WHY EMAIL MARKETING FOR ARTISTS?
As an artist, you’re already on social media, the Facebooks and Instagrams of this world. You also probably have a website with your art.
So why email? Who uses email anyway in the 21st century? Well, the people who sell millions worth of art do. Art Galleries!
Here's a quote from Artsy Gallery Insights: 2020 Report:
"The most lucrative marketing tactic for driving art sales in 2019 was email marketing. This aligns strongly with the most commonly reported source of sales: existing clients. Having a dedicated gallery newsletter to send out regular updates, press releases, and exhibition announcements is one of the best ways to keep clients up to date and engaged with a gallery’s program."
As the chart on the right shows, art galleries make the most sales with email marketing. Better yet, email marketing is the second least expensive marketing channel for them - and definitely for artists too.
DO I HAVE ANYTHING TO SHARE?
I can't remember who said that (leave me a note please if you remember). But I read it somewhere that...
Art collectors love the artist as much as the art
For those of us who can't paint, artists are magicians. Art collectors love to learn even minute details about their favorite artists and their art.
Here are a few content ideas that your art collectors might want to read:
* Explain the meaning behind one of your paintings
* What did you feel when you created it?
* What techniques do you use, why these and not others?
* What are you inspired by now?
* What is your next project?
* Where did you exhibit and how did it go?
* What are your thoughts on the current situation in the world?
* Why do you paint X, Y, Z?
All of them are great content. All of them are worth sharing
WHICH PLATFORM SHOULD I USE?
Well, this one is easy. MailChimp.
12 million people are already using it.
It dominates the market with a 68% market share.
Constant Contact, AWeber, Campaign Monitor, MailerLite, etc? They are well below 10% of the market share
So I'd stick with the leader.
It is Simple.
It is Friendly.
It is Free (in most cases)
I used it and recommend it.
WHAT MAILCHIMP DOES FOR YOU
Nice looking emails:
* Several templates
* Several themes
* Good looking fonts
High email delivery rates:
* MailChimp ensures your email won't end up in Spam/Junk folders
* It follows 60+ anti-spam rules with the emails it sends
* Who read it
* When they read it.
* Who clicks on your links.
* What they click on
Built-in mailing list management:
* Easy unsubscribe button.
* Easy to import/export your mailing list from/to CRM
HOW TO COLLECT EMAILS?
Most people are very cautious about giving out their emails.
Always ask if they want to sign up. And only send to those who expressed interest. My personal best places to collect emails?
Art Fairs, Open Studios, Gallery openings
* If you’re working with a gallery, ask them to share the emails of people who expressed interested in your art.
* Open Studios: hold the guestbook in your hand, pass it on to the people who come in. People rarely decline.
* Art Fairs: same as the open studios, don't just give out cards, do have a nice guestbook
* Make the “Subscribe” page prominent in the menu
* Have a “Leave a comment” form in your blog
* Use a “squeeze page” layout (watch this video for more on: Squeeze Page Formula)
And don’t fret too much, everyone knows how to use the “unsubscribe” button. And it is OK, if people do. (But that depends more on your email content than anything else)
People who have subscribed to your newsletter:
* Already like, if not, love your art.
* Probably want to follow you.
* Want to get to know you better.
* At some level, they see themselves in you.
* There’s something intimate that you’re sharing with them
In my experience, my unsubscribe rates are very low. On average, 0.5% of people a month will unsubscribe (and several more will join the mailing list at the same time).
Email marketing might sound intrusive and uncomfortable at first, but in my experience I really enjoy the interaction.
The feedback and love from people, knowing that they read what I have to share. Your audience will include:
* Your friends.
* Other artists.
* Art collectors
* Gallerists, curators, art consultants
* Your mom, dad, sister, brother and the entire extended family :-)
CONTENT BEST PRACTICES
1. Keep them personal
For me, emails are personal and some are even intimate. There’s a certain trust that is building up with each letter. People I talk with don’t just give me “Likes”, they give me their time and attention.
2. Keep the right image to text ratio
We live in a world of short attention span. It is still easier for us to “read” images than text. I recommend using one image per one paragraph of text.
3. Beautiful template, your brand
As an artist, you have developed an excellent aesthetic sense. Better than most of us, you sense colors and form. You can use it in email to your advantage.
MailChimp makes it easy with templates and themes. Layout, logo, background color, all are tools at your disposal. All communicate who you are and make your emails stand out.
CONTENT BEST PRACTICES, CONT.
4. Content as a launching pad
Email is just a preview of what you have to say and show. No one, no one(!) likes to read long emails. So use your email as a launching pad to your other content. Use buttons (not just hyperlinks), as buttons are more visible.
Every email section should have a call-to-action, e.g.:
* Read my blog
* Visit my new website
* Take a look at my painting
* Buy my work
* Fill out my survey
* Come to my Open Studios, Gallery, Art Exhibition, etc
5. Give back
As with anything, always give back! Give back to the community by promoting other artists. Promote art events around you. Give something back to your art collectors. It could be a gif, a pleasant photo of your garden, your favorite pet's photo. Something that gives them joy.
My personal rule of thumb: 20-25% of my email content is the “Give Back!” content.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SEND THEM?
Most people are inundated with emails, that’s no secret. Some companies (e.g. Artsy.com) recommend sending multiple times a week.
I find that is too often. I feel like all they want is my money. And.. they keep on recycling the same content. (Today I received an email with the 2016 content... Thanks, Artsy. )
For me personally, once a month is the perfect cadence. It takes me 1-2 days to craft a good email. Often, I need to write a blog or prepare quality images for it. A month gives me enough content to share. Spending more time than that on email marketing for artists... is too much.
If your readers want more frequent updates from you, then, they’ll follow you on Facebook or Instagram.
Once a month has “a pleasant surprise” feel to it. If your email is done right, it has that “unwrapping a gift” feel to it.
EMAILS ARE EFFECTIVE
My email open rate for the last several months is in this chart. It started at ~40% and is now up to ~60%. My click rate is 6-8% (people who clicked on links in the email).
This is a high rate for all forms of marketing (knock on wood). The average email marketing open rate across all industries is 15-25%. While the Facebook click-through-rate is 2-5%, and the Instagram click-through-rate is 0.5%.
Averages for artists specifically on MailChimp are:
* 27% email open rate
* 3% click-through rate
So email marketing for artists still remains quite effective. People still love art and artists and like to hear from them.
And on this pleasant note... Let's get to writing! Emails at least :)
If you like this guide, please see my other guides for artists:
* Websites for Artists (TBD)
* Online Ads (TBD)
* SEO for Artists (TBD)
And please add me to your mailing list, I'd love to read them: firstname.lastname@example.org