Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Email Newsletters

Brand loyalty is often talked about in large retail companies, but it is just as, if not more, important to a small specialty company. Your past, present, and future clients are one of your biggest assets because they will help spread the word about your business and attract new clients in ways exponentially more powerful than any of your other marketing efforts. When a client falls in love with your business - they WANT you to succeed and they want to celebrate in your successes!

Newsletters have been a powerful business building tool for a looooong time. The coolest thing is that through the power of email, we no longer need to spend valuable resources on printing and postage to communicate visually with our client base. Wedding photographers are in a unique position because we are hired so far in advance- we have ample opportunities for building trust and loyalty in our brand before the wedding day even begins! One of the quickest and most effective tools is through email newsletters. But isn't that what my blog is for?? While many of your clients may keep up with your blog regularly, some are simply too busy to keep up with it as often as they'd like, which is why email newsletters are still just as effective as ever and can be a great way to sum up specific information you'd like them to know about. There may also be information which you'd like to share with your clients but not with the general public, which can be communicated through newsletters as well.

Here are just a few quick tips for how you might use email newsletters to help your business...
• Monthly updates featuring your latest work and favorite images to build trust with future clients
• Announce sales and promotions to generate additional income
• Run contests to drive more traffic to your website or blog
• Personalized newsletters for clients to forward to friends and family with links to purchase their images
• Share awards and publications to increase excitement about your service
• Create polls for feedback and suggestions to help evaulate your business strategies

In order to have the most impact, a newsletter needs to be visually appealing with minimal text (stick to headlines and short, easy-to-read paragraphs) and maximum images - especially if selling images is what your business is all about!! Here are a few great email newsletter services that can help add impact while streamlining your newsletter marketing efforts. One of the things that makes these services so effective is that you can actually track who opened, clicked, forwarded, or unsubscribed to your newsletters- giving you maximum feedback over the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Also, many of them make it super easy to get started by allowing you to upload a file of exported emails from your current address book. This is by no means a definitive list of services, but rather a few that I have found attractive. Each service is slightly different, so I suggest shopping for the one that will work best for your needs. If you need help understanding some of the terms, check out this wikipedia entry on email marketing.

Constant Contact
IntelliContact
Vertical Response
MyNewsletter Builder
JangoMail
My Emma

Here are some questions to think about before choosing a service:
- What is the fee and what is included?
- Do I want to use templates or have a custom design?
- If I'm using templates, how much customization of each template is available and is it easy to customize?
- What kind of support services are available if I have questions?
- Does the name of the email service show up in the email? How does that affect my presentation?
- Are the reports and statistics easy to read and obtain?

Perhaps using an email marketing service isn't the right answer for your business. You may find it easier to create your own html email or pdf documents from the software that you're already familiar with, which is entirely possible - though you may not be able to guarantee that all of your client email serviers will display it properly. Charles Bordner recently started selling .pdf style templates for customization if you need a little help getting started.

Let's not forget- sending a printed newsletter isn't dead!! While it could be potentially more costly, it can also be something which sets you apart, like it has for LaCour. Click play to see how they've used mini-magazines to build buzz around their brand...


1 comment:

  1. Great article on getting started with newsletters. I really like Charles Bordner's templates ( and photography) . However I had better luck with a service like http://www.benchmarkemail.com as I am clumsy and need my marketing dummy proof :)

    Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete

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