Emailers are now little better then spam

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While emailers sounded like a good idea several years ago, they are now little better then spam. Most of the work I get is not appropriate to any need I might possibly have, and lots of it just isn’t good at all. Plus, if the image isn’t displaying in my email window and fast, I’m on to the next one. On the other hand, when I receive a printed promo, at the very least, I look at the image(s). I also notice your attention to detail in your paper and design choice. Most often, email promos feel templated and generic, hence the agency opt-outs.

via HeatherMortonArt buyer.

There Are 25 Comments On This Article.

  1. An interesting point of view.

    Have you noticed how often emailers simply don’t work? Here in the UK, a number of major photo companies send them out – So often they often are poorly formed, blank mails – what sort of marketing is that?

    ‘Unsubscribe’ is my favourite word right now.

  2. The thing is that emailers DO work, so as much as people complain about them – and as slimy as it makes you feel for sending them out – they pay for themselves over and over again.

  3. hahahaha. I’ve been saying this forever on here. I’ve never sent an “e-mailer” I equate them to virtual telemarketing.

  4. “Most of the work I get is not appropriate to any need I might possibly have, and lots of it just isn’t good at all.”

    Sounds like the quality of the emailer is the issue. And that maybe people are putting more thought and effort into paper promotion. Which seems weird, because the email is the perfect vehicle for this sort of thing. Practically free create and to send, virtually zero environmental cost, infinitely replicable. Is it because of the cost of producing and sending paper that the recipient list is a little more focussed, and therefore they appear less annoying to ABs? A discussion on creating good emailers would be interesting.

  5. john q. photographer

    Does a good photo matter any more…that is the bigger question? Sorry but photo editors should want to see images in any form, shape or size…isn’t that their job? There are trends to spot, ideas to see and good and bad images to sort through – but jewels to be found. Nothing works at the wrong time…post cards, on this very blog, and many others, were deemed dead in the water, because of the sheer volume that were being sent out. Epromos are an economical and a greener alternative to post cards.
    I understand that photo editors are overwhelmed, unable to take chances, scrambling just to keep their jobs and that they are now working with tight budgets that are restrictive and most likely the determining factor in their choice of photographers.
    For photographers, both established newbie’s, having our name recognized – even if it is before the delete key is pressed…is about all we can hope for.
    Having our names recognized before our postcards are throw away just seems so passe.
    To remember us for our images someone, somewhere, has to look at them.

    • It’s the photo editors job to determine what’s the most efficient method of finding new talent and use that method. If email produces more misses than hits why not dial it back? There were plenty of emails (that I could recognize as marketing) that I deleted without looking because I was 0 for 500 in finding something interesting or relevant.

  6. I have to agree with John Q. A while back Rob posted something about how many paper mailers he had received as a photo editor and how they were piling up on the floor and tables around him. At least emailers are better for the environment. And I agree that it is the Photo Editor’s job to sort through that stuff. They should be enjoying their ability to pick out the wheat from the chaff instead of complaining about it.

  7. It’s the same with portfolios. Anyone can throw together a decent site for 1000 bucks, which means that a professionally printed portfolio is really going to stand out. Obviously you need to have both, since the site is your storefront, but anything shown in digital form should have just as much forethought as a book that costs 10k to print.

  8. This sounds pretty harsh to me. How hard is it to hit delete. If you are in the business of sourcing photographers, this goes with the territory. Hope you’re not referring to the piece I recently emailed you. Furthermore, printed brochures cost a fortune. The attitude is disappointing.

    • @Jeanne Conte, Don’t forget, photo editors aren’t photographers. They’re just cubicle jockeys that were too boring to make it as an artist, and thus will never be able to relate.

  9. Too much wasted energy debating this issue. The lesson should be that there is no single, correct way to promote yourself. You don’t see advertisers only utilizing TV or radio or print to promote their products. They use all of them in addition to other approaches. My upcoming promotion involves email, promo cards, books and office visits. No one should rely on just one approach at self promotion.

  10. manuela oprea

    Regardless of the delivery method it’s all about relevant content. If I never assign still life photography then most likely if I receive a still life promo I’m going to delete the email and or throw out the mailer, unless the work really shines through.

  11. This is the more reason why photographers should know that bottom line, it’s a BUSINESS. There’s no one way to put your work out. Utilize ALL promotional channels and one or two will get someone’s attention. And yes, it costs money to promote yourself whether you like it or not.
    It’s a BUSINESS.

    • @Mark Harmel, I love Seth Godin’s blog! Even though he’s not talking about photography per se, he has a lot of clear thinking and good advice to offer to anyone in any kind of business.

  12. I have just heard an art buyer dicouraging sending anything printed because “it gets thrown right away”.

    If you ask people what they do with advertising they usually always will tell you that they dont like it and that they dont want to recieve it. It’s not a good question to ask.

    BUT that you actually get this SAME answer from people actually working in media and advertising is to me such a joke and can tell you a little thing about the mindset of people working in our industry.

  13. It is just like telemarketing. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hear me out.

    I got emails from one of the best in the biz. I stinkin’ LOVE his photography. But I didn’t sign up for any emails. And I got annoyed pretty quickly. It was like the call I got from somebody who supposedly knew somebody who I went to church with, who thought I might need a demonstration of a new way to make money with my cell phone.

    But, again like telemarketing, if I give my information to a company that I am really interested in, I really need their product or service, and they call me back promptly, that’s just good customer service.

    And lastly, people who buy lists and email out of the blue: just like cold callers.

    It does work, but people need to be more careful about how they establish their lists.

  14. As a photographer who wants to market himself, this is a very tough issue. I would like to introduce myself to relevant buyers who did not know about me. As a photographer who shoots athletes I know the couple of hundred individuals who are definitely relevant. But I could also send cheap emails to the 4000 or so available on lists, on the basis that a few will be very interested in my work, by random luck, whilst statistically, maybe 95% – 99% will not. I hope that a highly clear and targeted subject line enables people to delete if they don’t even want to open the email. But obviously I don’t want to be seen as an irritant or a spammer. On the other hand, given that we are going to use some form of marketing, what would our buyers prefer that we use?