With respect to email marketing for artists, it’s wise to build a smaller list of potential patrons who like what you offer rather than a larger list of prospects with mild to no interest in your art.– Barney Davey
What Is Email Marketing for Visual Artists?
Email marketing for visual artists is the best tool for artists to communicate with their buyers and sell art online. It is the electronic equivalent of direct mail sent through the post office. Artists use email to promote and sell their artwork and build rapport with fans and buyers. In this comprehensive guide, you get the best email marketing for artists advice I can offer.
Marketing with email creates an ongoing communication channel artists own and control. This comprehensive guide to email marketing for artists is to help them learn how to develop effective digital marketing campaigns with email at the core.
Email marketing is an efficient way to market your art, business, and yourself. For example, you can send email messages, newsletters, promotions, and more affordably. For example, your email marketing service allows you to create a database of prospective customers who like you and your art.
What’s New in Email Marketing for Artists in 2022
The value of social proof continues to grow. Marketers who provide user testimonials, quotes, demonstrations, or other forms of customer-generated approval of their art will benefit from the effort. Using a tool such as Thrive Themes Ovation to help gather, organize, and promote your testimonials can speed up the process and make it more useful.
An email marketing trend artists should use more frequently is to create growth loops from their email to social media platforms to a newsletter sign-up page or opt-in form. You can’t know where your prospects will see your messages, so it is an excellent suggestion to expand where they can see them.
By posting variations of your content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you create a loop that repurposes your content, expands the opportunity for more people to see your message, and ultimately subscribe to your email list. Advanced graphic design tools like Canva Pro make it easy to resize images to specified dimensions for every social media platform and let you post them immediately or schedule them for later.
An email marketing trend gaining popularity for a good reason is getting personal with your audience. Cutting back on selling and stepping up being personal will help to set your communication apart from other artists. You don’t need to post political views or what you had for lunch to be intimate. Sharing successes and setbacks is one way. They don’t have to be significant events but rather slice-of-life moments. You, the person, make you, the artist, more exciting and your art more compelling.
You may notice other trends and let us know if you do, but getting these working for you now will make your email marketing more effective.
Email Is An Art Marketer’s Swiss Army Knife
Email marketing is an effective online tool to drive traffic, awareness, desire, and sales. It improves marketing channels like social media, video, influencer and content marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising. An email marketing system for artists who want to sell art online helps them make sales through their ecommerce-enabled websites. It helps to boost traffic at shows, openings, and events.
Five Key Steps to Email Marketing Success
- Choose an email management service (EMS)
- Start collecting email addresses to build a list
- Set up a content calendar to plan and send email messages frequently
- Use list segmentation to create personalized messages
- Create automated email sequences to send customized notifications that tell stories, and ask for orders, referrals, and reviews.
This comprehensive guide will get details on these steps, learn to use them, and more. Please share this helpful resource with your artist friends.
What Is Art Marketing?
It is helpful to define marketing to understand better email marketing for artists. The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Art Marketing.
At its bare-bones level, marketing, including art marketing, is a systematized process of creating awareness and interest for a company, product, or service that leads to a desire to engage buyers to own its goods, use its services. Businesses use marketing to communicate their offerings, promote their brands, identify fresh prospects, and strengthen bonds with their target audience and existing customers.
Three Advantages Prove Why Email Marketing Is the Best Tool for Artists:
Fine art sales rarely just happen. And it’s sensible that you can’t build a prosperous art business on random sales. But on the other hand, generating predictable sales outcomes requires finding and engaging buyers in long-term relationships that lead to sales.
An art marketing email list is hand’s down as the best and sometimes the only tool for the job. Email communication is the glue to your connections. Make contacts the best way you can. Then stay in touch through email until your sales opportunity strikes.
Your email list is your most prized marketing tool. Many studies prove its value over other marketing initiatives. Given its importance, it’s comforting to know an artist’s email list is their property. As such, no one can take it from them. Instead, a responsive, engaged email list is a prime marketing asset. Your email subscriber list has real value.
Selling art on Instagram or social media is a practical art marketing method. The only problem is artists are users who must comply with the platform’s rules. Even worse, account bans happen unexpectedly. For reasons impossible to understand, bans occur every day. Often bans come with no recourse to fix them.
With email marketing, you don’t need permission from a third party. Instead, you can send what you want when you want and as often as possible. Your email list is an asset to use as you wish.
Art Careers and Art Sales Take Time, and Email Communication Fills Time
With email marketing, artists have the time and ability to nurture personalized, long-term relationships. It overlays, connects with, and powers the marketing juice from all marketing tools and strategies.
As a pleasing way to create meaningful buyer-seller relationships, only in-person communication is better. And in-person is time-consuming and inconvenient. Email marketing generates leads, promotes brand awareness, and strengthens client relationships. It keeps you in touch with consumers until they are ready to buy.
How Email Marketing Overcomes Obstacles to Selling Expensive FineArt
- Approval. Marriages and partners have unspoken rules on spending limits. Decisions often include design decisions that require approval from all parties. Most fine art is in this category. Email communication builds awareness and trust, creates desire, and reduces reluctance.
- Immediacy. Consumers can know an artist and admire her work. But they don’t collect art and have no instant need to add art. Instead, email engages, educates, and encourages favorable reactions from contacts.
- Positioning. Long buying cycles challenge occupying the first position in a prospect’s mind for (your favorite descriptive phrase.) Success requires artists to find, connect, and engage with likely buyers for extended periods. Email marketing’s nurturing capabilities make it the best tool to help artists maintain the first position in the minds of their prospects.
There Are Only Two Ways to Sell Art
- Either you market or sell to buyers directly.
- Find third-party distributors, such as galleries, publishers, and licensors, who will do the marketing and sales of your art for you.
Artists can do both, and many do. Both methods require investment in time, money, and learning. It’s as much personal preference as anything when deciding what to use. When working with distributors, you give up all three advantages of 1) Relationship, 2) Ownership, and 3) Control.
Working with third-party distributors is just as difficult as selling directly and not as profitable. Galleries, publishers, dealers, and licensors are third-party distributors. They take your time, command your inventory, often pay late, need tending, and are demanding. That’s giving up a lot to avoid selling your art yourself with email marketing that artists can do well.
Email Marketing Is Your Most Affordable and Effective Tool
Email marketing for artists provides an easy way to communicate directly with your prospects, partners, fans, and collectors. A successful email marketing campaign for artists is multi-faceted. Using email list management services requires growing your list of contact email addresses is crucial to your art business and progressing sales success.
The Ideal Art Sales Scenario for Artists
The best-case scenario is where artists sell most of their work directly to buyers on their email list. Direct sales would be the principal source of their income. Use distributors as secondary revenue sources. That method gives artists the most significant margins and control over their careers. Using third parties for extra income is better than depending on them for your primary revenue source.
Ultimately, artists must choose what works for them. Despite the ideal scenario, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to email campaigns for artists. Instead, choose wisely and know you can always modify your marketing to meet current needs.
The Different Approaches to Email Marketing for Artists
It’s not arguable. Artists who want to sell their work need to use an email marketing campaign. But how they use it varies, and it is up to them. Some will only collect email addresses and send a monthly newsletter. Others will use marketing automation to identify, tag, and segment subscribers by emailing them personalized messages.
The latter method will get better results, but it takes more time and effort. I suggest that artists with tiny lists concentrate on building their lists first. Then, there is time to add marketing automation later. Finally, I suggest you start with an Email Marketing Service (EMS) that includes automation workflows. That way, artists can begin tagging their subscribers now. Later on, they will use tags to segment their lists for autoresponder email sequences.
What Every Artist Needs to Capitalize on Email Marketing
You must know how to get the most out of your opportunities. To make email marketing a profit center for your business, you need:
- A reliable email marketing service (EMS), preferably with marketing automation built-in
- An understanding of what’s known in marketing jargon as the customer journey
- An active method of acquiring subscribers who qualify as buyers
- The ability to segment your subscribers
- A content marketing plan to deliver appropriate messages
- The desire and commitment to stick with your plans
Recommended Email Marketing Services for Artists
Many email marketing software companies offer paid and free email management services (EMS) that artists can use. They provide email templates, email newsletter templates, marketing automation, and email list management services. To learn about them, use Google searches to develop a personalized list. In addition, there are four of the best email marketing services for artists mentioned in this post.
Use your network and due diligence to make your decision. Just know that switching vendors is no problem. Switching gets more complicated when concurrent marketing automations are operational. Some EMSs offer concierge services to move your account to them.
I recommend Moosend and Mailerlite for artists without a list or a small list because they include marketing automation in the free version of their software, allowing artists to create and send effective email campaigns. I have accounts with both services, and my preference is Moosend because of its simplicity, training, support, and ability to tag subscribers. Moosend is a recent acquisition by Sitecore, a company with complementary services and flush with cash. I suspect it might be a breakout deal with user advantages, but only time will tell if it is enough to make a difference.
I also like Convertkit because it caters to and promotes creators. The downside is it does not include marketing automation in its free account. Finally, Active Campaign has penetration in the internet marketing community. It is the most powerful of the four mentioned, but it lacks the free versions of the services on this list. And most artists will not use much of Active Campaign’s advanced features. All recommendations put a heavy emphasis on email deliverability. And some are affiliate links that offer the same benefits and prices as without them.
Moosend includes marketing automation is free for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. After that, its pricing is less than most competitors. Artists use Moosend to create and personalize campaigns, send email sequences using marketing automation, manage and segment subscriber lists, generate product recommendations, and build custom landing pages and subscription forms.
Artists can use analytics and click tracks, email opens, social shares, and unsubscribes to use the drag-and-drop builder and templates to control marketing functions with filters, events, and actions that trigger autoresponder email sequences inside effective automated workflows. Learn more about Moosend here.
As with Moosend, Mailerlite offers the first 1,000 subscribers free for life. That feature is a real inviting value for many. The editor is easy to use. It has many content blocks that make it a snap to insert columns, image carousels, surveys, and interactive elements. Mailerlite track changes so you can undo steps with ease. A pleasing feature allows you to directly add Facebook and Twitter posts to your email.
Mailerlite provides an impressive selection of attractive templates. A drawback is templates are not part of the free plan. But artists have a better array of content blocks to drag and drop onto their templates. Learn more about Mailerlite here.
There is much to like about Convertkit. It is easy to use, offers terrific customer support, caters to creators, and has a new and vast library of tutorials. It does provide a free version for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. But, unlike Moosend and Mailerlite, it omits the marketing automation feature from its free version. It is also more expensive once a user reaches the 1,000 plus threshold that requires moving to a paid account. Since many artists will never need a prime list of more than 1,000, the lack of marketing automation is a drawback. Learn more about Convertkit here.
Active Campaign offers more services than the abovementioned. As a result, it is more complex. Users choose from two levels of service. The higher-priced option provides a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), which allows you to keep notes and thorough contact information on customers and prospects. The latter is quite good but probably overkill for artists beginning to use email marketing. I include it here because it might be right for some more advanced fine artists in tech and marketing. Look it over, and then you decide. Learn more about Active Campaign here.
MailChimp, Constant Contact, and All the Rest
I’ve had a MailChimp account for many years. Because it did not come ready with effective marketing automation, it continues to add features to make it more usable for today’s sophisticated marketers. I find it the hardest to use for many reasons. First, its tutorials require opening multiple tabs to learn how to do things, which gets confusing fast.
MailChimp also double-counts subscribers when you have them in separate lists, which means your cost of using can rise fast once you exceed its free 1,000 subscriber minimum. If you are already on it, I can see why you would stick with it. If your list is small or just starting, I advise against using it as there are better free alternatives.
All the rest are either too simple, complicated, or expensive. There may be suitable and less costly email marketing platforms with marketing automation. Things change fast in internet marketing. As such, this list with my recommendations may miss some options. These recommendations are solid and likely are more than you will ever need. Feel free to shop, but I would not waste too much time.
How to Build a List for Email Marketing for Artists Project
Who Should Be on Your Email Marketing List?
For the best email marketing strategy, include these people on your list:
- Clients and prospective clients.
- Family, friends, and fans.
- Fine art professionals, including gallery owners, art consultants, art dealers, and designers.
- Business and professional contacts.
- Centers of influence – mavens and connectors as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
To make email marketing work, you need a reliable method of steadily gaining subscribers who qualify as buyers. Since no one rarely needs more email, you must offer a subscriber a real reason to join your list. This post, The Art of the Ethical Bribe | How to Build Your Email List, is chock full of valuable insights and information on how to grow your list using a lead magnet, aka an ethical bribe.
You Need Permission
Unlike postal mail, you cannot send mass emails without the recipient’s permission. It is illegal per the 2003 Can-Spam Act. Plus, everyone hates spam. So just do not do it. Unless you have a trusted personal relationship with someone, do not add their names to your list, no matter how promising and tempting it might be. Make sure all your emails include an easy-to-use opt-out link. As a courtesy and legal requirement, email marketing services automatically include opt-out links in the email they send on your behalf.
Be Aware and Comply with Privacy Laws
Privacy laws that govern commercial communication regulations require compliance. Your EMS has some requirements built-in, such as enforcing an unsubscribe link in all your messages. You need to know about Can-Spam, CASL, and GDPR. I recommend this guide to you, Your Go-To Guide to CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR. You’ll find it has descriptive explanations and resources.
Growing Your Email Marketing List
Capturing email addresses requires your ongoing attention. If you work to make it an ingrained habit, your list will grow fast. However, there are many opportunities for you to collect email addresses.
Your website, blog, newsletter, email signature, and social media are among the most practical. You can include an enticing web form or link to make it easy to join your list with them. In addition, all email marketing service providers offer web forms to enable quick, painless sign-ups to your list.
Remember to ask for permission to add when exchanging information during in-person encounters. A best practice is to follow up at once 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 Email Marketing Tips for List Building:
- Add a form or link on each Website page and post it on your blog.
- Add a link in your signature line to invite recipients to join your email marketing list in your regular emails.
- When you use email automation to send to your list, include both a “forward me” and a “sign up” feature in your e-newsletters, announcements, and messages.
- Place your sign-up form on your Facebook Page, or use a prominent link to a hosted web form. Do the same with a link in your Twitter profile.
- If you participate in social media, such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, do some Google searches to explore how to leverage your presence to build your email list.
Offline Email Marketing List Building Suggestions
The best 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 to know what to expect from your messages. Place a mailing list sign-up sheet at your art fair or festival booth 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. You will find sound suggestions in this post, How to Sell More Art at Shows | A Guide for Visual Artists.
If you are a frequent exhibitor at shows, consider getting a cheap tablet to let your visitors enter their information into a form on the tablet themselves. For example, consider buying an Anti-Theft Universal Tablet Floor Stand Kiosk.
In the Covid-19 era, offering hand sanitizer is a good suggestion and will help get more use from the tablet. When you can, provide a short explanation to promote the value of joining your list. For example, if you have a lead magnet or additional benefits, make sure the people who might join your list know about the goodies that come with it for them.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and using your list needs to be a top 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 developing your successful art career by routinely using good email marketing techniques.
One of the best ways is to do guest-post blogging. Guest blogs entail either writing the content yourself or hiring someone to help you write an article to go on a proposed blog that receives a lot of traffic related to your business. Your content must be worthy and unique, and the sites you choose to submit to must be appropriate for your art and audience, so research your options thoroughly.
Quality Beats Quantity
Your mailing list does not have to be huge to be serviceable. It is more important to have a responsive list that helps you develop deeper relationships with your subscribers. Your email marketing list is dynamic. 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 some event or show where you will exhibit your fine art.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and using your list needs to be a done-first activity. As you build your email marketing list, your extended list of contacts will grow, as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for improving your art career by routinely using able techniques in your email marketing for artists’ efforts.
Content Is King in Email Marketing for Artists
Email marketing for artists is a must for any comprehensive strategy designed to develop a successful art career. Valuable email marketing newsletters and messages need engaging and topical content. As with all successful endeavors, planning and focus are keys to success. You can use your email marketing for artists set up to impress art galleries that you are an eager and well-prepared partner.
Email Subject Lines Are Most Important
The first crucial step to sending mass emails and automatic follow-up emails is getting your email opened and read. That’s why it is so essential to make your email subject lines intriguing. Try the headline analyzer service from Coschedule. It has free and paid versions. You can learn much about how to write better email headlines using it. It is a handy email marketing tool.
Once you have subscribers, your job evolves. You must engage them with content that keeps them opening and reading your email content. For artists, this is very important because fine art is non-essential, and the gaps in time between when prospects are open to buying are lengthy. It’s not uncommon for galleries to make their first sales six, nine, twelve months, or longer after their initial encounter with a buyer.
Good content is how you keep your opportunities to sell to your list at desired rates. As an aside, the timeframe for open-to-buy periods speaks to the value of continually growing your list. This 25 Clever Content Marketing Examples with Amazing Results, a post from OptinMonster, is a great place to learn about email content marketing and planning.
Organization & Planning = More Success & Less Stress.
Email marketing for artists is the same as for any offline business. When the deadline to start writing comes, having your content ready is how to avoid stress and reduce how long it takes to compose your article. Rushing to find last-minute news and ideas for your content creates anxiety and wastes time and money.
Create Email Marketing for Artists Content Keeping Systems.
Evernote is the best way to clip online content. It helps you quickly and easily capture and organize anything you find online. Microsoft One Note also is a convenient info organization tool. You can print any document from your computer to it, and you can copy and paste information from the internet into it. It is old school, but keeping a physical folder with ideas for content is better than nothing if it works for you.
The goal of your email marketing for artists’ strategy is simple. Engage your subscribers with content that keeps them involved and excited. You want subscribers to expect to receive your email newsletters and enjoy your content.
It’s About You, Just Not All About You.
Your contents should contain insights about you and your art, including personal or professional info, current projects, events, sales, and promotions. Add enticing tidbits of informative, entertaining, educational items. The more you incorporate content that interests and intrigues your subscribers, the more your readers will be eager to receive and read your messages.
Here are ten suggestions for producing innovative and topical content:
- Video content is powerful. If you have already created short videos to help stand out with your audience, embed them in your newsletter. A great way is to insert a tightly cropped screenshot image from the video. Then link the image to the streaming service, such as YouTube, where it is uploaded. Doing this avoids the problem of subscribers’ email programs filtering embedded videos.
- Special Deals. Provide exclusive invitations or offers only available to newsletter subscribers. Make it pay for them.
- Ongoing Helpful Content. Add a regular “Tips for Art Collectors” as a fun, continuous component of your newsletter. A few suggestions are hanging fine art, caring for fine art, art placement, frame or re-frame art, storage, shipping, consignment, and using the secondary art market.
- Guest posters. They will add a different perspective or expertise to keep your art marketing content stimulating. These guests could include other artists, a picture framer, a museum curator, another art collector, or the organizer of the show where you exhibit.
- Relevant news rules. Use news about you, your local art community, or the whole art community to involve your readers. Ask for feedback. Set up alerts on Google Alerts for topics you believe would attract your readers. Including one for your name and business name, if different, helps you learn what others are saying about you.
- Resources for ideas are abundant. Keep up with news, trends, events, and opinions. The New York Times Art & Design and Huff Post Arts & Culture pages are ample resources for your email marketing story ideas.
- Keep up with your competition. It is necessary to know what artists are doing regarding email marketing for artists. If you find something valuable, you can link to it or write your art marketing content to add your opinion and perspective. If its content is essential to you, for instance, funding fine arts in education, your post citing the original post will extend the messages and keep the drumbeat going. Notify the original author to let them know you linked to their copy; it might lead to a prized link to your content.
- Hang out in the same online spots as your buyers. Use these sources for research first and communication second. Follow your buyers to find the groups and communities where they hang out. See what topics are trending within those groups. Maybe there is a charity or activity you were not aware of that is helpful to them. Never be a phony. But, if you agree, feature their interests in your art-marketing newsletter or contribute to their bring about and recommend it in your newsletter.
- Get personal. For some of us, it is easy to share stories from our own lives. Do not despair if that is not you. It’s not impossible. Draw parallels from third-party examples. It could be anything that inspires you. For example, suppose you are into the classics where you learned a lesson, maybe something that deeply moved you from seeing or reading Les Miserables or Anna Karenina. Relate changes to your life, art, or business from experience. Talk about how it informed or inspired your newest works. Sharing at this level is compelling, especially when including your art and creative process.
- Use keyword and trend tools. They help you get the thoughts of your best customers and prospects. Use the Google Adwords Keywords and the Wordtracker Free Keyword tools to build a list of how your customers search to find art and artists. Layer your research using the Google Trends tool. The point is when you know what your collectors and prospects are looking and searching for, you can build your content around their interests. That is much more efficient than guessing or publishing around your interests; hopefully, you will find much ground to work on. And as with many points listed here, using keyword and trend tool research could be the subject of a lengthy post on its own. Recently, I used Google Trends to help show a recent blog post. You can read it here: Canvas Prints versus Art Prints | What Terms Are You Using?
How to Use Lead Magnets & Sales Funnels for Artists to Get More Buyers
Using powerful lead magnets is how to get the highest quality subscribers
Who doesn’t wish they didn’t have work to find qualified prospects and convert them into customers? You can mess up your chances for success if you let such wishful and dangerous thinking keep you from doing necessary tasks. This quote sums it up nicely:
Hope is neither a plan nor a strategy. – Anonymous
Sales Funnels and the Customer Journey
Modern business jargon uses “sales funnel” and “customer journey” phrases to describe how successful businesses attract buyers and move them from product unawareness to becoming buyers and even evangelists. For a good reason, it’s popular to equate developing relationships with customers to the stages of intimacy in the dating and looking for life partners stages of life. There are apparent similarities.
In every case, it’s all about KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. You grow from first awareness, eye contact, an introduction, or noticing a social media post or ad to form an impression. Steps then evolve to making contact and getting to know and understand one another. If things go well, the connection progresses. Your goal is to make sales, create happy customers, and encourage evangelists in business. The enthusiasm for Apple products epitomizes the full spectrum of the customer journey process.
Getting Leads Is Easy | Follow Up Makes or Breaks You
Want more leads? You can find hundreds of creative ideas and practical techniques by searching for “how to get leads” in your favorite browser. The ideas, advice, and suggestions represent an overwhelming embarrassment of riches. That’s because nearly everything works. You only need to test and then settle on what approach works best and matches your needs. Social media, organic search results (SEO), cold emailing, cold calling, networking, advertising, direct mail, referrals, reviews, and directory listings are among the most widespread methods today.
A great place to start is social media. It is affordable, fast, and relatively easy to use. You can hire professionals or study how to use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to gain awareness for your business. In nearly every case, the process involves finding a way to get your prospective customers on your email list. However, email marketing remains the most important and valuable way to manage leads that convert to buyers.
Trust Your Instincts and Support Them with Research
It’s essential to start with your instincts and feel for your market. Do your research to back up your ideas test to refine the process. Improve by learning how others with similar businesses get people into their funnels. It’s an easy-to-follow, transparent, and more than adequate learning means. It’s convenient to join a mailing list of your top competitors and marketers whose work and products you admire and use. You will experience firsthand the exact steps, strategies, and tactics they use in their version of the customer journey.
Getting an Opt-In Is the Critical First Step
Have you heard the term lead magnet? It’s online marketing jargon to define your giveaway. That is what you use to encourage joining your email list. You cannot expect results from an offer to subscribe to your email list only to get more emails. It would be best if you gave something to encourage action. Some equate lead magnets to trading valuable content for contact information using an ethical bribe.
A lead magnet should have prime appeal to your prospects’ interests and relate to your art. There are some things to consider. First, it must have value and be easy to use. Digital products work best. You can find marketers offering a free paperback book with paid shipping. It’s a technique in decline. Digital copies of paperbacks are ineffective because they are not easy to use. No one reads full-length books in PDF format. It’s too much.
You may wonder, “What is a lead magnet?”
I promise to tell you in just a minute.
A lead magnet is crucial for artists to grow their businesses. An active email list is necessary for a thriving art career. Now is the time for artists to control their careers, making email list building a vital task. The more you sell to your list, the less reliant you are on galleries and publishers, etc.
A good lead magnet solves the “what’s in it for me” problem. And that’s just the start. The right one will do much more. You’re a small businessperson, so you should jump on it anytime you can get extra mileage out of anything you are doing.
Here’s a description of a lead magnet from DigitalMarketer.com:
The Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a particular chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information – usually an email address.
What Makes for an Irresistible Bribe from an Artist?
The best thing you can do to make a great lead magnet is to use your existing content. For example, you have a website or a blog; you may have published articles or written evocative emails. Anything that is already in the can makes for valuable lead magnet content.
The best lead magnets are easy to use and access. That’s what makes ebooks and portfolios a valuable tool because they are relatively cheap and fast to create. You can deliver them via a download link in a thank you email to your subscribers.
There’s Good News about Lead Magnets
Creating sales starts with building favorable, extended relationships with targeted prospects. To start, they don’t know you from Adam. Instead, buyers follow an unspoken process. They instinctively seek to Know, Like, and Trust the source before buying. They don’t deviate from the process.
Lead magnets in the form of ebooks check all the boxes:
- It is pleasing to own
- Easy to use
- Quick and convenient to deliver
- Affordable to create
- Provides helpful, informative, educational value to the subscriber
- It kicks off the Know, Like, and Trust continuum with the least amount of effort for all involved
Here are examples of lead magnets:
- The special report or a guide
- Audio recording
Examples of art-centric lead magnets:
- 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
Get Expert Help to Strategize & Create Lead Magnets
If you have ideas but need help figuring out what kind of lead magnet you need or how to make one that is professional and worthy of your name, I can help you. I’ve created dozens of lead magnets for my business and many artists. Learn more at barneydavey.com.
Use Convertbox to Power Up Your Email Opt-in Forms
Now, you can sign up with an email service provider and create opt-in web forms they provide to make it easy for potential subscribers to join your list. Consumers are harder to motivate now. Just asking for an opt-in is not enough. Your prospect needs to know what’s in it for them.
Here is the truth about growing your list. You will enjoy better results using dynamic tactics that feel aggressive to some or are things you don’t like, such as popups. Sometimes it is a test of will to get some subscribers on your list. It’s not that they are dismissive, not interested, or don’t like you or your art. It’s they are wary of new things and sharing information. If your attempt is weak or half-hearted, that is all they need to pass on joining. “Enter your email address here to get my free newsletter” is an example.
How to Use Convertbox to Segment Your Subscribers and Build Your List
All the opt-in forms and popups on this site operate through Convertbox. I can set controls to filter who sees my messages and how often they see offers or quizzes. It integrates with your email management system to pass tags you can use to personalize your messages.
Users have options to use Convertbox’s features to build lists, do promotions, and have fun. You can A/B test everything to improve results continually.
Check it out. Convertbox is an email marketer’s best friend.
An excerpt from Convertbox’s homepage:
Launch personalized offers, lead capture forms and segmentation funnels to the right visitors at the right time with the easiest most powerful on-site engagement platform.
How to Find Buyers and Sell Your Artwork to Them
For years, I have championed today’s artists’ idea to find ways to cultivate relationships to sell to buyers directly through marketing and friendships, and other mutually helpful connections as the best way to build a successful fine art business.
Marketing for Connections
Learning how to use email marketing to make those connections is at the core of the Art Marketing Toolkit Project. It’s the most affordable and best offer ever, focusing on fitting art marketing into the artist’s life you want to lead.
The option of building a base and selling directly to buyers was not possible for artists in previous generations. It was career suicide to buck the gallery, dealer, and publisher model. Plus, it was awkward and expensive to go it alone.
No third-party distributor would work with an artist who sold to buyers on their own back in the day. The internet, social media, and email marketing make it possible for artists to sell art online. Also, consumers have changed their buying habits. Their first choice often is to buy from the product creator. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and sites that focus on selling work by indie artists helped shift consumer buying habits.
Email Marketing Technology
The email software tech that powers email marketing is all SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). That means it’s in the cloud, and you rent access to it. The EMS platforms I recommend include marketing automation. Eventually, you will want to customize and personalize your marketing messages, if not at once.
Using tags in your marketing automation lets you identify whether your subscriber is a buyer or a prospect. Tags can point out interest in a piece of art or a genre. You can, for example, tag and sort on almost anything. And, marketing automation software applies the tags as it runs on “If This Then That” logic. So, for example, if this subscriber is a customer, put them in that email sequence for buyers.
Your Follow Up Sets the Stage and Seals the Deal
To come this far, building a list and not having systems in place to follow up with your prospects is a severe money-losing shame. Sadly, it happens all the time. I believe it occurs because there is little training on what to do next. Everyone tells you to build a list, and the advice stops there.
A list without follow-up is useless. – Barney Davey, Your follow-up must be attentive and purposeful. Make it as professional as the lead magnet you used to get someone in your sales funnels. Online marketing jargon revolves around TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. They represent the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.
Those entering the wide end at the top (TOFU) of the funnel have shown interest in your lead magnet. But they have no interest yet in spending money with you. At the top, you want to accommodate everyone. As prospects show interest, they move to the middle (MOFU) of the funnel. It is here, through segmentation and nurturing you build trust, authority, and desire for your art. A customer at the bottom (BOFU) part of the funnel is ready to buy. They might have questions, items in the cart, or completing a sales transaction. Your interactions with them at this stage are crucial.
Segmentation and Personalization Improve Results
You don’t treat repeat customers in your studio like first-time visitors. Your conversation is different for each situation, and marketing automation lets you send personalized messages. Your campaigns will contain if/then logic-driven email sequences. Each will respond to where a buyer is in the funnel.
In some cases, you may treat customers who show interest in certain types of art. For example, a sculpture buyer has different interests than a prospect for a painting. Or, you may have print and original buyers. Those are among innumerable ways tags can identify customers and send them email sequences to match their interests.
For example, the system applies a tag for each purchase. Tags can trigger an action to add or remove a contact from a sales sequence. The same or other tags can move buyers to a thank you series. Use timers to send existing buyers engagement sequences to rekindle selling opportunities.
Indoctrination – used to inform and educate prospects who just met you. Your open rates are the best in the relationship’s first stage. Help those new to your business understand who you are and what you do. Show them helpful content and a bio on you.
Onboarding – Once a prospect makes a purchase, you remove the prospect tag and apply a customer tag. You add a second customer tag for new customers. That tag triggers a series of onboarding emails. You can use it to provide helpful hanging or display information. You can show them how to care for their art. Use onboarding to send Certificates of Authenticity and documents relating to the work.
You might introduce your staff and extra services like hanging, framing, color coordination, etc. Include your hours of operation. Give a schedule of events and invitations to special showings. Primarily, make your customers feel welcome and appreciated. Nurturing your new customers is a requisite.
Engagement – you have someone who has requested your lead magnet. Now is the time to engage readers with a mix of education, demonstration, information, and entertainment. Your sequence of emails, which starts with a welcome email, helps gives insights and piques their interest in art. It progresses them to MOFU and includes Calls to Action (CTAs.) These actions encourage buyers to move to BOFU. As with all customers, you must nurture your leads.
R & R (Referrals & Reviews) – set this campaign to run every three or six months. It will help you get referrals or 5-star product reviews if they are appropriate to your business. It’s an easy way to generate additional business and get feedback from existing customers.
Win Back – set it to run every 90 – 120 days; your Win Back campaign seeks to reignite interest from previous customers who have not shown recent interest.
Abandon Cart – sometimes buyers get cold feet. They face distractions or have credit card problems. They act on impulse and need a nudge to complete the cart transaction. Start with no discount. Instead, offer to help complete the sale. Then move to discounts or bonuses to non-responders to your first offer. You can make more sales by addressing abandoned cart opportunities.
Segmentation – if your product mix is dissimilar, your customers don’t share the same interest in everything you make. Segmentation campaigns help send them personalized information that matches their known interests.
get the appropriate interest tags on your subscribers—that way, you are
How to Start with Email Marketing Sequences for Artists
Get the proper interest tags on your subscribers; you can make personalized messages to them. The heading for this section is the title of an Art Marketing News blog post that is spot-on reading for artists who want to learn how to use email sequences. Here is an excerpt from the blog post, which you can read on this link.
Sequences are at the heart of your business. They attract attention, tell stories, and ask for orders, referrals, and reviews or testimonials. Automation runs autoresponder series to your clients and prospects based on tags. The sequences include personalization that communicates with readers based on tags. Customer, prospect, and vendor are elementary tags. You build on them from there for deeper integration. Learn more about sequences from this post, How to Start with Email Marketing Sequences for Artists.
The Customer Journey
No buyer follows the unspoken steps from awareness to interest, desire, and purchase. Instead, use the similarities to identify stages. In simplicity, they break into before, during, and after the transaction stages. It’s your job to determine the steps and match your messages.
Email marketing with automation allows you to do this automatically. This article from Beacon, Creating Content for Each Milestone in Your Customer’s Journey, is recommended reading. You should see a popup for this free download of 10 Questions to Ask When Setting up Your Customer’s Journey.
You are the boss. You make the choices and live with the consequences. The artists who have the best careers take control of their distribution. You can’t rely on galleries or social media. They are great while they work. But you are never in decision loops that affect your business. Instead, use them to supplement your sales while building your email list.
Email marketing is the hub for all marketing. Isn’t it time to order your priorities and start working to make email marketing the best tool in your marketing arsenal? If you want more help like this, join a community of like-minded artists, and become an Art Marketing Toolkit Project member. It comes with all the information you need to improve your marketing and live your best life as an artist.
Table of contents
- What Is Email Marketing for Visual Artists?
- Five Key Steps to Email Marketing Success
- Three Advantages Prove Why Email Marketing Is the Best Tool for Artists:
- Art Careers and Art Sales Take Time, and Email Communication Fills Time
- How to Use Lead Magnets & Sales Funnels for Artists to Get More Buyers
- Get Expert Help to Strategize & Create Lead Magnets