During tough economic times, it’s easy to get discouraged by poor sales. Below is the first of ten specific things you can do starting today that will give your business the boost it needs to survive:
Start an E-mail Newsletter. E-mail newsletters are the most cost-effective marketing tool you can use. E-mail newsletters have surpassed post cards and direct mail for return on investment. It keeps your name in front of old customers and potential customers for pennies each. To get started:
– Make a commitment today to get an e-mail address from every customer, from every contact, and every event you photograph. When you meet someone, get their business card and e-mail. When you’re photographing a wedding or event, get a list of e-mails. In a club? Get their e-mails. Just say, “Can I put you on my newsletter list?” Once you’ve asked, you have their permission, and they will be more likely to read your e-mail.
– Open an account at Vertical Response or Mail Chimp (my favorites) to manage your e-mail list and to create professional-looking e-mails. The cost for either one will only be a few dollars per mailing. Even if you only have a few dozen e-mail addresses, open an account, and get out a newsletter now. You’ll get better at it – and your list will get bigger – as time goes on.
– Modify the front page of your website to ask people who visit to sign up for your newsletters and special offers. This feature is built into both mailing list managers above. If you cannot modify your own website, talk to your website designer and tell them what mailing list manager you’re using.
– Design your e-mail newsletter. Use one of the included templates to get started. Both mailing list managers above have lots of online tutorials to show you how to create a great looking newsletter. Remember to use your best photography.
– Limit your newsletter to 3 articles. For example, the first article could be on a call to action (for example, a monthly special), the second on a new product or service you offer, and the third on a “pro tip” to help your customer take a better photograph on their camera. A recent testimonial from a satisfied customer should be included as you receive them.
– Always include a single call to action so potential customers will contact you while you’re fresh in their minds. For example, “call today for a free 8×10 Easter Bunny print with any child portrait sitting.” More than one call to action tends to dilute the message. If you have a second special, send it to a different list of customers.
In addition to bringing in new customers, e-mail newsletters allow you to focus your marketing effort on existing customers. I’ll go into this subject more in Part 2 next week.