Tips for sending emails to lots of contacts
Why might you want to send mass emails to contacts?
You might need to reach out to a large number of your clients to give them an update or perhaps send them some marketing information about a campaign you’re running.
Perhaps you’re running a competition or acquiring a large number of leads who you wish to nurture in the hope that they’ll book a session with you?
This guide walks through a best practice approach about how & when to use Light Blue in conjunction with tools that are best suited to the job.
Using the right tool at the right time
Light Blue is designed to send “everyday” emails to your clients and is very good at doing so: dealing with new enquiries, responding to your clients’ messages, automated appointment reminders, and so on.
However, when you’re interested in sending a message to a large group of contacts at once (I’m defining ‘large’ as anything more than about 20 contacts in this context) then specialist marketing tools are a better fit for making sure that those messages reach your audience. Sending lots of marketing emails from your own email address risks damaging the reputation of your email account, making it substantially less likely that your prospects (or paying clients) will receive your messages, that’s why it’s best to use a tool that’s designed for the job.
Mass marketing tools like Mailchimp & Active Campaign put a LOT of effort into establishing best practices and building a reputation with the major email providers. They’ve got teams of engineers working on this stuff every day. That means that the major email providers know that what’s being sent via a tool like Mailchimp or Active Campaign probably isn’t spam, and that if any of their users report it as spam Mailchimp and Active Campaign will sort it out really quickly.
Some of the major email providers (especially Hotmail, Outlook and Gmail) are getting a lot stricter about what they consider to be spam and even one bulk email could affect your ability to deliver emails to your clients both now and in the future. Using a tool that won’t leave your email address (and our servers by association) on a blocklist is essential!
Setting up Mailchimp or Active Campaign is really easy to do, and worth doing even for sending out a single important message.
How to export your client’s email addresses for use with a mass emailing tool
Light Blue’s mailing list opt-in feature and querying tools will help you to make sure that you’re not sending emails to clients who might report your message as spam.
After you’ve found the records that you’re interested in by using Light Blue’s querying tools, you can export a list of those email addresses. Simply click on the Records menu, choose ‘Export’, then ‘Export Email Addresses’ – you will then be able to save a CSV file which can be uploaded into your mass marketing tool of choice to get the message to your clients.
A look at a flow in a mass marketing tool for competitions & lead nurture
Now let’s look at a flow that you could take with one of these marketing tools, which ultimately leads to excited prospects booking sessions that arrive in your Light Blue database.
Initial “lovely to meet you” or “thanks for entering the competition” message
If you’ve met these prospective clients at an event, then you’ll have had some level of personal connection with them. After you’ve gathered their details and uploaded them to your marketing platform, sending a simple message which thanks them for stopping by your stand/booth/exhibit is a nice way to grow that personal bond.
If the prospect has entered some sort of competition then a quick welcome message to let them know that their entry was successful is a good idea.
Make sure the message addresses them by name and is sent pretty soon after you’ve met them:
“Hey Jane, it was lovely to meet you today, thanks for stopping by my stand. I’ll be back in touch with details about my show offer soon, but wanted to drop a quick note to say Hi”
Beginning the drip campaign
After your initial contact you can then plan a series of messages which give value to your leads. Initially you could send details about the show offer, competition or other booking incentives that you’re offering, but not every lead will be ready to commit right away.
For those who are a little colder and haven’t engaged with that early content, try sending some links to “soft” articles on your blog that cover some of the objections that you encounter. The purpose here is to show them things that they’ll find interesting while reassuring them that you’re an expert in your field and the right person to work with.
Those leads who are clicking through to those links and engaging with the content are warming to you, so you can then send messages that get them thinking about the benefits of working with you – perhaps bolstered by “social proof” testimonials from your delighted past clients.
Now you can start suggesting the idea of booking a session, perhaps sweetening the deal with some sort of offer or discount. Those messages have one clear call to action: to book a session. That message can guide your (now very interested) prospect to a special page on your site where they can express interest in booking a session with you – this is where Light Blue comes back in.
Booking the session – the landing page on your site
Your prospects are now familiar with your work, convinced of the value you bring and are eager to book you – great!
You could use one of Light Blue’s contact forms on that page to re-capture the leads details and gather some additional details which would then create new shoot and contact records in Light Blue. From there you can use Light Blue to arrange the session and look after the client.
Automate the booking process
Better yet, why not embed an online booking tool into the landing page so your client can pick a session time of their choice. There’s a number of great tools out there which can integrate with Light Blue so that booked sessions make their way into Light Blue with all the relevant details.
Last night I launched 75 Christmas Mini Sessions…they were sold out by this morning and all the client and shoot info is now safely in Light Blue without me having to do any extra admin. WIN!
We’ve got a handy guide on how to set that process up here.
Managing the shoot and client experience in the right tool for the job: Light Blue
Now that the client has made their booking, you’ve got their details in Light Blue. That means that you can look after the client, manage the session and handle all the processes that lead to delivering a great set of images to your happy clients.
The right tool at the right time
Each stage of the process from initially meeting the prospect to meeting them for their session is handled by a tool that’s designed for exactly that purpose.
Mass marketing tools allow you to send messages across various channels to a large number of prospects without affecting the reputation or deliverability of your own email account.
Online booking tools help your excited leads convert into clients quickly at a time that suits them.
And a dedicated photography CRM manages the relationship that you have with your paying clients, ensuring that they’re well looked after, successfully make it to their session and end up feeling delighted with the resulting images.