We live in a day and age where there is so much education at our fingertips! I unashamedly account our success to the training available online and through other gracious photographers and business owners. Doing a google search on education for photographers will pull up pages upon pages of fantastic content on how to shoot, pose, and edit your photos.
Do you know one thing that you won’t find out much about? I know because I searched!
There will be tons of information on why list building is essential for entrepreneurs, but yet for photographers who are hustling on social media to grow their business; they seem to have missed this golden nugget.
Honestly, I think it’s because us photographers tend to stick in the same circle. We have been guilty of it ourselves. You find someone to learn from, and you stick to them! There is nothing wrong with that, but there is so much more out there! Learning from others, even those outside of your niche can be so valuable to growing a business.
It wasn’t until we reached outside of our industry that we learned how valuable having an email list is. We realized that we wasted six years of potential “free marketing” to an audience who wants to hear from us!
Want to know why list building should be an essential part of your photography business?
You own your list. That is right. Everyone that comes and opts in and becomes a subscriber means they find value in what you have to offer. They want to be there. Facebook, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms out there have no say in who sees your content. You have control. And let’s talk about those social media accounts for a minute. Do you remember Myspace? What about Google Buzz? They are long gone, and so are all those followers! Social media is an excellent tool for running your business. However, you should never put all your eggs in one basket. Building up your email list gives you control that no social media platform would ever give to you.
Now don’t get me wrong, we did start a newsletter around about year three in our business. Do you want to know where we went wrong? We didn’t know where to start. We believed we were a bother by sending out emails and we didn’t see the value of focusing on building a list. Talk about being naive!
Now I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. Just because we got a late start on the email train doesn’t mean we cannot be successful and the same goes for you! An email list for photographers does not have to be difficult.
Here are our tips on how to start growing your list today. We have implemented these tips in our own business and have seen our list grow substantially over the years. I will say that just as pretty much anything real in this world, there is no “quick fix.” Building your list will take time and work, but it will inevitably pay off!
What works for us might not work for you. We started with MailChimp, which is an excellent email platform, but we soon realized we needed much more from a service provider. We required the options to do different sequences, automation, and more. In the end we decided on using ConvertKit, and it fits us perfectly.
Do your research. Just because it works for one doesn’t mean it will work for you. If you are just getting started, it’s okay to start with the one that makes sense for now. Just start building your list. We don’t want you to get hung up on this and not move forward. Most email providers will migrate your subscribers over if you decide to change your mind.
I talk about this a lot because I whole-heartedly believe in this. You must know who you are speaking with. You must know who your ideal client is. Our ideal client changes depending on who we are talking to. We have an audience of brides that we speak to as well as an audience of other creative entrepreneurs.
When we are coming up with emails to send out, we make sure that we are speaking to one of those customers. When we understand who our audience is, then we become clear about what they need and what they want from us. Knowing this makes it easy to come up with content for them. If you’re going to dive deeper into understanding your ideal client, then you should check out this post that I wrote explaining a whole exercise I did to figure out our ideal customer avatars.
A good opt-in is where you have to give a little to see a return. Of course you can start by asking your peers to sign up for your newsletter. You can ask your followers on social media and Facebook. Yes, you might get some of your most loyal fans rushing to sign up and that is all great!
However, to see your list grow, you need to give some stuff away. Believe it or not, you are an expert at something. There is someone out there that does not know what you know, and you can present that information as a freebie in exchange for an email. We see it all the time, and it is the number one way to grow your list. If your struggling for ideas then you should definitely download this free guide that will walk you through list building as well give you some excellent ideas on some freebies you can start creating today.
Figure out how much you want to show up to your audience. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. Decide on what works for you and stick with it! Be consistent with giving value to your audience. This is what the email marketing world calls nurturing. You want to nurture your subscribers with value so that when it comes time for you to present them with an offer, they are warm and ready to buy. You have built trust, and that is something Instagram or Facebook cannot take away from you.
I hope this information has helped. And if you haven’t already don’t forget to download our strategic tips on how to grow your audience quickly! If you would like to learn more, you can also join our monthly 100k Masterclass as we dig deep into various business topics that will propel your business forward!
-Luke & Ash-
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