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Are you spending countless hours every week on Instagram? Do you lose precious time creating complicated Reels, and searching for trending audio, to boost the chances of your ideal clients seeing your content? And, despite this, do you still struggle to convert followers into clients?

If yes, I urge you to step away from social media and take a minute to consider your wider photography marketing strategy. While social media is arguably crucial for photographers, are you relying on it too much?

If you’re getting a poor return for your investment of time and energy, it might be time to get serious about email marketing.

Email marketing for photographers: Should it be more of a priority in your business?

In this article, I’ll be encouraging you to prioirtise email marketing in your photography business, and debunking some common email marketing myths. So, if you’re a photographer who invests a lot of time into social media but you only have either a small or inactive email list, or you don’t have an email list at all, then keep reading.

If you’re already using email marketing in your photography business, there’s something here for you too. I’ll be recommending the email marketing software I use and highlighting how its features can help you to uplevel the email marketing that you’re already doing, for greater results.

Is your marketing strategy overly reliant on social media?

Chances are it is! Yes, Instagram is perfect for photographers, helping to attract an audience that appreciates beautiful images and video content. However, relying solely on social media can limit your ability to convert fans into customers.

With organic reach on social media platforms declining, it’s time to diversify your marketing strategy.

One of the most effective ways to build and nurture client relationships is through email marketing. If you’re not prioritising building and growing your email list, you’re missing out on a powerful marketing tool.

Related reading: Why your photography business needs a content marketing and PR strategy

The power of email marketing vs social media

Here are some of the many reasons why I believe email marketing is worth prioritising in your photography business:

Debunking email marketing myths

Still not convinced?

Well, by disproving some of the common misconceptions about email marketing now, I hope to convince you that it’s a marketing tactic that’s well worth your time and attention. In fact, I believe it should actually be one of the main priorities in your photography business.

Yes, even over and above social media!

Myth 1: Email marketing is dead

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is thriving. Again, according to HubSpot, 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months, and 91% of people say they want to hear from companies that they do business with via email.

People still check their emails regularly, making it a reliable way to reach your audience.

Myth 2: Social media has better reach

Social media platforms show your posts to a small percentage of your followers. With email, even a small list can have a significant impact. For example, an email list of 250 people with a 20% open rate reaches more individuals than social media posts shown to just 2% of 1,000 followers.

So, I hope you can see that by taking the time to create an email and sending it out to your list, you could potentially generate far more visibility for you and your photography business than by posting on social media. This, in turn, could help to drive more traffic to your photography website, boost enquiries and lead to more sales, making it an incredibly effective way to reach more of your ideal photography clients.

Related reading: How to attract more of your ideal photography clients

Myth 3: Audiences are overwhelmed by emails

Even if you actively ignore a large majority of the marketing emails you receive, it doesn’t mean that your potential clients will. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your customers and potential customers won’t want to hear from you via email. You are not your customer!

If someone has subscribed to receive news and information from your photography business, then they have expressed an interest in hearing from you. Rather than your emails being annoying to your subscribers (and if they are, they can always unsubscribe), you’re actively doing them a disservice if you don’t keep in touch.

So, if you have any reservations about using email marketing to keep people on your email list in the loop about your photography business, remember that your subscribers want to hear from you!

If they’ve opted in, they are interested in your content. Regular, valuable emails keep you top of mind without overwhelming your audience.

Myth 4: Social media is best for building community

While building an online community around your business is important, social media is not the only or the best place to do this, necessarily.

Yes, it can be satisfying to see that you have hundreds, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of followers on your social media accounts. We can tell ourselves that we are building an online community, a fan base of potential customers, which will bode well for the future of our businesses. But, likes and follow counts on social media are simply ‘vanity’ metrics.

These numbers don’t have any bearing on how successful you are or will be. Sadly, even if you’ve accrued a large following on social media, this will not necessarily correlate with the growth of your business. You could have millions of followers on social media but, in real life, have a business that’s on its knees!

So, don’t feel threatened by the numbers of people following your competitors’ social media accounts – they may have lots of followers, but they may not be people who will ever pay for their photography services. And, don’t tell yourself that social media is the best or only place to build community. Email can be a great way to build a community and a truly engaged audience too!

Once you have subscribers to your emails, through email marketing you can take the conversation away from the noise of social media and nurture a relationship with your prospective customers over time. While social media can create a sense of community, email allows for deeper connections.

Personalised and targeted content (for example, sent based on their engagement with your previous email campaigns), and direct communication via email can help to build stronger relationships and trust.

Myth 5: Email lists aren’t as valuable as social media followers

An email list is a valuable asset that you own, unlike social media followers.

Once you have the names and email addresses of people who have ‘opted in’ to receive your emails, that data is under your control. You effectively ‘own’ the list and it’s yours to use. You have the right to communicate with those people via email unless they choose to opt-out.

On social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you are not in control of the audience. You don’t automatically gain their contact information (unless you acquire it via an opt-in), so you’re at the mercy of platform changes or shutdowns.

Myth 6: Building an email list takes too long

Growing an email list takes time, but it’s worth the effort. And, there are lots of things you can do to speed up the process, and get hundreds of people on your email list, relatively quickly anyway.

For example, you can create a valuable ‘lead magnet’ or freebie to entice people to subscribe. Tailor it to your ideal clients to ensure it resonates and drives sign-ups to your email list. Promote it regularly and you could find that your email list grows quickly.

You could also collaborate with a non-competing business who also targets your ideal client and do some kind of join promotion. You get exposure to their audience (and they to yours) – it’s a win-win situation.

Myth 7: GDPR makes email marketing too complicated

GDPR compliance is straightforward with the right tools. Platforms like Mailerlite ensure you manage your list according to regulations, making email marketing as hassle-free as ever.

Presuming you’re capturing email address in a GDPR-compliant way, are only sending emails to those who have subscribed to them, and giving people an opportunity to opt-out if they wish (as platforms such as Mailerlite allow you to do), then email marketing and adhering to GDPR is not complicated.

Why I recommend Mailerlite

If you are ready to finally get started with an email list, or are you searching for an alternative solution to MailChimp then look no further. Mailerlite has become my go-to for all things email marketing, and here’s why I think it will be a game-changer for you too.

1. User-friendly interface

Mailerlite’s interface is incredibly easy to navigate, even if you’re not tech-savvy or are a complete beginne. Creating and managing your email campaigns is straightforward and hassle-free.

2. Powerful automation tools

Automation is where Mailerlite really shines. With its powerful automation tools, you can effortlessly build an automated welcome sequence that helps new subscribers get to know you and your photography services. This not only saves you time but can also help you generate quick sales by engaging your audience right from the start.

3. Detailed analytics

Understanding your audience is key to successful marketing. Mailerlite provides detailed analytics that help you track your success. The data allows you to see what resonated with your audience so you can do more of what works and continuously improve your campaigns.

4. Drag-and-drop editor

Designing beautiful emails is easy with Mailerlite’s drag-and-drop editor. You don’t need any coding skills to create professional-looking newsletters that reflect your brand and keep your subscribers engaged.

5. Landing page and form builder

You can also grow your list with attractive sign-up forms and landing pages. These tools help to convert your website visitors into subscribers.

Mailerlite formj builder

6. Advanced segmentation

You can personalise email marketing content to increase engagement. Mailerlite allows you to segment your audience based on various criteria, ensuring that your subscribers receive content that is relevant to them. This targeted approach increases engagement and boosts conversions.

7. A/B testing

You can also send two versions of a campaign out, known as A/B testing. Test different subject lines, content, or send times to see what performs best. This feature helps you optimise your emails for maximum impact.

Email marketing A/B test

8. Seamless tntegrations

Finally, Mailerlite integrates seamlessly with many popular tools and platforms, including WordPress, Shopify and Zapier. This makes it easy to sync your email marketing efforts.

My experience with Mailerlite

I’ve been using Mailerlite for years now, and I wouldn’t be without it. It has not only simplified my email marketing but has also significantly improved my audience engagement and sales. 

I love being able to set up automations and segment my list so I am only sending the most relevant information to my subscribers, and to prioritise those who are most engaged.

I also find it so useful that it integrates with Thrivecart, my shopping cart tool and online learning platform where I host my online courses and programmes.

Related reading: Work with me

Prioritise email marketing in your photography business

So, what I hoped to have convinced you of is that your end-goal with social media marketing, and in fact any other marketing, should be to attract and encourage people over to your ‘owned’ channels – the spaces you own and control, such as your website and your email marketing list.

If you are doing little other than promoting your photography business on social media then I suggest you start or develop your email marketing activities as a priority from here on in. Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach and engage your audience.

The truth is unless you are strategically building your email list off the back of your social media audience already, you’re missing a trick.

Email marketing for photographers 

Don’t keep putting in the hours on social if you aren’t capturing the email addresses of your followers. Instead, I’d recommend that you devote your energies on creating a compelling lead magnet to build your email list and then keep in touch with your subscribers regularly to keep top of mind.

Don’t abandon social. Just don’t focus completely on social.

And, when you do post on social media, be sure to include a call to action that inspires your followers to visit your website / download your freebie or get in touch.  This is the marketing activity that will help to drive revenue and grow your photography business.

Related reading: 33 Social Media Content Ideas for Photographers

The importance of an email marketing list

With social media reach decreasing year on year, building an email marketing list is a smart investment.

An email list allows you to cultivate a direct line of communication with your audience, reducing your dependency on social media algorithms. So, instead of constantly trying to be seen on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, your messages land directly in your dream clients’ inboxes, resulting in better reach and more impact for your marketing efforts.

HubSpot has reported that email marketing has a average ROI (return on investment) of 122%, which is over four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media. Have a I convinced you yet?!

Unlock the power of email marketing with Mailerlite

If all of this sounds good to you, I have an exclusive offer! Click here to sign up for Mailerlite and you’ll even get a free 30-day trial. This is the perfect opportunity to experience all the benefits Mailerlite has to offer, risk-free.

With Mailerlite, you have a powerful tool at your disposal that simplifies the process while offering a suite of features to enhance your campaigns. As a photographer, Mailerlite can help you build stronger relationships with your audience and achieve your marketing goals.

Do you have an active email list? Or do you need to get started with email marketing? What email marketing tools do you use, if not Mailerlite? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.