Email marketing for artists is the high-powered digital equivalent of direct mail sent through the post office. Marketers use it to deepen relationships with prospective buyers and to promote and sell them products and services.
Because email marketing performs so well, it is the most effective and widely used tool in a digital marketer’s toolbox. It works with and improves social media, video, influencer and content marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising to drive awareness, desire, and sales.
It is helpful to define marketing to understand better what email marketing for artists is.
The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Art Marketing.
At its basic level, marketing, including art marketing, is a systematized process of creating awareness and interest for a company, product, or service that leads to a desire to engage buyers to own its goods, use its services, or all above. Businesses use marketing to communicate their offerings, promote their brands, identify new prospects, and strengthen bonds with their target audience and existing customers.
Relationship / Ownership / Control
Fine art sales rarely are spontaneous, and it’s common sense that you can’t build a profitable art business on random sales. Generating predictable sales outcomes requires a system of finding and engaging potential buyers into long-term relationships that lead to sales.
It is undeniable that people buy the artist as much as the art, even more so when they consider purchasing original art. The relationships and connections you make help to set you up for sales and success. When buyers know you or know of you, they are more likely to want to own your art.
Email marketing is hand’s down the best and sometimes the only tool for the job. Email communication is the glue to your connections. Make contacts; in the best ways you can, then stay in touch digitally through email until your sales opportunity strikes.
Your email list is your most valuable marketing tool. Numerous studies prove its value over all other digital and offline marketing initiatives. Given the importance of email marketing, it’s comforting to know an artist’s email list is their property and cannot be taken from them by anyone. A responsive, highly engaged email list is a most valuable bottom-line marketing asset when appraising the worth of a business. Your email subscriber list has intrinsic value.
Selling art on Instagram or other social media is an excellent art marketing method. The only problem is that artists are users and not owners and must comply with a platform’s rules. Even worse, account bans happen unexpectedly, for reasons impossible to understand with no recourse from the forum; bans are everyday occurrences. With email marketing, you don’t need permission from a third party to send what you want, when you want, and as often as you wish. Your email list is an asset for you to use however you want.
Art Careers and Art Sales Take Time
With email marketing, artists have the time and ability to nurture personalized, long-term relationships with their subscribers. It overlays, connects with, and powers up the marketing juice from all other marketing tools and strategies.
As an effective means of creating meaningful buyer-seller relationships, email is bested only by in-person communication, which is often time-consuming, inconvenient, or impossible. Email marketing generates leads, promotes brand awareness, strengthens client relationships, and keeps in touch with consumers until they are open to buying.
How Email Marketing Overcomes Obstacles to Selling Expensive Original Art
Approval. Marriages and partners have unspoken rules on spending limits and often on design decisions that require approval from all parties. Most original fine art is in this category. Email communication builds awareness and trust, creates desire, and reduces reluctance.Immediacy. Consumers can know an artist and admire her work, but they don’t collect art and have no immediate need to add new art. Email engages and educates in ways that encourage favorable impressions and reactions from contacts.Positioning. Long buying cycles challenge staying relevant and occupying the top position in a prospect’s mind for (your favorite descriptive phrase.) Success requires artists to find, connect, and regularly engage with likely buyers for extended periods. Email marketing’s long-term nurturing capabilities make it the best tool to help artists maintain a top position in the minds of their prospects.
There Are Only Two Ways to Sell Art
Either you market or sell to buyers directlyFind third-party distributors, such as galleries, publishers, and licensors, who will do the marketing and sales of your art for you
Artists can do both, and many do. Both methods require investment in time, money, and learning. It’s as much personal preference as anything when deciding what ways artists use. Keep in mind that when working with distributors, you give up all three advantages of 1) Relationship; 2) Ownership and 3) Control.
I believe it is just as difficult as selling directly and less profitable than working with third-party distributors, including galleries, publishers, dealers, and licensors. They take up your time, consume and command your inventory, often pay late, need tending, and are demanding. That’s a lot to give up to avoid selling your art yourself especially when effective email marketing is something any artist can do well.
Email marketing for artists provides an easy way to communicate directly with your prospects, partners, fans, and collectors. Successful email marketing for artists is multi-faceted. Growing your list of contact email addresses is critical to your art business and ongoing sales success.
The Ideal Art Sales Scenario for Artists
Ideally, artists sell most of their work directly to buyers on their email list. Direct sales would be the principal source of their income, with distributors brought on as secondary sources. That gives artists the largest margins and the greatest control over their careers. Using third parties for extra income is much better than depending on them as your primary source of revenue.
Ultimately, artists must choose what works for them. Despite the ideal scenario, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to email marketing for artists. Choose wisely and know you can always modify your marketing to meet current needs and evolving situations.
The Different Approaches to Email Marketing
It’s not debatable. Artists who want to sell their work need to use email. But how they use it varies, and it is up to them. Some will only collect email addresses and send a monthly newsletter. Others will use marketing automation to identify, tag, and segment subscribers to send various personalized messages to their subscribers.
The latter method will get better results, but it takes more time and effort. I suggest for artists with no list or tiny lists to concentrate on building their list at first. There is time to add marketing automation later. Starting with an Email Marketing Service (EMS) that includes automation workflows is highly recommended. That way, artists can begin tagging their subscribers to segment their lists to use in future autoresponder email sequences later.
What Every Artist Needs to Capitalize on Email Marketing
You must know how to get the most out of your opportunities. To make email marketing an effective profit center for your business, you need:
A reliable email marketing service (EMS), preferably with marketing automation built-inAn understanding of what’s known in marketing jargon as the customer journeyA method of acquiring subscribers who qualify as potential buyersThe ability to segment your subscribersA content marketing plan to deliver appropriate messagesThe desire and commitment to stick with your plans
Email Marketing Technology
The tech that powers email marketing is all SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). That means it’s in the cloud, and you rent access to it. I will name what I believe are your best options and tell you what to look for. The EMS platforms I recommend include marketing automation. Eventually, if not immediately, you will want to customize and personalize your marketing messages.
Using tags in your marketing automation allows you to identify whether your subscriber is a buyer or a prospect or if they have shown interest in a particular piece of art or a genre. You can tag and sort on almost anything. Marketing automation software runs on “If This Then That” logic. For example, if this subscriber is a customer, put them in that email sequence for buyers.
Email Marketing Services for Artists
There is a growing number of email marketing services (EMS) that artists can use. To learn about all of them, use the oracle, aka Google, to develop a list of your own. I will mention four of the top EMS for artists companies in this post.
Use your network and due diligence to make your decision. Just know that switching vendors is no problem, but it does get more complicated when you have concurrent marketing automations operational. Some EMSs have a concierge service to help move your account to them.
I recommend Moosend and Mailerlite for artists without a list or a small list because they include marketing automation in the free version of their software. I have accounts with both services, and my preference is Moosend because of its simplicity, training, support, and ability to tag subscribers. Moosend is a recent acquisition by Sitecore, a company with complementary services and deep pockets. I suspect it might be a breakout deal with user advantages, but only time will tell.
I also like Convertkit because it caters to and promotes creators. The downside is it does not include marketing automation in its free account. Finally, Active Campaign is well regarded with deep penetration in the internet marketing community. It arguably is the most powerful of the four mentioned, but it lacks the free versions of the other services on this list. And most artists will not use much of Active Campaign’s advanced features. Some of the links are affiliate links that offer the same benefits and prices as without them.
Moosend includes marketing automation is free for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. After that, its pricing is lower than most competitors. Artists use Moosend to create and personalize campaigns, send email sequences using marketing automation, manage and segment subscriber lists, generate product recommendations, build custom landing pages and custom subscription forms.
Using analytics and click tracks, email opens, social shares, and unsubscribes, artists can utilize the drag-and-drop builder and customizable templates to control marketing functions with filters, events, and actions that trigger specific autoresponder email sequences inside automated workflows. Learn more about Moosend here.
As with Moosend, Mailerlite offers the first 1,000 subscribers free for life. That feature is compelling for many. The editor is easy to use. It comes with a host of content blocks that make it a snap to insert columns, image carousels, surveys, and other interactive elements. Mailerlite track changes so you can undo steps easily. A desirable feature allows you to add Facebook and Twitter posts into your email directly.
Mailerlite provides an excellent selection of attractive and customizable templates. A drawback is templates are not part of the free plan. But artists do have a wide array of content blocks to drag and drop onto their templates. Learn more about Mailerlite here.
There is much to like about Convertkit. It is easy to use, offers terrific customer support, caters to creators, and has a vast library of tutorials. It does provide a free version for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. However, unlike Moosend and Mailerlite, it omits the marketing automation feature from its free version. It is also more expensive once a user reaches the 1,000 plus threshold that requires moving to a paid account. Since many artists will never need a list of more than 1,000, the lack of marketing automation is a drawback. Learn more about Convertkit here.
Active Campaign is a more robust service than the abovementioned. As a result, it is more complicated to use. Users choose from two levels of service. The higher-priced option provides a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), which allows you to keep notes and detailed contact information on customers and prospects. The latter is excellent but probably overkill for most artists, especially if you are beginning to use email marketing. I include it here because it might be right for some more advanced artists in tech and marketing. Look it over, and then you decide. Learn more about Active Campaign here.
MailChimp and All the Rest
I’ve had a MailChimp account for many years. Because it did not start with marketing automation, it continues to add on new features to make it more usable for today’s sophisticated marketers. I find it the hardest to use for many reasons. Its tutorials require opening multiple tabs to learn how to do things, which gets confusing fast.
MailChimp also double-counts subscribers when you have them in separate lists, which means your cost of using can rise fast once you exceed its free 1,000 subscriber minimum. If you are already on it, I can see why you would stick with it. If your list is small, or you are just starting, I advise against using it as there are better free alternatives as mentioned above.
All the rest are either too simple, too complicated, or too expensive. There may be other suitable email marketing platforms with marketing automation. Things change fast in internet marketing. As such, this list with my recommendations may miss some other options. These recommendations are solid and likely is more than you will ever need. Feel free to shop, but I would not waste too much time on it.
How to Build an Email List for Artists. Who Should Be on Your Email Marketing List?
To make email marketing work, you need a reliable method of steadily gaining subscribers who qualify as potential buyers. Since no one on earth needs more email, you must offer a potential subscriber a reason to join your list. This post, The Art of the Ethical Bribe | How to Build Your Email List, is chock full of valuable insights and information on how to grow your list using a lead magnet, aka ethical bribe.
Permission Is Required
Unlike postal mail, you cannot send mass email without the recipient’s permission. It is illegal per the 2003 Can-Spam Act. Moreover, everyone hates spam. So just do not do it. Unless you have a trusted personal relationship with someone, do not add names their name to your list, no matter how promising and tempting it might be. Business cards are casually collected, and email addresses found on the internet do not permit you to add someone’s address to your email marketing list. Despite their availability, there are no lists, which are legal for you to purchase for your use. You can send a single, personalized email to someone who is not on your list requesting they opt-in to your list. However, even if they reply, you cannot add them to your email marketing list without their permission. Make sure all your emails include an easy-to-use opt-out link. As a courtesy and legal requirement, email marketing services automatically include opt-out links in the email they send on your behalf.
Be Aware and Comply with Privacy Laws
Privacy laws that govern commercial communication regulations require compliance. Your EMS has some of the requirements built-in, such as enforcing an unsubscribe link in all your messages. You need to know about Can-Spam, CASL, and GDPR. I recommend this guide to you, Your Go-To Guide to CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR. You’ll find it has excellent explanations and resources.
Growing Your Email Marketing List
Capturing email addresses requires your ongoing attention. If you work to make it an ingrained daily habit, your list will grow fast. There are many opportunities for you to collect email addresses.
Your website, blog, newsletter, email signature, and social media are among the most useful. You can include an enticing web form or link to make it easy to join your list with them. All email marketing service providers offer web forms to enable quick, painless sign-ups to your list.
Just remember to ask for permission to add when exchanging information during in-person encounters. A good practice is to follow up immediately to thank the person. Remind them their name is now on your list. Auto-responders are great for this purpose. We will cover them in another post.
Digital Email Marketing List Building Tips: Add a form or link on each page of your Web site and posts on your blog.In your regular emails, add a link in your signature line to invite recipients to join your email marketing list.When you send to your list, include both a “forward me” and a “sign up” feature in your e-newsletters, announcements, and other messages.Place your sign-up form on your Facebook Page, or use a prominent link to a hosted web form. Do the same with a link in your Twitter profile.If you participate in other social media, such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, do some Google searches to explore how to leverage your presence to build your email list.
Offline Email Markfeting List Building Suggestions
High visibility opportunities for growing email marketing lists for artists are gallery shows, art shows, and tradeshows. Presentations and public speaking give you an easy way to collect email addresses. Take the time to tell attendees what they will receive for subscribing to know what to expect from your messages. Place a mailing list sign-up sheet at your art fair or festival booth on one of your tables. Use bright signage to attract attention. Include a link to your email marketing list form on your business cards, brochures, flyers, and postcards.
If you are a frequent exhibitor at shows, consider getting an inexpensive tablet to let your visitors enter their information into a form on the tablet themselves. Consider buying an Anti-Theft Universal Tablet Floor Stand Kiosk. In the era of Covid-19, offering hand sanitizer is a good suggestion and will help get more use from the tablet. When you can, provide a short explanation to promote the value of joining your list. If you have a lead magnet or other additional benefits, make sure the people who might join your list know about the goodies that come with it for them.
Give a Little, Get a Lot
It is a proven fact that if you give someone something; they are much more inclined to give back. Entice your email marketing list prospects with an offer or a gift. Some suggestions are exclusive discounts; join your fan club with advance notice on new images and products, invitations to private showing parties, free shipping, or free-hanging/installation for local collectors. If you are in the print market, offer mini-prints or note cards. Collaborate with a frame shop to offer discounts from it. You could do the same with a local restaurant looking for new customers, especially if it is one where you have your art displayed. Use your creativity to come up with unique ways to encourage participation on your list.
Be Proactive, Take the Lead, Enjoy the Benefits
You can offer to trade lists with other artists or other businesses. That is, you would agree to send an email to your list promoting the frame shop’s business, and they would do likewise for your art business. There are endless creative ways you can build your list. When you take personal ownership of the process and lead in working to make a cooperative arrangement flourish, you are sure to enjoy newfound success. This process will extend beyond list building to other pertinent aspects of your art career. Your mailing list does not have to be huge to be effective. It is more valuable to have a responsive list that helps you develop deeper relationships with your subscribers. Your email marketing list is robust. A list with a few hundred names can help you pack a gallery with your best prospects at your openings. You can use your email list to drive traffic to your website or to some event or show where your art will be exhibited.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and regularly using your list needs to be a high-priority activity. As you build your email marketing list, your contacts will grow, as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for developing your successful art career by routinely using effective email marketing techniques.
One of the best ways is to do guest-post blogging. Guest blogs entail either writing the content yourself or hiring someone to help you write an article to go on a proposed blog that receives a lot of traffic that is related to your business. Your content has to be worthy and unique, and the sites you choose to submit to must be appropriate for your art and audience, so research your options thoroughly.
The value of being included in a blog with 8,000, 10,000, or 100,000 readers with accreditation links to your website is enormous, and it will help drive traffic to your site. It will raise your recognition quotient. In addition, once your first guest post is published, it will give you the credibility to make getting other guest-blogging opportunities easier. Go where your customers go; get on the same sites, groups, and places where they hang out. These sites and blogs are your best prospects to approach for guest blogging opportunities.
Quality Beats Quantity
Your mailing list does not have to be huge to be effective. It is more important to have a responsive list that helps you develop deeper relationships with your subscribers. Your email marketing list is robust. A list with a few hundred names can help you pack a gallery with your best prospects at your openings. You can use your email list to drive traffic to your website or to some event or show where your art will be exhibited.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and regularly using your list needs to be a high-priority activity. As you build your email marketing list, your contacts will grow, as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for improving your art career by routinely using effective techniques in your email marketing for artists efforts.
Newsletter Design Tips
While design, content, and subject lines are closely related in email marketing for artists, there is too much information to cover those topics in one blog post. Today, we will go after email newsletter design and jump on content and subject lines in future Art Marketing News blog posts devoted to email marketing for artists.
Email open rates differ, so you will not have every subscriber opening and reading your email. Some will open but not read the entire content. A pre-header is the first line of copy above the body of your email. It displays in some email programs, such as Gmail and Outlook, and most mobile email readers.
A good email marketing pre-header will enhance the open rate and click-through rate for your email marketing messages, as a secondary subject line. It appears just after the subject line in an Inbox. For your readers, it briefly summarizes what the email is about before they open it.
Use Headlines and Images
Use headlines with header tags, such as h2, to break up blocks of text. Many readers are skimmers. You can give them the essence of what your email message contains by moving them through the copy with headlines. Keep your headlines short, informative and punchy.
If it makes visual sense, use a headline related to the second block of text rather than the first just below it. You won’t lose readers by doing this. In some cases, it intrigues them to keep reading to discover the copy to which the headline relates.
In email marketing for artists, images help tell your story visually. Images brighten your copy. They help your reader more easily understand what you are saying in your email marketing message.
Always use the Alt-tag option on your images. ALT attribute text is the short line of copy that shows if a viewer hovers over the image. It also displays if your recipient’s default is set not to display images in their browser or a mobile device.
Alt-tags are great selling tools in email marketing for artists. If you don’t change the picture default name, it might show something like DSC-12115.jpg, which is tedious and useless. With image alt-tags, you add context and have a chance to tell your story more elaborately. Make your tag descriptive or a call to action, or both. “Get 25% off all images from the Waterfront Series until (expiration date.)
Image Size Matters
Make your images the right size for your content. Don’t use huge images directly from your camera or smartphone. Use Photoshop or some other photo editing software to compress the image for web use. Pixlr.com is an online slimmed-down program similar to Photoshop.
Many of the images I use on this site are created using Canva.com. I heartily recommend the Pro version because it keeps improving with new useful features and improvements on existing features. For instance, it recently began offering animation features that are fun and easy to use.
Canva offers standard templates for many social media and other frequently used shapes. Its Design School is a great way to learn how to make images that look professional. Graphic design requires different skill sets than fine art. Take advantage of this beneficial resource. It’s been a blessing for me.
Use short content blocks. The use of content blocks helps your design for the short attention span of most email readers. Try to use only two or three short sentences in each block. Using bullet points and numbered items helps make your copy easier to read. They increase your results.
Call to Action and Links
Your email marketing newsletter is a sales and promotional tool. While it does not hurt to be friendly and pleasant, that is not the point. Make sure you have a Call to Action designated for your newsletter. Yours might be:
Announce a Special Offer.Invite to a Show or Exhibit.Purchase an Artwork Direct from You.Invite to a Gallery Opening.Take a Survey.
Your Call to Action can be a hyperlinked image, or a text link, or both. Use text links to promote your reader’s attention or direct them to something you are writing about. For instance, if you visited a local museum, link to it in the copy about it. Or, if you have an image of an artwork for sale on your website, link to the order page.
Pay attention, and you will observe greater use of white space in graphic design everywhere, including email marketing. See how grocery flyers are less crowded with items. Most fonts are flat, without shadows, bevels, and other Photoshop tricks. Make sure you use fonts that simple and easy to read.
Use personalization sparingly and where appropriate. Incorporating a person’s name makes your copy friendlier unless it is overused. Then it becomes salesy and a big turnoff. In most cases, use the first name or sometimes the last name. People do not want to see their address or phone number in your email marketing copy.
If you have various sections or your copy is lengthy, use page navigation as part of your email marketing newsletter design. Navigation helps your reader quickly jump to the section they want to read. Anchor text is another way to help your readers navigate your newsletter.
These are the basics of successful email marketing newsletter design. Learn to incorporate them into your email marketing efforts, and you will begin to see growing interest in your newsletter. This action will translate into more conversions to sales, better open rates, and click rates for your newsletter.
In Email Marketing for Artists, Content Is King
Email marketing for artists is a must for any comprehensive strategy designed to develop a successful art career.
Valuable email marketing newsletters and messages need new, compelling, and relevant content. As with all successful endeavors, planning and focus are keys to success.
Once you have subscribers, your job evolves. You must engage them with content that keeps them opening your emails. For artists, this is critical because art is non-essential, and the gaps in time between when prospects are open to buying are lengthy. It’s not uncommon for galleries to make their first sales six, nine, twelve months, or longer after their initial encounter with a potential buyer.
Good content is how you keep your opportunities to sell to your list at a high rate. As an aside, the timeframe for open-to-buy periods speaks to the value of continually growing your list. This 25 Clever Content Marketing Examples with Amazing Results, a post from OptinMonster, is an excellent place to learn about content marketing and planning.
Organization & Planning = More Success & Less Stress
Email marketing for artists is the same as for any other business. When the deadline to start writing comes, having your content ready is how to avoid stress and reduce how long it takes to compose your article. Rushing to find last-minute news and ideas for your content creates anxiety and wastes time and money.
Create an Email Marketing for Artists Content Keeping Systems
Evernote is the best way to clip online content. It helps you quickly and easily capture and organize anything you find online. Microsoft One Note also is a convenient info organization tool. You can print any document from your computer to it, and you can copy and paste information from the internet into it. It is old school, but keeping a physical folder with ideas for content is better than nothing if it works for you.
The goal of your email marketing for artists strategy is simple. Engage your subscribers with content that keeps them involved and excited. You want subscribers to anticipate receiving your email newsletters and to enjoy your content.
It’s About You, Just Not All About You
Use a mix of information about you and your art, including noteworthy news, either personal or professional. Write about your current projects, events, sales, and promotions, along with other enticing tidbits of valuable, entertaining items of interest. Of course, your email marketing for artists content needs to about you. Nevertheless, the more you incorporate content not specific to you that both interests and intrigues your subscribers, the more your readers will be eager to receive and read your messages.
Here are ten suggestions for producing innovative and relevant content: Video content is powerful. If you already create short videos to help stand out with your audience, embed them in your newsletter. A great way is to insert a tightly cropped screenshot image from the video. Then link the image to the streaming service, such as YouTube, where it is uploaded. Doing this avoids the problem of subscribers’ email programs filtering embedded videos.Special Deals. Provide exclusive invitations or offers only available to newsletter subscribers. Make it pay for them.Ongoing Useful Content. Add a regular “Tips for Art Collectors” as a fun, continuous component of your newsletter.
A few suggestions are how to hang art, care for art, place art, frame or re-frame art, storage, shipping, consignment, and use the secondary art market.Guest posters. They will add a different perspective or expertise to keep your art marketing content stimulating. These guests could include other artists, a picture framer, a museum curator, another art collector, or the organizer of the show where you exhibit.Relevant news rules. Use news about you, your local art community, or the whole art community to involve your readers. Ask for feedback. Set up alerts on Google Alerts for topics you believe would attract your readers. Including one for your name and business name, if different, helps you learn what others are saying about you.Resources for ideas are abundant. Keep up with news, trends, events, and opinions.
The New York Times Art & Design and Huff Post Arts & Culture pages are ample resources for your email marketing story ideas.Keep up with your competition. When it comes to email marketing for artists, it is necessary to know what other artists are doing. If you find something valuable, you can link to it or write your art marketing content to add your opinion and perspective. If its content is essential to you, for instance, funding arts in education, your new post citing the original post will extend the messages and keep the drumbeat going. Notify the original author to let them know you linked to their copy; it might cause a prized link back your content.Hang out in the same online spots as your buyers. Use these sources for research first and communication second. Follow your buyers to find the groups and communities where they hang out. See what topics are trending within those groups. Perhaps there is a charity or activity you were not aware of that is relevant to them. Never be a phony. However, if you agree, feature their interests in your art-marketing newsletter or contribute to their cause and recommend it in your newsletter.
Get personal. For some of us, it is easy to share stories from our own lives. Do not despair if that is not you. Draw parallels from third-party examples. It could be anything that inspires you. Suppose you are into the classics where you learned a lesson, perhaps something that deeply moved you from seeing or reading Les Miserables or Anna Karenina. Relate how your life, art, or business was affected.
Talk about how it informed or inspired your newest works. Sharing at this level is compelling, especially when your art and creative process are included.Use keyword and trend tools. They help you get the thoughts of your best customers and prospects. Use the Google Adwords Keywords and the Wordtracker Free Keyword tools to build a list of how your customers search to find art and artists. Layer your research using the Google Trends tool. The point is when you know what your collectors and prospects are looking and searching for, you can build your content around their interests.
That is much more effective than guessing or publishing around your interests; hopefully, you will find much common ground to work. As with many points listed here, using keyword and trend tool research could be the subject of a lengthy post on its own. Recently, I used Google Trends to help illustrate a recent blog post. You can read it here: Canvas Prints versus Art Prints | What Terms Are You Using?
There Is a Wealth of Information from Search Engines
Doing your research for art marketing newsletter ideas and suggestions will result in many more helpful tips you can use to make your newsletter copy sparkle. Just as with making art, the more you do it, the more your expertise will improve.
You will find a myriad of items you can include in your newsletter. Never forget that the primary purpose of email marketing for artists is to spur interest in you and your art and lead to sales. Make sure you have links to pages where your readers can find your art and buy it online.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Commit to sending your newsletter at least monthly. Any less than that and your list will become stale, and your reader interest will wane. It is too precious to let that happen.
Using effective lead magnets is how to get more high-quality subscribers
Who doesn’t wish they didn’t have work to find qualified prospects and convert them into customers? You can mess up your chances for success if you let such wishful and dangerous thinking keep you from doing essential tasks. Always remember,
Hope is neither a plan nor a strategy
To enjoy the career you want, you must develop practical plans that include these crucial aspects to your business. Goods and services buyers want, Efficient marketing to drive sales and viable support to maintain customers and build a reputation.
Goods and Services
Before you can think about marketing, you must have a product or service others want. You need demand. Don’t complicate your thinking. It doesn’t matter if you have competition or have something unique and new. What matters is if enough people buy to meet your goals. Only research and experience will tell.
Marketing and Sales
Once you have goods and services, you must develop a market for them. Marketing determines your ideal buyers and creates demand for your offerings among them. It propels prospects along the customer journey, starting with gaining their attention. That leads to growing interest, which, when deepened, intensifies a desire to make purchases and, for some, to become best-case brand ambassadors.
All goods and services require support. It’s how you onboard new customers, and maintain existing customer needs and strengthen relationships. Support is critical to your brand reputation.
In a nutshell, the aspects above are required to run a profitable, sustainable business.
Sales Funnels and the Customer Journey
Modern business jargon uses “sales funnel” and “customer journey” phrases to describe how businesses attract potential buyers and move them from product unawareness to becoming buyers and even evangelists. With good reason, it’s popular to equate developing relationships with customers to the stages of intimacy in the dating and looking for life partners stages of life. There are apparent similarities.
In every case, it’s all about KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. You grow from first awareness, perhaps eye contact, an introduction, or noticing a social media post or ad to form an impression. Steps then evolve to making contact and getting to know and understand one another. If things go well, the connection progresses. In business, your goal is to make sales, create happy customers and encourage evangelists. The enthusiasm for Apple products epitomizes the full spectrum of the customer journey process.
Getting Leads Is Easy | Follow Up Makes or Breaks You
Want more leads? You can find hundreds of creative ideas and practical techniques by searching for “how to get leads” in your favorite browser. You will find the ideas, advice, and suggestions represent an overwhelming embarrassment of riches. That’s because nearly everything works. You only need to test and then settle on what approach works best and matches your needs. Social media, organic search results (SEO), cold emailing, cold calling, networking, advertising, direct mail, referrals, reviews, and directory listings are among the most widely used methods today.
A great place to start is social media. It is affordable, fast, and relatively easy to use. You can hire professionals or study how to use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to gain awareness for your business. The process in nearly every case involves finding a way to get your prospective customers on your email list. Email marketing remains the most important and valuable way to manage leads that convert to buyers.
Trust Your Instincts and Support Them with Research
Begin with your instincts and feel for your market. Do your research to back up your ideas—test to refine the process. Improve by learning how others with similar businesses get people into their funnels. It’s an easy-to-follow and transparent means. Join a mailing list of your top competitors and marketers whose work and products you admire and use. You will experience firsthand the exact steps, strategies and, tactics they use in their version of the customer journey.
Getting an Opt-In Is the Critical First Step
Have you heard the term lead magnet? It’s yet more digital marketing industry jargon to define what you use to convince someone to opt-in to your email list. The days of expecting results from offering a chance to join your email list to get more emails are long gone. Today, you need to provide something of value to encourage action and grow your list. No one needs nor wants more email. Some equate lead magnets to using an ethical bribe trading valuable content for contact information.
A lead magnet that works well will appeal to your prospects’ interest and direct relation to your goods and services. There are some functional parameters to consider. It must have value, but it must also be easy to consume. Digital products work best. You still see some marketers offering a free physical where the prospect pays the shipping. It’s a technique in decline. Even giving away a digital copy of a paperback is ineffective because it’s not easy to use. No one wants to read a full-length book in PDF format. It’s too much.
You may wonder, “What is a lead magnet?”
First, let’s talk about one of the crucial things artists need to do to grow their business. An active email list is essential to a thriving art career today. If you believe, as I do, now is the time for artists to take control of their careers, then you will agree to the importance of building a list of subscribers. The more you sell to your list, the less reliant you are on third-party distribution, such as galleries and publishers.
Find Buyers and Sell Your Artwork to Them
For years, I have championed today’s artists’ idea to find ways to cultivate relationships to sell to buyers directly through marketing—and friendships, and other mutually beneficial connections.
Marketing for Connections
Learning how to use marketing to make those connections is at the core of the Art Marketing Toolkit Project. It’s the most affordable and best offer ever, focusing on fitting art marketing into the artist’s life you want to lead.
The option of building a base and selling directly to buyers was not possible for artists in previous generations. It was career suicide to buck the gallery, dealer, and publisher model. Plus, it was awkward and expensive to go it alone.
No third-party distributor would work with an artist who they saw as competing with them back in the day. Now the internet, social media, and email marketing make it easy and affordable for artists to sell to their clientele. Also helping is consumers have changed their buying habits. Their first choice often is to source from the creator of the products they buy. You can thank Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other sites focused on selling work by indie artists for shifting consumer buying habits.
Power Up Your Email Opt-in Forms
Now, you can sign up with an email service provider and create opt-in web forms that make it easy for potential subscribers to join your list. We are harder to motivate now. Just asking for a subscription is not enough. Your prospect needs to know what’s in it for them.
A good lead magnet solves the “what’s in it for me” problem. And, that’s just the start. The right one will do much more. You’re a small businessperson, so you should jump on it anytime you can get extra mileage out of anything you are doing.
Here’s a description of a lead magnet from DigitalMarketer.com:
The Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a particular chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information – usually an email address.
What Makes for an Irresistible Bribe from an Artist?
The best thing you can do to make a great lead magnet is to use your existing content. You have a website, a blog; you may have published articles or written evocative emails. Anything that is already in the can makes for valuable lead magnet content.
The best lead magnets are easy to consume and access, and that’s what makes ebooks and portfolios such a valuable tool. They are relatively inexpensive and fast to create. You can deliver them via a download link in a thank you email to your subscribers.
There’s Good News about Lead Magnets
Creating sales starts with building relationships with prospective buyers. To start, they don’t know you from Adam. Buyers have an unspoken continuum they follow before making a purchase. They instinctively need to Know, Like, and Trust the source before they buy. You won’t find them deviating from the process.
Lead magnets in the form of ebooks check all the boxes:
It is desirable to ownEasy to consumeQuick and convenient to deliverAffordable to createProvides helpful, informative, educational value to the subscriberIt kicks off the Know, Like, and Trust continuum with the least amount of effort for all involved
Here are examples of lead magnets:
Special report or a guideChecklistInfographicAudio recordingTutorialTemplatesWorksheetsCheatsheets
Examples of art-specific lead magnets:
Mini-printNotecardsSmall brochures or portfoliosExclusive subscriber discountsJoin your fan/collectorsInvitations to private-showing parties (online and offline)Free shipping on the first orderFree hanging/installation for local collectors
It’s your first step towards introducing your buyers into your process. It lets them see how you do your business. They get access to some of your best content gathered together in one place. They get to look at your images and learn a little about you and your art.
How better for your future collectors to get to know you than through an ebook? As a lead magnet, it doesn’t need to tell your whole story.
You don’t pour out your heart to give your life history to new people when you meet them. Sending your ebook with exciting information is perfect. It’s the Goldilocks Theory. Not too much, not too little, but just right. It’s akin to starting a relationship by saying, “Let’s grab a coffee.” The implication is we can take a little time to see if there is anything worth investing more time.
How to Make an Ebook?
If you are handy with MS Word, you can copy and paste your content into the program. Once you are happy with the result, use the “Save As” option and select PDF. You can also use PowerPoint, Keynote, or some other presentation software. And, there are many online sites, both free and paid to help you. Plus, there is Fiverr.com, where you can hire a freelancer to do the job for you.
You can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to create PDF e-books. But, to get a good result, you need to know how to use those programs – and have access to them as well. There is an open-source version of Photoshop called Gimp. New free online services you can use to create PDFs pop up frequently. You can find them by searching for “free online pdf maker” or some similar search phrase. Canva also offers ebook creation among its services.
Marketing Services for Artists
If you lack the time, training, or expertise to create an effective lead magnet, I can help you. I’ve developed many versions for Art Marketing News and other artists. You can see examples of the lead magnets I’ve designed and created for my business below.
To get more details on how I can help you, go to the Marketing Services for Artists page. You will find there a wide range of services I offer for artists and creatives. Check it out, and let me know how I can help you.