Last week I talked about how deleting your blog opens you up for other potential marketing that would be more effective, like email marketing.
This week I want to talk about a few email platforms you could get started with.
Remember – it’s important to use a proper email marketing provider instead of your normal gmail account or whatever you use.
An email marketing provider will keep your emails out of spam folders, give you great tracking tools to see who is opening & reading your emails, allow you to layout your emails professionally, and – my favorite – give you the ability to organize and categorize people easily to send them more of what they care about and less of what they don’t.
(For example: Imagine you have an exhibition coming up. 500 people are on your email list and only 50 of them live within an hour of the gallery that’s hosting your exhibition. So if you send out an announcement about the exhibition, asking that people come to the opening and bring friends, 450 people don’t live close enough for this to be relevant. So probably about 400 people are annoyed seeing this email in their inbox. But with a proper email marketing provider, you might know that 35 or 40 of those people who live within an hour are “locals” and can easily send the email just to them. Maybe 10 or 15 who are close by don’t get the email because you didn’t know they lived close, but it’s a better solution than annoying 400 people.)
My longstanding favorite email marketing provider (oh let’s just shorten it to EMP now) for artists making under $20k/yr is Mad Mimi. Let me break them down for you:
Cost – free up to 100 contacts; $10/month for up to 500 contacts; and so on
Features – unlimited lists allowing you to keep record of contacts who have purchased from you, attended events, inquired about a painting, etc.; loads of integrations (including one that lets you put an Etsy listing right into an email – so cool!); you can use single OR double optin at your discretion for each form you create
Why I Recommend – my clients regularly rate this as the easiest one to figure out how to use; the customer service is crazy-fast and willing to make practically anything happen for you (I used Mad Mimi for 5 years I loved them so much!)
Drawbacks – sometimes you have to jerry rig the optin form code to do what you need it to (but customer service does walk you through it); it feels like aging software that isn’t getting improved to keep up with the industry (though it does always still function properly)
This is the one most people will tell you to get. It’s is very established, lots of people use it, and it’s free for a really long time. I recommend Mailchimp for SquareSpace users or if you’re on a teeny tiny shoestring budget.
Cost – free up to 2,000 contacts (if you send all of them no more than 6 emails per month); $30/month for up to 2500 contacts; and so on
Features – unlimited lists allowing you to keep record of contacts who have purchased from you, attended events, inquired about a painting, etc.; loads of integrations; great automation options
Why I Recommend – it integrates with SquareSpace, often the best website option for many artists; you can use it for free for a really long time
Drawbacks – customer service is only available if you pay them at least $10/month; they require double optin (meaning your subscribers receive an email asking them to confirm and they aren’t added to your list until they click on the confirm button)
I currently use this EMP. It has pretty much every feature you could want and is great if budget isn’t a concern but having to switch EMPs in a few years to get the features you want sounds like a nightmare. Active Campaign also has excellent customer service.
Cost – $9/month for up to 500 contacts; starting at $49/month for corporate-level features; paying annually saves you money on all plans; 14-day free trial available
Features – unlimited lists and tags allowing you to keep record of contacts who have purchased from you, attended events, inquired about a painting, etc.; loads of integrations; amazing automation options; you can use single OR double optin; custom fields on your contacts’ profiles
Why I Recommend – great amount of features; extensive segmenting (organizing contacts ad nauseum); connects with a lot of other software so everything talks to each other
Drawbacks – this is pretty expensive if you’re just starting out; it can get complicated to use the segmenting features, making you scratch your head or reach for a big piece of paper to draw everything out
This is another EMP I looked at seriously before picking Active Campaign. I love that it simplifies all this segmenting stuff and the interface feels really modern. Drip is for when you want to get serious about automations.
Cost – free for up to 100 contacts; $41/month for up to 2500 contacts; and so on
Features – can add “polite” popups to your site for opting in; split testing; it’s honestly very similar to Active Campaign with unlimited lists and tags allowing you to keep record of contacts who have purchased from you, attended events, inquired about a painting, etc.; loads of integrations; amazing automation options; you can use single OR double optin; custom fields on your contacts’ profiles
Why I Recommend – the same reasons as Active Campaign, but you might choose Drip if you like their integrated software better or if you prefer something that looks aesthetically more current and pretty; I also prefer their interface for sending an email because it feels simpler to choose which contacts to send to even though you can technically do the same things with both EMPs
Drawbacks – depending on how many subscribers you have, this may be more expensive than Active Campaign; some features are designed for very different businesses (like lead scoring) and can be confusing and get in the way
Do you have another EMP in mind? Let me know in the comments and we can talk about the pros and cons.
Want to know what to do with your EMP once you get it? I’m delighted to be giving an online workshop on September 20th teaching you how to use email marketing for your art business. It’s going to be epic. Click for the details.