The Money Is In The List. Do You Have A List?


One of the mantras of web business is the money is in the list. It’s a simple idea. You have a list of customers that you can contact at any time, and let them know about what you’re up to. This ability to stay at the forefront of your clients’ minds is what will sustain and grow your business.

You might be thinking “Sounds nice, but what does this have to do with me? I don’t have a web business. I have a photography business.”

Well, do you have a website? A blog? Facebook fan page? Do you communicate with your clients via email?

Then your photography business is, at least in part, web based.

Consider the fact that people are spending more and more time on the internet than ever before. They are doing more online shopping.  And they are looking for their photographers on the web.

It’s time to start applying web marketing principles to your photography business!

So, your list. You really should have one. As in, if you don’t have one, you should make one right now.

Don’t worry. It’s really easy to do. There are a ton of free services for newsletter lists that take care of all the tough stuff for you.

I’ve only used a couple, but recently started using MailChimp and am pretty happy with it. I’ll share my thoughts with ya.

Mail Chimp

MailChimp is a really great option for photographers. It’s easy to use, free for up to 2,000 subscribers, you can share it with your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you can control subscribers from a handy iPhone app, and they have a ton of really fantastic resources for people just getting into newsletter marketing.

They also have a pretty nice interface for designing custom templates. It takes a little bit of time to get used to how it works, so you’ll want to read the guide, but once you do it’s not too shabby. This is important, since you’ll want your newsletters to match your branding!

Best of all, it’s really easy to see how well your list and campaigns are performing.

A very big concept in web marketing is measuring. So when you send out your newsletter, take a peek at the reports. Is it getting opened? Are you getting responses? MailChimp has a ton of great features to help you measure, which is a big reason I really dig it.

Using Your List

So, now that you’re all set up, and ready to start building your list, what next?

Well, first you need some names. But don’t just add people willy nilly. You need to make sure they want to hear from you.

Get in touch with all your clients, past and present. Let them know you’re starting a newsletter, and send them to the signup page.

Here’s a tip. Make it worth their while to join. Maybe a free print at their next session, or a discount. Show them you appreciate their trust in giving you their email address.

Put a signup box on your website or blog, with the same idea. Tell people why they should care about joining your newlsetter.

Then What?

And then, most of all, make it worthwhile. Don’t just spam people with endless emails that aren’t helpful. Nothing is more annoying than that.

Try to communicate with your clients through your newsletter. Give them information that is useful to them. Give them special discounts. Treat them really really well. 

That’s the way to make money from your list — by caring about the people on it and understanding how critical they are to the success of your business.

So, start building a list for your photography business. Right now. And think up all the ways to spoil the people on it. It’s fun!!

Do you use a newsletter list for your photography business? Share your experiences and tips in the comments!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.


9 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. I'm not quite in the photography business, but having a mailing list of customers and potential customers has been invaluable. If I have an extra-lean month or there isn't enough work, I take an idea off of my "things I'd like to do someday" list, and then send an email to my list with a link to a short survey. It's like having super targeted market research at my fingertips.

  2. This is a wonderful post. We've only used newsletters in the past to communicate with wedding guests after the wedding (sending links to the galleries, etc.), but we've been wanting to further that communication for some time now (especially since we're getting ready to launch our new brand). Hope you guys are having an amazing time on your vacation!

  3. The money is not in the list – the money is in the value you bring into your relationship with your ____ (client, friends, etc.)

  4. Hey Chris! Thanks for the comment!

    I totally agree with you. Value is definitely number one.

    "The money is in the list" is a popular phrase in marketing, so I was playing on that. But essentially your list is your way of _maintaining_ your communication and relationship with your customers and potential customers!

    But, without creating great value and benefits for your customers, a list doesn't mean squat!

    Thanks again! Great point!

  5. Thanks for the post, I,m going to make my list right now!

  6. Mary Crouse says:

    wonderful post. the best out there. helped me so much.
    But how do you find them if you have no clients left due to a maternity leave and you are redesigning your company and starting again from scratch.

    I have zero clients right now and so many photographers are in my area :(((((

  7. Masha Matveeva says:

    I don’t understand why photographers need a list. Your clients go to you through the “get a quote” button, and the next time if they want you again, there’s no need to mailing stuff to get you. It is useless, imho. What is the point of that kind of advertising? Photography is a service as your presence is expected, not digital product. If you sell digital information, well, it’s true in this case – the money is in the list.

    • Rob Lim says:

      Hi Masha! Thanks for your comment. Often your clients might need a reminder about using your service again. Having a list of clients you can contact is the easiest way to send out that reminder. And if you couple that reminder with an incentive like a sale – well there’s a good chance you’ll be able to quickly drum up some business!

      • Andrew says:

        I used to feel the same way as Masha, if you offer quality service at a reasonable rate what could go wrong? Turns out word of mouth can be bad when you start out with “reasonable rates” and pretty much get locked into being the “cheap guy”.
        Anyways, this site is brilliant, i really hate advertising, so i didn’t want to have to do any kind of mass email type of thing. Now i realize i can do so in a less offensive manner, thank you.

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