You’re probably using social media right now as a way to get new people to see your art and a way to get all the people who already know about your art to want to buy from you.
But you know what’s better at that second part? Email marketing. Instead of getting someone to follow you on Instagram (or in addition to!), you’ll probably see better results if you get them to sign up for your email list.
THAT ALLOWS YOU A LOT OF CONTROL.
You can control when they hear from you, since the vast majority of people check their inbox at least daily.
You can control the discussion. What you email about is up to you. And how you lay it out and brand it is up to you.
You get their attention – most of the time. Unless they get interrupted by a real-life event, once they open your email they’re usually going to at least skim through it. So they are seeing your name again, seeing your art again, and spending some time out of their day to connect with you and your work.
You can take them through a sort of “story” about your art from beginning to now, rather than them haphazardly jumping in and out of the story.
And you can tell them what to do next in a setting where they are practically trained to take action. It will feel natural to click on a link or hit reply when you ask them to do so in an email. On social media we are more trained to consume content and move on without doing anything other than maybe a mindless click of the like button.
So you need to send emails (try MadMimi if you want a free-to-start program that’s really easy to use).
IF YOU AREN’T, YOU’RE MISSING OUT ON A LOT OF RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR FANS, WHICH TURN INTO SALES OVER TIME.
What do you do once you’ve got it set up?
First you have to get people to subscribe. Instead of talking up your social media networks, ask people if they want to join your email list. And don’t forget to post it on social media every so often. Once every other week is good if you’re active daily on social media. If you’re less active on social media, then mention it once every 10 or 15 posts.
Then when you have at least one person on your list who doesn’t know you personally (ie your mom doesn’t count), you want to start emailing about once a month.
Some people disagree with me about the frequency. But I think you need to appear at least once a month in their inbox or it’s too easy for them to forget who you are – meaning that when you do send an email, they’ll unsubscribe right away.
And I think you can send more than that, but you don’t want to get carried away.
Art isn’t something people need to hear about daily or even weekly.
It’s not like you’re sending them sales on household products they use daily. It’s not like you’re giving them tips for being a parent, being more productive at work, or cooking better meals. Your subject matter isn’t something that really comes up daily for them, so they shouldn’t get emails that often either or they’ll get a bit annoyed.
That being said, monthly is a great frequency for regularly connecting but when you’re releasing a new collection, letting people know about a big event, having a sale… these sorts of things require extra emails.
So it’s totally fine to end up sending, say, 4 emails in April. As long as in May you’re only sending 1 or 2. It’s ok to have that little ebb and flow to it. And it’s definitely ok to send more when you actually have something to say.
Just make sure you don’t dip below the once a month mark.
What artists should email about is something people often ask me too. They’re usually making it too complicated. The same things you talk about on social media or your blog are great topics for email.
THE SUCCESSFUL ASPECTS OF EMAIL ARE LESS ABOUT THE CONTENT AND MORE ABOUT THE FORMAT.
If you’re signed up for my emails, you’ll notice that a lot of my messages just contain a little summary and link to the most recent blog post.
You can definitely do something like that – sharing something you’ve already posted about on social media or your blog.
But it’s good to sometimes give your subscribers something extra that no one else is seeing. They’ve put extra trust in you by giving you their email address, so they not only deserve a little special attention but they also probably expect it.
In general, though, the types of pictures and stories you share on your Instagram page are perfect for an email. Your email doesn’t have to be long (but it can be, if that’s your style!) and it doesn’t have to be profound. Just share a little something about you, your studio, your artwork and your subscribers will quickly build a deep relationship with you that supports them in connecting to your art enough to buy it.
Next week I’m going to talk about a more advanced thing you can do with email marketing.
You’ll love it because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it tool that will be even more helpful in making sales in your art business.
But in the meantime, you can sign up for a free lecture I’ll be giving in a couple weeks about email marketing using the box below. It’s online, so you can attend the lecture in your pajama, have your noisy kids or pets around, or cook dinner while you listen and pop into the chat to ask questions whenever you need.