the one thing I would have done differently
I've been in business since 2009, and if you follow me at all you know my path hasn't exactly been an easy one. I've taken many twists and turns to get to where I am now. I even completely closed shop once, because I was failing to book clients and was so frusterated I didn't even want to try anymore. I could fill a book with the mistakes I've made, but most of them I wouldn't change, despite the problems they caused. Because every mistake taught me something valuable, and I wouldn't be where I am now without those lessons, hard though they were.
But if there was one thing I wish I had done differently over the years, it's that I wish I had taken my email list more seriously. Not so much simply getting people to sign up for that list - although that is an important part - but knowing what to send to them, doing it regularly, and doing it with an authentic sense of connection and service.
I've got it pretty dialed in now, but like most things I do, it took years and many false starts to get it to happen. It wasn't that I didn't believe that it was important to have a list. I've read all the many, many, MANY things out there that say how important it is. I'd even taken the steps to setting up an free gift for those who signed up, and had a great automated system to make it all happen without my involvement. But then each month when I needed to send something out... I froze. Or I just threw together what I thought I was supposed to do. Or I'd forget about it for a while, and then only send something out when I needed to book something.
And I hated it. I hated feeling like I was always asking, and I hated not having a plan. I try to give a lot to those who follow me, and I hated that I was struggling to find that same helpful voice inside my newsletter.
And then thanks to a few books I read and my amazing, amazing mentors, it clicked. I figured it out. And now I look forward to writing my newsletter. I know it's purpose, I know how I can use it to add a sense of service and value to those who subscribe, and most importantly, I'm really proud of it, and I know it helps a lot of people.
There are a million courses and resources out there that can telll you how to set up a newsletter list... but there are very, very few resources out there regarding what to actually do with it once it's in place. And even less resources that take into account the particular, intimate needs of those in the family photography industry. Add the time it takes most of us to write, and it's no wonder the most common marketing woes I hear from other photographers revolve around their mailing list.
Which is how I got the idea that has become The Newsletter Collection.
What if I could help give other photographers that gift of knowing what to send out... and even better, what if I could help them save a ton of time while doing it?
So I started writing. I wrote from the heart, as a documentary family photographer, to the ideal avatar that I would want on my photography client newsletter. I wrote as a mom, to other moms, since women make the majority of purchasing decisions for their families. And I wrote to connect - to start the basis of a relationship that would serve both sides well.
The end result was 20 heartfelt content pieces designed to serve the ideal documentary or lifestyle family photography clients. A mix of more emotional editorial content and more helpful educational content, each piece could be copied and pasted as is, or tweaked with minimal effort to better reflect the user's own brand and voice. And with 20 pieces included, setting a schedule of one a month means there'd be content for an entire year, and there'd be flexibility to just pick the 12 pieces that fit you best.
I've been told for years and years not to count on Facebook and Instagram and all the various social media platforms. Because they change on a dime, and ultimately we have absolutely no control over how our content is seen. But a mailing list is yours. Forever. It puts you in direct contact with those you serve, without a middle man. I've ridden out many changes over the years, but the ones they made this past winter really got my attention, and the attention of almost every business owner I know.
You cannot afford to neglect your mailing list. Trust me, I did it for years and I'm kicking myself now. Whether or not my new resource fits you, if you make any goals for the rest of 2018, make your newsletter a priority. It's not easy - it takes time and commitment - but it is so, so worth it. And if you want to find out more about my Newsletter Collection, click through here.