Recently we began contributing to the Agency Access blog; The Lab. It has been a great experience and provides us with an opportunity to share more of our ideas and philosophies with our industry. The blog is a wealth of information for everyone at any level and we highly recommend taking a look and even subscribing.
Our first submission posted yesterday. Be sure to link directly to The Lab to see what other topics were featured.
Here was the question we were asked.
Question: How can email marketing fit into an overall marketing scheme in terms of mining data from email responses to generate proper and targeted mailing lists for cold calls and mailers? From opens? From click-throughs? What are effective rates and statistics on this?
Email marketing is an important part of an overall campaign and if done well can be very effective in not only achieving “top of mind awareness” with your target market, but for refining your lists for future marketing needs as well.
The most effective campaigns are both relevant and respectful to the recipients. That means first making sure that the work you are sharing could possibly fit a need for the person receiving it. Then it means understanding that your email is one of many that the person will receive so be sure to limit the frequency in which you send them.
Keeping your campaigns effective also means evaluating your results properly. By evaluating we do not just mean noting your click-through or open rates. While those are important, it is just as important to adjust your campaign according to those results.
As well, we like to remind everyone email blasts are now one of the only ways that you can see who is looking at your work. It used to be that art buyers and creatives would call in your portfolios and you could then ask questions, gauge their level of interest and find out whose book was on the table next to yours. You no longer have that insight so be sure to pay close attention to what your email stats are saying to you and evolve your marketing accordingly.
Here is what we tell our photographers to do with their email campaign results:
1) Look at your click-through and open rates. Opinions vary on what successful open and click-through rates are so we suggest that instead of looking at just one set of results – compare your results over time. Are those rates increasing or decreasing? If they don’t increase that is not necessarily bad. But, if they decrease, the recipients could be sending a message that your work is not relevant to them. If people continue to not open or click-through to your link, you should seriously consider removing them after a few attempts.
2) Take a close look at who is clicking through to your site. Those people are very important and should be noted as such in your database. By clicking through, they are showing an active interest in your work. It is very important to add these contacts to your direct mail list. As well, if you have a short list of people who you would like to show your portfolio to or meet with in person, make sure you add these contacts to that list as well. And, we know it goes without saying but these people were interested enough to click-through from your email to your site so please remember to be respectful of the frequency with which you contact them.
Here are two examples of successful campaigns within in our group:
Leigh Beisch is a food photographer and she sends emails to a very targeted client list one time per month. Therefore, we like to send emails that link to different sites of hers to offer a variety. This particular email linked to her new blog and received some of the highest click-through rates she has seen.
Kevin Twomey had recently created a video and since people do not often suspect a still life photographer to share video, this particular email received a lot of attention. His click-through rates were well over 20%.