You’ve got your own Mailchimp account and there’s a place for people to sign up on your website.
Maybe there’s even a handful of subscribers in your account.
So you’re not sure if you have enough people to send an email to anyway. And you really don’t want to bother them. You don’t have much to say. They might get bored, decide they don’t like you, and unsubscribe.
And then you’ll have no one but your mom reading your emails!
Actually, when you think about it, it’s kind of nerve-wracking sending this email out because you know your mom is going to read it and “provide feedback” (ie judge you).
And so you close out of your Mailchimp account, knowing that some day you’ll be big enough and have something important enough to say to start sending out emails.
You’re already big enough and you already have something important enough to say to start sending out emails.
Unless you have zero people on your email list – literally zero subscribers.
Because even if you only have one person on your email list, that one person doesn’t know no one else is reading the email. They most likely assume you have hundreds (or thousands) of subscribers.
If they don’t get any emails from you for months, here’s what happens.
1 They think you must not be a successful business after all. You’re unprofessional, so you’re unsuccessful. They determine you have a small email list, don’t sell any of your art, and aren’t taken seriously by other art world people.
2 They are still rooting for you because humanity loves a good underdog. They wait around hoping you’ll break through.
3 They forget about you completely.
4 When you finally do send them an email, they don’t remember ever signing up so they mark you as spam and unsubscribe.
5 You never see them again. And now your emails have a lower deliverability rate because they keep getting marked as spam.
Sound good? Nope.
But here’s what happens if they do hear from you.
1 They get excited to hear from that new artist they just found the other day.
2 They assume you’re a successful business because you seem professional. And if you’re sending out an email, there must be people you’re sending it to. And if there are other people reading the email, your art must be great just like they thought!
3 They connect with one or two of your pieces pretty deeply and start thinking about purchasing.
4 They stick around for years and years becoming a mega fan, telling other people about your art, and buying multiple paintings from you over the years.
Sound better? You betcha!
And it’s not really much of an exaggeration either. This is truly how people relate to getting emails from a one-woman business like yourself, especially an art business because it feels more intimately tied to you and your personality.
But there’s still the problem of what to say. You’re boring. Maybe your art doesn’t even have a lot of conceptual inspiration to it – it’s just pretty. So why would anyone want to get an email from you and what would it even say?
I’m going to let you in on a big secret in the art world – artists are inherently interesting to EVERYONE ELSE on the planet.
Seriously. We forget it because we know loads of other artists who are far more exciting, inspiring, and just flat out interesting.
Who are we to try to talk about ourselves, our art practice, or even our finished work?
It’s not even that good.
But in reality, everyone else on the planet thinks that art-making is a giant mystery akin to watching a magician perform a really cool magic trick.
Almost anything you write about ‘being an artist’ is going to feel magical to your fans (or soon to be fans!) because it’s all very new to them. They don’t know what an underpainting is. They don’t know how you mix colors. They don’t know about line, form, composition…
Ever see a kid at the zoo for the first time? They’re pointing at all the parts of the habitats, rapid fire asking about how the animals are taken care of, and carefully studying the zookeepers. That’s your fans when you let them in on your life as an artist.
Convinced you might be interesting to them even if you’re boring compared to other artists?
You still don’t know what to say in the email.
It could honestly be anything about your art practice (and even some things that have nothing to do with art). I wrote about some concrete examples of things artists can talk about in blog posts in this article.
A quick recap if you don’t want to dive into another article right now… you can write about your creative journey, things that inspire you, behind the scenes happenings in your studio, new pieces/shows/mediums, something you want to teach them about making art, selfies and get-to-know you kind of text, and general information about who you are in your normal life.
You can read more about each of those, and how they fit in directly with your artist-ness, in the article.
And don’t forget about images!
Your audience loves to see pictures of your art, even ones they’ve seen before.
So even if you don’t really have anything to write about, you can always just send a “hey here’s some of my favorite summer-inspired pieces to add a little joy to your summer day today!” with a bunch of art in it. Cue the happy reply emails thanking you for sharing your artistic gift with the world!
In the end, if you let fear control you you’ll never have a successful art business.
Every successful artist I know did more than one thing they thought they weren’t ready for or weren’t good enough for. Otherwise their fear would have kept them stuck forever.
Now that you know why you should send emails out and what you can write about, you don’t have any excuse except that fear.
Tell it to shut up and send out your first email this week!