cash?
Your first Step: Create a list. You need an email list of all of the clients you want send this promotion to. Depending on the promotion you are running, this list could be friends and family, portrait clients, wedding clients, commercial clients…anyone that you have provided services for and that has give you permission to market/email them. You can create these list in Excel or Word very easily.
What you cannot do: Market to people that you have not received permission to market to but you have their email addresses. I’m going to lay it on the line, this is a HUGE gray area with email marketing services. It all has to do with SPAM laws and such, but let me give you the most common scenario. You photograph weddings and have an ad in a local wedding publication. That wedding publication has a bridal fair and the brides fill out a form that they get there to win a prize. They check a box on the form saying that they are fine with the publication sharing their email addresses with you . The Bridal Publication sends you a monthly list of those “approved” clients…so you can include them in your marketing list, right?
Maybe. You have to check the TOS (terms of service) for the provider you use. Some will allow it. Some will shut you down because the brides did not specifically name YOU. They are all different and it’s all very frustrating.
For that reason, I do not blind market to those people. We don’t have a relationship and they are not likely to buy. I want to only to market to people that I am currently working with or have in the past worked with. My list looks like this: wedding clients and portrait clients. Every client I book is added to the corresponding list When I send a promotion it’s directed to them, even if I photographed their wedding in 2002 because they might have had a baby They can opt out to the emails any time they choose
Until they tell me not to contact them by unsubscribing, I contact them. I have the rights to do this under the current SPAM laws.
You cannot do this with Facebook because not every client you have worked with “likes” your page and will see your promotion. You cannot direct market to them through Facebook!
Your first job is something no one can do for you. You need to create your email list.
Hint: You can totally steal my email promotion for Cyber Week 2013 and I am going to show you how. Step by step. But I can’t create your list. So take some time and do that now. And make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss the next part!