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Marketing your services as a freelance photographer can be daunting, and it’s difficult to know where to start. Should you send a printed promo? Pick up the phone and start cold calling? Turn up at a prospective client’s office with cakes?

While all of the above are feasible (especially the cake one), another option you could try is sending an email campaign marketing your freelance photography services. We recently ran an email campaign for commercial photographer James Kenny (the founder of Kenny & Sons!) and thought we’d share our approach and the results of the campaign below.

We’ve broken this article into four key areas to keep things simple- the content, the email, the landing page and the results. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment in the section at the bottom of this article, or feel free to get in touch via the contact us page on our site.

The Content:

As a photographer, finding content for your campaign is not going to be an issue. Because of the wealth of beautiful images in your portfolio- it will be tempting to try and cram as much of it as possible into your campaign. Don’t. You want your email campaign to contain enough information to communicate your message, but leave enough missing to make people want to click through and act on your email.

For the James Kenny Photography campaign, we wanted to try something different, and put together the below promo video featuring a taster of some of his automotive, sports and portrait photography:

The goal for this email was to simply drive traffic to James’ new website, get people to view his new promo video and check out his portfolio. As the website was a newly built version, we wanted to create a heatmap of how people were engaging with the design. If anyone got in touch from the campaign, that would be an added bonus!

The Email:

So now we have the content sorted, we now need to work on the email. We are using the email marketing platform Mailchimp to put together and send the email. Mailchimp makes things very simple, has an intuitive email ‘builder’ and also gives you an amazing amount of detailed reporting after your campaign has been sent. As our content is actually a video, we’re going to need to link to the video from the email (it can’t be embedded). Rather than simply linking to the video with a text hyperlink or button, we wanted to give recipients a taster of what was in the video, so we created the below graphic.

We placed the graphic in a prominent position in the email to increase the chances of click throughs. With a stunning image of a McLaren 675LT and a huge ‘play’ button, it will be hard to resist clicking through! We kept the email very brief, and used merge tags to personalise the subject line and content within the email. Here’s the email:

The Landing Page:

Rather than just send people to watch the video on YouTube, we wanted to drive traffic to James’ own website. This would not only enable us to accurately measure visits from the email, but also would mean people were just a click away from James’ portfolio and the contact page on his website. Because of this we would need a landing page setting up on the website. We set up a very basic landing page with the video embedded into it and a large ‘view portfolio button’. We have also installed LiveChat across James’ site that prompts users to speak to him. We use the free live chat tool on our own website, and highly recommend it.


The Results:

The campaign was sent out in three separate batches to test whether there was a better time or day to send the email. The campaigns were sent out on a Tuesday evening at 8pm, a Friday afternoon at 12:30 and on a Wednesday morning at 11:00. There wasn’t any stand out differences in the open rate of the email or the click through rate, but we would still recommend splitting the deliveries as we did.

Here’s an overview of the stats from the email campaign:

Recipients: 3954

Opens: 1716 (43%)

Clicks: 186 (4.7%)

According to Mailchimp, the industry average open rate for photography or video email campaigns is 19% and the click rate is 2.5%, so the stats for this particular campaign were over double the industry standard open rate, and almost double the click rate.

But now for what you’ve all been waiting for… Did any one book?!

YES! The email campaign was directly attributed to a booking worth £1200, it also generated four strong leads to projects that have not yet taken place at time of writing.

So if you are a photographer and feel that you’re not getting your name or work out there enough- try an email campaign. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment below, or if you would like to speak to us about helping you market your photography business, get in touch.