Last week we talked a little about why you need to use email marketing to build your art business [update: this post was lost in a website hack]. And I get the sense that most people are a little afraid of it because artists are constantly telling me they either haven’t started an email list because it looks complicated or that they don’t send out emails to their list – because you’re worried to bug people?
Well let’s dig into that a little and see if I can help make it simpler for you and less scary. Email marketing is actually pretty easy if you use the right tools. I recommend Mad Mimi as your main tool. This is an “email marketing provider”. The advantages of using an email marketing provider are that you can use fonts and colors and images more easily, you pass right through SPAM filters even though you may be sending to hundreds of people at once, and you can organize contacts and assess your performance.
GETTING SET UP
It’s free to start out with Mad Mimi as well as with Mailchimp, another good one.
After you’ve signed up, you should play around in the system and test it out.
Don’t add anyone to your list except yourself and maybe a friend or family member who is willing to help you test. Make a “campaign” (an email) and see if you can make it look good. Explore setting up a “webform” (just an email opt-in form) and see if you can embed it into your site – and that it’s working.
If you have trouble, email their customer service. If you’re using Mad Mimi you’ll be shocked at how quick and helpful their customer service is. Once you’ve figured out campaigns and webforms, you’ve got all the foundations you need to get started. Anything more complicated isn’t necessary and can be learned later on if you have a need for it.
So now you’ve got a lot of the stressful set up handled.
It’s time to start getting people on your list. The first step is getting the opt-in form on your website if you can. That’s ideal. If you’re using Etsy, you won’t be able to do this. And some other websites won’t let you either.
The second step is asking your current contacts to be on your list. Don’t add them without asking. It’s actually illegal as part of the Can SPAM Act. So send them a quick email explaining what you want to be sending them and include a signup link so they can do it themselves. Some people will still hit reply and say “sure” and you’ll have to add them manually.
Then post about it on your favorite social media channels with a link to your webform so that other people can join your list and keep up to date with your newest art, works-in-progress, and events.
HOW OFTEN TO EMAIL
So once you’ve got people on your list, how often do you send something to them?
I’m going to tell you an exact frequency, but it’s less often than most people will say. And that’s because you’re running an art business. It’s not a coaching practice, a yoga studio, a donut shop, or a jewelry store. And that means there will be nuances to how people prefer to interact with you.
It just so happens that I find people following artists prefer not to get weekly emails from those artists. You want to shoot for about once a month. It’s ok if you accidentally miss a month or if you have an event or a lot going on that causes you to want to send two emails in a month (or even the occasional third email), but try to stick to the monthly rule.
It’s just enough time that you’re not bugging people, but you stay on their radar. You never want someone to be looking for new art or a gift and to not think of you, but if you show up in their inbox too much it will be overwhelming and they’ll unsubscribe.
You’re also unlikely to have anything valuable to say if you have to come up with something weekly or every other week. You want your emails to have a point to them. People don’t want to receive an email that was sent solely for the purpose of sending an email. So they’ll unsubscribe if you start getting boring because you’re emailing just to email.
Once a month seems to be the magic number for most artists’ customers.
NEED MORE DETAILS?
I’m thrilled to have just put the finishing touches on a new lecture I’ll be giving free and online next week. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions directly to me live on the call and it’s totally PITCH FREE! (That means I’m not selling anything. Promise.) Sign up over here to get the link to watch. If you sign up, you’ll also get a copy of the recording, providing all the techie goodness works out just fine.