The Community Table Discusses Email Blasts. The Dessert.

Agency-Access_Digital-Fusion_Tollefson_0149

Welcome to our 8th series of posts where we share the results from our conversations held directly with community leaders about top of mind photo-industry issues. Community Table was formed from the collective efforts of Matt Nycz and Kate Chase of Brite Productions and Heather Elder and Lauranne Lospalluto of Heather Elder Represents with the idea that there is nothing more powerful in our industry than education.

And speaking of powerful, if you were to do an internet search today for “Email Blasts”, you could find yourself easily overwhelmed and yet still not get much in the way of insightful information to help you know how to send more relevant messages to advertising’s best and brightest recipients. Generic results range from what is the definition of one — a single sending of many electronic messages to many people at the same time.  Or 5-tips for your next one. Or how to send powerful emails. Or how to send low-cost to a few or to millions. Or common rookie mistakes.  Or how to be the best with Email. Or 10 Golden Rules for Email Blasts. And that’s just some from page 1.

Recognizing that this topic can be confusing for not just senders but also receivers, we thought it was a good subject for The Community Table.  And for this particular subject we reached out to our friends and marketing colleagues from Agency Access.  And since they’ve been discussing just this for years now, they were more than happy to take a participating seat at the table. 

So on a warm and windy LA-day in November, we welcomed some of LA’s best creative buyers to talk with us; and over lunch we had a rousing and productive conversation around what they’ve learned, what they like and what they dislike and what they do with their many an electronic messages.

And in addition to the four blog posts, all of the information gleaned from The Community Table has been consolidated by Agency Access in a well-summarized Photographer’s Guide to Email Promotion. Download it here.

As a reminder, each Conversation Starter was directed to one person with a general discussion ensuing.  Rather than sharing the entire conversation, we included the original question and then the quotes and notes that were most relevant.  Please note, often times the person leading the conversation spoke most often.

Participating Buyers:

Jason Lau, Art Buyer / Content Producer 180LA

Lisa Lee, Group Executive Art Producer CP+B

Chrissy Borgatta Luizzi, Senior Art Producer, Innocean

Jennifer Lamping, Manager of Art Production, RPA

Lisa Matthews, Manager of Art Production, Team One

Jessica Mirolla, Art / Content Producer, The Garage Team Mazda

Andrea Rosenfeld, Senior Art Producer, David & Goliath

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer

And with that, we welcome you back to the table.

Agency-Access_Digital-Fusion_Tollefson_0027

THE FUTURE

QUESTION
As the popularity of e-promos have grown, we hear that many creative feel that the amount of promotional emails is becoming unmanageable and there may be a desire to better control the amount of mail coming into their inboxes. What is the one thing you would say to a creative that feels he/she is getting too much unsolicited email to help them deal with this?

Andrea Rosenfeld, David & Goliath
I would say they have two options: 1) Create what I call a “Holder Folder” which is where I put email promos when I am busy to return to later 2.  Go ahead and delete the promo and rely on your art production team for your artist sourcing. It also depends on who the creative is. If they are very junior, I would advise them to try to keep looking at the emails. I would not say opt out because that takes too much time. I would say to just delete.

Lisa Matthews, Team One

There are a lot of creatives that ask me how to get off of a list.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
I do think the opt out option is challenging. Not just in our industry but in all e-promos. Sometimes you have to log back in and if you don’t know your log in, that is frustrating. And, often time you think that you have opted out but there are four other list companies that have your name so you keep getting emails but what you don’t realize is that they are coming from another list source than the one you opted out from. So, when you get it the next time, you get mad all over again. It is helpful for the art producers to educate the creative that come to you that they may have to opt out a few times.

Andrea Rosenfeld, David & Goliath
That isn’t realistic yet. If they are getting so much that they want to opt out, they don’t want to deal with it anymore and want us to call for them.

Jessica Mirolla, Garage Team Mazda
My creative are so hungry for that stuff that no one comes to me to ask me to remove them from a list.

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer
It has happened a few times and I just tell them to opt out. I would rather they just have a good experience with it than be frustrated. And, besides, I can always forward an email promo to the creatives.

Lisa Lee, Crispin Porter + Bogusky
And, honestly, they prefer to get them from us. They are more apt to pay attention to the promos coming from us.

Jen Lamping, RPA
I always thought it was important for the photographer to maintain the relationship with the creatives. But then you do have to be careful with that!

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
Do you think your creatives are doing the same digging that you are all doing when you get an e-promo ?

Many People

Some of them. They come back to us with reference images. Yes, they do that all of the time.

Kate Chase, Brite Productions
Does anyone have anything to add before we move on?

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer
I would like to add that the only time I find that creatives come to me angry at the tool is when it is a direct sale. When the rep or the photographer is asking for a response. That is when it gets to be too much.  Please don’t require anyone to reply.  They feel pressured and not protected.

Many People
If I want to work with you, you will hear from me.  If we are interested we will let you know.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
The same thing happens to us when photographers emails their work for review. I have either seen it and don’t remember or have not seen it yet. Either way, I am forced to answer in a way that makes me uncomfortable. If I had seen it and liked it or wanted to see more, I would have already replied. But, if you are non-aggressive about your contact with me and consistent I will eventually know who you are and what type of work you create.

Kate Chase, Brite Productions
If you had two wishes for the email of the future, what would you do to make the blasts become more helpful for you and your peers that depend on this medium.

Jason Lau, 180LA
Make it memorable. Show me something different. Colorful. Make it stand out. Make it special. Make me remember you. Design it well. Be smart. You are an artist. Use your talent. Break out of the mold of the typical promo.

Amanda Sosa Stone, Agency Access
I have looked into promo filters and while they would solve so many problems, the costs would be 100s of 1000s of dollars. Would it be helpful if we as a company were to work with you to give you a filter so that certain folders could just grab the promo and out into a certain folder?  Of course it would be just from our company. I could not control what promos you receive from other companies, but filtering is something we could possibly do that doesn’t require a lot of development.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
So, you are saying you could possibly tag an email blast that comes in so that when it arrives it can get put into a predetermined folder such as lifestyle or automotive or food etc?

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer
Wouldn’t that require us all having the same email system?

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents

Actually you would not all need the same email provider as Smart Tags are simply filters created in your own email program and not driven by your provider. 

Amanda Sosa Stone, Agency Access
And, what if you could rate photographers? Would that be helpful? What would those rating look like? And, what would those folders look like?

Kate Chase, Brite Productions
Let’s go around the room and ask everyone what would be most helpful for them.

Andrea Rosenfeld, David & Goliath
Could the photographer be bookmarked if I wanted them to be? Not sure I would want that automatically to happen, but I do like the option. Like, “click here to add to bookmark.”

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents

It would be like “Pin it” on Pinterest.

Everyone in unison Yes

Jessica Mirolla, Garage Team Mazda
I wish photographers understood how important it was to show me their range.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents

I wish there was a social aspect to the email blast. I would love for people to be able to like something or even share it easily. But to do so in a way that you don’t feel like you are promoting a photographer but more casually. Maybe you are anonymous. I hear you all say how much you like to hang up direct mail pieces but I don’t hear people sharing these e-promos. And, I understand the boundaries for why we don’t but wouldn’t it be nice to share somehow.

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer
It would be cool to see an email blast, click on it, and then be brought to the Instagram page. From there I can like the image and then start following the person.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
Agency Access is tied into FoundFolios. Isn’t there a way you could connect right to FoundFolios. And, there you have all of their various links to their site and social media.

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer

And, they are in your various categories.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
Yes, I like that. So, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that FoundFolios could be a little bit more integrated. AND, what a benefit for the photographers too who use that platform.

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer
And, then we could all have our own personal accounts.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
So then when an Art Producer logs on, they can have access to all of the important links. Then, FoundFolios could even curate on their home page, things like, “Most Liked E-Promos This Month.”

Amanda Sosa Stone, Agency Access
Remember what Jennifer said earlier. People no longer have a space to hang up their direct mail pieces anymore. And, people want to do that. What if we had a digital wall? Heather, you keep bringing up sharing. A digital wall would solve that.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represent

A wall that anyone could post to would be great. And, if you posted it there, you could do so anonymously. And, then anyone could go to that wall. FoundFolios/Agency Access would just have to promote it so people knew about it.

Jennifer Perlmutter, Agency Access

I love the idea that art producers have a log in where they can control their preferences and imagery. And, to post the images you love.

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer
We will have our own database that we can go to and manage who we like in our own folders.

Jason Lau, 180LA
It would be great to be able to export it and put it on your desktop or virtual wall for easy access.

Jennifer Perlmutter, Agency Access
If there was a place for photographers to go where they knew art producers were looking with out them having to reach out to you would be great too.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
You guys could just start a blog or website that showcases any new e-promos. So, anytime a photographer does an e-promo, you upload it to this site or blog. Art Producers then all have access to this website, photographers can tag the images so they appear in preexisting tags/links. Wait a minute…I think I am going to do this. I actually already do do this with my OneEmailerAMonth site. I can give you the format, no problem.

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer
I think creatives would love a place to go to review on their own. They would no longer feel pressured or hounded.

Amanda Sosa Stone, Agency Access
Would something like this taint your view of a photographer knowing that they used a database and were part of a program? Or would you think something like this was so helpful it wouldn’t matter?

Jason Lau, 180LA
Now that I am at a new agency, I have different accounts and therefore have different photography needs. I now need to go back and remember who I saw and what type of work they do.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents

And, with a site like this, you won’t have to remember because Agency Access has added a visual component as well as a keyword search component to the promo.

Lisa Lee, Crispin Porter + Bogusky
And, going to one place to see it all is a great resource and time saver

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer
We have all made our own various databases from our own research so we know how big those files can get. So, if there was an online source that would be very helpful. And, if you lose your file, forget it. All that hard work is gone!

Jennifer Perlmutter, Agency Access
So it sounds like you would all like to see everything more integrated so that it isn’t just about getting an e-promo but having a place to put it. And, a place that you do not necessarily have to manage.

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents
It is about the freedom of getting an email and realizing that it is already living somewhere with all of the information you need. So, I can receive it and either just enjoy it or delete it. No extra work but to maybe like it so it appears in my personal database. And, when I ready to go visit it again, I go to the website that Agency Access owns and promotes.

Angee Murray, Agency Access
You still need that daily email that can come at a random time and sparks creativity and inspiration. But now I know I can go a little deeper when I am ready, to a site where it lives all the time.

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer
I am not always good at remembering names but do remember when a person comes to visit me or when they sent the email. So searching by date is good too.

Question

What one word best describes the industry to you right now?

Chrissy Borgatta Luizzi, Innocean Fast

Jessica Mirolla, Garage Team Mazda Social

Jennifer Perlmutter, Agency Access Ever changing

Lisa Lee, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Pressure

Jen Lamping, RPA Evolving

Angee Murray, Agency Access Social

Lisa Matthews, Team One Uncertain

Andrea Rosenfeld, David & Goliath Progressive

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer Lots of pressure

Deb Grisham, Freelance Art Producer Crazy

Amanda Sosa Stone, Agency Access Expansive

Jason Lau, 180LA Evolving

Heather Elder, Heather Elder Represents Social

Kate Chase, Brite Productions Pressure

Jennifer Perlmutter, Agency Access Interesting.  Pressure, Social and Change is pretty much what I think I just heard from everyone.  And fast.

Rob Beckon, Freelance Art Producer And nimble too.  Everything is always changing in this business. The concept, the time line, the deadlines, everything.

###

Thanks for reading The Dessert. We hope this has been of value.  Stay tuned for more Community Table posts in the near future; there is much to discuss.

And to see previous Community Table posts from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Minneapolis, link here.

Image Credit and thanks to:  Sara Tollefson Photography and Digital Fusion.



Comments are closed.