Email Marketing Services For Photographers

- - Marketing

Someone asked me what the best email marketing services are for photographers so I decided to make a quick list. I use Campaign Monitor because they have a sign up form I can put on my business site plus they have really nice templates to choose from. Incidentally WordPress has an amazing plugin that I use here where people can sign up to receive posts in email called Post Notification that some of you DIY’ers could easily turn into your own free email marketing machine.

Most email services like gmail have limits to the number of people you can email at once and the number of bcc’s you can have and sometimes they monitor the number of rejected emails to see if you’re spamming people. So, even if you have a tidy list of 300 people you update on a regular basis it can be difficult to do it from regular email channels. Here’s a list I made from the emails I get from photographers and the pricing I found on the site. Leave any more that you like in the comments.

mailchimp.com
Monthly fee for the list size below with unlimited emails sent. They also have per email pricing see the comments for that.
$10 0-500
$30 501-2,500
$50 2,501-5,000
$75 5,001-10,000
$150 10,001-25,000
$240 25,001-50,000

constantcontact.com
Monthly fee for the list size below with unlimited emails sent.
$15 0-500
$30 501-2,500
$50 2,501-5,000
$75 5,001-10,000
$150 10,001-25,000

campaignmonitor.com
$5 per campaign and 1¢ per recipient

myemma.com
$249 setup
A one-time investment that includes a custom-designed template (we call it your brand stationery) created just for you. Our team of professional designers will help ensure your emails stand out in the inbox every time.

Emails a month
1,000 $30
2,500 $45
5,000 $70
7,500 $100
10,000 $125
17,500 $170
25,000 $210

agencyaccess.com
North America as low as $115 a month including email services

aweber.com
Monthly fee for the list size below with unlimited emails sent.
0 – 500 $19
501 – 2,500 $29
2,501 – 5,000 $49
5,001 – 10,000 $69
10,001 – 25,000 $149

VerticalResponse.com
Cost per email:
1 – 1,000 .015
1,001 – 2,500 .013
2,501 – 25,000 .012
25,001 – 50,000 .01
50,001 – 100,000 .0085
100,001 – 500,000 .0075

AdBase Emailer
Price not published. Negotiable over the phone…

MadMimi.com
Monthly fee for the list size below with unlimited emails sent.
50,000 $189
35,000 $119
25,000 $75
15,000 $49
10,000 $36
5,000 $24
2,500 $14
1,000 $10
500 $8
100 Free

There Are 49 Comments On This Article.

  1. Good to see Campaign Monitor mentioned – it always seems to get lost in the shuffle as people look at the incredibly inflated prices of photographer-specific email marketing platforms.

  2. Been very happy with Campaign Monitor myself. Like Rob I use a form on my website for people to subscribe and love the detailed reports CM gives you for every campaign you send. Great for comparing things like the effectiveness of a different subject lines, etc.

    Stephen is right if you already have your list of contacts and are using a service like Adbase for only the email marketing you’re blowing a lot of cash that could be invested much more wisely in your marketing budget.

    If you’re curious here are the last two email campaigns I sent out:

    http://www.timgruber.com/newsletter/americantrucker/AmericanTrucker.html

    and

    http://www.timgruber.com/newsletter/may09/

    Would love to see examples of what other photographers are doing.

    Tim

  3. I use Mail Chimp, and I just wanted to point out that you don’t have to go the monthly-fee route if you don’t send e-mails that often. For example, I only send my newsletter four times a year, so I use their Pay-as-You-Go feature. Here are the options from the Mail Chimp site:

    * 300 credits for $9 (3 cents per e-mail)
    * 1,000 credits for $30 (3 cents per e-mail)
    * 2,000 credits for $60 (3 cents per e-mail)
    * 5,000 credits for $100 (2 cents per e-mail)
    * 7,500 credits for $150 (2 cents per e-mail)
    * 10,000 credits for $200 (2 cents per e-mail)
    * 25,000 credits for $250 (1 cent per e-mail)
    * 50,000 credits for $500 (1 cent per e-mail)
    * 75,000 credits for $750 (1 cent per e-mail)
    * 200,000 credits for $1,000 (0.5 cent per e-mail)
    * 375,000 credits for $1,875 (0.5 cent per e-mail)
    * 500,000 credits for $2,500 (0.5 cent per e-mail)

    Also, I can integrate a form into my site if I want, or I can just link to a sign-up form (which is my preference).

    I’ve been really pleased with Mail Chimp, and I’ve used them for 12 to 18 months so far.

    • @Liz Kuball, I just started with MailChimp as well after using EmailBrain. Stopped using EMB because of issues with what I think were improper stats reporting. I looked at Vertical Response and Constant Contact and a few others as well. I’m happy so far with MC and their customer service and features.

    • @Lou,

      I am considering joining Adbase & would love to know your thoughts. To me it seems to be more than just an email marketing tool. It gives you access to art buyers & creatives inside of agencies, publishing houses, and gobs of other industries – and that seems pretty valuable.

      One person couldn’t possibly make all those connections on their own.

      • @Trey,
        This true Trey, you get access to tons of info. including AD’s, AB’s and so on. They have great customer support as well. And if there is a company they don’t have info. for, you can submit a request and they will get you the info. you want (in most cases). I’d say it’s totally worth it.
        I recently started using their Emailer program and am very happy with the results… I tailored down my lists to about 3000 (I know that sounds like a lot) but that’s for all industries that I would like to work in i.e. editorial, record labels, and ad agencies nation wide.

        Not sure if I should say this but, you can totally hagle with them as well.

        Good luck.

      • @Trey,

        I use Adbase and they do have excellent support. Their research department is responsive and in my opinion, the database is not totally comprehensive b/c if a company does not wish to be included, Adbase doesn’t list that company, so there are gaps. But on the other hand, I’m glad they’re being respectful…why market to someone who doesn’t want to be marketed to, right?

        And for those of us who don’t have a lot of contacts, Adbase and Agency Access might be the only way to reach potential new clients via email. This is b/c services like MailChimp and Constant Contact will not take you on as a customer if your list came from Adbase or the like.

        Anyways, the rep I worked with was eager but not at all pushy, his name’s Jeff McGoey (jmcgoey@adbase.com). You’ll probably get a good deal. You might get some free emails so you can try their Emailer service. FYI, ask for the “Hand Picked List” feature. This helpful tool lets you make a list as you’re browsing which makes things easier.

        Happy list making.

    • @Lou,
      I couldn’t find a price on the website so I skipped it. Just looked again and it seems they have to call you… so I guess it is negotiable.

        • I have been with adbase about three years now and everytime I renew we work out a “deal”. They let you grow at your own pace with their products, including emails. Saves on costs.

    • @Lou, I really love Adbase. Their emailer program is great for tracking who is looking at, clicking on, where they are clicking on, and who isn’t opening your emails.

      An added benefit is the emails Adbase sends you which include interviews with art buyers, marketing tips, and other pertinent info. Second to A Photo Editor, it is my greatest source of useful industry info.

  4. cinemascapist

    well scratch my back with a hacksaw! folk send up to 50,000 marketing emails a month? who is that person? mingia!

  5. I know it has been talked about before, but I am wondering what kind of responses people get from bulk email blasting without a few lines of personalized info. Do people happy receive, open and respond to them or click the junk button like they are cialis spam. I don’t do bulk blasts because I fear pissing people off and would love to be told that this is not the case.
    tyia.

    • @th,

      I’m curious about this too.

      Why isn’t it be better to just send 30 targeted, personalized emails rather than spamming a list of 5,000 random people that anyone with $50 can copy?

      I don’t imagine editors are checking their email 10x a day hoping that the next “undiscovered talent” bought their email address from some shady company and is going to change their world with a fancy piece of spam.

      I’d love to hear that I’m wrong about this though.

      • @Mickey,

        I think you are off on this. It’s a real cynical way to look at it. If all is done right, they aren’t 5000 random people. They are people that are on a list because they have an interest in being contacted by email about a certain subject; that subject being hiring photographers. Everyone on Agency Access or Adbase are on that list because of that interest, and has an option to opt out and probably would have long ago if they didn’t want these emails.

        And I don’t think they are checking their email 10x day, but probably are interested in seeing new talent. That’s their job. And I don’t think these are shady companies. They seem pretty legit.

        • @Shane,

          Thanks for giving me a different perspective Shane. Maybe I should reconsider my view on such companies.

          • @Mickey,

            I use e-mail services to keep in touch with existing contacts and remind them I exist.

            For new prospects though, I always write personal messages to them. Usually I’m writing editors, art directors, other individuals whose work I admire and want to work with, and so the messages are genuine. Granted this takes much more time than simply sending the equivalent of a postcard and sometimes nothing comes out of it, but those that do respond are just as genuine and its led to some great relationships.

            I feel that connection would not have been made with simply adding them to a list. Remember, you’re not working for a company – you’re working with human beings in that company and they much prefer personal connections.

          • As a photo editor myself, I think that last comment nails it. I enjoy getting newsletters from people whose work I already know and want to keep current with.

            I’d rather get a personal email from someone who is introducing themselves for the first time. I get literally hundreds of emails a day and I have to admit the generic ones don’t get read. There aren’t enough hours.

            • @Krista,

              Hi Krista!
              A big time delay here in responding.
              I just came across this item.

              In regard to your emails coming in:
              How would you know if someone is sending you a genuine personal letter of introduction or just sending you a generic unpersonalised emailer??

  6. gotta give props to Mad Mimi. Been using it for about 6 months and its probably the easiest to build and send. Definitely worth checking out!

  7. Do these services assume you are providing the contact list or do they provide a list to work off of? How does adbase compare?

  8. I use MailChimp and am really happy with it. I don’t see email blasts very often so I do the pay as you go. I liked their interface over the other ones I looked at, and the level of detail the tracking info gives you is nice.

  9. Email is one of those things where you get what you pay for.

    If you are talking about low volumes of email – under 1000 per month, the list shown is a good starting point. If you are talking about higher volumes – 20,000 per month and up – you need to be talking about more than a do it yourself solution.

    Highroad Solutions is an upgrade in technical functionality from programs like Constant Contact – but it is still a do it yourself solution. They specialize in non-profit organizations.

    We send 60-80,000 emails per month, and have found Brightwave Marketing (www.brightwavemarketing.com) to be a good, low cost provider. We’re spending $100,000-200,000 per year on email services, but we use email to generate $8 million in annual revenue.

    Typically the key metrics are Open Rate and Click Through Rate. Depending on the message, we see Open Rates of 13% to 50% and an average of around 30%. The key driver is the subject line to get people to open your email. Keep it short – 50 characters or less. Click Through Rates represent the rate at which people “click through” a link to our website based on the email. It means they read the email and are taking action. CT rates typically are 2-10%. The best practice is to keep it short and focus on bullets – the typical person opening an email makes a decision in 5 seconds or less. This is not an electronic version of a print mailing. As a result of this behavior, the more targeted your messaging the better.

    The real key to effective email is based on what happens next. I track by individual name the results of each email message. I know who opens email, who clicks, and then follow up accordingly. For example, a strong follow up email campaign to people who opened a recent email message generated an 1100% ROI. If I also know who did not open my email, I can target telephone and print campaings.

    What would you pay to know the 20 people out of a mailing of 500 that were truly interested in your message? If you send an email message to 500 people and identify 20 that are truly interested, you are miles ahead of someone who cannot identify those 20 responders.

  10. Eric B… You’re a photographer with 8 million in sales annually from email only? I want to see your work if that is the case. Impressive figure regardless of it’s source industry.

    Brightwave Marketing sounds like an angelic service, if it works as well as you’re claiming. They desperately need a new website though. All I see is words, words, words. Can’t find the banana. Will look deeper at their site when I’m done here.

    Do you all pay by the email? I spent a decent amount of cash upfront for server-side software that has been working well ever since. Occasionally I’ll lose an email to an over-active spam blocker but the results are pretty steady and the investment was returned immediately in bookings. That software is called oemPro and available at http://www.octeth.com.

    • Chris

      Just to clarify, the work with Brightwave is not for photography, but for a non-profit organization where I am VP of Marketing. Brightwave supplies labor to build and distribute email, list management to avoid being blocked, consulting, and a number of other services.

      An additional resource on email is the Email Experience Council. http://www.emailexperience.org/

      The gorup is an organization focused on email marketing. There are many good resources, tips and suggesitons for email marketing.

      • @Eric B, Indeed. I read through their stats last night and was pleased to see my numbers are right in line, even a little above, with their studies. Nice little confidence boost!

        Thank you for these links, Eric B. and Rob. Helpful for many.

  11. I’d like to see more photographer email campaigns. I still haven’t got a decent template designed. I just barely got a blog going that isn’t totally embarrassing.

  12. Mail Chimp is very good. They have fantastic drag and drop WYSIWYG design templates, so you can match the look and feel of your web site with your mailers. Well worth it.

  13. Hi all,

    these are all very good email solutions, but i think what’s missing from the discussion is why you would want to choose from any one of these providers … and the answer to that is: think about how you might want to engage with your audience. Some solutions are great for doing simple newsletters, others are better for doing more sophisticated segmentation, etc.

    Full disclosure: I am with an email marketing agency. We do offer a “getting started with email marketing” guide, for free, from our website — which may help with finding the right email marketing service provider. If you are interested, you can find it here: http://www.aperiomarketing.net/getting-started-with-email-marketing.php

    Best regards,
    Matthew

  14. Hi Everybody,

    This is a question for email service users. How did you build a contact list that complied with the providers’ rules?

    I’m asking b/c I tried to use MailChimp with a list from Adbase but the sales rep was very adamant that I cannot use any list not personally created by me. I tried to explain to him that the list consists only of people who gave their permission to be contacted via email, to no avail.

    I understand MailChimp’s cautious position but how do you create a list of opt-ins? Do you email and/or call every company you might want to work with individually?

    Thanks in advance for any insights and advice.
    Sam

  15. happy with madmimi, its easy to easy and i’m at the $8 a month level of service. support has been great too + they continue add features.

  16. I use MailChimp and am really happy with it. I don’t see email blasts very often so I do the pay as you go. I liked their interface over the other ones I looked at, and the level of detail the tracking info gives you is nice.

  17. All the programs sound good and I am sure they will work with a established list. Does anyone know where to rent email list of people who purchase or subscribe to photo retlated products. I have seen a handful but the price is high.

  18. i hope you don’t all see this as shameless advertising, but i work for a company that makes a product called HIGH IMPACT eMAIL.

    http://www.templatezone.com

    it’s an easy-to-use email template design tool that comes with 400+ templates built into the program. the templates that mailchimp or constantContact offer are pretty boring. i think artsy people (like photographers) would like the templates offered in high impact email.

    plus, you can send your email through outlook or gmail (and most email clients out there) OR upload your design to an ESP to mail.

    again, i hope this wasn’t shameless!!!

    thanks!

  19. Adbase Sucks

    Please don’t use adbase. It is a SPAM service. I’ve deleted countless adbase spam mails. I can opt out of future emails from the individual who paid adbase to spam me. But my info remains in the adbase database so I will continue to receive the endless flow of spam. I have tried calling and emailing adbase but nobody answers phone or email. I’ve never signed up to receive mails from adbase, I don’t know where they got my info, and I have no interest in receiving their spam, ever. So please, before you use a spam service like adbase, think about the people who receive the mail and wouldn’t think about using your services based on the fact that you were annoying enough to mass-spam in the first place. Build your own network of contacts, they’re bound to be more receptive to personal email tham mass spam attacks from the likes of lame companies like adbase. Thanks.