The #1 mistake I see amongst most photographers is that they do NOT have an email list! Many rely on social media to connect with their audience. Social media is definitely part of the puzzle, but it's NOT the puzzle itself. Without an email list, you could wake up one day having lost everything you took so much time to build!
Let’s talk about 3 reasons why you need that list so you can take control of what you’ve built and not let it slip away!
1. Social Media is Rented Space
That’s right. Think about it. You have absolutely no control over your social media pages. If an algorithm is applied or decides to change its rules, there's nothing you can do about it because none of it is yours. These sites allow you to utilize THEIR space. So, when something is altered in their space, we really can’t be angry or surprised. It was never ours to begin with!
We’ve all seen what happens when social media applies algorithms. What once was a platform to expose your work to countless people becomes what feels like an empty field with crickets playing their tune. We’ve also seen what happens when someone unknowingly violates a platform’s rules and their entire page gets shut down. All those followers become lost with no way to find them again!
Social media is important. It's an opportunity to further your relationships with your audience so you can turn followers into clients, it provides a venue to expose your work to a new audience, and it's a way to network with others. But, you have to take it a step further and invite that audience to join your email list so no matter what, you will always be able to connect with them. When you do that, you have much more control over what you have built.
Changes in rules and algorithms begin to not matter as much when you have the confidence knowing that your audience is also on your email list!
2. Your List is Your Target Audience
When someone joins your list, they are ASKING to hear from you. These are the very people that like, know, and trust you enough to invite you into their email inbox! What this means is that your marketing efforts are much more effective because these are the very people that are interested in what you have to offer and are much more likely to invest in you!
We spend so much time trying to understand our target audience - who they are, what kind of life they lead, what it is about our work they are attracted to. Look no further! Your list is your target audience!
3. Email Lists are an Opportunity to Build Brand Loyalty
When someone joins your list, they need to feel valued. You can build brand loyalty by creating a “members only” list with exclusive benefits. These benefits create a strong reason for your audience to become members and to stay members and that relationship over time will turn those members into customers.
Begin brand loyalty by offering something in exchange for an email address. Maybe offer a free 8x10 with their next session. How about a downloadable guide on how to dress best for portraits? Begin your email relationship with a solid foundation of value by serving your customer first before you even think about selling to them.
Offer exclusive content they know they get first or can be found no where else. Have a new product? Tell your email list first. About to announce your next mini session date? Give your email list priority booking 1 week ahead of the public!
Build brand loyalty by serving valuable content that creates strong reasons to be a list member and you will find that loyalty returned in the form of a purchasing customer.
Converting followers into email subscribers gives you the confidence in knowing that no matter what changes may lie ahead, you can continue to stay in touch with your audience and never loose traction in your growth and marketing efforts. We’ve long made the mistake of relying on forums like social media to help us grow our business. It’s our responsibility to take control of our list, our customers, and our businesses!
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Becca is a photographer and educator in Orlando, Florida. Rock Your Rebellion serves nontraditional couples with alternative photography and fellow photographers with marketing skills to stand out in their market!