The Art of the Ethical Bribe | How to Build Your Email List

ethical bribe

What is an ethical bribe? It’s trading something of value for your time or interest. You know those free samples in supermarkets and big-box stores? They are ethical bribes.

In your case, an ethical bribe is your offer to trade beneficial information, products or services in exchange for a prospect’s email address with permission to keep sending more information. Here are examples you see every day:

  • Special report or a guide
  • Checklist
  • Infographic
  • Audio recording
  • Tutorial
  • Templates
  • Worksheets

I believe artists can create effective ethical bribes, aka lead magnets, from any of the above examples. Rather than belabor them here, I invite you to discuss them with your fellow ArtMarketingNews.com readers and me on my Facebook page at facebook.com/careering. It’s a great topic to get feedback and ideas from as many sources as possible. I will post this article on the page and look forward to your comments.

More ethical bribe options:

  • Mini-print
  • Note cards
  • Small brochures or portfolios
  • Exclusive subscriber discounts
  • Join your fan/collectors
  • Invitations to private-showing parties (online and offline)
  • Free shipping on the first order
  • Free hanging/installation for local collectors

Losers Are Part of the Process in Creating an Ethical Bribe

What you will find is most of your original lead magnet ideas are duds. That’s okay. You can keep testing and trying until you find a winner. If you get 2 of 10 to work out, you’re average. There is a lot of trial and error in digital marketing.

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As an artist working on building a list, you are a digital marketer. In digital marketing, an ethical bribe is also known as a lead magnet. An effective lead magnet has these five features.

  1. Useful and valuable
  2. Quickly consumed
  3. Pertinent to your ideal buyer prospect’s business or lifestyle
  4. Not so valuable that it diminishes your ability to make sales
  5. Intriguing and compelling to your prospects

Create an Irresistible Offer

If your offer is ho-hum, you will get no takers. You cannot bore people into joining your list. No one needs more email. We all have more of it than we know what to do with. So, offering to join to get notice of new stuff I want to sell you is guaranteed to fail.

Train yourself to think like prospects. What would make them happy? How can you delight, inform, educate, or entertain them? When you do two or more of those things, you are well on your way to success.

The best lead magnets offer solutions to specific problems, such as how to:

  • Hang art in a staircase
  • Get a fair estimate for a piece of art that has been in the family for decades
  • Care for art to conserve it for the future

These suggestions are mere starting points. You can do better and be very specific in creating an ethical bribe for your art and your clientele. Work hard on making your ethical bribe so compelling that it simply is irresistible. You don’t have to create these things.

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You don’t have to create lead magnets.

You can hire folks at Fiverr.com and Upwork.com to make them for you. Come up with the best idea and hire someone to write your report, or make your infographic and turn it into a PDF. Investing in quality will pay big dividends and make you stand out among so many other low-value, low-quality offers.

Tips and Techniques to Build Your Email List

Building Your List

When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to say everything is important, but – besides creating a consistent and impressive tone and style for your marketing – list-building is the key to your growth and profitability. How you go about it is every way you can imagine.

  • Ensure your email opt-in is prominent on your home page and other relevant pages of your website and your blog.
  • Offer something for free. You might recall how Hazel Dooney and Banksy both give free, high-quality digital downloads. It could be a three-pack of note cards, a mini print, or a report you’ve done on some art topic, which will get you a snail mail or email address.
  • Start a blog with content that will build traffic over time. Have your email newsletter sign-up visible and easy to use.
  • Create a publicity campaign about your newsletter, your most recent work or your charitable activity.
  • Comment on another artist’s blog or site.
  • Write and submit articles for Huffington PostForbes, and other national online publishers.
  • Join and participate in art-related or culture-related forums. (This is not to be confused with art business forums where you find other artists who are your best prospects for encouragement, but not for sales.)
  • Write about artists you admire or about art history or some other aspect of art that will drive traffic to your blog or website.
  • Ask your subscribers to share your newsletter, and then give them a link to tweet or add to their Facebook page.
  • Run contests that require entering an email address to participate.

Growing Your Email Marketing List

Capturing email addresses requires your ongoing attention. If you work to make it an ingrained daily habit, your list will grow fast. There are many opportunities for you to collect email addresses.

Your website, blog, newsletter, email signature and social media are among the most useful. With them, you can include an enticing web form or link to make it easy to join your list. All email marketing service providers offer web forms to enable quick, painless sign-ups to your list.

Get Permission

Most of all, remember to ask for permission to add someone when exchanging information during in-person encounters. A good practice is to follow-up immediately with a thank you. Include a reminder one about the permission they gave you. Auto-responders are ideal for this purpose.

High visibility opportunities for growing email marketing lists for artists are gallery shows, art fairs, and trade shows. Also, presentations and public speaking give you an easy way to collect email addresses. Take the time to tell attendees what they’ll receive for subscribing, so they’ll know what to expect from your messages.

Work It Everywhere

At your art fair or festival booth, place a mailing list sign-up sheet on one of your tables. Use bright signage to attract attention. Include a link to your email marketing list form on your business cards, brochures, flyers, and postcards.

Use a personalized URL shortener to make an easy-to-remember personalized link. I use x.co/barney for my Art Marketing News email-marketing list.

Give a Little, Get a Lot

It’s a fact that if you give people something, they’re much more inclined to give back to you. Entice your email marketing list prospects with an offer or a gift. Some suggestions are exclusive discounts, offers to join your fan club with notice on new images and products, invitations to private-showing parties, free shipping, or free hanging/installation for local collectors.

Active Follow-Up

While getting an email address is a start, you need to follow-up and send the goodies you promised. You can do this manually, but that is a super inefficient way to go. You will chew up valuable time doing menial tasks while exposing yourself to failing to respond or getting behind on your correspondence.

The best way to is to automate your responses. Using marketing automation software is suggested. Your email service provider (ESP) may offer marketing automation as part of its package. Due to its importance and value to your business, it’s advisable to start learning how to set up an autoresponder series. If your ESP does not provide such solutions, I suggest you move on. To be an effective digital marketer you need to the right tools. We’ll talk about marketing automation in a future post.

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Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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