Michelle McSwain had a fun and colorful style long before she packed up and moved out of New York. Traveling across the country, she found the perfect atmosphere to inspire her warm and sunny aesthetic: Los Angeles. There, Michelle’s lifestyle and portraiture photography is thriving in the SoCal culture.
This is not the first time Michelle and Wonderful Machine have made a great team. We met Michelle back in 2017 when we worked with her on a branding overhaul, and in September, we reached out to Michelle to catch up and see if she needed any marketing help post-move.
New to the area, she was on the lookout for potential clients in LA, and she was also planning a week-long trip to New York for Fotoworks and the Palm Springs Photo Festival. I cast a wide net when building her prospect list, including brands and agencies who specialize in lifestyle, healthcare, and/or portraiture and would align with Michelle’s style. We also had just enough time to send out emails with some of Michelle’s best work and arrange meetings with quality clients in the Big Apple.
With a list of about 40 contacts, Michelle and Wonderful Machine had 3 goals.
1. Maximize her trip to New York and book meetings within that week.
2. Let L.A. clients know she’s there and ready to meet.
3. Connect with northern California clients who might be the perfect fit.
For our email outreach, we created three separate templates for each of our target areas. The New York emails focused on getting meetings within the week she was there for Fotoworks. The L.A. emails focused on Michelle having just moved to L.A. And the northern California emails focused on creating meetings for Michelle later in November.
As soon as we began sending emails, we were overwhelmed by the Yesware notifications sliding across our screen. We had tracked our emails for Michelle, noting the open and click-through rates. Even if no one had responded to us, we would’ve been happy just knowing how many potential clients clicked through to Michelle’s site!
Less than 24 hours later, we received an email from Verve Coffee Roasters. They had this to say regarding Michelle’s work:
“I checked out Michelle’s website and it is AMAZING! Where are you guys based out of? I would love to chat further, what sort of partnership/collab did you have in mind?”
We had made a connection! Our contact at Verve forwarded our email to her colleague, who was considering Michelle for a micro-influencer opportunity.
We were already so excited about this connection, yet our work had just begun. Our next step was to jump on the phone and follow up with our contacts in New York City. Making cold calls can be intimidating, especially when you’re calling big New York agencies. In this case, we didn’t actually get through to anyone and ended up leaving a lot of voicemails.
Initially, this was a little disappointing, but then the email notifications started flying in again. Even though we hadn’t spoken directly to the clients we had in mind, the message we left with them was an extra push to take another look at Michelle’s work.
Almost minutes after we hung up the phone, one of our contacts at the New York agency Ready Set Rocket responded to our email.
“Thanks for reaching out and getting Michelle on my radar. I’d be happy to have her come by and show me her book.”
Michelle and I were both overjoyed to have received a meeting in New York! And just in time, our contact at creative agency JKR got back to us too.
“Thank you for reaching out! We’d love to have Michelle come in for a studio visit.”
Two meetings! Between these and her portfolio reviews with Fotoworks and Palm Springs Photo Festival, Michelle officially had a busy week planned. So with her beautiful, new custom book in tow, Michelle took off for her former stomping grounds.
Michelle had this to say about her experience with our marketing services:
During the time Katie worked with me, she was able to compile a great list of agencies that seemed like a good fit for me and reached out to them. From there, she was able to secure a few in-person meetings. At the meetings, I received some really positive feedback on my work which was extremely encouraging and motivating… With one of my meetings, the whole creative team joined which was really great and gave me an opportunity to share my work with multiple people. During our conversations, they were already thinking up different clients of theirs who seemed like they’d be a good fit for my style, so we shall see! I’m extremely grateful and excited for what might come. A giant thank you for all your hard work and for setting up the meetings for me! I really appreciate it!
Check out more of Michelle’s gorgeous work on her website.
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