How Photographer Jared Polin Uses Email Marketing to Create and Drive Traffic to His Content

How Photographer Jared Polin Uses Email Marketing to Create and Drive Traffic to His Content

Jared Polin went from unknown Youtuber to one of the biggest
names in photography.

His journey began in 2008, when Polin filmed a video of himself
talking about his camera gear. It was awkward. He was visibly
uncomfortable in front of the camera. But he kept going.

He created another video. And another, and another.

In 2010, he launched his website Fro Knows Photo to show off his
photography expertise and land some freelance jobs. His following
back then was non-existent, but he kept creating.

Slowly, people began to notice. They asked questions about his
techniques and Jared answered them the best way he knew how: with

Today, Jared has nearly 1.27 million YouTube subscribers and
more than 260K email subscribers.

But his success didn’t happen overnight. He cultivated his
following over time with incredible content, a smart marketing
strategy, and persistence.

I’ll show you all of the tactics Jared uses and how you can
apply them to your own marketing strategy.

Getting started with
content creation

When Jared started Fro Knows Photo, he had no business plan. He
didn’t wait until he could create the perfect video; he just
started executing.

“I don’t have a business plan,” he said. “I have ideas
of what I want to do and I go with it. I think the problem people
run into today is they worry too much. It’s important to plan,
but start executing. Start doing. Then iterate along the

The sooner you get started, the sooner you can collect feedback.
The sooner you collect feedback, the sooner you can pivot (if you
need to).

The majority of Jared’s videos today are
aimed at helping people take better photos. But education wasn’t
his goal in the beginning.

“The idea was to put out content with the photos I was taking
so I could get more jobs because businesses would see my work and
try to hire me,” he said. “That didn’t happen. What happened
was people started asking questions about photography. I pivoted
right off the rim. People would ask a question, I would put a video
out about it. It started to grow from there.”

If you’re having trouble discovering the direction you want to
take with your content, find out where your ideal audience hangs
out online – think forums, the comments sections of popular blogs
and Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Get involved in those communities
and pay attention to the questions people ask.

Is there a particular topic that people are dying to know more
about – a topic that other blogs and businesses in your space
haven’t adequately answered? Start there.

Jared’s following grew because of his consistent interaction
with his audience from the very beginning. When in doubt, get

Takeaway: There’s no “perfect” time to
start creating content. Begin by answering the biggest questions in
your space and give yourself permission to improve over time.

Create content that stands out above the noise

If you‘re just starting to create content, look at what other
people in your space are doing. What can you do better?

Jared knew he wanted to create videos reviewing camera gear. The
problem with most review videos was they were painfully boring and
unhelpful for most viewers.

“You can’t fake getting good photos,” he said. “If all
you have are test pictures of lamps and grass, you’re not helping
people. But if you show you can get fantastic results with the most
entry level camera, you’re telling people, ‘You can do this

Jared’s videos resonate with people because they’re
authentic. He doesn’t try to create perfect content, he creates
honest content. (Case in point:
here’s a video
of Jared crashing a razor scooter.)

Whether you’re
creating videos
, ebooks or blog posts, your audience can tell
when you’re faking it. And if there is no real takeaway that they
can apply to their own lives, you’re simply wasting their

Takeaway: Is your content providing a real
solution? Are you allowing your personality to show? Would you read
it or watch it yourself? If you can answer “yes” to these
questions about your own content, you can stand out above the

Drive traffic to your content

Have a piece of content that you’re proud of? Awesome. Now
let’s drive some traffic to it.

Jared knew that he could create great content all day, but if
people couldn’t find it, it wouldn’t do anyone any good. He was
no SEO expert, but he knew that the smart use of tags on the videos
he uploaded on YouTube could get him better visibility.

“I knew if I could tag things smartly – ‘Nikon D3300’
for example – people are gonna look,” he said. ”But if I tag
that same video as, ‘The first ever Nikon review, this thing is
awesome,’ it’s not gonna match that many keywords. I didn’t
know much about SEO, but all I did was common sense.”

No matter what type of content you’re putting out into the
world, including keywords that reflect the way people search for
those topics is key. Try Google Keyword
to discover your best keywords.

Another way to gain traffic is to publish content consistently,
like Jared does.

“I was putting out quality, consistent content and that’s
what kept people coming back for more,” he said. “You can’t
put out one piece of content a week and expect people to latch onto
you. They’re gonna forget about you. It would be very slow if you
just put out one piece of content at a time.”

I mentioned earlier that Jared created new videos based on
questions people asked him. That’s one of the main ways he was
able to grow his following.

“When people had a comment, and it was a good one, I could
make a video off of it,” he said. “Or people could submit
photos I could critique, and that’s a piece of content I could
put out into the world.”

Delivering consistent content gives people a reason to keep
coming back. And when you create content based on your audience’s
comments and questions, it shows them you’re paying attention.
That’s the start of a beautiful relationship.

Takeaway: Put more content out into the world
and be sure to include the appropriate keywords. Try creating an
editorial calendar to stay organized.
Here’s how you can create an editorial calendar to help you keep
track of your content.

Use email to deliver your content

Jared relies on email – more than any other marketing strategy
– to expand his reach, build relationships, and get more eyes on
his content.

“Part of getting the message out was through email,” he
said. “Expanding your reach is getting hard to do unless you’re
paying for it. If you want to reach your people, one of the best
ways to do that is through email.”

His email strategy? Jared includes an ask for email sign ups at
the beginning of his most popular videos. Once someone is signed
up, he sends them lots of valuable content up front for free.
He’s such a believer in this tactic that for the first two years
of Fro Knows Photo’s existence, he didn’t ask anyone to buy
anything from him.

“The internet marketers said, ‘You have 5,000 people on your
email list! You need to sell something right now!’” he said.
“I wasn’t ready to sell. That was the mentality, five, six
years ago: sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. I was like, ‘I’m gonna
give, give, give, give, give.’ It took two years until I had a
guide I wanted to sell.”

Jared offers lots of free content up front. On his sign up form,
he offers a free
lead magnet
for a� photography guide for capturing motion in
low light situations – a topic that resonates with amateur

Example of a signup form for a free photography guide

Jared’s guide provides the perfect starting point for anyone
who just bought their first camera, so it’s no surprise that
it’s helped build his email list to more than 260K

Takeaway: Before you can even think about
asking your subscribers to buy something from you, be sure to
provide them with plenty of no-strings-attached content up front.
Create an incentive to give people a reason to sign up for your

Keep your subscribers engaged over time with email automation

After Jared’s new subscribers get his free guide, he sends
them a series of
automated emails
that span over the course of a few weeks.
Here’s what his welcome email looks like:

First email in an automated email series from FroKnowsPhoto

Jared tells people exactly what they can expect to see in their
inbox from him. He even invites them to unsubscribe from his list
if they don’t find his tips useful.

After that, he sends a separate email that contains the free
guide and a bonus video with tips for getting press passes to
concerts. More free, unexpected content. Pretty cool, huh?

Example of email in an automated series, content contains free guide and bonus video

Jared then sends his subscribers an automated email series that
delivers a new photography tip every day. Each email is short and
each tip is something people can start using right away. Here’s
one of those emails:

Automated email series example, content is a short tip to help subscribers

Jared is careful not to ask his subscribers to buy from him
right away. When I signed up to his email list, I didn’t receive
an email promoting his paid guide until more than a week later. By
that point, I’d already received eight emails packed with free
photography tips.

“The autoresponder series is built out over a few weeks,†he
said. “I send solid content time and time again. Occasionally,
there’s an ask in there, but then there’s more solid content.
They also get the emails I create every week or every other week.
Whenever I’m creating value, I use it. I don’t want to

Takeaway: Email automation can help you build
relationships with your subscribers over time. When you do promote
a product, do it carefully.

Know your audience before you create paid content

Have a growing audience and a solid content strategy? Congrats!
You’re on your way to monetizing your business with paid products
or services. So how exactly can you make that happen, while
balancing free content with paid content?

To answer this, we’ll look at how Jared created valuable paid
content for his ideal audience and how he uses email to drive
traffic to his sales page and, well, make sales!

When you’re asking your audience for their hard-earned cash in
exchange for your content, you better make sure your content is
worth their investment. The first step in developing valuable paid
content is knowing your audience.

“98 percent of [my audience] is amateurs or hobbyists that
love what they do and maybe want to make some money on the side,â€
he said. “I knew that was the largest area, so I may as well
reach out to them because there are more of them. Professional
photographers shouldn’t need that content. Continuing your
education is important, but it’s a smaller market. It wouldn’t
be smart to put out advanced guides because they’d have to be
much more expensive.â€

Since Jared’s audience is largely amateurs, it made sense to
create a beginner’s video guide to photography that he could sell
for a reasonable price. 

Takeaway: Want to create valuable content that
your audience will actually pay for? Get to know your audience
first, thoroughly address their challenges in your content and
offer it at a reasonable price.

Jared’s promotional emails in action

Jared uses email to deliver free content to his subscribers well
before he promotes a paid product. This strategy has helped him
cultivate raving fans and sell more of his paid guides.

Once a new subscriber opts into Jared’s email list, he serves
them with about a week’s worth of free content. His subscribers
get updates on the blog, podcast and new YouTube videos.

After that, he’ll occasionally promote his paid guides to his
subscribers. Here’s how he promotes his beginner’s guide using
email. Notice how he describes the benefits of buying his guide so
that his subscribers know exactly what they’ll get if they buy

Promotional email example from FroKnowsPhoto

Here’s how Jared promotes his beginner’s guide along with
one of his popular videos.

Email example promoting a beginners guide and a YouTube video

When Jared launched a new paid guide, FroKnows Photo Guide to
Video Editing, he ran a limited-time sale on the guide to drum up
excitement and get more sales. Those who didn’t buy the guide
right away received this email with a countdown clock and a
detailed list of reasons why they should purchase the guide.

Email example using a countdown clock to create urgency

Jared has consistently seen results from this email strategy,
time and time again.

“We know that it works,†he said. “We created a four-email
sequence with a countdown timer and say what people have learned
and here’s what you could learn. The last email that goes out
four to six hours before the sale ends crushes it really hard
because it has the countdown timer saying that it’s ending. We
see sales happen because of that.â€

Takeaway: Only promote your products or
services after you deliver plenty of free content. Once you do
promote your paid content, lead with the biggest benefits and
explain in detail what your paid content has to offer.

Use YouTube to grow your email list

YouTube plays an important role in helping Jared grow his email

See how Jared Polin breaks down his email list-boosting tactics
that landed him 260K+ email subscribers.

Turn your YouTube subscribers into email subscribers

You already know how email marketing can help you promote your
paid products. So how can you get your YouTube subscribers to sign
up for your email list?

It all ties back to the
marketing funnel.
Your YouTube videos provide awareness. Your
viewers initially may not know anything about you or your business,
but your video content piques their interest. If they like what
they see, they’ll consider getting to know more about you.

At the beginning of many of Jared’s videos, he asks his
viewers to sign up for his email list. He sometimes even includes a
clickable image of his form in his videos, as shown here.

Example of a signup form shown on a YouTube video

Once a viewer clicks on the sign up form image, they’re taken
to the landing page on Jared’s website where his video lives. in
this case, he includes a Nikon D5 “Real World Review†– where
you can sign up for a free photography guide that expands on the
content he discusses in the video.

Pretty ingenious.

Here’s what that page looks like:

Signup form example on FroKnowsPhoto's website

“On YouTube, it’s all about the ask,†he said. “I’m
putting out a piece of content and people are watching it. But
before the video starts, in the intro, I say, ‘If you haven’t
signed up for the Fro Knows Photo email list on the website, please
put your name and email address in it and I’ll send you a free
guide to capturing motion in low-light situations.’â€

Jared makes sure to add a sign up form to his
most popular videos to ensure higher conversions. But some video
content drives more conversions than others. 

“The videos that convert the most sign ups for me are the
,†he said. “Right away, I see a huge spike where I
get 450 sign ups organically throughout one day. It may go to 450
or 500. You can’t know which content is going to be the most
popular. That’s why you put the ask at the front of most videos.
For me, I know that people are always searching for different
lenses. If they find me for the first time, I want to have that ask
in the beginning of the video.â€

Takeaway: If you’re just starting to create
video content for YouTube, ask your viewers to sign up at the
beginning of all of your videos to grab every conversion
opportunity possible. As you continue creating video content,
you’ll be able to identify what content will be the most popular,
and you can test different types of sign up forms and incentive

Diversify off of YouTube

Once you have a YouTube following, it’s important to keep those
followers engaged both on and off of YouTube so you can build
profitable relationships with them.

“If you’re just starting out on YouTube, you need to figure
out how you’re going to get off of YouTube at the same time,â€
Jared said. “You use YouTube as a way to build a following. But
if you’re not cultivating a following and getting off of that
platform, you’re not doing yourself any good. Unless you’re one
of the biggest YouTubers in the world and you’re getting hundreds
of thousands of views a day, you’re not making money.â€

Case in point: Jared has 1.27 million YouTube followers, and
while most of his content is on YouTube, he doesn’t rely solely
on YouTube to monetize his business.

“I knew I had to create my email list. I knew I had to get off
of YouTube and not just live there,†he said. “That’s one of
the downfalls of a lot of YouTubers. They hustle and do the YouTube
angle without trying to get out of there.†“I still have the
ability to do business because I have my email list. I have my
other social integrations. It’s important to diversify off of

Even if you’re just getting started with YouTube, it’s
important to think about how you’ll engage your followers
elsewhere. Email marketing gives you the perfect opportunity to
keep your YouTube subscribers engaged and turn them into loyal,
paying customers.

Run contests to attract new subscribers fast

Contests are one of the best ways to
grow your email list
in a time crunch. Jared runs contests when
he wants to give his list a boost fast. While he runs contests on a
larger scale with camera giveaways valued at $2,000-$3,000,
businesses at any stage can use contests for subscriber growth.

“Contests where I’m giving away two or three thousand
dollars worth of camera gear are an investment,†he said. “But
I’m getting sign ups that will build my following, build my email

When Jared wants to boost his contest even more, he runs
Facebook ads to them.

“That’s one of the only advertising things that I do,†he
said. “We run Facebook ads to the contest and it just spreads.
Where I normally get 150-200 sign ups per day, you’re looking at
2,000 people signing up for your email list. Then they get into my
autoresponder sequence. My autoresponder emails aren’t meant to
just sell, they’re meant to cultivate the value, ask for the sale
at certain points, and keep people coming back for more.â€

You might be wondering about the people who enter contests
because they want free stuff – not because they’re interested
in your business. This is one of Jared’s concerns, too.

“My concern with running those contests has always been people
who just want to kick the tires because they want to enter for
free,†he said. “Those people who enter for free are gonna
unsubscribe anyway. But if I’m getting a 20 percent conversion
rate with 100K subscribers and I’m still able to keep that
conversion rate with 200K subscribers, that’s what matters.
Contests are powerful.â€

If you’re thinking about running a contest and you’re
concerned about collecting weak leads, consider running a
reactivation campaign
cleaning up your list
afterwards to ensure your subscribers are
engaged and you’re not hurting your deliverability.

Start using email marketing to grow your business

Running a business is like working two full-time jobs. Sometimes
it may be a challenge to dedicate the time and energy into
marketing your business. We’ve made it a little easier for you
with this guide: “How to grow your business with email

Download it today.

Source: FS – Email Marketing Blogs!
How Photographer Jared Polin Uses Email Marketing to Create
and Drive Traffic to His Content