I've been a big fan of email marketing for a long time. Yes, our in-boxes are crammed with offers and promotions but it continues to be an effective method for connecting with clients past and future who may be interested in booking a session with you. I believe that when used appropriately, email "blasts" are a pro-active way to direct your market - as long as you don't over-email.
Setting Up Mailing List
First, you must set-up your email list. You have the option of just sending from your email program but that seems unmanagable at best. I recommend going with a service - there are a bunch of them out there. I've been using the industry standard, Constant Contact, for years but recently I've switched over to MailChimp and I've been very happy with them. Why the switch? First, MailChimp is free if you are not a high volume emailer. I've been paying about $32/month for Constant Contact so that is a savings of close to $400 a year!
Once you have completed your basic setup, you will have the option to create a form that you can place on your website to allow visitors to sign up. You can create a page on your website where your visitors complete the form - MailChimp will give you the code to put on the page (look for the “create embeded code” link. It will give you the HTML code to add to your site, or if you prefer, a link you can embed into your site to direct people to a form hosted by MailChimp.
With MailChimp, they send an email to confirm the email address then there is a “Confirmation Thank You Page”. Rather than sticking with the standard "thank you" from MailChimp, you have the option of creating your own thank you page on your site that the visitor will be redirected to after they sign up. This is a great opportunity to not only thank them for joining your list, but giving them some action to take...maybe suggest they visit your portfolio, or some favorite blog posts.
So, here’s what you do...first, create the Thank You page on your site. Then you will need to the create forms page on MailChimp and choose Confirmation “Thank You” Page from the drop down box. You will see that you have the option to put in the URL of your Thank You page.
What this means is when someone completes the sign up process (including confirming their email address) they will come back to this page. This will give you more options in the future to present additional information to visitors when they first sign up plus it sends them back to your site, which is always a good thing.
What system are you using to manage your email list?