In this episode, Scott walks through the process of using WordPress categories to target your photography business leads and photography clients using MailChimp.
If you aren't already using categories to segment your genre's of photography then get started doing it immediately. When category RSS feeds are combined with Mailchimp's RSS automation, that process of automation makes nurturing leads and clients painless.
- Smart Slides
- Episode 38 - Engaging Video for your Photography Website w/ Daniel Usenko
Welcome to Episode 49. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz, and today I want to walk you through an automation tip that you can do using your WordPress categories and MailChimp. Now, specifically what I want to talk about is, I on my own website, and on many of your websites, you have multiple genres of photography. For example, I actually do services for families. I do services for cake smash photos, which is basically child's first birthday. I do a cake smash session, and then also headshots for corporate client, for actors, and whatnot. What happens with these categories is that I actually have landing pages. Now, these are actually genres, not categories, specifically what I'm talking about, but they turn into categories. I have landing pages for each of these genres of photography. These genres actually educate the client, give them pricing packages, a little portfolio, a way for them to book me, some social proof, and whatnot.
Take a look at my family portrait landing page. I start with a bit about me and a family portrait of my family. Then I go into, right after that, a short portfolio of family portraits, and then I go into packages that are available. Then I go into a little bit about how they work and payment methods I accept. One Instagram, recent Instagram social proof image, and then a bunch of Facebook reviews, and then a booking form, and then from there, I actually show three blog posts that are in my family portrait photography category. Okay? Now, the landing page for my family portrait is scottwyden.com/photography/family. The category, however, because it's a category, there is a category archive, and although I don't ever link to it, it exists. That archive is scottwyden.com/category/photography/family. That archive is just like any other blog archive, and because it is a category with an archive, that means there's also an RSS feed. Now, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and basically it just ... It's not as popular these days as it used to be, but it is very useful for doing automation in MailChimp.
This is what the RSS feed looks like. If you are listening to this episode and you want to see this, you need to go to the show notes, imagely.com/podcast/49, in order to watch the video, but if you are listening, I will explain what it looks like. The RSS feed for this category is the same category URL, scottwyden.com/category/photography/family, but it also adds /feed at the end of it. Basically, this looks like a bunch of HTML. It looks like source code, because that's exactly what it is, but what's beautiful is, you can take that RSS feed, paste it into MailChimp's RSS campaign, and then it'll actually pull the blog posts, however many you want, and email them to your clients or to your leads. What I want to do is walk you through that process right now, because this is the perfect way, using an RSS feed of a blog post category specifically to a genre of photography, it is the perfect way to further nurture your leads or further educate your clients.
There are so many ways to utilize this for different genres of photography, but I want to walk you through how to do it, how I'm doing it for family portraits, because family portraits aren't a one-time thing or a rare thing like weddings are. Weddings might be once a lifetime for a family, or it might be a few times for a family, depending on if they broke up, if they got divorced, if they're separated and all that kind of stuff. Let's dive into MailChimp. Using their Campaign Builder, I have duplicated my family portrait campaign for RSS feed campaign, and again, if you are not watching and you want to actually see what I'm doing, please go to imagely.com/podcast/49 in order to see it. Otherwise, I will just walk you through as I do this.
The first thing is, I did set up a new RSS feed campaign, and I inserted that RSS feed into the feed URL block. I have it set to send every day at 1:00 PM. The reason why I did this is because although I post typically on Tuesday mornings at 8:00 AM, I want to go out, just in case I post off-hours of my normal schedule, I also want this email to go out. It's set Sunday through Saturday, and it's going out at 1:00 PM those days, so if I post on a 2:00 PM on one day, then the next day it'll go out at 1:00 PM. But because I usually post on Tuesdays at 8:00 AM, a few hours later at 1:00 PM is when the email will go out. You set that all up, however, your schedule is. Then you hit next, and the next screen, this is where you actually choose what segmentation you want to do. Now, this is important, because if you send to your entire list, the wrong people might actually get the email. Right?
Now, if you're a wedding photographer, and you do engagements as well, it might be worth sending wedding blog content to your engagement leads or your engagement session clients, but it may not be worth sending, and most likely not worth sending, engagement content to wedding leads, but it also might be worth sending family portrait content to your wedding clients. Right? This all makes sense. Sending the appropriate content to the appropriate groups and segments is very important. I have it set to send to any client that is within family, family leads and family portraits, family clients and family leads. When you do this, you then hit next, and you get to set up the campaign name, and the email subject, and all that stuff. What I did is, I have the email subject as the blog post's title, using a merge tag from MailChimp. That means if the blog post is "The Best Family Portrait Blog Post Ever," that is what the email subject will be.
Now, that may not be ideal, but you need to figure out what works best for you, and for me, that works best because I usually optimize my subjects for a little bit of catchiness. Right? So it kind of works well as an email subject sometimes too. Then there's the preview text. Most email clients will show a little snippet from the email inside next to the email subject before somebody actually reads it. I have mine as "Get ready for your next family portrait session." That way, it shows the blog post title, and then the new one is "Get ready for your next family portrait session," because I'm educating somebody for their next session. Then, of course, I have eCommerce tracking open, and goal tracking, and open and click tracking, and Google Analytics tracking, and all that stuff all in there.
Then on the next screen, I can go ahead and choose a template if I want. I already picked a template, so it actually skipped it on MailChimp. If you do not have a template already selected, you can make one using MailChimp's optimized templates, and I recommend doing that, because they test their templates and offer to you what is actually tested from their millions of emails sent. Now, they use a drag-and-drop system for their templates, so you can add whatever you want. I added a short introduction, "Hi, first name. I just published a new article on my blog about family portraits. I know you will enjoy it as you prepare for your next family portrait session." Now, I said "I know" instead of, "I think" or "I believe" because I want to portray confidence. That's very, very important, especially when you're doing automation, too.
Then after that, I dragged in an RSS items block into the template, and I customize a little bit for my needs, but that way, the next bit of text to show is actually that latest blog post, one blog post. Then after that is a call to action. It says, "Keep reading," and it's in a blue button that actually contrasts really well, and it's my brand's color blue, contrasts really well to the white background of the email. Then, of course, I sign my email "Scott Wyden Kivowitz, a storyteller with the camera," and then after that, which you don't have to do this if you don't want to, is, I have social media buttons that anybody can click and then follow me. If you do video, I recommend doing this. If you don't do video, then it's okay, but I also have a video called "How to prepare for a family portrait session."
Now, in these emails, the blog post is going to change every time the email goes out. The video will not. That is static, and the important thing here is, it has to be a highly, if you're going to do this, a highly educational video, or a highly valuable video. Okay? If you don't do video with you on camera, then I recommend creating a video using software like SmartSlides, or with Animoto, or something like that. I will link to these in the show notes. We actually had Daniel from Pixellu who makes SmartSlides on the podcast, so I'll link to that episode as well. These are very important, because these are ways that you could further increase the engagement and experience of every email you send to your clients. Okay, so after that, if I was to, if you're watching right now, you're about to see a preview of how this actually looks, especially with a merge tag. I'm going to enable live merge view, so you actually see names right now showing.
If you are not watching and you want to see this, you got to go to the show notes to watch it, but otherwise, you're just seeing how the email would actually look. This is how the email would look. It says, "Hi, Marilyn," and then goes into my intro, and then goes right into the blog post. You can style the text how you want. You can use h1, does not use h1, h2, does not use h2, etc. Whatever you want to do, you can do that way. That's really it. That's how it looks. I'm going to hit next, and then it'll say, "Confirm everything however you want," and you can just hit "Start the RSS." Now, I'm not going to, because I already have this going, but that's it.
Now, anytime I publish a new blog post about family portraits, anytime I do that, everybody in that group of either family leads or family clients are going to actually get this email. That'll further nurture and educate any family portrait photography client or lead that I have ever will always get that. I'm in the process of updating my MailChimp database with all of my clients so that everybody starts getting it. I'm always in testing different things at MailChimp. These are one of them, and I think this is going to be very effective, and I wish I were doing this all along. I haven't. I just started doing it recently, and so far the feedback has been great. I really hope that you do this, because it'll really, really help the engagement with your leads and clients.
Just think about how you can utilize this automation on your own site, especially if you offer multiple genres of photography services. Again, if you want to watch the video of this episode, or you want to read the show notes and find the links to everything, go to imagely.com/podcast/49. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next episode.