Marketing Partner: A Canadian Campaign for Michelle Gibson

Jan 31, 2017
Consulting Case StudiesMarketing

Toronto photographer Michelle Gibson came to me back in the spring, curious about what continuous marketing efforts Wonderful Machine could offer her. At the time, Michelle was at the tail-end of Campaign Manager Pro with Agency Access and was looking for a more personalized business relationship to handle her marketing and advertising.

Dial in Marketing Partner, our go-to service for photographers who can’t fathom going through the motions themselves. With Marketing Partner, I act as a photographer’s singular marketing force and map out a plan with one goal in mind: to expand a photographer’s client network.

Michelle does a fair amount of lifestyle-based assignments for clients such as Holland Bloorview Children’s Hospital, Advantage Magazine, and the University of Toronto. She wanted to focus on American clients in addition to the ones based in Toronto that would be interested in her ability to create authentic imagery.

To reach the United States, Michelle connected with one of our designers, Karen Yee, to design a customized emailer in Mailchimp, (which you can check out below). Michelle’s first emailer featured a project from an Annual Report she shot earlier this year. 

Sending mass emailers is an easy and inexpensive way to gauge audience reception and figure out where to throw your dart first. At least, this is the case in the U.S., where opt-ins and permissions are more multifaceted. In Canada, however, sending mass emailers has tighter restrictions with bigger consequences.

This meant reaching out to Michelle’s Toronto prospects would be a little bit trickier… I still wanted to send the emailer (which Karen conveniently exported as a PDF) to these Canadian prospects, but a mass emailer was not going to work. Instead, I sent these PDFs individually and used email tracking software to record the open and click-through rates, then followed up each direct email with a phone call.

And what do ya know, eh? Canadians are super friendly on the phone and great at answering emails. For the September campaign, I got a lot of warm compliments regarding Michelle’s work, plus 67% of the direct emails were opened and 27% replied about her work! Those stats are well over the industry standard. Here’s one response from Frank Casera, creative director at Bryan Mills Iradesso:

Hi Erika, thanks so much for the introduction. Michelle's capture of humanity is wonderful and I have no doubt that she's equally great to work with. I don't have anything at this time that would be appropriate, but I will certainly keep her in mind for any work that I feel might. Again, thank you for sharing her work.

Something even better happened when Andrea Sweet at the University of Waterloo got my emails… After two weeks and a whopping 83 email opens, Michelle got asked to put in a bid for a lifestyle campus shoot at the University! Michelle was ecstatic, and I jumped for joy when I saw the email she passed my way! 

Hi Michelle,

I came across your website when a coworker forwarded me the link. I’ve also been contacted by Erika Blatt from Wonderful Machine, so let me know the preferred way to work with you.

I would like to throw out an idea for a first photography project. Let me know your thoughts and if you think timing works into your schedule. We are still hammering out a few details. But this is the overall concept of what we are looking for…

And in Michelle's own words...

Hi Erika, I just got this email thanks so much! You are the best, I'm just in process of asking them more questions so I can quote the job, thanks so much again!

Michelle's bid hit the nail on the head, and she was hired to photograph the campus a few weeks ago! Stay tuned for more of Michelle’s successes related to Marketing Partner...we’ll continue to partner up to get her work in front of even more clients in the U.S. and Canada—I can’t wait to see what happens next! Onward and upward! 

If you need help getting on a client’s radar, shoot me an email!

Tags: erika blatt healthcare photography marketing marketing partner michelle gibson