I like to think of email marketing as a secret weapon when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. As a completely separate entity from your social media, you have the opportunity to customize your email marketing plan as much or as little as you’d like. However, it is not often used to its full potential. That’s why we sat down with Shannon Vonderach, aka Mr.s Vondy of The Email Club to discuss how you can use email marketing to book more weddings and make more from the comfort of your home.
Meet Shannon, aka Mrs. Vondy, your friendly neighborhood email-obsessed marketer & strategist. Shannon and her team offer done-for-you services for busy biz owners and done with you services via The Email Club Membership and Email Template Shop.
After being a wedding photographer for 13 years, Shannon also coaches wedding vendors and other entrepreneurs on how to book better clients and run more successful, profitable businesses. When she is not dreaming up emails or coaching biz owners, you can likely find her snuggled up binging Netflix with her hubby and her two rescue huskies.
Email Marketing Specialist Interview
1. Why should wedding professionals use email marketing?
If I could go back to baby business owner me, the #1 piece of advice I’d give myself would be: Learn to use email marketing. But I (stupidly) didn’t use it for TEN years in my photography business. As a young business owner, I hustled. And it worked! I turned my photography business into my full time job within months. But… I worked all the hours, said no to so many moments with friends and family, cried from sleep deprivation on a regular basis, and my body was constantly in a state of nearly unbearable pain (from editing with no breaks).
Sure, I heard about the magic of email marketing. I even tried it a few times when I wanted to book sessions, but I didn’t see any real results. I thought email must not work for wedding photographers. I still cringe at how wrong I was.
Then I sent one email and earned $2600. I went on to use email to earn an additional 13k from email that year. And since using it I earn an additional 10k+ each year from almost entirely automated emails. Email marketing saved my business and changed my life.
So I ask you, what would an additional 10k+ of income a year do for you? For your business? For your life? Wedding pros should use email marketing in their businesses because it costs you so much more not to.
2. How can wedding photographers take advantage of email marketing?
SO many ways! My favorite is for print sales. Once I learned how and started using email strategically to sell prints in 2020, I earned 13k in ONE year from email marketing alone. I consistently earn 10k+ every year from mostly automatic emails.
3. How can email marketing help you book more clients?
Like any marketing channel, email is another way to connect with your ideal client. In fact, since subscribers opt in to hear from you, it’s a direct connection to hot leads! Plus email is a great way to stay top of mind and the best part is there’s no algorithm to fight.
4. What advice do you have for a wedding professional who wants to get started with email marketing?
Just start! It’s not that hard and can be a lot of fun. You can do it in 3 easy steps.
- Pick an email platform. I personally like Flodesk because it’s easy, pretty and affordable. MailerLite is also great and free. But you really can’t go wrong, just pick one and start, you can always change.
- Create an opt in form. This is a way for your subscribers to sign up to be on your email list. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated here!
- Start talking about it! When I first started my email list, I simply shared I had one every week on my Instagram stories. Before I knew it, I had 50 subscribers!
- BONUS: Create a welcome email! You want your subscribers to feel like welcome guests on your list. If you need a template for one, I have a free one! Grab it here!
5. What advice do you have for a wedding business that collects client emails but has never used them for email marketing?
Depending on your ultimate goal, I’d run a re-engagement campaign! Essentially, it’s a series of emails re-introducing yourself, reminding them how they got on your list in the first place, and then sharing helpful, valuable content to nurture and connect!
6. What other digital marketing platforms play an important role in your email marketing and why?
Email marketing is it’s own marketing channel so it can run independently of other platforms, however, depending on which ESP (email service provider, i.e. Flodesk, MailChimp) you are using, you may need additional support to connect certain things. I sometimes use Zapier to connect my platforms.
However, I do believe in an omni-present marketing presence, so I like to use Instagram and email as a mini ecosystem in my marketing and sales. For instance, I find ideal clients are more likely to purchase when they see you sharing about your offer in many places. It gives extra credibility and confidence in purchasing.
7. What have been some of the best opt-ins you’ve seen for wedding planners or photographers?
I like to think about this backwards, instead consider, What is it you want your ideal subscriber to do after joining your email list? In most cases, it’s likely get on a call with you.
So then it’s important to identify your ideal client. What do they want? What do they need? What keeps them up at night? What is something you can share with them that solves a problem quickly for them?
While determining this, you also want to keep in mind where you need to meet your client in their buyer journey. For instance, photographers often tell me they are going to provide a “what to wear for your engagement” guide as a freebie, but if a couple is to the part of thinking about their engagement session photos, they’ve likely already booked a photographer. So you want to think about a freebie that meets them a little earlier in their planning journey.
My own 2 cents on freebies: Don’t overthink them. How often do we opt into an email list with a freebie and never use it? If you’re a serial email list signer-upper like I am, you likely have done this a lot. The key is, getting them on your list and actually emailing them more value and why you are the best choice to help them solve their problems, plan/photograph their wedding, etc.
And keep in mind if you are targeting couples, most have NEVER done this before so they don’t know what to do. They need help and guidance. The more basic the better.
8. What is a welcome sequence or nurture sequence and do I need one as a wedding business?
A welcome or nurture sequence or funnel, is a series of emails you send a subscriber designed to reach an desired outcome. For instance, if you want a newly engaged couple to book a call, you might offer them a freebie, then send a series of emails nurturing and ultimately getting them to book a call.
You don’t need one, but a well strategized, thought out email funnel can do a lot of work for you! It can even help convert clients while you sleep.
9. What makes a good email?
I’d have to say being yourself. Like any marketing channel, showing up as your authentic self is contagious and irresistible.
So, if you’re not a long winded person, you don’t have to write a novel for your emails. In fact, some of the most successful emails I’ve created are only 1-2 sentences. I think we often confuse an email with a blog post. There’s no minimum word count to meet, we don’t have to be formal, and you don’t even have to talk about business if you don’t want to! I’ve sent emails about chocolate chip cookies and my Christmas ornaments!
10. What are the biggest mistakes you see when it comes to email marketing?
- Being too formal. I see so many incredible business owners being themselves in their social content but when it comes to their emails they turn into a robot! Think of writing your email to just one person or friend on your list. How would you talk to them?
- Not having a CTA (call to action). What is it you want your subscriber to do after reading your email? Every email should have a call to action that should be clear and concise.
- Thinking all emails have to be sales email or business related. Emails can also be fun, insightful, sharing a story, or a new date night spot.
- Only sending emails when you “want something” from your subscriber. Imagine we met 6 months ago and you didn’t hear from me at all. Then I suddenly pop into your inbox and ask you for a favor. Would you do it? You’d probably forget who I am. This is what you’re doing when you don’t nurture your list!
How Shannon can help you and your wedding business
Shannon is your go-to gal for everything email marketing related! As an email marketing specialist, she offers her audience the opportunity to get monthly content ideas, templates and assistance through The Email Club Membership. She has also crafted some incredible email templates in her template shop that will help you promote your products and services and nurture your existing email list.
If you are a new or seasoned wedding professional who is wanting to take advantage of email marketing, give Shannon a follow on social media for more great email tips! Be sure to check out our BONUS interview with Shannon Vonderach on the Details By Dallas Instagram page!