To finish off our little series on email marketing (leading up to a free lecture you can sign up for right here), I want to talk about something NO ONE bothers to discuss.
HOW DO YOU END AN EMAIL?
This is part of learning how to properly sell art through email. Just like the first impression counts at the beginning of the email, in the subject line, and even when they are signing up for your list before they get any emails, the last impression counts too.
If you end any email awkwardly or abruptly, people will unsubscribe because you’ve left them on a bad note and that’s the thing that sticks out in their mind.
But on the positive side of things, ending the email well is a great opportunity to build a stronger and more personal connection with each of your fans.
That’s a pretty important step on their journey to buying your art.
Now that I’ve convinced you to pay attention to this easily-forgotten section of your emails, let’s dive right into what you should be putting down there!
The first thing is a “call to action” or CTA as we entrepreneurial types like to say.
Your CTA is a nifty little trick that helps your fans interact with you.
See we, humans I mean, are inclined to respond certain ways to certain types of sentences. And we, business owners I mean, can use this to our advantage.
The first type of sentence & instinctual response that works well for a CTA is a command.
Let’s say you’re sitting on the couch reading a book and your significant other says “Hey, look at this!”
You look up, right?
It’s just instinctual to do the thing they asked you to do, which of course was “look”. Unless you’re at a really good part of the book and you know your significant other is looking at something you don’t care about, you’re going to at least look up to see what they thought was worthy of calling your attention.
The second type of sentence & instinctual response that works well for a CTA, and it’s my very favorite because it’s so easy, is a question.
Imagine you’re in the grocery store and the clerk asks “Did you find everything okay?”
You don’t just stare at them, right?
You answer their question. It’s almost an involuntary reaction to answer when someone asks you a question.
Let’s play with a couple more examples just to prove it to you if you’re still unsure.
Command: You’re sitting at a diner and the waiter comes over to pick up the empty plates, but yours is a little far for him to reach. He says “Pass that over to me, please.” You’re going to pass the plate for sure.
Question: You’re watching Jeopardy and every time Alex Trebek reads a question, you start thinking so that you can come up with the answer. Even if you know it’s something you don’t know. You’re going to think about the potential answer anyway.
And here are examples of how it’s been used on you in marketing.
“Stick around and we’ll see you after the break.” Almost every news anchor says some version of this before each and every commercial break.
“Unfortunately appliances may not wow her like you hope, so instead get her a bouquet.” 1-800-Flowers
“Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your men. Now back to me.” Old Spice
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Fly Emirates
“What did you want to be?” Monster.com
“What’s in your wallet?” Capital One
YEAH. IT’S EVERYWHERE.
SORRY TO DISILLUSION YOU.
But I have good news. Lots of artists tell me they are worried about being manipulative by using this trick. I don’t want to manipulate people either.
Thankfully, a CTA doesn’t work if the person doesn’t want to do the thing.
So if Mother’s Day is coming up and you watch that 1-800-Flowers commercial but you know your mom kind of hates flowers, or you only want to get your mom a card this year, you’re not going to buy her a bouquet even though the ad told you to.
But if Mother’s Day is coming up and you weren’t sure what to get your mom and you watch that 1-800-Flowers commercial, the moment they say “get her a bouquet” you can almost see yourself doing it. Right? And unless there’s a good reason not to, you’re probably going to pop up their website and start checking the prices because you just might want to get your mom a bouquet.
You’re not an idiot. You can still think for yourself.
But you’re more likely to take action on the ad because they told you to do something.
So back to your art business. So you’ve got your CTA and you’re getting them to either respond to a question (which can be a mental response, a verbal response, or even one they write back to you in a reply email) or take the action you’ve told them to.
What’s the point of that interaction?
Why do you care if they respond to the question or take the action?
Well there’s the obvious, for starters – you tell them to click on a link to your art sales page or even just to straight up buy something.
But when it’s not that obvious, you’re still getting something out of the interaction. It’s just not very tangible.
You’re deepening the relationship.
See you have a relationship with each of your fans. You may not know their names or anything about them, but they know a lot about you. And that’s a pretty crucial part of the buying process so I’m glad they do!
THE DEEPER THAT RELATIONSHIP FEELS FOR THEM, THE MORE LIKELY THEY ARE TO BUY.
Plain and simple.
So this CTA business is very, very important.
“Weren’t we talking about the entire end of an email, Laura?” you ask.
Why yes, yes we were. I really needed to be thorough about CTAs, but I’ll get back to what goes at the end of your email now.
After your CTA, you want a friendly, brand-appropriate sign off.
Most people close their emails with:
Those sorts of sign offs are too formal and even a bit dated. Remember, we’re building deep relationships with our fans. So when we use formal and dated language, we are creating distance in situations where we really want closeness. Right?
Besides the being casual and friendly, you need something that sounds like your brand. So “Stay rad,” might work for a surf-inspired artist, but not for a photo-realistic portrait artist.
I’ve had quite a few of my clients adopt the phrase “Artfully yours,” which works well for artists who have conceptual work or a certain formality to their brand that they need to honor without creating distance with the reader.
So what sort of art you create and the kind of brand you have should influence your choice.
You may have noticed that I use “Cheerfully,” in my emails. (You can sign up for them over here if want to hear all my advice for building your art business. And you’ll get access to my free video series on pricing your art perfectly.) You’re welcome to steal that sign off if it fits with your brand.
Or take a few minutes and brainstorm all the ways anyone could sign off and then analyze which one works best for your art business.
Then add your actual signature. I don’t know why more artists don’t do this.
You probably sign your artwork (and you totally should!) so your signature is part of your brand already. A lot of artists use it as their logo too, which is a great idea if it’s a legible signature. But whether it’s legible or not, you should be using it at the end of your emails.
Write it in black, preferably with a slightly thicker pen or with paint. Make sure the lines are fairly crisp even if the letters aren’t entirely recognizable.
Then scan it in to your computer and edit it in a program like Adobe Illustrator. The most important edit to make is getting rid of the background so that it’s pure white. You don’t want to see the texture of the paper or a difference in color when you insert the picture into your emails. You can also smooth the lines, erase stray marks, and even straighten out letters that were written slanted if it makes it look better.
Save the file as a .png so that you can put it on any color background (you may have use for that someday!) and then upload it into your email marketing provider. Be sure to scale the size down so it doesn’t look strangely gigantic. It should look as if you signed a birthday card or a letter.
The last thing that belongs at the end of your email is a P.S.
Your postscript is valuable real estate. That’s a phrase people love to use in marketing, but it’s actually really true with your P.S. When you leave it off, you’re missing a chance to remind them about your CTA or to tell them about something that wasn’t important enough to get its own email but still needs to be said.
I like when artists use this space for exhibition announcements. Since many of your subscribers don’t live anywhere near the exhibition, it can be obnoxious to send a separate email about that and it will certainly earn you unsubscribes if you do. So two sentences about it in your P.S. is the perfect way to inform the people it applies to without annoying everyone else.
I also like when artists use this space to avoid sending too many emails. Sometimes you have a busy month. (If you haven’t heard, I do recommend sending art emails about once a month.) Maybe you got featured on two blogs, you’re in an exhibition, and you’re offering a new print for sale.
You cannot send 4 emails out this month. Your subscribers will hate that! But you could send out an email about the two blog features and an email about the print with a P.S. about the exhibition.
But if you have nothing to say in the P.S., do one anyway and just repeat your CTA in slightly different words. “Don’t forget to check out my latest blog post!” “I mean it when I say hit reply and tell me your favorite animal. I want ideas for my next piece so send them over!” “Really, what do you do to relax? I want to know.”
WAIT – WHAT ABOUT…?
Social media buttons, my latest blog posts, an inspirational quote, my contact info, etc.
Typically with an email going out to many people at once, you’ll want as little after your P.S. as possible. Most countries have laws requiring you to have an unsubscribe button and some limited contact information in your email, which most people put in a smaller font at the very bottom of their emails. Many email marketing providers handle this for you.
I suggest you don’t put anything extra at the bottom unless it’s either required by law or your email marketing provider doesn’t let you remove it.
That way you are always ending with the most important ‘last impression’ – CTA, sign off, signature, and P.S.