What Is Email Marketing for Artists?

Email marketing for artists is a valuable tool for artists seeking to sell their art and build a thriving art business. It is the high-powered digital equivalent of direct mail sent through the post office. Marketers use it to deepen relationships with potential buyers and to promote and sell them products and services.

Email marketing for artists is the most effective tool to connect with patrons, buyers, and fans and keep them interested in your artwork.
— Barney Davey

Because email marketing performs so well, it is a broadly used tool in a digital marketer's toolbox. It works with and improves social media, video, influencer and content marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising to drive awareness, desire, and sales.

Welcome to the completely updated "Definitive Guide to Email Marketing for Artists in 2024."

The guide offers a concise, updated look into how artists can use email marketing to boost art sales and engage audiences. You'll find updates on the latest trends, tools, and strategies essential for artists aiming to navigate the digital marketplace effectively, making it a must-read for artists seeking to leverage email marketing for success in 2024. 

While the basics of email marketing remain constant, there are many noteworthy changes to consider. Please review the updated guide to learn about and profit from them.  

TLDR: This post is intentionally exhaustive to be of greatest value to artists. If you want to know the answer to the most often asked question, "What is the best email platform for artists?" Click here.

A Table of Contents is at the bottom of this guide.

Email Marketing Is the Most Potent Marketing Tool for Visual Artists

For artists who want to sell art online, an email marketing system is a critical component. It helps them make sales through their ecommerce-enabled websites and boost traffic at shows, openings, and other events.

It is helpful to define marketing to better understand what email marketing for artists is. The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Art Marketing.

At its basic 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, or all above. Businesses use marketing to communicate their offerings, promote their brands, identify new prospects, and strengthen bonds with their target audience and existing customers.

Why Do Artists Need to Use Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an invaluable tool for artists to connect with their followers, engage with their clients, and promote and sell their art. With an email list, you can send personalized emails to your subscribers about upcoming events, new artworks, and special offers. It's also a great way to give your art a platform and build a community of people interested in what you do.

Email marketing allows you to keep in touch with your past clients, remind potential customers of their interests and reach out to new ones. It's a great way to connect with your audience and keep them engaged. Plus, it's much more cost-effective than other forms of advertising. All in all, email marketing can be the perfect tool for artists looking to attract and engage new clients, build relationships, and sell their art.

The Disadvantage of Sending Monthly

In the evolving landscape of email marketing for artists, the frequency of communication plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing audience engagement. A common approach is the monthly newsletter, which, on the surface, seems like a balanced way to keep in touch without overwhelming subscribers. However, this strategy harbors a significant disadvantage tied closely to open rates and audience engagement.

Open Rates and Lag Time Problems

Consider an artist who enjoys a healthy 30% open rate for their newsletters. At first glance, this appears promising, but it inadvertently highlights a critical issue: 70% of the audience does not engage with the content. This means that for a substantial portion of your subscriber list, there could be a staggering 60 days without any form of contact should they miss one newsletter. The risk escalates with each passing month, potentially stretching to 90 or 120 days of silence or longer. This gap creates an "out of sight, out of mind" scenario, diluting the connection between the artist and their audience.

Be Creative. Diversify Beyond the Newsletter

To mitigate this risk, artists should consider diversifying their email outreach beyond the monthly newsletter. Sending a second or third email within the month can significantly reduce the communication gap. These additional touchpoints don't need to be extensive; they can be simple notes, updates, quotes, or brief insights into the artist's creative process. The key is to find a rhythm that keeps the audience engaged without feeling overwhelmed.

With the myriad of content creation tools available today, planning and scheduling these communications in advance is more feasible than ever. This not only ensures a consistent engagement strategy but also allows artists to stay "ahead of the game," preparing content months in advance. By adopting a more dynamic email marketing rhythm, artists can maintain a stronger presence in their subscribers' minds, fostering a deeper connection and engagement with their audience over time.

10 Spark Conversation Tips infographic (728 x 45 px)

What's New in Email Marketing for Artists in 2024?

The world of email marketing for artists is constantly evolving, and 2024 brings exciting new trends and tools to explore. While acknowledging that the following features are challenging for most artists, they are worth keeping your eye on and implementing as you can: 

  • Interactivity: Replace static emails with interactivity. To engage your audience, try polls, quizzes, product configurators, and embedded AR/VR experiences. New features on more platforms simplify interactivity. 
  • Scaled personalization: Names are no longer enough. Advanced segmentation and dynamic content tools let you personalize and relevantly send emails to each reader. This can boost open, click-through, and conversion rates. 
  • AI automation: Leave the heavy lifting to robots. AI can automate email list cleaning, subject line optimization, and content generation, letting you focus on marketing creativity. HubSpot and Drip are pioneers. 
  • Community building: Email is about connecting with your audience, not just selling. Share behind-the-scenes footage, virtual events, and subscriber conversations in your emails. You'll build a loyal, success-focused community this way. 
  • Video integration: Short, engaging videos can grab attention and visually tell your story. Try embedding videos in emails or linking to them on YouTube or Vimeo. 
  • Integrate social media with email marketing to break down marketing silos. Promote your social media content in your emails and let subscribers sign up from your profiles. 
  • Data-driven decision-making: Monitor email metrics to inform future campaigns. We open what? Click what? What drives sales? Email performance can be improved by understanding audience behavior. 
  • Accessibility: Make your emails accessible to all abilities. Use alt text for images, write clearly, and avoid hard-to-read fonts and colors. 
  • Avoid Overwhelm: Just because you know about a feature doesn't mean you must use it or fear you're losing because you don't. Stick with simple and easy features and grow into advanced options slowly.  

Don't be afraid to experiment. Email marketing is always changing, so try different methods to find what works. These email marketing trends can help you connect with your audience, build loyalty, and achieve your artistic goals. 

Action Tips for Artists with Small Email Lists 

As part of the Definitive Guide to Email Marketing for Artists 2024 update, here are some actionable steps you can take to leverage email marketing effectively with your small audience: 

 Focus on building relationships, not just selling.

  • Personalize your emails: Use their names, reference past interactions, and send birthday greetings. This slight touch goes a long way in building a connection. 
  • Share your story: Offer glimpses into your creative process, studio life, or inspirations. This action makes you more relatable and helps them connect with you on a deeper level. 
  • Ask questions and encourage replies: Don't just broadcast information. Ask questions about their preferences, invite feedback, and respond to replies. Doing this fosters a two-way conversation and builds trust.

Start small with manageable tactics: 

  • Create a beautiful welcome series: This is your first impression, so make it count. Introduce yourself, showcase your work, and offer a freebie or discount. 
  • Share high-quality visuals: Images and videos are essential for visual artists. Include stunning photos of your work, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or short video clips showcasing your process. 
  • Offer exclusive content: Give your subscribers something they can't find elsewhere, like early access to new work, discounts on upcoming events, or tutorials. 
  • Run simple contests or giveaways: Encourage engagement with easy-to-enter contests or giveaways. Prizes can be signed prints, personalized sketches, or virtual studio visits. 

Leverage free tools and resources: 

  • Free email marketing platforms: Many platforms like Convertkit, which I use and recommend because they focus on creators, Mailchimp, or MailerLite, offer free plans for small lists. Use them to design beautiful emails, track your results, and manage your subscribers. 
  • Free design tools: Use free online tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to create eye-catching email visuals without expensive design software. 
  • Free online courses and tutorials: Learn more about email marketing using free online resources like blogs, webinars, and YouTube channels. 

Remember, consistency is critical.

  • Build a regular sending schedule: Even if it's just a monthly newsletter, sending consistent emails keeps you top-of-mind and builds anticipation. 
  • Be patient and track your progress: Don't expect overnight success. Track your open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to see what resonates with your audience and adjust your approach accordingly. 

By building relationships, implementing manageable tactics, and leveraging free resources, you can effectively use email marketing to connect with your small audience, even without the bells and whistles of the latest trends. Remember, the most important thing is to be authentic, provide value, and build genuine connections with your subscribers. 

Three Advantages Prove Why Email Marketing Is the Best Tool for Artists:

  • Relationship
  • Ownership
  • Control

Relationship

Fine art sales are rarely spontaneous, and it is common sense that you can't build a profitable art business on random sales. Generating predictable sales outcomes requires a system of finding and engaging potential buyers in long-term relationships that lead to sales.

Unquestionably, people buy the artist as much as the art. This fact is even true when they consider purchasing original art. The relationships and connections you make help set you up for sales and success. When buyers know you or know of you, they are more likely to want to own your art.

An art marketing email list is hands-down the best and sometimes the only tool for the job. Email communication is the glue to your connections. Make contacts in the best ways you can, then stay in touch digitally through email until your sales opportunity strikes.

Ownership

Your email list is your most valuable marketing tool. A lot of studies prove its value over all other digital and offline marketing initiatives. Given its importance, it's comforting to know an artist's email list is their property, and no one can take it from them. A responsive, engaged email list is a prime marketing asset when appraising a business's worth. Your email subscriber list has real value.

Control

Selling art on Instagram or other social media is an excellent art marketing method. The only problem is that artists are users, not owners, and must comply with a platform's rules. Even worse, account bans happen unexpectedly. For reasons impossible to understand with no recourse, bans occur daily. With email marketing, you don't need permission from a third party to send what you want, when you want, and as often as you wish. Your email list is an asset for you to use as you wish.

Describe the Best Practices for Artists with Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great tool that artists can use to build and engage with their fanbase. To get the most out of it, there are a few best practices you should follow. First, create an email list of followers who have opted-in to receive updates from you. Make sure to follow best practices when collecting emails and be transparent with users about how their information will be used. Next, come up with a content strategy that includes which emails you'll send out and how frequently.

You should also think about how to segment your list so that you can create personalized emails and tailor content to different audiences. Additionally, ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly since many people will be reading them on their phones. Finally, use analytics to track your open and click-through rates and adjust your strategy accordingly. Following these tips will help you create an effective email marketing plan and increase engagement with your audience.

Art Careers and Art Sales Take Time

With email marketing, artists have the time and ability to nurture personalized, long-term relationships with their subscribers. It overlays, connects with, and powers up the marketing juice from all other marketing tools and strategies.

As an adequate means of creating meaningful buyer-seller relationships, only in-person communication is better. And it is often time-consuming, inconvenient, or impossible. 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 Original Art

  • Approval. Marriages and partners have unspoken rules on spending limits. Decisions often include design decisions that require approval from all parties. Most original 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 immediate need to add new art. Email engages, educates, and encourages favorable reactions from contacts.
  • Positioning. Long buying cycles challenge staying relevant and occupying the top position in a prospect's mind for (your favorite descriptive phrase.) Success requires artists to find, connect with, and engage with likely buyers for extended periods of time. Email marketing's nurturing capabilities make it the best tool to help artists maintain a top position in the minds of their prospects.

There Are Only Two Ways to Sell Art

  1. Either you market or sell to buyers directly
  2. 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 investments 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: 1) relationship; 2) ownership; and 3) control.

Working with third-party distributors is just as difficult as selling directly and is 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 Efficient Tool

Email marketing for artists provides an easy way to communicate directly with your prospects, partners, fans, and collectors. Successful email marketing for artists is multi-faceted. Using email list management services requires growing your list of contact email addresses, which is critical to your art business and ongoing sales success.

The Ideal Art Sales Scenario for Artists

Ideally, 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 marketing for artists. Choose wisely and know you can always modify your marketing to meet current needs.

The Different Approaches to Email Marketing

It's not debatable. Artists who want to sell their work need to use email. 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 to send 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 list first. There is time to add marketing automation later. 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 an efficient 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.
  • A method of acquiring subscribers who qualify as potential buyers.
  • The ability to segment your subscribers.
  • A content marketing plan to deliver appropriate messages.
  • The desire and commitment to stick with your plans.

Email Marketing Technology

The email software technology 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, if not at once, you will want to customize and personalize your marketing messages.

Using tags in your marketing automation allows you to 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 tag and sort almost anything. Marketing automation software runs on "If This, Then That" logic. For example, if this subscriber is a customer, put them in that email sequence for buyers.

What Is the Best Email Marketing Platform for Artists?

Choosing the best email marketing platform for artists depends on specific needs and goals. Here are some commonly recommended platforms, each with its own strengths and weaknesses: 

 ConvertKit: 

  • Pros: Specifically designed for creators and artists, it offers features like landing pages, subscription forms, and email sequences, which are ideal for selling art online or promoting exhibitions. Convertkit has a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, making it accessible to emerging artists. I use it in my business and, as an affiliate, confidently recommend it to artists. (Keep scrolling to learn why I use and recommend Convertkit.) 
  • Cons: More advanced features are available only in paid plans, and the platform might have fewer template designs than others. 

Mailchimp: 

  • Pros: Popular for its user-friendly interface, Mailchimp is serviceable for beginners. It also offers a free plan with basic features suitable for artists building their audience. 
  • Cons: The free plan has limited automation options, and the pricing can increase significantly as your subscriber list grows. My experience is that its interface and method of support through documentation are more confusing than it should be.

Constant Contact: 

  • Pros: Known for excellent customer support and easy-to-use tools, this platform suits artists who need more comprehensive features and are willing to invest in their marketing efforts.  
  • Cons: It can be more expensive than some alternatives, especially for higher-tier plans. 

Sendinblue: 

  • Pros: Offers both email and SMS marketing. It has a flexible pricing model based on the number of emails sent, making it a versatile choice. 
  • Cons: Limited email design options and a less intuitive interface for beginners. 

GetResponse: 

  • Pros: Ideal for artists looking to expand beyond primary email campaigns, offering advanced features like webinars, CRM, and automation tools. 
  • Cons: It can be overwhelming for beginners and might include more features than typically needed by artists. 

MailerLite: 

  • Pros: Known for its simplicity and affordability, it's a good choice for artists seeking a straightforward, no-frills email marketing solution. 
  • Cons: Fewer integrations and advanced features compared to some competitors. 

ActiveCampaign:  

  • Pros: Great for artists serious about marketing, offering sophisticated automation and segmentation tools. 
  • Cons: Steeper learning curve and higher cost, especially for advanced features. 

Drip: 

  • Pros: Excellent for artists with a significant e-commerce element, offering e-commerce CRM features for personalizing campaigns and tracking customer behavior. 
  • Cons: More expensive and more focused on e-commerce than general email marketing. 

When selecting a platform, consider ease of use, integration with other tools (like e-commerce platforms, social media, etc.), automation features, analytics, customer support, and pricing. Taking advantage of free trials to test a platform before committing is also advisable. 

Why I Use and Recommend Convertkit for Artists

The primary reason I became an affiliate is Convertkit's unique focus on helping professional creators amplify the value they create for their audience without adding more work to their plate. As such, it is beneficial for visual artists who want to focus on their craft and audience-building without worrying about the technicalities of email marketing. The service offers advanced automation, customizable templates, integrations with other tools, and priority support.  

According to the 2023 State of the Creator Economy Report by ConvertKit, visual arts is one of the top 10 categories of content that creators develop for their audience. The report also highlights that full-time creators focus on entrepreneurship, personal development, marketing, small business growth, and online business development.  

I like doing business with and using the services of companies that recognize and value the services I offer my clients and followers. I've found Convertkit heads above other options regarding email marketing for artists. It constantly seeks new ways to help creators be more efficient and profitable. 

How to Build an Email List for Artists

Who Should Be on Your Email Marketing List?

Your list should include:

Acquiring Customers

To make email marketing work, you need a reliable method of steadily gaining subscribers who qualify as potential buyers. Since no one on earth needs more email, you must offer a potential subscriber a reason to join your list. A lead magnet is an excellent place to start. Essentially, it's an ethical bribe where you trade something of value for the right to send an email to someone. There is a complete section on lead magnets below. You'll find it chock full of valuable insights and information on how to grow your email 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 name 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 of the 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 excellent explanations and resources.

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. You can include an enticing web form or link to make it easy to join your list with them. 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 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.

Digital Email Marketing List Building Tips:

  • Add a form or link to each page of your Web site and posts on your blog.
  • In your regular emails, add a link in your signature line to invite recipients to join your email marketing list.
  • When you send it 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 the 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 to build 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 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.

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. 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. If you have a lead magnet or other 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 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 developing your successful art career by routinely using capable 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 has to 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 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 you will exhibit your art.

Make Email List Building a Top Priority

Building, maintaining, and 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 efficient techniques in your email marketing for artist efforts.

How do small, emerging artists get noticed?

As a small or emerging artist, getting noticed in today's crowded art market can be a challenge. But with the right strategies, you can increase your visibility and get your work seen. One of the most effective ways to get your art out there is through email marketing. It's an inexpensive and easy way to reach a large audience and spread awareness of your work. You can create campaigns to target new artists, reach out to galleries, or even just promote a new piece of art.

Social media is also a great tool for connecting with other creatives and building a following. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are great for showcasing your work and engaging with potential customers. Don't be afraid to reach out to other artists, galleries, and magazines to collaborate and share your work. With a bit of effort and creativity, your art can reach a much wider audience and get the recognition it deserves.

In Email Marketing for Artists, Content Is King

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 new, compelling, and relevant content. As with all successful endeavors, planning and focus are keys to success.

Content Marketing

Once you have subscribers, your job evolves. You must engage them with content that keeps them opening your emails. For artists, this is critical because 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 potential buyer.

Good content is how you keep your opportunities to sell to your list at a high rate. As an aside, the timeframe for open-to-buy periods speaks to the value of continually growing your list. This post, 25 Clever Content Marketing Examples with Amazing Results, from OptinMonster, is an excellent place to learn about content marketing and planning.

Organization & Planning = More Success & Less Stress.

Email marketing for artists is the same as for any other 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 an 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 a convenient information-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 strategy for artists is simple. Engage your subscribers with content that keeps them involved and excited. You want subscribers to expect to receive your email newsletters and to enjoy your content.

It's About You, Just Not All About You.

Use a mix of information about you and your art, including noteworthy news, personal or professional. Write about your current projects, events, sales, and promotions, along with other enticing tidbits of valuable, entertaining items of interest. Of course, your email marketing for artists needs to be about you. Nevertheless, the more you incorporate content not specific to you that both 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 relevant content:

  1. Video content is powerful. If you already create short videos to help your audience stand out, 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.
  2. Special Deals. Provide exclusive invitations or offers that are only available to newsletter subscribers. Make it pay for them.
  3. Ongoing Useful Content. Add a regular "Tips for Art Collectors" as a fun, continuous component of your newsletter. A few suggestions are how to hang art, care for art, place art, frame or re-frame art, storage, shipping, consignment, and use the secondary art market.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Keep up with your competition. When it comes to email marketing for artists, it is necessary to know what other artists are doing. 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 arts in education, your new post citing the original post will extend the message 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 back to your content.
  8. 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 relevant to them. Never be a phony. But, if you agree, feature their interests in your art-marketing newsletter or contribute to their blog and recommend it in your newsletter.
  9. Get personal. For some of us, it is easy to share stories from our own lives. Do not despair if that is not you. Draw parallels from third-party examples. It could be anything that inspires you. Suppose you are into the classics, where you learned a lesson—maybe something that deeply moved you from seeing or reading Les Misérables 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.
  10. 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 for 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 common 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 can an artist build up their email list?

Now is the best time for artists to get serious about growing their email lists. A powerful way to promote your art, gain followers, and get more clients is by growing an email list. With the correct techniques and steady follow-through, you can build a list of subscribers who are interested in your latest art pieces or projects and want to hear about them. 

The first step is to make an opt-in form that people can fill out to give their email addresses. You can add this to your website, blog, social media profiles, and even the end of your emails. Make sure you give people a reason to join, like a free download, aka lead magnet, or a special offer they can't get anywhere else.

You can also get people to sign up for your list by writing guest posts or working with other websites. Lastly, don't forget to reach out to the people who already like you. Ask them to sign up for your list so they can find out about your new work. With these tips in mind, you'll be on your way to building an email list of interested people who will help you promote your art and reach new people.

How to Use Lead Magnets and Sales Funnels for Artists to Get More Buyers

Using powerful lead magnets is how to get more high-quality subscribers.

Who doesn't wish they didn't have to 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 essential tasks. Always remember,

Hope is neither a plan nor a strategy.

To enjoy the career you want, you must develop practical plans that include these crucial aspects of your business:

  • Goods and services buyers want.
  • Efficient marketing drives sales.
  • Viable support is needed to maintain customers and build a reputation.

Art and Services

Before you can think about marketing, you must have a product (fine art, fine art prints, crafts, etc.) or service others want. You need demand for your offerings. Don't complicate your thinking. It doesn't matter if you have competition or have something unique and new. What matters is if enough people buy to meet your goals. Only research and experience will tell.

Marketing and Sales

Once you have goods and services, you must develop a market for them. Marketing determines your ideal buyers and creates demand for your offerings among them. It propels prospects along the customer journey, starting with gaining their attention. That leads to growing interest, which, when deepened, intensifies a desire to make purchases and, for some, to become best-case brand ambassadors.

Support

All goods and services require support. It's how you onboard new customers, maintain existing customer needs and strengthen relationships. Support is critical to your brand's reputation.

In a nutshell, you need the aspects above to run a profitable, sustainable business.

Sales Funnels and the Customer Journey

Modern business jargon uses "sales funnel" and "customer journey" phrases to describe how businesses attract potential buyers and move them from product unawareness to becoming buyers and even evangelists. With 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. In business, your goal is to make sales, create happy customers, and encourage evangelists. 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. You will find that 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 potential customers on your email list. Email marketing remains the most important and valuable way to manage leads that convert to buyers.

Trust Your Instincts and Support Them with Research

Begin 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 and transparent method. 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 of the term lead magnet? It's digital marketing jargon to define your giveaway. That is what you use to encourage others to join your email list. You cannot expect results from an offer to join your email list only to get more emails. It would be best if you gave something to encourage action. Some equate lead magnets to using an ethical bribe to trade valuable content for contact information.

A lead magnet should appeal to your prospects' interests and relate to your art. There are some things to consider. 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. That's because an active email list is essential to a thriving art career. Now is the time for artists to take control of their careers, making email list building a vital task. The more you add to your list, the less reliant you are on galleries, publishers, etc.

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, friendships, and other mutually helpful connections.

Marketing for Connections

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. Now 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 is often to buy from the product creator. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other sites that focus on selling work by indie artists helped shift consumer buying habits.

Power Up Your Email Opt-in Forms

Now, you can sign up with an email service provider and create opt-in web forms that 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.

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. 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 such valuable tools: 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 relationships with targeted prospects. To start, they don't know you from Adam. Buyers follow an unspoken process. They instinctively seek to Know, Like, and Trust the source before they buy. They don't deviate from the process.

Lead magnets in the form of ebooks check all the boxes:

  • It is desirable to own.
  • Easy to use.
  • Quick and convenient to deliver.
  • Affordable to create.
  • Provides helpful, informative, and 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:

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

Examples of art-specific lead magnets:

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

How Marketing Automation Gets the Job Done

Your follow-up sets the stage and seals the deal

To come this far and not have systems in place to follow up with your prospects is a severe money-losing shame. Sadly, it happens all the time. Mostly, 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. Digital marketing jargon revolves around these acronyms: 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 some 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 that 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 by 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 the same as brand-new 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 specific types of art. For example, a sculpture buyer has different interests than a prospect for a painting. You may have print and original buyers. Those are among the 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 then move buyers to a thank-you series. Use timers to send existing buyers engagement sequences to rekindle new selling opportunities.

Lead Magnet Sales Funnel

Lead Magnet Sales Funnel Example

Lead-Email Marketing for Artists - Magnet-Sales-Funnel-Basic

Typical Campaigns

Indoctrination – used to inform and educate prospects new to 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 about you.

Onboarding: Once a prospect makes a purchase, you remove the prospect tag and apply a customer tag. You add a second new 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 new 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 new customers feel welcome and appreciated. Nurturing your new customers is essential.

Engagement: You have someone who has requested your lead magnet. Now is the time to engage readers with a mix of education, demonstrations, information, and entertainment. Your sequence of emails helps give them 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 on 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 the information most relevant to their known interests.

Tags: Get the appropriate interest tags on your subscribers—that way, you can learn "How to Start with Email Marketing Sequences for Artists."

The heading above is the title of an Art Marketing News blog post that is excellent reading for artists who want to learn how to use email sequences. Here is an excerpt from the post, which you can read at this link:

Sequences are at the heart of your business. They attract attention, tell stories, 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 basic tags. You build on them from there for deeper integration.

How to Start with Email Marketing Sequences for Artists

The Customer Journey

No buyer follows the exact steps from awareness to interest, desire, and purchase. 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 to them.

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 10 Questions to Ask When Setting Up Your Customer's Journey.

Choose Success

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. Use them to supplement your sales while you build 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 an essential tool in your marketing arsenal?

Use the Table of Contents to navigate the guide. Back to Top


Tags

email marketing, email marketing for artists


You may also like

  • I use Your Mailing List Provider.com. It is easy to set up and use…and I’m not a computer wizard! I send about 2000 email newsletters a month for about $8.

    • Thanks for your reply. It looks inexpensive as you mention. It also looks very basic without integrations and marketing automation. Have you checked its deliverability scores?

  • I can not thank you enough Barney for your continued very helpful and instructive support. I feel I am in good company.
    naini

  • Fantastic insights on email marketing for artists! 🎨 The idea of turning emails into a form of art itself is genius. Your tips on storytelling, visuals, and personalization are game-changers. Can’t wait to apply these strategies to my art journey! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • This is the most thorough article I think I’ve seen on this topic. I came to it via FineArtAmerica.com. They have a newsletter/email list component for their yearly subscriber pro version of the platform. Do you have any comments on that service? I think you can have up to 10,000 in a list.

    • The FineArtAmerica.com email service is adequate for sending a newsletter, sales flyer, or event flyer. You can’t beat the price. I haven’t reviewed it recently but I assume it is the same as always. If you want to be an active email marketer, it’s not the best free option. I suggest Converkit’s free plan to start. That way, you can start building your list with forms and segmenting it for when you are ready to automate your email marketing. Good luck to you.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Subscribe to weekly updates. 
    "Helpful information & encouraging inspiration for fine artists."  


    Search This Site

    >