How are you making use of your email list? Sending out a monthly newsletter is great, but if that’s all you’re sending out, you may be missing out on a lot of sales. While social media is awesome, your email list is still the most powerful tool you have for marketing.
But why? What gives your mailing list more potential power than, say, a paid Facebook ad? The answer is that if people are receiving your emails, it means they signed up to your list. That’s essentially them raising their hand and saying “Yes, I like your stuff and I WANT to hear from you!” Social media ads can be a powerful tool, but there is a lot of guesswork and refining involved in getting it “right”. Your email list is a perfectly curated list of people who have already expressed their interest in your work and the desire to hear from you again. So if you can figure out the most effective way to communicate with those people, you have a seriously great opportunity on your hands to forge good relationships with them and ultimately sell more art.
Why the Email Newsletter is Failing You
You may object to this- “but I DO send out emails to my list! I send a bi-monthly newsletter with pictures of what I’m working on and a list of events where people can see my art!”
This is great! But let’s step back and imagine receiving this information via snail mail. When you receive a newsletter from an organization, what do you do with it? You may scan it for interesting info and look at the pictures. But then? Into the recycling it goes. This is likely so even if the newsletter has a place at the back for your to order a product, send in a donation, or sign up for an event. There is just no appeal. You don’t feel a real need or a sense of urgency to take action.
Now imagine that instead you receive a letter from the same organization in a conversational tone. It’s not a letter asking for money or trying to make a sale. It’s just a story. The story the letter tells you is actually interesting. It’s not too long, and it’s focused. It ends leaving you wanting to hear more. And when, in three days, you receive another letter in the mail, you open it immediately because you remember that you were intrigued by what you read.
The latter example is much closer to the way successful email marketing works these days. The landscape email marketing has changed dramatically in the past 10 years- think about how many emails you receive and don’t even bother to open because you already know it’s going to be uninteresting: another 20% coupon or an announcement of a sale and nothing else?
In order to compete with the constant influx of promotional newsletters, you need to give your readers an intriguing reason to keep opening your emails.
The 3 Keys to an Effective Email Marketing Campaign
An email marketing campaign is different from a newsletter: it’s typically sent in a series of emails over intervals of days or weeks, and these emails are usually linked together by a common theme- often the marketer will choose to tell a continuing story that doesn’t conclude until the last email. The key elements you need in order to get started crafting your own campaign?
- A good story. Not sure what your story is? HTSYAO 101 can help you figure it out. Learn more about how to tell your story with the framework of the hero’s journey here: https://theabundantartist.com/art-storytelling-monomyth/
- An end goal for your emails. What do you want people to do? This goal can be different for different sequences at different times. Perhaps you want to sell a new series of originals, or you want to offload some prints. Maybe you want to get people to come to a gallery opening. Whatever action it is you want your readers to take by the end of the email sequence, have it firmly in mind before you start writing.
- A good email marketing platform. You’ll want something that will allow you to break down your email list into smaller groups based on how often they open emails, whether or not they have purchased from you, etc. This is called “segmenting” and it’s a really powerful tool for targeting your email marketing. Our Recommended Tools and Resources page has a few email marketing platforms that we recommend in the Organization & Business Tools for Artists section. Check it out!
Learn How to Send Emails That Will Actually Sell Your Art
Understanding the difference between a targeted email marketing campaign and a basic email newsletter, and knowing the three basic things you need to send a good email marketing campaign is a good starting point. If you want to delve deeper into learning how to write really awesome emails that will get your readers interested in becoming collectors, here are a few suggestions:
Research effective tactics by signing up for email lists: Sign up for some email lists (they don’t have to be other artists’ lists, but if you know of some artists doing well selling their art online it doesn’t hurt to take a peek at what they’re doing!) and take notes on the emails you receive. Note the frequency, the intervals between emails, and the way they write. You’ll probably notice that they normally write in a very conversational tone- more conversational than a standard blog post. They may leave you with a cliffhanger, or really “buddy up” to you in these emails and make it feel like they’re sharing intimate secrets. Take note of how this makes you feel, because they’re doing it on purpose!
Get in-depth teaching on writing and setting up email sequences: How to Sell Your Art Online 201 is a course all about sales funnels and email marketing for artists. Learn more and sign up fo the course here: https://theabundantartist.com/htsyao-options/htsyao201
Try the Email Marketing Challenge: This is a challenge we run once or twice a year, but you can try it out whenever it works for your schedule! This is a simple 5-day challenge set up to help you jump-start your email marketing with 5 short lessons with quick actions you can take each day. See the lessons here: https://theabundantartist.com/email-marketing-challenge-lessons/
The key takeaway is that your email marketing sequence is a chance for you to both intrigue and connect emotionally with your collectors. People who feel a real emotional connection with your art are much more likely to buy it, and those kinds of relationships are the ones that keep collectors coming back as well as recommending you to others. If you’ve never tried connecting to your collectors through your email list in this way, it’s worth a try!
How has your email marketing been going? Let us know in the comments!