Why Email Marketing For Artists?
As an artist, you’re already on social media
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
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 most sales with Email Marketing
Better yet, Email Marketing is the 2nd least expensive marketing channel for them
And definitely for the 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 art
Here are a few ideas for content:
- Explain one of your paintings
- What did you feel when you created it
- What technique do you use, why this and not the other
- 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 68% market share
Constant Contact, AWeber, Campaign Monitor, MailerLite, etc?
Well below 10% of the market share
So I'd stick 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 ened up in Spam/Junk folders
- It follows 60+ anti-spam rules with emails it sends
- Sophisticated analytics
- 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 opening
- If you’re working with gallery, ask them to share emails of people who expressed interested in your art
- Open Studios: hold the guestbook in your hand, pass it on to people who come in. People rarely decline
- Art Fairs: same as open studios, don't just give out cards, do have a nice guestbook
- Your Website
- Make the “Subscribe” page very prominent in the top navigational menu
- Have “Leave a comment” form in your blog to collect emails
- 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 your better
- At some level, they see themselves in you
- There’s something very intimate that you’re sharing with them
In my experience, my unsubscribe rates are very low. On average, 0.5% of people will unsubscribe a month (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
- 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
- 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 1 image for 1 paragraph of text
- Beautiful template, your brand
As an artist, you have developed excellent aesthetic sense
Better than most of us, you sense colors and form
You can use it in the 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.
- 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), 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 unclose
- Buy my work
- Fill my survey
- Come to my Open Studios, Gallery Art Exhibition, etc
- 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
Could be a gif, a pleasant photo of your garden, your favorite pet 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 sent 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 their 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
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)
Average across all industries email marketing open rate is 15-25%
While Facebook click-through-rate is 2-5%
And 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 arts 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:
- Facebook for Artists
- Instagram for Artists
- Email Marketing for Artists
- Websites for Artists
- Online Ads
- SEO for Artists
Leave me a comment below, please! I'd love to hear your thoughts
And please add me to your mailing list, I'd love to read them:
June 2, 2020