How to Contact People to Get a Response – Marketing for Photographers
This chapter is an excerpt from the in-depth e-book, Creative Freelance Marketing for Photographers.
When I began the process of contacting people to help spread my work, I did what was frequently taught at the time. I had hired a reputable company to give marketing advice, and while they gave me some good advice, one of the things they told me to do was to create a template email and alter it depending on each website I wanted to contact. Then they told me to blast them out. This is what was being done at the time, and I took this advice and emailed as many people as I could.
While I am no longer a fan of this strategy and find it disingenuous, this technique surprisingly worked well, and I was able to secure numerous features and web page links through it. I think this was because people enjoyed my work, but I also played the numbers game, emailing a lot of people, many who ignored me.
Using templates or scripts is not always a bad strategy; however, there is a much better way of going about contacting people. Each contact is different and needs to be treated as such.
Before you think about contacting anyone, you first need to make sure you are ready to contact them. For the most important websites, consider playing the long game. Comment on their site and become a part of their community, send them some information that they might need, be a trustworthy contact that is willing to help, and become familiar with their site and what they like to share. Then when you’ve built up a relationship, maybe you can think of a situation where working together will be mutually beneficial.
Another common mistake is to write lengthy emails when you initially contact people. I am occasionally guilty of this. It is simple, but if you are emailing someone who is busy, get to the point. You do not have to explain your life story in the first email that you send them. After you write the initial draft email, always read it over to see if there is anything that can be revised, eliminated, or shortened. Make sure the email is direct, short, and sweet.
If you can find someone who knows both you and the person you would like to contact, getting an introduction first is an excellent idea. This will eliminate some of the immediate distrust since you will be vouched for. This strategy can be beneficial when trying to get the attention of those who have a larger business and a bigger following than you.
Initially, you are not going to have the same opportunities that you will have as you gain experience and a following. You will also become better at marketing yourself over time. There is a lot of legwork to be done, but it is not a race. This is a daily process.
The goal is to make connections with people who you can help and who can help you. As you gain experience and push further, you will be able to create more and more meaningful connections. Start small, and incrementally increase your reach over time as you gain more experience and your business grows.
Contacting people in the right way takes experience, fine-tuning, and practice to succeed. The greatest mistake you can make is to think that you can read this book and be enormously successful on day one. It can be easy to become inspired by all of this information and to start contacting everyone you possibly can immediately, but play it smart. Success will come because you take it, not because you wait for it, but you can also move too fast without enough experience. Contact a few people and see how your approach works, then tweak it for the next few contacts until you are confident in your approach.
For further education, download Creative Freelance Marketing for Photographers.