Last month, travel and adventure photographer Justin Bastien contacted me about spreading the word about his upcoming travels. His goal was to let people know where he was traveling and possibly drum up assignment and stock work while on location. I quickly gathered our photo editor Sean Stone and publicist Maria Luci to hatch out a marketing plan.
Upon reviewing Justin’s travel schedule—which included Guatemala, Cuba and New Zealand, among others—we decided the best course of action would be to start with a personalized email pitch (that would include a small sampling of new work) and then follow up with phone calls to gauge interest. Maria was in charge of the short copy for the emails, Sean was in charge of image selection and I was responsible for building a targeted prospect list and making phone calls.
Justin wanted the first emails to be sent out when he arrived in Guatemala, which gave us some time to put everything together. I began by building a targeted list of appropriate prospects in Agency Access, supplementing with our own internal database. Our main focus for the list was editorial clients that deal with travel/adventure/active lifestyle photography, like Outside, Conde Naste Traveller, and National Geographic. We also concentrated on in-house corporations that offer adventure/sports goods like Patagonia, Fila and REI. The rest of the list included lifestyle publications where Justin’s work would be a great supplement, such as Women’s Health, Saveur, and Pace Communications (a custom pub company handling US Airways, Four Seasons, Spirit, AAA Traveler).
While I was list building, Maria worked on copy for our personalized emails. She wanted to quickly and effectively introduce Justin’s style of work and outline his itinerary for the next couple of months. She wanted the email to sound energetic, like Justin’s personality—but also be short and to the point.
Here’s what Maria came up with:
Justin Bastien is on the move! Justin’s an adventure, sports and lifestyle photographer, and over the next few months will be roaming the planet to photograph people climbing, surfing, hiking, swimming and skiing. While traveling, Justin is available for assignment; so if you need photos from Cuba, Joshua Tree, New Zealand or Yosemite, he’s your man.
Sean then handled the image selection for the emails. Normally, we’d advise against sending images in a personalized email. A link to a photographer’s website is typically sufficient—especially since photos can get emails caught in spam filters. However, I knew Justin wasn’t going to be able to update his website as often as we’d like while on the road since he’d be traveling so much. Therefore, we decided to showcase new work in the email. Sean made selections from Justin’s most recent work, reflecting the kinds of subjects and locations that clients could expect him to be shooting during his travels. The final result was a small filmstrip placed at the bottom of the email.
Here’s our final, completed email:
Over the next week, I sent out emails and made phone calls. I ended up chatting with a lot of people on the phone, which was great. Many creatives were appreciative of the email and bookmarked Justin for future assignments/projects. I also spoke with photo editors at National Geographic and Parade that were interested in seeing galleries of Justin’s new travel work once he returned, for possible use in their publications.
Overall, we all felt it was a successful marketing push for Justin. We reached out to over 50 different creatives, all of whom are now familiar with Justin’s work and globe trotting lifestyle!
As for Justin, he’s still traveling and shooting on the road. We’re planning another round of emails and phone calls once he’s settled back into life in sunny California.
If you’re interested in setting up marketing consulting, email us or give a ring at 610.260.0200.