Archive for February, 2014

Don’t do this.

Monday, February 24th, 2014

I just got the following email (name redacted because I don’t want to embarrass anyone):


Dear Leslie;
My name is XXX XXXX and I’m a commercial photographer who wants to photograph for you.  I’d be honored if you visited my “New” website at: or better yet,  we could meet in person.

     Thanks, XXX XXXX

This is exactly the kind of email you should never, ever send. This photographer has unfortunately dug a hole with this bad marketing. Why is it bad? Several reasons…

First, why ever would a photographer think I was ever going to buy photography? If you have my email address (this was sent to my address) you can easily figure that my website must be and go take a peek. One look should tell anyone that I’m not an appropriate target. As you all have heard me say a gazillion times, the first step is always to select the appropriate targets for your marketing.

Second, the email is totally generic. It doesn’t say anything about what the photographer does (“commercial photographer” is not helpful–do you shoot food or environmental portraits or what?). It doesn’t say why the photographer wants to shoot for me–is it because you shoot the kind of work you see on my site? If so, say so. Make the connection. It’s your job to entice the target and you can’t do that  without providing some information. Show a little leg, as I’ve been known to say. Show your genuine interest. Don’t be generic.

Third, what is up with the word new being capitalized, in bold, and (worst of all) in quotes? That is grammatically all sorts of wrong. Grammar counts. Spelling counts. So does layout and design, even when it comes to email.

Fourth, why not include an image in the email? Give me an idea of your work. A screenshot of your website since you want me to go see your new one would be a good idea. Whatever, show something. You are a visual artist… be visual. Your buyers are visual people too–images work (unless they suck, of course).

Finally, you need to follow the legal rules about email solicitations. I never signed up for this person’s list so really, I never should have been emailed. If you are going to ignore that part of the law (bad, but if), then at least follow the part about making it clear how the receiver can opt-out. The rules are fairly simple, but they are rules (and by rules I mean law–the CAN SPAM Act).

Bad marketing is worse than no marketing in many targets’ eyes, so take the time to get it right.

Looking back at not doing

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

I was reminded today of a post I wrote while in law school. It still holds up today. Actually, I can attest that I was right–at least in that my choosing to not do some things and thereby focusing on what I needed to worked out for me.

So, take a minute and look again at that post, particularly the list of ten reasons to not do. Maybe it’s about time for you to not do some things again.