Emailer vs. Print Promo (Part One)

The Big Debate

Since the dawn of technology, a huge debate has plagued creative freelancers across all industries. It's a question that you've probably asked yourself several times during your career, "Should I send an Emailer or a Print Promo?". Before I tell you what you don't want to hear (psst...the answer is both), I will address their pros and cons as well as share tips on how to maximize your success. 


Let's Start with Pros:

Ah yes, Emailers are the ultimate marketing tool. A well-executed Emailer is indeed a powerful way to reach a large audience of prospective and past clients. Once designed, it costs pennies to send and you can easily track analytics to know who opened it and who clicked through to your site. Let's be honest, everyone gets satisfaction from that! The average photographer doesn't have much time to spend on marketing so it's a great way to "check the box" without investing hours you could be spending shooting. So what goes into a successful Emailer? 


Here are some tips TO Consider Before sending Your Emailer



Keep it simple and keep it clean! For example, you don't need links to seven social media accounts (four of which you don't even use). Refrain from including ten images directly from your website, instead limit it to three max with one block of text. 

Minimize white space so the client doesn't have to scroll down several pages to get to the bottom. As always be sure to keep branding consistent with your website. Doing this creates brand recognition and will make an easy transition when the client clicks through. Most importantly be sure to include live links or buttons to your website and email address. 


Okay everyone, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Don't send an Emailer at all...send a Newsletter. What does that mean? A typical Emailer is solely promotional. It gives clients a taste of your work, funnels them to your site and has a bio that says, "Hire me! I'm awesome!". A Newsletter functions the same way but is much more subtle. It highlights a particular project or story and includes a brief paragraph or two telling the reader what it's all about. Think of a Newsletter as a tightly edited, strategic blog post. Here are some reasons why a Newsletters can be more effective than a Emailer:

  • A Newsletter feels less "sales-pitchy". It's the difference between receiving The Skim over a promotional email from LegalZoom. 
  • A Newsletter is compelling to read. Whether it's an exciting self-assigned project or a killer campaign for Toyota, clients love to learn about the different projects photographers are working on. 
  • The content is always fresh. As long as your shooting, you'll always have something new to show. 


Resist the urge to send your Emailer, nay Newsletter, to your entire contact book and 2,000 prospects you've never heard of. A targeted list of relevant past, present and prospective clients is an important step in making this tool as successful as possible. If you have two very different specialties, for example food and interiors, consider sending two Newsletters so the content is appropriate to the recipient. 

When to Send: 

One of the great things about a Newsletter is you can send it pretty consistently. If you have fresh content and a tightly edited list, you can send it as frequently as every six weeks. On average, I suggest you send something every two months but if you have a more complex template with a longer client list every three months is acceptable. 

Now for the Cons:

As true for most things in the digital world, even the best Newsletter has only a short time in the sun. Once opened, it gets archived almost immediately and can eventually be forgotten...because surprise, nobody prints a Newsletter to hang on their office wall. 

Many companies, Conde Nast for example, have very secure email servers that block mass emails so your Newsletter will never reach their inbox. If it does reach a client, it still has the potential to end up in their Junk or Spam folders without you even knowing.  


Stay tuned to learn about Print Promos In out Next Post!


Alexandra Ostebo