Earlier someone asked me about the best platform newsletters and emailing a list. Whilst there is no one answer as it depends on your needs it did get me thinking about how powerful a good autoresponder service can be for business. And how for most photographers these are very under-utilised.
Most people think of them as a tool to send out a monthly newsletter, but they can do so much more for you than that. To use them effectively, you want to be able to use segmentation rather than putting everybody on one list. Or you can use tags to do this with some of the better services.
So what do I mean by segmenting?
Well everybody on your list is not equal. There are prospects and clients for a start. Then there are those interested in weddings, portraits and so on. Whilst it is ok to send everyone your regular “newsletter” you can be using an autoresponder service to do a lot more work for you in your business. For a start it makes it very easy to segment the people on your list into different categories so that you only send relevant information.
Let me give you an example different ways you can utilise an autoresponder service using wedding photography as an example.
Create a “Perfect Invite” (commonly referred to as a Lead Magnet, but I like to think of it as inviting someone into your world). This is a piece of information that a wedding prospect would find valuable that you give them in exchange for an email address. It doesn’t have to be photography specific, e.g. the 10 biggest mistakes I’ve seen made at weddings and how to avoid them.
That is going to get a brides interest.
You then have a series of emails preloaded that are sent out over a period of anything up to 2 – 3 months. These emails would introduce you, given advice and tips that are relevant to brides. In addition they would invite them to enter your booking process – consultation, phone call, whatever it is.
When a prospect becomes a wedding client, they are added to a segment. This segment automatically sends a series of emails over say 3 months giving them more advice and tips, giving them information (including photos) of your different products (softly pre-selling), explaining more about your service, the different steps etc.
Now yes some of you will be including this in your welcome packs. It’s ok to send it out again. You are giving tips and advice, and quite frankly even those that do read the welcome packs don’t always take everything in.
The purpose of this is to give value, build your expertise, build the relationship.
After the wedding you could have a series of a couple of emails reminding them of your image selection, ordering and delivery process and pre-selling them on upgrades.
Maximising Client Value
After product delivery you could have testimonial and referral emails request delivered automatically.
Continuing The Relationship With Newsletters
Next up you move them to the segment that receives emails for a year after their wedding. There aren’t many in this sequence and they are quite far apart. A few about ordering images as Christmas presents, a valentines email – maybe for an offer on a shoot, and an anniversary email, again maybe with an offer on a shoot. At some point in this sequence you would introduce them to your other services too if you do portraits, babies etc.
That is just a few examples that I came up with as I wrote this post of how you can effectively use a good autoresponder service in your business to increase the lifetime value of your clients, and get more profits.
There is so much you can do.
Does this take some effort to set up? Absolutely.
But once it is done, it is very much hands off with just a little input from you to move people through different segments where that can’t be automated.
But it will repay you again and again because you do the work once, but repeat the rewards often.
And this is where a good autoresponder service is worth every single penny because some are so much more capable than others, and some start off quite cheap, or even free, but quickly become more expensive than the more capable ones.
Now before anyone says I like to personalise their emails, I say stop creating work for yourself. You will still be sending personalised emails individually, however write these automated ones well and no-one will realise or mind.
You can also set them up so that the wedding date, venue and other details are automatically entered into emails. And what is more important, creating a better experience for your clients and an increase in profit or spending time doing admin work like sending out emails when you could be freeing up time to photograph more clients?