Email Marketing for Artists | Building Your List | Part One

Expanding Your Art Career with Email Marketing

Email marketing for artists - building your list
Email Marketing for Artists | Part One | Building Your List

E-mail marketing is the most affordable and easy way to communicate directly with your prospects, partners, fans, and collectors.

Successful Email-marketing for Artists Is Multi-faceted

Because growing your list of contact email addresses is a critical component to your art career and email marketing success, I’ve made it the first topic in this multi-part series on email marketing for artists.

Who Should Be on Your Email Marketing List?

Your list should include:

Permission Is Required – Be Respectful

Unlike postal mail, you cannot send mass email without the recipient’s consent. It’s illegal (See the Can-Spam Act for details), and everyone hates spam. So don’t do it.

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Unless you have a trusted personal relationship with someone, do not add names their name to your list no matter how promising and tempting it might be. Business cards casually collected and email addresses found on the Internet do not permit you to add someone’s address to your email marketing list.

You can send a single, personalized email to someone who is not on your list. However, even if they reply, you can’t add them to your email marketing list without permission. Make sure all your emails include an easy-to-use opt-out link.

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.

Just remember to ask for permission to add when exchanging information during in-person encounters. A good practice is to follow up immediately to thank the person. Remind them their name is now on your list. Auto-responders are great for this purpose. We will cover them in another post.

Free Art Business Checklist
Get your free checklist. All help. No pitch.

Digital Email Marketing List Building Tips:

  • Add a form or link on each page of your Web site and posts on your blog.
  • In your regular e-mails, add a link in your signature line to invite recipients to join your email marketing list.
  • When you send to your list, include both a  “forward me” and a “sign up” feature in your e-newsletters, announcements, and other messages.
  • Place your sign up form on your Facebook Page, or use a prominent link to a hosted web form. Do same with a link in your Twitter profile.
  • If you participate in other social media, such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, do some Google searches to explore how to leverage your presence there for building your email list.

Offline Email Marketing List Building Suggestions

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

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 URL shortener to make an easy-to-remember personalized link. I use for my Art Marketing News email-marketing list.


Art Print Issue QR codeA OR (quick response) code is similar to a barcode. It uses spots instead of the bars. When you scan a QR code with your smartphone, it will load data to the phone. In this case, the page with your email sign up web page opens on the phone. I made the one you see here for free at

Free Art Business Checklist
Get your free Goalkeepers Club checklist. All help. No pitch.

Keep your QR code handy. That way, anyone you’re talking to in person can scan it and be taken straight to a web form to sign up to your list. (You can use them online, too).

Give a Little, Get a Lot

It is a proven fact if you give someone something, they are 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, join your fan club with advance notice on new images and products, invitations to private showing parties, free shipping, or a free hanging/installation for local collectors.

If you are in the print market, offer mini-prints, or note cards — partner with a frame shop to offer discounts from it. You could do the same with a local restaurant looking for new customer, especially if it is one where you have your art displayed. Use your creativity to come up with unique ways to encourage participation on your list.

Be Proactive, Take the Lead, Enjoy the Benefits

You can offer to trade lists with other artists, or other businesses. That is, you would agree to send an email to your list promoting the frame shop’s business, and they would do likewise for your art business.

There are endless creative ways you can work with others to build your list. When you take personal ownership of the process, and the lead in working with others to make a cooperative arrangement flourish, you are sure to enjoy newfound success. This will extend beyond list building to other essential aspects of your art career.

(If you have suggestions or practices that work to help you build your list, please share in the comments below.)

Quality Beats Quantity

Your mailing list does not have to be huge to be effective. It is more important to have a responsive list that helps you develop deeper relationships with your subscribers. Your email marketing list is robust. A list with a few hundred names can help you pack a gallery with your best prospects at your openings. You can use your email list to drive traffic to your website, or to some event or show where your art will be exhibited.

Make Email List Building a Top Priority

Building, maintaining, and regularly using your list needs to be a high priority activity. As you build your email marketing list, your contacts will grow as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for improving your art career by routinely using effective email marketing for artists techniques.


Free Art Business Checklist
Get your free Goalkeepers Club checklist. All help. No pitch.


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