So last week we talked a bit about email marketing, but we didn’t go into its place in your art business. So that’s today’s topic – where does email marketing fit into your strategy for actually selling more art?
I’ll dive right in by talking about funnels.
You may have heard around that “funnels” are all the rage right now in online marketing.
And there’s good reason since they do work really well.
I’M SEEING ARTISTS USING THEM AND FINDING THEIR FANBASE IS MORE INVOLVED, MORE EXCITED, AND MORE LIKELY TO BUY.
But let me back that thing up! (lame 90’s reference for those of you who thought that was strangely worded)
What the H is a funnel?
A funnel is a path people are likely to take from never having seen you or your art to buying the most expensive thing you have to offer.
BY UNDERSTANDING HOW SOMEONE IS LIKELY TO MOVE THROUGH YOUR WORLD, YOU’RE ABLE TO CAREFULLY DESIGN PARTS OF YOUR MARKETING, BRANDING, AND SELLING TO PLAY INTO THIS PATH AND HELP PEOPLE GO THROUGH IT FARTHER AND MORE EASILY.
The word “funnel” of course comes from the idea that as you go through the path, the number of people at each stage narrows like a funnel until only a small number are at the bottom. It’s not a perfect metaphor. Don’t ask too many questions. 😉
So at the top, the largest part of the funnel, we have people who have just realized you exist on this planet. Maybe they just saw your art on social media or a friend mentioned your name and described your art in three or four words.
As we go down the funnel, we want those people to become customers right?
But most people aren’t going to buy a piece of art the very first time they saw that artist’s work.
They need time to feel comfortable, mull the decision over, ask their spouse – or maybe they love the style but the pieces they saw just weren’t a perfect fit for them (size, color, general vibe or subject matter, budget).
So what we do in between the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel is help them get to know us.
I know you’re familiar with this idea because you’re probably on Instagram. Or maybe you’re a Facebook gal or, I don’t know, Snapchat’s your thing.
You do social media and you pay attention to your number of followers because you know that’s the number of people who could potentially buy from you.
And you post regularly because it allows people to see your work (and you – your personality, stuff they find interesting about you, etc) over and over again to help ready them to buy.
So social media’s great. I love social media.
But you don’t have a ton of control over social media.
It’s really easy for people to miss your posts or to see your post and move on to someone else’s quickly… or even to be hanging out on your profile looking at all your posts and then decide to click a hashtag to dive into other people’s posts. And maybe your fans (and potential fans!) aren’t as obsessed with social media as the rest of us. My husband doesn’t use ANY social media. Crazy man… So your fans might not be on their accounts enough to ever see your posts or interact with you.
This is where email marketing comes in, which we talked about last week. Instead of getting them to follow you on Instagram, you can get them to sign up for your email list. (Or both!)
BUT WHAT I WANT TO FOCUS ON TODAY IS SENDING A SERIES OF EMAILS THAT HELPS PEOPLE MOVE THROUGH YOUR FUNNEL.
So this isn’t about your normal newsletters or launches or event announcements.
(Stop right there! If you don’t have a professional email marketing provider, you have to get one. You can’t automate emails without it, but there are also a bazillion other fabulous things about having one and you can start for free.)
This is a series of emails that every subscriber should get when they first sign up.
You’ll write these once and then anytime someone new signs up for your email list, they’ll get these emails slowly over a few weeks.
In your email marketing provider, look for the spot to set up autoresponders. It might also be called drips, automations, nurture sequences, or other similar things.
Now we are going to plan a series of about 5 emails that will go out over the first 2-3 weeks after someone signs up.
SO IT’S A GREAT WAY FOR NEWBIES TO GET TO KNOW YOU AND FOR YOU TO GUIDE THEM TOWARD A SALE.
When you’re designing the emails, you want to be thinking about those two things – how does this email either deepen their connection with you or urge them to consider buying from you?
And in order for them to do the latter, without you feeling slimy salesy, you’ll probably have to do a lot of the former.
So your first 3 emails are going to be purely about deepening their connection with you.
The first email, they should get immediately when they sign up.
In that email, just tell them who you are and if you promised to gift them anything free (that’s totally not a requirement) make sure they receive it in this email.
It should be a riff on your bio, explaining how you got to your current art practice and/or where you take inspiration.
The second email should come a few days later and be a bit deeper. Something that touches on emotions. This is a great opportunity to discuss your history as an artist if you didn’t really go into it in the previous email.
You can also talk about how you think about art, tell a story of when you knew you were meant to be an artist, explain how art got you through a hard time, etc.
The third email should come another few days after the second one. And it’s usually good to bring things around to be more about your finished artworks at this point.
So my favorite thing to do in this email is help them to understand your art.
The fourth email, again a few days later (so you should at least be into Week 2 by now), can be the first mention of buying.
You don’t want to mention actual art for sale before this because you want to give them time to get to know you first.
But you shouldn’t just come out and say “buy from me” even though you’ve done the warm up over more than a week. You want to segue into it.
So it’s best to pick a particular piece that you’re going to talk about. Show “the making of” and then lead them into purchasing.
Now this last email is more focused on getting them to buy, yes, but you don’t want to lose the rapport you’ve created. If you saw a new friend for the fifth time, you wouldn’t say “ok – now that you know me I expect you to buy my art. Here’s my portfolio.”
Of course not! And you probably wouldn’t do that no matter how long you had been friends.
So this email isn’t much different than a real friend.
We want to let them know that they CAN buy and we definitely want to support them in their journey to buy if they want to buy, but we’re certainly not going to pressure them.