Email marketing is the act of gathering email addresses from people with the purpose of emailing them to market a product or service.  Email marketing is extremely effective for converting these people (known as leads) into paying customers.  In fact, it’s more effective than social media and paid advertising.

There are many services to use for email marketing including Mailchimp, Aweber, Get Response and more. Whichever direction you decide to go, make sure it handles all the tasks you want. Today, I’ll talk about a potential method to build an email list, and you will see why using an email marketing service is critical.

The Best Way to Build Your Email List

There are many ways to build an email list, but I want to discuss one of the best ways to build a list. It is something that is proven to be effective for converting website visitors into leads.


What’s a Lead

A lead is someone who willingly gives you his or her contact information (like an email address) with a purpose. That purpose might be:

  • To contact you and expect a reply back
  • To download something valuable to them
  • To subscribe to blog updates
  • To hire you

Website leads should be compiled into an email marketing list. The best way to do this is on a spreadsheet and then uploading it to one of the email services mentioned above.

Providing Something Valuable for Them – “The Converting Offer”

Let’s focus on the second  purpose of that list, which is your leads wanting to download something valuable from your website, or the “converting offer,” as it is called. You’ve all seen them and perhaps have also signed up for some of them.


The process of offering something free and of value is ultimately one of the best ways for you to get those website visitors to give you an email address. That, in turn, builds your email-marketing list. From there, you have unlimited opportunities to nurture the contacts in your email list. Then, you can convert those leads into paying customers.

The Family Portrait Photographer Scenario

If you are a family portrait photographer, then coming up with some type of family portrait document that can educate your website visitors is super valuable.

Your converting offer could be a document that might include information about public parks that are fantastic for family photos, or restaurants and even what to wear for their photo session. There are so many possibilities for you to explore and include in the document.

You should make the document attractive by including your branding, photographs and contact information so that it is easy to contact you when that lead decides to book. Website visitors are not only educated about how to make their photos even better, they can see specific examples as to how YOU can make their photo session amazing.


The Wedding Photographer Scenario

Wedding photographers often wonder what ways are effective for getting leads. For the past couple years, I have chatted with wedding photographers and their biggest questions are how to get more leads, and more quality leads.

What’s the difference? You already know what a lead is. A quality lead is one that replies to emails and engages back in conversations with you. One that shows signs of going through with hiring you.

The best thing you can do is educate your website visitors to the best of your ability.  and doing so in a way where your brand is stuck in their heads while they’re researching and planning their wedding. This makes you and your business stand out in the crowd and immediately builds trust.


More trust from visitors means a higher percentage of converting them into leads. More leads mean more clients and more clients’ means higher prices.   For wedding photographers, the possibilities to educate your clients are endless. Your converting offer could be creating a local wedding guide for engaged couples.  This guide could contain information about your favorite DJs, bands, florists, dress shops, tux rentals and so on.  Each are in an attractive layout containing your branding and photographs.  The last page of the document contains more information about you, the photographer.  Make this document 100% free when they sign up for your newsletter with their email address. Once they do so, they are sent your guide in a PDF ebook style format.

As a bonus,  the same time as you are building this guide for you to offer to your potential client, you are also building your vendor partner network. So, it’s a win for you, it’s a win for your website visitors and it’s a win for your leads and clients.

Taking It Further

Making this document available on your website, possibly driven by WordPress (and a theme, like Photocrati), will help promote the document to your visitors clearly.  Making a landing page specific to an displaying the new document can also help with SEO, authority and trust building.

Then, all of this can be taken to new heights by using opt-in boxes via targeted popups using tools like Pippity or OptinMonster.  You can also add opt-in boxes to sidebars or homepages for further visibility.

Of course, anything done to a website should be tested, so if a sidebar opt-in box isn’t working then it should be removed, or if a popup isn’t working then it should be turned off.

Getting Started

There are many tools to help you design and create your own valuable converting offer to help you build that email list so you can begin booking more clients.

If you are a wedding photographer, check out The Wedding Photographer Conversion Kit for a big jump ahead of the game.  The kit comes with templates and instructions to build the ultimate converting offer for wedding photographers.  Use the coupon code loungelove to save 30% off the product.  Click here to learn more.


Email marketing is the most effective way to convert leads to customers.  Because by giving you an email address, they have already proven to be interested in your services.  Try spending less time on social media and more time engaging with your new high quality email list by providing them with something valuable to help plan their wedding or portrait session

About the Guest Contributor

Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a photographer, blogger, author and educator.  He is also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati, a WordPress development company creating products for photographers.